HOPE is going great! And, that is due in large part to the skilled administration of Program Director, Luna Sun, the commitment of the volunteers in Beijing, and the dedication of founder, Priscilla Lightsey. Recently, Priscilla returned from two weeks there and foresees exciting opportunities for the organization.
We continue to serve children with special needs every week. Both orphans with visual impairments from the Bethel Foster Home and local Chinese children with special needs find joy in riding our horses! Through the generosity of a Beijing Turf Equestrian Association (BTEA) and Huijia International School, Luna attended an intensive Equestrian Instructor course. The workshop enabled her to refine her skills as a riding instructor – which is good for HOPE since we are the sole program offering therapeutic horsemanship in Beijing (a city of 20 million people!).
HOPE – and the use of Equine Assisted Therapy— is generating a lot of interest in Beijing! More parents want their children to participate at HOPE, a Chinese TV station is working on a feature on HOPE and the BTEA is anxious to find additional ways to partner with us. Also, Priscilla was recently awarded the PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International Professional of the Year for Region 8 in the U.S., and such recognition lends credibility to HOPE as it grows.
We are now making plans for our upcoming summer camp. Our camps are intensive one-week programs for local children to experience therapeutic horsemanship, and to play games with the other children — a rarity in China, as there are no social programs for children with special needs. It is such a delight to see the children together!
Of course, HOPE has its challenges as well. One of the most difficult ones we faced was the passing of one of our sweetest horses, Rose, who was very old and frail. Her loss is a great hardship for HOPE as we look for a way to replace her.
Another one of our big challenges is the need to fully compensate Luna. Luna is immensely talented at running HOPE and helping it thrive. Now all we need are sufficient funds to pay her what she’s worth! We humbly welcome donations from our supporters and cannot express the impact your past contributions have made for our organization and the children we serve! Thank you!
It is remarkable to see what HOPE is accomplishing – not just for the children we are serving, but also demonstrating to the Chinese community how horses really can change lives. It is a privilege to do this work, and we invite you to join us. We appreciate your donations. And if you would like to see HOPE first-hand with a trip to Beijing, just let us know! Priscilla would be delighted to share the Chinese culture with others…. including horses, children, the orphanage Bethel Foster Home, and of course, the Great Wall of China!