All Kinds of News for August 07, 2019
The clients of Q&A Associates have a very unique opportunity when they are participating in one of the Q&A young adult transitional living programs. Saddles & Smiles is a 501c3 nonprofit established by Q&A Founder and CEO Angie Shockley six years ago to provide equine-assisted services to children, teens and young adults with challenges and disabilities. At this time, there are over 30 participants in the Saddles & Smiles (S&S) program. All services provided by S&S are free of charge to the participants and their families. The success of the program is dependent on volunteer hours of service and dedication as well as fundraising throughout the year.
The clients of Applewood Transitions, The Journey, and Cabin Mountain Living Center have the opportunity to benefit from the services of S&S in two ways. First, each client is invited to participate in the equine-assisted learning and therapy provided through S&S. For many transitioning young adults, emotional self-regulation is a challenge. Working with horses is a great way to learn self-regulation. If the client is ready, the horse will be the teacher. Clients learn true mindfulness, discover how to be present, and gain self awareness by working with the horses. All of these skills lead to better emotional regulation. The team at Q&A is skilled at helping the clients transfer skills learned at the barn to their daily life.
The second way for clients to benefit is through volunteering to assist with the children and adolescents who participate in S&S. Tuesday through Saturday, children and their families show up at the barn throughout the day for scheduled sessions. Some participants are wheelchair-bound. Some participants are dealing with trauma response from experiencing abuse or neglect and being in the foster care system. Some participants have Autism Spectrum Disorder and are learning self-awareness and connection. Some participants have behavior issues and are learning better self control by working with horses. No child or adolescent is ever turned away from S&S. The clients of the Q&A family of programs provide support for the children while they are riding by being side walkers or by leading the horses. They also interact with the children and adolescents, giving them an ear and emotional support. The clients learn how to care for and prepare the horses which helps them build self-esteem and confidence.
“Saddles & Smiles is a great ancillary program for the clients of Q&A,” said Michael Anderson, Director of Applewood Transitions. “As an additional benefit, we have a couple of young ladies who are exploring equine therapy as a career option,” he continued.
“We are grateful to have Saddles & Smiles as a part of our programming,” added Keith Bishop, Chief Operating Officer.
About Q&A Family of Programs
Q&A Family of Programs works with young adults ages 18 and up, providing opportunities for each of them to develop independent, functional, and happy lives with a high level of quality. Our clients have struggled to reach independence for a variety of reasons such as the inability to develop and/or implement the life skills needed to be successful, or struggling to obtain consistent employment. Our goal is to help these individuals find meaning and an authentic purpose for their lives and a practical path to achieve their goals.