New Beginnings Director of Programs – New position with a growing agency

Make a difference in the lives of homeless youth in Maine!

New Beginnings is very excited to be adding a new Director of Programs at our established youth-services organization. This position will join our high-performing senior leadership and work closely with and supervise our team of dedicated directors and coordinators. We are looking for a leader to help us grow strategically and build on New Beginnings’ strong history of leadership in the youth homelessness field. If you have a passion for homeless youth services and are an excellent communicator and “big picture” thinker, please apply to join our team!

We are hiring talented and enthusiastic people who are committed to making a difference for homeless youth in Maine. For the past 40 years, New Beginnings has helped children, teens, and young adults find safety, build connections, and access the opportunities for growth that they need to thrive. Our comprehensive services prevent young people from becoming homeless, support struggling families, and help vulnerable youth grow into stable and healthy adults. Our mission is to partner with youth to create lasting change, so all youth have a safe place to live and opportunities to grow.

The Ideal candidate has a working knowledge of harm reduction approaches, Stages of Change, Trauma Informed Care, Positive Youth Development and Motivational Interviewing; cultural competency with teens/young adults, LGBTQ+ communities, folks experiencing homelessness and/or poverty; experience with human service and mental health delivery systems and homeless youth issues required. Excellent judgement, communication, conflict-resolution, critical thinking and organizational skills.

New Beginnings is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building a diverse staff. We strongly encourage applications from candidates of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, genders/gender identities, sexual orientations, and those with lived experience of poverty and/or homelessness.

Requirements:
Education and Training:
Master’s degree required; preference for LCSW, LCPC, or LMSW. Must be qualified to provide Case Management Supervision for Targeted Case Management under Section 13 of the MaineCare Manual.
Job Related Experience:
10 + years of social services or youth agency experience preferred with 3-5 years of relevant program leadership experience; ideal candidate is excellent at managing change and has successful program-planning or restructuring experience.
5-7 years of relevant nonprofit program management experience including supervision of multiple direct reports and experience managing other leaders.

Generous Benefits Package:
100% paid health for employee
• Dental, life, disability and long term care insurance
• 33 days of accrued earned time off per year
• 403b retirement plan

HOW TO APPLY:
Submit a cover letter detailing your interest and relevant experience along with your résumé to lisa@newbeginmaine.org. Resumes without a cover letter may not be considered.

The post New Beginnings Director of Programs – New position with a growing agency appeared first on Youth Today.


Cincinnati Region Summer Learning Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Education, Summer Learning, OST, Youth Development, Disadvantaged Youth
Deadline:
Mar. 2, 2020

“Summertime Kids grants provide support for activities and programs that are enriching, fun and promote learning during the summer months. Grants of up to $1,000 are available to nonprofit organizations that are working with the youth of our community. Funding may be used to support, expand or strengthen existing programs or launch new programs.

Preference will be given to programs that:

  • Help reduce summer learning loss/summer slide.
  • Introduce kids to new experiences that will be healthful, enriching and/or expand their horizons.
  • Challenge kids to learn and grow through local opportunities that may not be otherwise available to them.
  • Have lasting impact on youth with the greatest need.
  • Serve a diverse location or populations of youth.
  • Engage parents or guardians.
  • Demonstrate collaboration in the community.”

Funder: Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Eligibility:
“Applicants must be 501(c)(3) organizations, a school or church and be in one of GCF’s eight counties: Butler, Clermont, Hamilton or Warren in Ohio; Boone, Campbell or Kenton in Kentucky; and Dearborn County in Indiana. Funding will not be awarded to religious organizations that require religious activity for participation.”
Amount:
Up to $1,000
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

The post Cincinnati Region Summer Learning Program Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


Cincinnati Region Summer Learning Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Education, Summer Learning, OST, Youth Development, Disadvantaged Youth
Deadline:
Mar. 2, 2020

“Summertime Kids grants provide support for activities and programs that are enriching, fun and promote learning during the summer months. Grants of up to $1,000 are available to nonprofit organizations that are working with the youth of our community. Funding may be used to support, expand or strengthen existing programs or launch new programs.

Preference will be given to programs that:

  • Help reduce summer learning loss/summer slide.
  • Introduce kids to new experiences that will be healthful, enriching and/or expand their horizons.
  • Challenge kids to learn and grow through local opportunities that may not be otherwise available to them.
  • Have lasting impact on youth with the greatest need.
  • Serve a diverse location or populations of youth.
  • Engage parents or guardians.
  • Demonstrate collaboration in the community.”

Funder: Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Eligibility:
“Applicants must be 501(c)(3) organizations, a school or church and be in one of GCF’s eight counties: Butler, Clermont, Hamilton or Warren in Ohio; Boone, Campbell or Kenton in Kentucky; and Dearborn County in Indiana. Funding will not be awarded to religious organizations that require religious activity for participation.”
Amount:
Up to $1,000
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

The post Cincinnati Region Summer Learning Program Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


Wine regions could shrink dramatically with climate change unless growers swap varieties

If you were planning to drink your way through the climate apocalypse, here’s some unfortunate news: Just as climate change threatens homes, food and livelihoods, so does it threaten the world’s supply of wine. If temperatures rise by 2 degrees Celsius, the regions of the world that are suitable for growing wine grapes could shrink by as much as 56 percent, according to a new study. And with 4 degrees of warming, 85 percent of those lands would no longer be able to produce good wines.

Amazon forest carbon study reveals indigenous territories, protected areas under siege, yet remain best climate solution

A new study using innovative technology to measure carbon emissions caused by forest degradation and disturbance—rather than deforestation alone—suggests that Indigenous territories (ITs) and protected natural areas (PNAs) in the Amazon are emitting formerly undetected amounts of carbon, yet their net emissions remain low, allowing them to outperform other land categories across the nine-nation region.

Early Childhood Educator Support and Preparation Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Early Education, Educator Support, Workforce Development, Early Care
Deadline:
Mar. 2, 2020 (LOI)

“The Collaborative is offering approximately $10 million in funding to support innovative approaches to better preparing the current and future early childhood education (ECE) workforce. We are seeking proposals that take the current systemic realities and barriers into account and strive to address them through contextually and culturally relevant ways. In particular, we’re looking for proposals that consider things like recruitment and retention of racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students, curricula informed by recent developmental science, induction supports provided in the early years of teaching, or financial supports for educators to access and complete programs.”

Funder: Early Education Investment Collaborative
Eligibility:
“Eligible partnerships must be comprised of at least the following two entity types: 1) a lead applicant four-year institute of higher education (IHE) that offers a bachelor’s degree program for lead teachers; and 2) a state/territory/Tribal Nation. The Collaborative will prioritize partnerships that also include a two-year, community college institute of higher education in addition to the aforementioned entities, as well as applicants that come from institutions that demonstrate diversity…”
Amount:
$200,000+
Contact:
Link.


>>> CLICK HERE to see all of Youth Today’s GRANT LISTINGS

The post Early Childhood Educator Support and Preparation Program Grants appeared first on Youth Today.


Real Origin of Child Welfare Points to Today’s Foster Care Wrongheadedness

foster care: little boy sitting on sofa and cuddling teddy bear with scared face

Ann in the uk/Shutterstock

.

Racial and class bias are child welfare’s original sins. So it’s no wonder so many in the field are desperate to whitewash child welfare’s origin story. Now, an article in Children’s Bureau Express, a publication from the Administration for Children and Families, finishes the job of setting the record straight. In the process, it turns child welfare’s creation myth upside down. It’s been a long time coming.

The mountain of myth is built upon a molehill of truth about Mary Ellen Wilson, a little girl who lived in New York City in 1874. She was brutally beaten by the woman she called “Mamma.”

The first myth propounded by America’s “child savers,” as they proudly called themselves in the 19th century, is that saving Mary Ellen required the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to intervene and seek protection for her as an animal.

In my book, “Wounded Innocents,” I wrote:

“Child savers point to the case of Mary Ellen as a prime example of what life for children would be like without them. The case teaches us, they say, that parents cannot be allowed to control their children like property and that massive intervention is essential to protect ‘children’s rights.’”

Wyoming: Richard Wexler (headshot), executive director of National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, smiling balding man with white-gray hair in black top.

Richard Wexler

But if you know the real story of Mary Ellen, using it to justify the current system of massive coercive intervention into families becomes impossible.

For starters, though the head of the local SPCA did indeed call the case to the attention of the court, he did so as a private citizen, not in his official capacity — and not by suggesting that Mary Ellen be protected as an animal. But even more important, there’s one vital part of the story the child savers often leave out:

Mary Ellen was a foster child.

The “mamma” who did her so much harm was her foster mother. Mary Ellen had been taken from her real mamma and placed in the equivalent of foster care with her abuser by the New York Board of Charities — which then failed to monitor her care.

As I wrote in the book:

“The real lessons of Mary Ellen concern the inability of the state to be an effective parent, the risks of abuse in foster care, and the need to help parents — like Mary Ellen’s real “mamma” — take care of their children. In short, the lesson of Mary Ellen is the lesson every doctor is taught in medical school: First, do no harm.”

Middle-class rescue myth

The real history has been known, and written about, by child welfare scholars for decades. As far as I know, “Wounded Innocents” represented the first attempt in nonscholarly literature to set the record straight. Since then, some of the myth-making has been toned down; now there are sometimes at least references to the fact that Mary Ellen was abused in some form of substitute care. But the basic framework of myth remains, and it still is used to teach the wrong lessons.

That’s because a few inconvenient facts aren’t going to quash a myth with such powerful visceral appeal — one that panders to all our middle-class rescue fantasies at once.

A classic example turned up in a news story in 2009. I’m not going to name the reporter or the newspaper since there’s no reason to pick on one earnest, well-meaning reporter when so many have been fooled. But it was a classic. Citing a book by a local real estate agent and fiction writer as her source, the reporter wrote that

“Indeed, the head of an animal protection group helped rescue a child in the 1874 case that ignited the child protection movement. Advocates argued she deserved at least the rights of an animal. [The real estate agent/author] … said children were viewed as property and ‘it was about not interfering between a parent and a child.’ Uneasiness about government interference in families endured.”

The reporter then turns to a local judge, who says, in the reporter’s words, “liberty interests led to parents being allowed to raise children largely how they saw fit until as recently as the early 1970s.”

But the mythology also turns up in places that really ought to know better. Also in 2009, Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of pediatrics wrote this in The New York Times: “Tellingly, the case was brought by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In 1874, there were no laws protecting children from physical abuse from their parents.”

What about the real mother?

Absolutely none of this is true.

  • Mary Ellen’s foster mother was indeed convicted of a crime — felonious assault, not animal cruelty. 
  • New York City’s first statute against child abuse dates to 1833.
  • By 1874 New York City already had been intervening massively between parent and child for decades. Thousands of New York City children whose parents’ primary “crimes” were being poor and immigrants had already been taken from those parents and shipped out to the South and Midwest on so-called “orphan trains” — even though many of them were not orphans. The entire orphan train enterprise, the real beginning of modern child welfare, was begun by a Protestant minister, Charles Loring Brace, a bigot who hated and feared poor Catholic immigrants, whom he deemed genetically inferior. 
  • And by the early 1970s, when parents were still supposedly raising children “largely how they saw fit,” there were hundreds of thousands of children trapped in foster care on any given day.
  • Most important, of course, that little detail about Mary Ellen being a foster child is nowhere to be found in the reporter’s account. 

Now, Katie Albright, who runs a family support center in San Francisco, has added another dimension to the Mary Ellen story: She reminds us of what little is known about Mary Ellen’s real “Mamma.” In her essay for Children’s Bureau Express, she writes:

“While history remembers Mary Ellen Wilson’s tragic circumstances, the story of her biological parents Frances and Thomas Wilson is nearly forgotten. By all accounts, they were well-meaning parents, but their own life circumstances prevented them from caring for their daughter.

“Thomas was a soldier in the Civil War. When he died fighting, Frances, now a widower, took a job doing laundry and could no longer stay at home to care for her infant daughter. Frances boarded Mary Ellen, which was common practice at the time. But when Frances’ financial situation worsened, she missed visitation dates with her daughter and could not make child care payments, so the boarding house put Mary Ellen up for adoption. It was the abuse in this adoptive home that led to the court case.”

(Though Albright uses the term adoption, historians say Mary Ellen was “indentured” to her abuser by the New York Board of Charities — a status closer to foster care.)

In other words, the case that America’s child welfare system points to with pride as the origin of the current system, the case that supposedly proves the need to have ever more powerful laws leading to ever more coercive intervention into families — in the name of “children’s rights” — actually boils down to this: A child was taken from her mother when the mother’s poverty was confused with neglect. Then the child was horribly abused in foster care.

So whether we believe child welfare began with the orphan trains or with the case of Mary Ellen, the true origins of the system are rooted not in benevolence, but in hatred, fear and bigotry.

Albright’s description reveals other commonalities with today’s system: Missing “visitation dates,” for whatever reason, can be held against parents in termination of parental rights proceedings. And some child welfare systems still prolong foster care if impoverished parents can’t pay “child support” (or, as it should properly be called, “ransom”) to the very government agencies that took their children in the first place.

Back in 2009, Dr. Markel, the pediatrics professor, declared that, in the years since Mary Ellen a huge child welfare establishment has

“helped rescue thousands of battered children, created shelters to care for them and … instituted laws that punish abusive parents. Gone are the days when beasts of burden enjoyed more legal protection than children. …”

But the real lesson from the case of Mary Ellen can be found in this question posed by Albright:

“What would our child welfare system look like today if we had supported Mary Ellen Wilson’s parents at the time when they so desperately needed help, when they were living in poverty and caring for their infant daughter in the late 1800s?”

Richard Wexler is executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,

The post Real Origin of Child Welfare Points to Today’s Foster Care Wrongheadedness appeared first on Youth Today.


Real Origin of Child Welfare Points to Today’s Foster Care Wrongheadedness

foster care: little boy sitting on sofa and cuddling teddy bear with scared face

Ann in the uk/Shutterstock

.

Racial and class bias are child welfare’s original sins. So it’s no wonder so many in the field are desperate to whitewash child welfare’s origin story. Now, an article in Children’s Bureau Express, a publication from the Administration for Children and Families, finishes the job of setting the record straight. In the process, it turns child welfare’s creation myth upside down. It’s been a long time coming.

The mountain of myth is built upon a molehill of truth about Mary Ellen Wilson, a little girl who lived in New York City in 1874. She was brutally beaten by the woman she called “Mamma.”

The first myth propounded by America’s “child savers,” as they proudly called themselves in the 19th century, is that saving Mary Ellen required the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to intervene and seek protection for her as an animal.

In my book, “Wounded Innocents,” I wrote:

“Child savers point to the case of Mary Ellen as a prime example of what life for children would be like without them. The case teaches us, they say, that parents cannot be allowed to control their children like property and that massive intervention is essential to protect ‘children’s rights.’”

Wyoming: Richard Wexler (headshot), executive director of National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, smiling balding man with white-gray hair in black top.

Richard Wexler

But if you know the real story of Mary Ellen, using it to justify the current system of massive coercive intervention into families becomes impossible.

For starters, though the head of the local SPCA did indeed call the case to the attention of the court, he did so as a private citizen, not in his official capacity — and not by suggesting that Mary Ellen be protected as an animal. But even more important, there’s one vital part of the story the child savers often leave out:

Mary Ellen was a foster child.

The “mamma” who did her so much harm was her foster mother. Mary Ellen had been taken from her real mamma and placed in the equivalent of foster care with her abuser by the New York Board of Charities — which then failed to monitor her care.

As I wrote in the book:

“The real lessons of Mary Ellen concern the inability of the state to be an effective parent, the risks of abuse in foster care, and the need to help parents — like Mary Ellen’s real “mamma” — take care of their children. In short, the lesson of Mary Ellen is the lesson every doctor is taught in medical school: First, do no harm.”

Middle-class rescue myth

The real history has been known, and written about, by child welfare scholars for decades. As far as I know, “Wounded Innocents” represented the first attempt in nonscholarly literature to set the record straight. Since then, some of the myth-making has been toned down; now there are sometimes at least references to the fact that Mary Ellen was abused in some form of substitute care. But the basic framework of myth remains, and it still is used to teach the wrong lessons.

That’s because a few inconvenient facts aren’t going to quash a myth with such powerful visceral appeal — one that panders to all our middle-class rescue fantasies at once.

A classic example turned up in a news story in 2009. I’m not going to name the reporter or the newspaper since there’s no reason to pick on one earnest, well-meaning reporter when so many have been fooled. But it was a classic. Citing a book by a local real estate agent and fiction writer as her source, the reporter wrote that

“Indeed, the head of an animal protection group helped rescue a child in the 1874 case that ignited the child protection movement. Advocates argued she deserved at least the rights of an animal. [The real estate agent/author] … said children were viewed as property and ‘it was about not interfering between a parent and a child.’ Uneasiness about government interference in families endured.”

The reporter then turns to a local judge, who says, in the reporter’s words, “liberty interests led to parents being allowed to raise children largely how they saw fit until as recently as the early 1970s.”

But the mythology also turns up in places that really ought to know better. Also in 2009, Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of pediatrics wrote this in The New York Times: “Tellingly, the case was brought by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In 1874, there were no laws protecting children from physical abuse from their parents.”

What about the real mother?

Absolutely none of this is true.

  • Mary Ellen’s foster mother was indeed convicted of a crime — felonious assault, not animal cruelty. 
  • New York City’s first statute against child abuse dates to 1833.
  • By 1874 New York City already had been intervening massively between parent and child for decades. Thousands of New York City children whose parents’ primary “crimes” were being poor and immigrants had already been taken from those parents and shipped out to the South and Midwest on so-called “orphan trains” — even though many of them were not orphans. The entire orphan train enterprise, the real beginning of modern child welfare, was begun by a Protestant minister, Charles Loring Brace, a bigot who hated and feared poor Catholic immigrants, whom he deemed genetically inferior. 
  • And by the early 1970s, when parents were still supposedly raising children “largely how they saw fit,” there were hundreds of thousands of children trapped in foster care on any given day.
  • Most important, of course, that little detail about Mary Ellen being a foster child is nowhere to be found in the reporter’s account. 

Now, Katie Albright, who runs a family support center in San Francisco, has added another dimension to the Mary Ellen story: She reminds us of what little is known about Mary Ellen’s real “Mamma.” In her essay for Children’s Bureau Express, she writes:

“While history remembers Mary Ellen Wilson’s tragic circumstances, the story of her biological parents Frances and Thomas Wilson is nearly forgotten. By all accounts, they were well-meaning parents, but their own life circumstances prevented them from caring for their daughter.

“Thomas was a soldier in the Civil War. When he died fighting, Frances, now a widower, took a job doing laundry and could no longer stay at home to care for her infant daughter. Frances boarded Mary Ellen, which was common practice at the time. But when Frances’ financial situation worsened, she missed visitation dates with her daughter and could not make child care payments, so the boarding house put Mary Ellen up for adoption. It was the abuse in this adoptive home that led to the court case.”

(Though Albright uses the term adoption, historians say Mary Ellen was “indentured” to her abuser by the New York Board of Charities — a status closer to foster care.)

In other words, the case that America’s child welfare system points to with pride as the origin of the current system, the case that supposedly proves the need to have ever more powerful laws leading to ever more coercive intervention into families — in the name of “children’s rights” — actually boils down to this: A child was taken from her mother when the mother’s poverty was confused with neglect. Then the child was horribly abused in foster care.

So whether we believe child welfare began with the orphan trains or with the case of Mary Ellen, the true origins of the system are rooted not in benevolence, but in hatred, fear and bigotry.

Albright’s description reveals other commonalities with today’s system: Missing “visitation dates,” for whatever reason, can be held against parents in termination of parental rights proceedings. And some child welfare systems still prolong foster care if impoverished parents can’t pay “child support” (or, as it should properly be called, “ransom”) to the very government agencies that took their children in the first place.

Back in 2009, Dr. Markel, the pediatrics professor, declared that, in the years since Mary Ellen a huge child welfare establishment has

“helped rescue thousands of battered children, created shelters to care for them and … instituted laws that punish abusive parents. Gone are the days when beasts of burden enjoyed more legal protection than children. …”

But the real lesson from the case of Mary Ellen can be found in this question posed by Albright:

“What would our child welfare system look like today if we had supported Mary Ellen Wilson’s parents at the time when they so desperately needed help, when they were living in poverty and caring for their infant daughter in the late 1800s?”

Richard Wexler is executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,

The post Real Origin of Child Welfare Points to Today’s Foster Care Wrongheadedness appeared first on Youth Today.


Occupational Therapy on Horse Offers Physical, Emotional Benefits, Parent Says

hippotherapy: A child with special needs is riding on horse with a close supervision teacher

AnnGaysorn/Shutterstock

.

Eighteen-year-old Christopher Frierson is sitting tall and riding high. In one weekend in spring 2019, he competed in an English-saddle horse show, attended prom and competed in a Western-saddle horse show. Christopher’s mother, Pam, beams with pride when she recalls the daring dismounting stunts he performed when he was a child.

“He always did his famous backflip off of the horse until he got too big. He would sit in the saddle and move his legs to one side of the horse and then go backwards over the saddle and land on his feet. He hated when he outgrew that one!”

Christopher is not a typical teen. He was born with Down syndrome. But, after years of therapy astride a horse, his accomplishments have amazed his family and friends.

“He’s been in competitions against typically developed people where he is the only special needs competitor in the entire event. He has won maybe three or four dozen medals and ribbons at all levels,” said Christopher’s father, Chuck. 

Christopher’s parents credit his 16 years of hippotherapy with his occupational therapist Rebecca Davenport for his achievements. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with help of the horse.” Davenport says hippotherapy can provide a host of beneficial sensory stimuli: Muscles and joints receive deep pressure stimulation from bouncing and holding positions, and the brain receives stimulation to sense movement and balance as the horse moves and changes speeds. Since a horse walks with a gait that’s similar to the human gait, variable, rhythmic and repetitive, a child who has never walked or who has an abnormal gait can sit on a horse and experience what “normal” feels like. 

“If you have somebody who hasn’t walked or is not walking, that shift from side to side transfers to the rider and it helps with their balance and strength. And kids that were not walking before, often start walking,” Davenport explained. 

Physical, emotional benefits

Davenport and her mother Marianne co-founded the hippotherapy program Hope Therapy in Middleburg, Fla. in 2001. Their patients include children and adults with autism/Asperger’s syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental delays and stroke victims.

Davenport says hippotherapy is so successful because “the horse is nonjudgmental. The kids that come here often have self-esteem issues, often due to their physical impairments or emotional things that have gone on in their lives. And so when they’re around the horses, they feel relaxed, calm. It’s a safe place.” 

hippotherapy: A child with special needs is riding on horse with a close supervision teacher

Pam Frierson

Christopher Frierson and his occupational therapist Rebecca Davenport at the Florida Special Olympics in March 2019.

Hippotherapy may feel like fun for the patient, but researchers have found it can have serious benefits. A study in Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics found children with cerebral palsy had increased body control after only 10 sessions. It also found marked improvement in patients’ gross and fine motor skills. 

The nonprofit American Hippotherapy Association, which lists such therapists around the nation, provides resources to therapists and other health professionals, families and third-party payers. The therapy requires a doctor’s prescription and is often covered by insurance.

Beyond the physical connection to the horse, Davenport says the emotional relationship between the horse and rider has a tremendous impact: 

“An animal-human bond is hard to describe, but you can see it. You can see the smiles on their faces and you can see the progress. One of my first riders was 3 and he was not speaking, just jumbling words and babbling. You couldn’t understand a thing he was saying. After a week, he said his name for the first time, and three weeks later he said, ‘No go school, ride horse.’ Of course, you want a child to be excited about school, but if a child can be so connected with that horse to put a sentence together after three weeks, that’s a huge success.”

Christopher Frierson loves the program so much he decided to give back to it. He created and developed a sensory trail for Hope Therapy riders as an Eagle Scout project, doing the planning, fundraising and helping to coordinate volunteers.

His mother said Christopher’s determination and enthusiasm about horses is infectious. “Whenever he finishes a competition, he has a big fist pump up in the air, and a big ‘Yahoo,’ and says, ‘I did it, I did it, I did it.’”

The post Occupational Therapy on Horse Offers Physical, Emotional Benefits, Parent Says appeared first on Youth Today.


Occupational Therapy on Horse Offers Physical, Emotional Benefits, Parent Says

hippotherapy: A child with special needs is riding on horse with a close supervision teacher

AnnGaysorn/Shutterstock

.

Eighteen-year-old Christopher Frierson is sitting tall and riding high. In one weekend in spring 2019, he competed in an English-saddle horse show, attended prom and competed in a Western-saddle horse show. Christopher’s mother, Pam, beams with pride when she recalls the daring dismounting stunts he performed when he was a child.

“He always did his famous backflip off of the horse until he got too big. He would sit in the saddle and move his legs to one side of the horse and then go backwards over the saddle and land on his feet. He hated when he outgrew that one!”

Christopher is not a typical teen. He was born with Down syndrome. But, after years of therapy astride a horse, his accomplishments have amazed his family and friends.

“He’s been in competitions against typically developed people where he is the only special needs competitor in the entire event. He has won maybe three or four dozen medals and ribbons at all levels,” said Christopher’s father, Chuck. 

Christopher’s parents credit his 16 years of hippotherapy with his occupational therapist Rebecca Davenport for his achievements. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with help of the horse.” Davenport says hippotherapy can provide a host of beneficial sensory stimuli: Muscles and joints receive deep pressure stimulation from bouncing and holding positions, and the brain receives stimulation to sense movement and balance as the horse moves and changes speeds. Since a horse walks with a gait that’s similar to the human gait, variable, rhythmic and repetitive, a child who has never walked or who has an abnormal gait can sit on a horse and experience what “normal” feels like. 

“If you have somebody who hasn’t walked or is not walking, that shift from side to side transfers to the rider and it helps with their balance and strength. And kids that were not walking before, often start walking,” Davenport explained. 

Physical, emotional benefits

Davenport and her mother Marianne co-founded the hippotherapy program Hope Therapy in Middleburg, Fla. in 2001. Their patients include children and adults with autism/Asperger’s syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental delays and stroke victims.

Davenport says hippotherapy is so successful because “the horse is nonjudgmental. The kids that come here often have self-esteem issues, often due to their physical impairments or emotional things that have gone on in their lives. And so when they’re around the horses, they feel relaxed, calm. It’s a safe place.” 

hippotherapy: A child with special needs is riding on horse with a close supervision teacher

Pam Frierson

Christopher Frierson and his occupational therapist Rebecca Davenport at the Florida Special Olympics in March 2019.

Hippotherapy may feel like fun for the patient, but researchers have found it can have serious benefits. A study in Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics found children with cerebral palsy had increased body control after only 10 sessions. It also found marked improvement in patients’ gross and fine motor skills. 

The nonprofit American Hippotherapy Association, which lists such therapists around the nation, provides resources to therapists and other health professionals, families and third-party payers. The therapy requires a doctor’s prescription and is often covered by insurance.

Beyond the physical connection to the horse, Davenport says the emotional relationship between the horse and rider has a tremendous impact: 

“An animal-human bond is hard to describe, but you can see it. You can see the smiles on their faces and you can see the progress. One of my first riders was 3 and he was not speaking, just jumbling words and babbling. You couldn’t understand a thing he was saying. After a week, he said his name for the first time, and three weeks later he said, ‘No go school, ride horse.’ Of course, you want a child to be excited about school, but if a child can be so connected with that horse to put a sentence together after three weeks, that’s a huge success.”

Christopher Frierson loves the program so much he decided to give back to it. He created and developed a sensory trail for Hope Therapy riders as an Eagle Scout project, doing the planning, fundraising and helping to coordinate volunteers.

His mother said Christopher’s determination and enthusiasm about horses is infectious. “Whenever he finishes a competition, he has a big fist pump up in the air, and a big ‘Yahoo,’ and says, ‘I did it, I did it, I did it.’”

The post Occupational Therapy on Horse Offers Physical, Emotional Benefits, Parent Says appeared first on Youth Today.


Youth Garden Program Grants

OUR GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: Youth Today’s grant listings are carefully curated for our subscribers working in youth-related industries. Subscribers will find local, state, regional and national grant opportunities.

THIS GRANT’S FOCUS: Youth Gardens, Education, Youth Development, Health, Nutrition
Deadline:
Feb. 14, 2020

“The 2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grant presented by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening is designed to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to communities across the United States. Awards provide funding for the development of new and expansion of existing youth garden programs and greenspaces serving 15 or more youth. Winners will be selected based on their commitment to the maintenance and sustainability of their garden program including plans for growth and future fiscal stability.”

Funder: The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening
Eligibility:
“The 2020 Gro More Grassroots Grant is open to all nonprofit organizations in the United States and US Territories planning to use the funds to install new or expand existing youth gardens or greenspaces serving at least 15 youth. Organizations must have obtained their 501(c)(3) status or qualify as tax-exempt within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Service code. Examples of tax exempt organizations that may not have a 501(C)(3) status include, school districts, universities and government entities. If you fall into this second category, please provide your EIN number on the application.”
Amount:
$500 -$1,000
Contact:
Link.


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