A Dinner Event with TRAK:
"Equine Assisted Learning — Shifting Kids from Disadvantaged to Empowered"
Amy Kalama Hochreiter
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
6pm – 8pm Dinner Event
- The power and benefits of utilizing the equine as a partner in the therapeutic model.
- How important it is to continue conducting research on the positive effects of the human-animal bond.
- The need for funding in order to ensure youth of any and all backgrounds the opportunity to engage in services as uniquely profound as equine assisted learning and therapy.
Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids (TRAK) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in 2007. TRAK’s mission is to strengthen kids and community through animal interaction. Their model is to take youth that are typically recipients of service and empower them to become animal experts who provide service to those less fortunate in our community.
As program director, Chelsea Menke was brought on in 2014 to help TRAK further its mission and to grow the therapeutic programming. Animal Assisted Life skills (AALS) was the first program developed.
In 2018, TRAK partnered with Intermountain Centers and expanded their offering to begin an Equine Assisted Learning group.
The program consists of a 6-week group program for participants with autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression and several other diagnoses. The results were profound. Children who came into group with no self-esteem, no ability to communicate effectively, lacking appropriate boundaries, low self-awareness and very low self-confidence had amazing transformations and gained a skill set that they could apply in their everyday life.
By the end of the 6 weeks, TRAK and Intermountain staff were amazed with what they observed, and data supported the success of the program. Post assessments demonstrated participants had reduced anxiety and depression symptoms (some by over 50%). Many of the participants that came through group ended up engaging in other activities at TRAK - some graduated to horseback riding lessons, some attended our camps and some began volunteering, many times with their families. As volunteers, participants are able to become care providers for the TRAK animal family as well as service providers in the community by attending various visits within TRAK's community outreach program.
No other group counseling programs that Intermountain has held have ever had 100% attendance. These kids wanted to come to group and wanted to engage. They didn’t view this setting and the activities as therapy. Many participants struggling with attention and focus were able to engage in a 1.5 hour group with little to no redirection. Participants with low self-esteem and low confidence were able to communicate with the horses and peers in an assertive and appropriate manor. Participants with anxiety were able to work through their fears by engaging with an intimidating, non-judgmental being who was able to communicate with them non-verbally.
Chelsea Menke, program director at TRAK, is a CHA-Certified Riding Instructor and Behavioral Health Specialist.
“When children have an opportunity to succeed and a place to thrive they become confident, empowered and valued. A place to feel safe, useful and wanted supports their growth and compassion; these are the experiences I have had over the past 25 years of horse interaction. With this program my dreams, goals and vision have come true and I feel complete fulfillment when I see a child grow into a successful member of our community through building a bond and relationship with a horse.”
Chelsea has been involved in the equine community for 25 years. Her vast experience includes working on ranches, training horses, and teaching horseback riding lessons. Chelsea has always had a passion for children and horses. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Psychology. During that time she continued to engage in Tucson’s equine community, as well as, in the U of A’s mentorship program where she worked with children who had been diagnosed with a mental or behavioral disorder.
Post College, Chelsea worked for a local behavioral health agency as a counselor and case manager where she gained specialized skills and expertise working with children and families. Chelsea left the agency to pursue her dreams of combining her passions of working with children and animals. As the program director, Chelsea manages all of TRAK’s daily operations and programs. She works with children of all ages and abilities in order to grow TRAK's vision and mission to strengthen families and community through animal interaction and engagement. The expansion of the animal-assisted life skills program (AALS) has been Chelsea’s main goal for the growing program.
More about Therapeutic Ranch for Animals & Kids >
Therapeutic Ranch for Animals & Kids (TRAK)
3250 E Allen Rd, 85718
WHENWednesday, December 18, 2019
6pm - 8pm
Doors Open at 5:45 p.m.
Dinner will be catered including
gluten-free and vegetarian selections.
EARLY BIRD (through the Monday before): $17*
*Includes FREE raffle ticket!
REGULAR & DAY-OF (Day Before and at the Door): $27
EARLY BIRD (through the Wednesday/one week before): $27
REGULAR (Thursday before through day before): $37
Please REGISTER EARLY ONLINE so that
you can save money and we can get a proper head count.
- Full event price is due if you wish to attend any portion of an event or if you choose not to eat dinner. In fairness to all, no exceptions.
- If you've pre-registered but are not able to attend and if you email us no later than the Monday before the Wednesday event, your event fee may be applied to a future event. We are required to provide a headcount to our caterer in advance, so a credit of your pre-registration fee to a future event will only be granted during the open pre-registration period.
- When registration closes online, payment can only be made by credit card at the event registration table.
- No refunds are offered post-event for any reason.