"My daughter LOVES this (HLR) program. She said she feels more calm when she's there. Plus she sees her dad being useful and having a purpose himself. That's a praise report." - Mary
Hearts Landing Ranch was founded in 2013 when Donna Eckwortzel and her family traded a comfortable home on Folsom Lake for a compelling mission to work with youth, and a dusty ex-horse ranch next to Granite Bay High School. When Donna saw the property she felt led to be part of the solution for broken youth - sometimes wounded from explicit sex-trafficking, abandonment, or other named traumas, or just worn down and vulnerable from living life without a trusted community for support. Many of these kids have a "normal" exterior hiding a quiet desperation underneath.
Donna tells her story:
"Born and raised in San Diego, I am a middle child of a hard working Italian mother who left her family in Italy for the US and a father who had met her early in his 25-year service in the US Navy. He spent most of this on long tours on aircraft carriers including the Vietnam War.
My family was alone in San Diego. My mother's family was in Pittsburgh and Italy, and my father's family was in northern Oregon and Washington. These were the days of no computers, cell phones or social media to even try to stay connected and support family challenges.
I felt HUGE performance expectations of success however it was a lot for my mom to raise a family and work in a foreign country and she was very busy. With little time or guidance from family, an established network of relatives or close friends, I struggled with American 'teen' things and my mom not having the community to support herself. I felt more and more isolation from people and had no one to talk to. On top of which, it never seemed like my 'performance' was good enough: I was a starter on the volleyball and basketball teams, ASB President, homecoming princess, and I worked an outside job. Still I felt hopeless, alone and depressed. My grounding was my horse 'Spirit' and my love for gardening. I still remember sitting on the tractor in my parents' backyard with pills in one hand, tears streaming down my face and without someone safe to talk to. The only thing that kept me alive was my deep love for my horse 'Spirit'.
My story came full circle at one of our bonfire nights. Pastor Matt asked me to share my testimony with his youth group that night, which I did. My daughter was in that group! I was fifty years old and this was the FIRST time I had ever spoken of that crossroads in my life. I shared with kids the hope and perspective that comes from not giving in to the darkness. Imagine all I would have missed! Afterwards, Matt shared with me 'Donna, you have no idea the impact of what you shared; we have several kids who are on "watch" right now for suicide.'"
We no longer need to separate ourselves to work out these complex emotions. In fact working it out alone is impossible. We are meant to be in community together, to express ourselves, not be judged but have a family, a community as a place to be safe and risk real relationships. Hearts Landing Ranch facilitates this, "Building a Community to Reach a Community", to restore the wounded and broken-hearted.
Without a strong fabric of family, community ties, direction and personal identity, teens are seeking attention and searching for love and validation in all the wrong places. These kids often fall prey to sex traffickers, online bullying, substance abuse and some even decide suicide is the best answer. In Riding Home, Tim Hayes illustrates the value of use of horses as a tool to help our participants, "It is often the equine therapy program that provides the most effective breakthroughs in the restoration of the emotional health and self-worth of troubled teens."
He identifies an underlying reason, "Human emotions can be complicated and challenging and for many people, they can be difficult to identify and name or even feel." And a healing goal, "To grow into a healthy, functioning member of society, a child must learn by example to feel, identify by name, and express simple to complex emotions."
It is believed that if these healthy relational skills are not learned by teenage years, two unhealthy mechanisms will be used to deal with complex, human emotions: •ACT IT OUT (violence, crime, unwanted pregnancy, trouble at school or home) or •HOLD IT IN (positive facade, depression, low self-esteem, suicide). Also in Riding Home, Tim Hayes finds "...equine therapy as a valuable method that can initiate powerfully psychological healing for at-risk youths in 'unusually short periods of time.'" Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, resulting in 4,513 deaths in 2008. Numbers vary slightly, but in general for high school students over 50% use alcohol, close behind is marijuana (before legalization) and 25% use prescription drugs.
SOME CHALLENGES FELT: •Hopelessness •Emotionally Devastated •Attempted Suicide •Pregnancy •Abuse •Positive Facade •Struggling •Difficulty Relating to Family & Other People •Unstable Family Environment •Alcohol and Drug Use/Abuse •Suffer with Low Self-Esteem •Difficulty Developing Healthy, Transparent Relationships •Poor Self Awareness •Never Talk or Tell Anyone •Difficult to Identify, Name or Feel •Difficulty Expressing Anger •Physical and/or Emotional Trauma •Little or No Safe Social Structures •Poor Decision Making Skills SOME CAUSES: •Over consumption of Electronics •Less Deep, meaningful relationships •Lack of Purpose •Increased divorce rates •Increased Single parents / never married •Families separated due to work /travel •Less Emphasis on Family Community Activities •More Adult tension and National strife
WHAT WE DO: Traditional talk therapy does not work for some. At Hearts Landing, we create healthy activities in a ranch environment with opportunities to "get hands dirty" which opens opportunities to risk real relationships, learn life-long skills, communicate and build self-esteem. Attendees might be interested in all or one of the programs such as: Seed to Stomach gardening program, horse care, Mighty-Mini horse ambassador program, bonfire nights or construction projects. Building a Community to Reach a Community •Provide a drug & alcohol-free place to gather and grow self-esteem with new skills and responsibilities •Beauty Barn Outreach •Leadership Educational Programs •Beauty Etiquette Barn •Bonfire nights /gatherings to celebrate and enjoy each others success •Provide a venue for other non profit and community organizations •Seed to Stomach Program (Co-op Garden/ Orchard) •Provide an animal bonding/care program - Horse Care and Rescue •Partner with existing teen programs
Hearts Landing Ranch is building capacity to provide more 1:1 sessions that provide the tightest coupling of mentors to participants.
Build A Community to Reach A Community -> Capacity Building
"I did equine one time for my eating disorder. And the horse cried when it was around me and felt my pain. I wanna do it for my PTSD its just too ---- expensive. Then I reached out to ------ and got nothing. So I've been looking for therapy like this for my trauma and PTSD." -T
Hearts Landing offers its programs at no cost. Since our beginning we have served over 4,000 youth and families.
- Hearts Landing Ranch grow in capacity to offer 60 youth Sessions per week and grow additional Session program opportunities: Mini Horse Ambassador Drill Team, Beauty Barn, Seed To Stomach(c) program & Education Building.
- NEEDS 1,2,3 below: of $280,000 would allow us to increase capacity in our programs: Mighty Mini Ambassadors, large "equine mentors", Beauty Barn - NEEDS 4 below: is for the Education Building - investigation engineering for retaining wall and design of the building: Seed to Stomach (c) and Education Building
- In addition, Hearts Landing Ranch is seeking the support of community leaders of diverse backgrounds and experience to participate in the governance of the agency though service on the Hearts Landing Ranch of Directors and development of our strategic plans for the future.
- Volunteer Recruitment: Approximately 50 additional volunteers are needed for program management, animal and facilities care, community partner outreach, events, office. - Training up of more Session Leaders, and implementation and oversight of high school and college internship programs
Volunteers are a crucial component to "Building a Community to Reach a Community" by making the Ranch and its programs run such that maximum healing and empowerment of at risk population and their families need. It is the support from their communities. Volunteers who are willing to donate their time and gifts to the work we do can be the difference between life or death for the survivors we serve. Volunteers make it possible to focus on individuals in crisis!
Our top needs: 1.Funding: Recipient Scholarships $172,800 + Beauty Barn $20,000 Our services are at no cost to the at risk population. 2.Funding: Horse Rescue & ongoing care $48,000 3. Funding: Mighty Mini Ambassadors and Cart Drill Team $28,000 4.Funding: Phase I Education & Cooking Center Engineering, Design, Facilities & Site Managers $40,000 4. Seed to Stomach (c) gardening volunteers, green house, plant supplies 5.In-Kind Donations - ¾ or 1 ton truck with crew cab, Construction material for Eagle Scout projects, Civil Engineering, keystone wall material, ranch and muck boots for attendees (see Need 5 Type below for more) 6.Board Members - Energetic and engaged board members to bring fundraising and additional skills to the agency. 7.Volunteers - Energetic and engaged volunteers to assist with facility management, events and business operations, men's second Saturday
Our top needs:
Funding: Program - Program Scholarships: $172,800 Beauty Barn: $20,000 (home depot Arlington 12x20 shed, pad, interior build out + supplies) We offer programs, including equine assisted mentoring at no cost. Our plan is grow to mentor and equip 60 at risk youth per week. This covers costs of interns, staff, facility improvements and maintenance, equipment, session leader training and insurance.
Funding: Program - Horse Rescue and ongoing horse care: $48,000 "I got to teach people how to groom and deal with horses. Today's trip was the funnest service learning. It was really cool helping out, showing the other people how loving and caring most horses are." A. Green Hearts Landing Ranch Horse Sponsorship Program "Equine Mentors" Most of the horses at Hearts Landing have been abandoned, abused or neglected and each horse has a story of their own as does the youth who will be loving on them during the Session and with whom they will be working. The beauty is to unlock the language between human and horse where identify and purpose are restored and hope revived. These equines, once broken, lost and hurting, are now loved on and cared for on by youth who have been through many similar circumstances. The experiences of the horses give them the ability to reach out to kids in a unique way. For the many equines who call this place home, Hearts Landing offers a safe haven, a gentle hand and a life purpose. Our training and riding methods are based on natural horsemanship, which utilize quietness and patience to communicate with horses in their own language. It is our aim to develop trusting relationships with these magnificent creatures. Please consider sponsoring one of our "equine mentors." By simply choosing a sponsorship level, you can further ensure quality care to our horses and a cost free opportunity to the children who call this their special place. Your sponsorship will provide aid for the following: Countless hours one-on-one with a child and leader Daily engagement both physically and mentally Lots of grooming, baths and carrots Daily hay and grain as needed Vitamins and supplements as needed Regular preventative vaccinations Professional farrier trimming and shoeing as needed Tack and equipment replacement and repair Contributions to the Equine Rehabilitation and Rescue Fund* *The Equine Rehabilitation and Rescue Fund is an account that has been established to act as a medical "insurance fund" for the ranch horses. Its secondary purpose is to assist in the funding of horse rescues. Sponsorship Benefits We love staying connected with those who choose to support the ministry at the Ranch through the Horse Sponsorship program. To show appreciation for this kind gift, each sponsorship will receive a 4x6 picture of our "equine mentors" and a Ranch T-shirt. Sponsorship Agreement Information This agreement in no way entitles sponsor to ownership and/or exclusive privileges in any way to sponsored animal or ranch property. HLR accepts all liability, expressed and/or implied, for sponsored equine.Please note that there may be more than one sponsor per equine. This is to ensure that all of our horses are cared for equally, as the funds go into an account to support our whole herd.
Funding: Program - Mini-Horse Ambassadors & Drill Team: $28,000 Mini horses can go where big horses can't and in our experience, they make people stop, smile and creates an opportunity to engage in a conversation about sex trafficking, abuse and neglect and invite them to join in the journey of Hearts Landing Ranch. "I drove a tractor, man...I also rode a little pony chariot thing-a-ma-jingy. Personally, I like this place the most. I enjoy specific kind of hard work and labor, and this fits what I like doing." W. Ingle In our experience, the Mini horses offer Many touch points as Ambassadors: small children and adults can easily work with them able-bodied and limited mobility people can learn to drive them 2 -seated carts allow for continued mentoring and conversation circle of service: individuals we serve want to serve back and can be more easily incorporated into a drill team member We've been invited to attend Bayside Festifall and with more training, participate in larger community parades and other events as outreach. Plan for 4 Mini horses at this time & to partner with local horse owners to collaborate on the drill team for COMMUNITY EVENTS and PARADES to create awareness that there is help! We currently have 4 "starter" training carts and harnesses but these are cheap practice carts and the harnesses have been "rigged" to fit properly. For safety reasons, new carts and custom harnesses should be used: $4,500 Per horse for custom harness and carts ($18,000) Cart & Harness storage and office Shed $10,000 (home depot Arlington 12x20) Volunteers: cart safety maintenance & repair Volunteers: Mini Horse Costume designer and sewing Volunteers: care of mini horses, walking, bathing, cleaning up and training
Funding: Program - Seed To Stomach (c) : 40,000-1,000,000 Gardening supplies, Phase I Education & Cooking Center engineering and design $40,000 "Today we worked outside on the ranch. We learned how to make good soil out of bark, manure and moisture. My favorite part was brusing the horses and riding the little pony. I had so much fun. I'd like to thank Donna for allowing us to come." S. Del Toro Similar to what Alice Waters has done with her Edible School Yard and Sacramento's Farm to Fork, We aim to have an Education Building with a out door kitchen and indoor commercial kitchen to teach healthy eating, food preparation, canning to name a few. The Seed to Stomach (c) program starts from making of their own planting soil out of raw material from other parts of the Ranch, starting seeds in a green house, cultivating the plant and learning to prepare healthy food. The cycle starts again with seed cultivation. In addition to the emotional therapy use of the garden, there are huge physically and brain benefits for learning how to eat right. In 13 years of working with kids in schools, most kids eat 1 serving of fresh fruit or vegetables per day and often times that number would include french fries. In addition, in talking with the staff at schools in low income areas, the belief is that "kids don't have access to good food." What I found when teaching cooking classes from food donated by local farmers that many of the high school students didn't know what some of the vegetables looked like ( like an onion or eggplant) let alone how to prepare it to eat. On one of our Service Learning Days with a local high school, one student was surprised to see lettuce actually growing and what it looked like. During a different Learning Day, A group of students only knew an eggplant because it was an emoji for a part of the body. We have the ability to measure participants "absorption of nutrients" before the program, during and after so they can see what shifting to a more "natural" food diet does to their health...but most often myself or the staff see improvements in their grades and behavior. "Donna, in all my years as vice principle, I have never seen behavior change like this." -Scott
In-Kind Donations - Truck ¾ or 1 ton with crew cab Architectural design for Education Center Building Construction material for Eagle Scout projects: cinder blocks, construction materials Dry wall 12x12, 12x20, 12x20 Insulation for above Electrical wiring and outlets for Mini barn and beauty barn Fun ranch themed mirrors, chairs, tables Paint - exterior and interior Exterior gooseneck Barn lights (4) Engineering and design for Education and cooking center Keystone wall material and concrete footing Electronic motor for entrance gate Ranch and muck boots for attendees & all weather jackets, good jeans Horse tack, saddles for use or sale Grass hay, shavings for stalls Firewood - bonfire nights Exterior speakers 4 horse or larger Goosneck horse trailer Exterior, low energy lights for arena, round pen and sports field Wall /window mount HVAC unit (4) Instant water heaters (2) Outdoor Kitchen counters with BBQ & refrigerator Printing brochures, printing / embroidery of t-shirts, hats Wood for shade structures Strings of patio lights (like costco) okay used but working Garden hoses and hose end sprayers okay used but working and no holes Fruit Trees Rustic Décor for exterior and interior
"There's something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man." Winston Churchill
Donna Eckwortzel, Founder & CEO Ms. Eckwortzel is a member of the board of directors. She is also the Founder and Chief Operating Officer. Her qualifications include a BS degree in IT Process Development and Design from San Diego State University. During her University years she started her first company "Color Chaos!" For over 13 years Donna worked for Hewlett Packard "making order out of chaos" in business areas in need of restructuring as well as new business ventures and worldwide strategic partner development. She developed her love for horses and farming in sixth grade and nurtures those to this day. During her teenage years these two passions gave her perspective about her identity and gave her self-confidence and self-esteem, protecting her from problems of early sex, drug and alcohol use that plagued many of her peers.
Cameron Thorn, Vice President Mr. Thorn is VP and a member of the board of directors. He graduated from William Jessup University in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in Business and Biblical Studies and in August 2017 returned to the University to help identify Masters Degree candidates. Cameron is passionate about building community and helping others realize/reach their full potential. He is also an instructor at Roseville Crossfit and in his spare time he volunteers with K-LOVE/Air1 radio and their promotions team. He has been very active in youth ministries.
Darcy Oliver, Secretary Ms. Oliver's first remembers being on a horse at three years old. Throughout her whole life horses and competition have been a "saving grace" knowing that she made better choices with her time and friends having her eyes on equine. Darcy first learned about Hearts Landing Ranch during an Adopt-A-Horse fund drive in 2015. At the time she was in a Masters Program for Marriage Family Therapy and until that request came via email, she had never heard of putting her Masters goals and her passion for horses together in one package.
International Association of Ministers and Ministries - Mentoring Non-Profit Founded in 1983 as New Church Ministries, IAM exists to encourage, support and do all the good [they] can to help need-meeting, hurt-healing, hope-building evangelistic ministries get started, grow and thrive. (www.iamm.net)
Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch - Mentoring Non-Profit After the book Hope Rising was published, Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch received a great deal of correspondence from like-hearted individuals who wished to learn how to create a similar program. Mentoring these is now an integral focus of their highly successful program. Hearts Landing Ranch has been recognized by Crystal Peaks as a "Similar Ministry". CPYR has been a regular advisor to HLR, and HLR leaders have been a participant in their Clinics and an invited mentee at their Leadership Conference. Some of the topics addressed include: ministry leadership development, resistance-free horsemanship, program horse selection, creative ideas for sessions, in-depth instruction regarding volunteers, funding principles, encouragement through trials, and, most importantly, the emphasis on keeping Jesus Christ as the focus of all. (www.crystalpeaksyouthranch.org)
Harvest Pour - 10/14/22
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