WHO WE ARE
Equine Assisted Development was founded 16 years ago in the heart of West Michigan. As a farm in the city that makes quality, evidence based horse therapy services available to the under-served, those impacted by mental illness are a core focus for our programming and service efforts.
With all that has taken place in such a short time with the COVID-19 pandemic, mental illness is on the rise. People are finding themselves in abusive situations, job loss, sickness, stress experienced by those in the medical community/responders on the front lines and families struggling to process the effects of this disease with their loved ones.
As many organizations and non-profits in Grand Rapids, Michigan, COVID-19 has impacted EAD's ability to work provide services within our community. Because in person sessions are not permitted at this time, we have improvised to bring our horses (while practicing safe social distance practices) to different groups such as nursing homes and long term residential communities through our "Real Happiness" Mobile Horse Therapy Unit.
Prior to COVID-19, our most critical work encompassed at-risk clients referred to us by outside agencies throughout West Michigan. These clients have troubled histories: abuse, sex trafficking, addiction challenges, low self-worth, behavioral, and identity issues. We previously also provided a safe place for those experiencing grief, depression, PTSD, anxiety, trauma victims, Alzheimers/Dementia and much more.
Our desire is to continue to provide hope to those in our community when the time comes that in person sessions may be scheduled. EAD is preparing for an influx of service requests to support those struggling with mental illness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, EAD is prepping for first-responder, medical professionals and EMT structured therapy days to allow those on the front lines to get the support and help they need.
EAD plans to offer horse therapy services on specific dates in the coming months free of charge to all service categories (schools, ministries, assisted living, first responders, mental health, abuse victims and corporate). Details are currently pending with dates and times as the restrictions due to COVID-19 change on a weekly basis.
In effort to support the latter initiatives and with the lack of regular funding, EAD is requesting your help to raise awareness for mental health throughout the month of May, 2020. Participating in the $10 Gives Hope Mental Health Awareness Challenge is easy!
Step 1: Donate a $10 (or more)
Step 2: Share the GoFundMe campaign on social media with hashtags: #10dollarsgiveshope #mentalhealthawareness #givingtuesdaynow #equineassisteddevelopment
Step 3: (Optional) Tag 1-10 other friends on social media when you share the challenge and ask them to participate.
Step 4: (Optional) Share how you have personally been impacted by mental illness and what hope you have for others.
Step 5: Wear lime green for the month of May, 2020 (color for mental health awareness month).
All funds given will go towards the 2020 general fund to support the horses (feed, vet/farrier bills, bedding, etc), cover the costs of the mobile horse unit and program outreach and development for those needing support through the free therapy days to be scheduled later this year.
For questions and updates about this challenge, information on Equine Assisted Development or how to book our "Real Happiness" Mobile Horse Therapy Unit, please visit: https://eadgl.org