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Berkshire Horseworks Secures Grant From MountainOne Foundation
09:25AM / Saturday, March 16, 2024
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RICHMOND, Mass. — Berkshire HorseWorks, Inc., a 501c3 mission-driven nonprofit, which for 10 years has offered Eagala Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Equine Assisted Learning, Equine Assisted Team building, and other therapeutic and recreational activities with horses, has secured funding through a grant of $1,000 from MountainOne Foundation to support local schools in Berkshire County with academic challenges to build literacy skills. 
In addition, BHW welcomed new board member Beth Persing, a licensed social worker and substance abuse counselor. The news was announced by Hayley Sumner, founder and executive director. 
The grant from MountainOne will fund the eight-week Horse Powered Reading (HPR) series, which integrates horses and social-emotional learning with academics. The experiential strength-based program uses horses in ground-based metaphorical activities to complement classroom learning, at the nonprofit's seven-acre ranch in Richmond. The sessions will be held weekly and will run for 90 minutes each. HPR provides children with tools to excel by experiencing reading with their mind, body and emotions. Rescue horses and donkeys are engaged as partners to support students with or without an IEP as they identify obstacles and work on phonetic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.
In an effort to further engage the community in assessing the needs of the schools, Berkshire HorseWorks welcomed licensed social worker and substance abuse counselor, Beth Persing, to its board of directors. Persing is experienced in many different facets of human services through her work as a social worker for adolescent outreach, early childhood development, school adjustment counselor and as a substance use case worker. Beth currently serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Berkshire County, as well as works as a school adjustment counselor at Morris Elementary School in Lenox. She is passionate about working with children, supporting our mental health community, the arts and animals. 
"Every day we wake up so grateful that the community of which we are a part of is so invested in the wellbeing of our youth. Beth has been at the forefront of critical initiatives. We are so inspired and encouraged by her energy and insights," stated Sumner.
BHW has recently expanded into the educational space, with the introduction of Horse Powered Reading and Math curriculums. All experiential programming for children, families, and those at risk with mental health, behavioral and academic challenges is funded through grants, donations, and direct pay from corporate team building and recreational activities including trail rides lessons. 
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