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Contact: Joe Callan
"TRAVERSE is a program of experiential group therapy which works with an equestrian theme to assist children in the healing process from trauma or loss. Horsemanship provides the context and motivation for group treatment which integrates relationship, developmental, cognitive, behavioral, trauma, and group theory. The program is specifically designed to meet the needs of children who have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, or children who have lost family to death or divorce. Empowerment is the hallmark of healing from victimization and managing a 1,000 pound horse at a lope is undeniably empowering.
Beginning in 1994 TRAVERSE started providing services to individual children who had been referred by a local mental health agency. While each of the children had been diagnosed as severely disturbed and treatment had been initiated in a traditional mental health setting, the children’s persistent opposition to, or refusal of, this treatment, rendered it useless. After a year of working in an accepting, supportive, and challenging environment with horses, each of these children showed significant improvement in family adjustment, and school performance. Additionally, they each attended a community horse show and ribboned. This success was the catalyst for the implementation of a formal, group program in 1996 with similar positive results. In May, 2008, the “Storm Riders” were the 20th group to graduate from the program.
Over the years, TRAVERSE has spent much time and effort in professionalizing its program. Organizational tasks, such assecuring a 501(c)3 from the Internal Revenue Service and tax-exempt status from the state were important first steps."