Native people have always seen the horse as a symbol of spirituality, and as a tie to a time when their culture was intact. The Hispanic community has the Vaquero tradition that is part of their history and culture. The Caucasian community is steeped in the cowboy and ranching history. Each of the ethnic groups that live in Madras, Oregon have a pre-programmed hot button deep within them to gather around this animal and while doing so increase their tolerance for each other.
Horses, by their very nature, are social herd and prey animals. Observing and working with horses teaches people about trust and community. The unique ability of the horse to teach about ones place in the world creates the place where barriers of gender, ethnicity, and age are more easily set aside and a community can grow. Individuals find fellowship with others.
Sanctuary Faith Trails identifies and implements ways to build community and support for individuals so they can achieve their potential and give back. Their mission is based around the use of horses, ranch experiences, stewardship of the land and relationship building to affect positive change in the lives of children, teens and families.
Work programs, student advocacy and family support
They use their stable operations at Kah-Nee-Ta High Desert Resort to give people a place to work where they love what they do. We serve many youth and adults in this program. They advocate for students, track performance, set both academic and behavioral goals, and help with acquiring the basic necessities, skill sets and time to experience success. The average student who sets a contract improves their GPA by 1.8. Through coordination of their facilities, horses, instruction, transportation and food they give families a positive place to gather. When people meet in these settings they know that it will be a safe, good-hearted group. They meet around people’s passions and develop a community for support as well as celebration.
Intervention and development
The staff at Sanctuary Faith Trails helps people fill the gaps and get the aide they need to succeed. They help with everything from emergency transportation, food deliveries, basic need packages, distribution of clothing, referrals for and transportation to counseling and medical assistance, advice, prayer requests, mediation and counsel. Everything they do strives to build cells of community that web into support networks. Building relationships to support people in making good choices and honoring the Creator in their lives is a key facet of their mission.
Animals, the land and human potential
Through gatherings at SFT, people acquire skills to care for both the land and the animals that live and work on it. These skills make a strong impact on their abilities to make changes in themselves. By becoming closer to the land the people they serve open their hearts and minds to new possibilities.
For more information about Sanctuary Faith Trails visit HERE.
Images copyright Sanctuary Faith Trails, 2009.