We wanted to let you all know of a very exciting step forward for our SOAR program. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundations, which has been our largest donor to support the SOAR program, recently posted an article about the impact of our SOAR program!
This article does a great job of capturing what the program is meant to do, and what it feels like to be a part of the program as one of our clients was interviewed for this article. You'll find the article listed below, and we hope you give it a read-through! We hope this article will help reach more individuals in our area in need of the SOAR program, as well as connect us with more supporters of this incredible program.
We want to thank all of you for the amazing support you have provided not only to the SOAR program, but the great work we love at BITS. We would not be here without all of you!
Read Article Here or paste this link into your web browser: https://www.nhcf.org/what-were-up-to/soar-program-helps-young-people-thrive/#
Thank you all once again!
First off, we want to thank you all for the enormous support you have provided us in the past. Without you, our generous supporters, we would not be where we are today and would not be able to help the many clients of the past year.
All of our programs are thriving tremendously, which we can see in the fact that in the past two years we have tripled our clientele to helping over 250 clients this past year! Our most successful program is the SOAR program, which is designed to help youth struggling with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. This is critical right now, as access to mental health resources are currently limited with sometimes months-long waiting periods due to mental health professional shortages. This is particularly alarming as the mortality rate due to self-harm in Merrimack County, NH is more than 50% higher than the U.S. rate
The SOAR program addresses this challenge in a unique way. Students come in from all across the state to attend a group-based therapeutic riding session, followed by a group mental health counseling session. In this way, our clients get individualized therapy in working with individual horses without a high number of personnel needed, allowing us to provide more help to those in need than traditional therapy.
Despite this ability, we still have a waitlist! The mental health crisis our community faces needs your help. Once again, we could not do this work without all of you, our supporters! Please consider joining us in our move forward to aid those struggling today.
I wanted to give you an update on how our Soar program is doing! In short: FANTASTIC! Our recent partnerships with schools in the area far exceeded any expectations we could have set. Not only are we expanding our reach to students during their scheduled school days, but the schools are working with us to apply for and receive grants to continue our programs with them! They see the vital importance of these programs in their students lives. I would like to share what one student from this program sent to us after completing the program:
“I was in a rough spot but now with this program I am patient with myself, I know how to control my life, and more. THANK YOU! Thank you for loving us, for teaching us how to ride, for teaching us how to love ourselves and show compassion for others, and for teaching us life changing ways!”
We are SO thankful for your support with these programs. We love the work we do, and are excited to continue it!
On top of that exciting update, we have a new opportunity that I am excited to tell you about! We recently learned that the property we are currently renting is up for sale. What we had dreamed would happen within this next year has become a necessity: to keep our programs running we have to buy the property, and soon! Instead of despairing though, we are choosing to be hopeful!
With your invaluable help and support, we have already raised almost $18,000! We are connecting with many organizations in the area to ensure we keep our barn doors open as well.
We would love your support to help us with this new exciting chapter. We have created a Capital Campaign to finance a down payment on this property. As you have in the past, please donate to help us reach our goal.
And even better! doTERRA, a global essential oils company, is sponsoring us in this campaign through their Healing Hands Foundation. They will match dollar for dollar the money we raise. So any donation you make will be doubled!
Please consider making a tax deductible donation today. Together with these exciting opportunities, we can secure our services to our clients for years to come! Please be a part of this!
BITS is staying strong through the many challenges COVID-19 has posed for our little non-profit organization. Increases in prices, COVID-related health issues with our horses, and more have been a few of the challenges we have faced in the past few years.
Yet, because of our gracious donors and the efforts of many volunteers, we have provided more therapeutic services to the members of our community than ever before! And our services have never been more needed that in the last few years.
Because of the daunting effects of COVID, many of our clients have been isolated these past couple of years. Time and time again we have been told that BITS is the only social activity many of our clients feel comfortable attending. In other words, the therapeutic riding some of our clients get once a week is the ONLY place they are receiving safe social interaction (with people and horses). Not only has BITS been a safe place for them to receive therapeutic aid they need, but it is now their lifeline to social interaction.
We cannot express enough gratitude for the support that many have given us, including those of you who have donated to this Project. If you are able at this time, we are always in need of more support so that we may continue uplifting those in our community throughout these challenging times. Thank you all once again for the incredible support we have received!
We are so grateful for the generous support that you have provided to our clients during this unprecedented year of COVID-19.
We created a new 8-week program called SOAR to help support the youth in our community during this challenging time. Our goal is to help teach our youth essential skills that will not only help them now, but also throughout their lives, arming them with essential mental health tools. When we started this program, we didn’t know if we would see the fruits of our labor with these teenagers. While we hoped this program would impact their life greatly, we were not prepared to see the impact so immediately!
We had amazing results with our first group! One of our clients' parents had contacted me out of desperation. They were at a loss as to how they could help their daughter; she was in and out of the state hospital and treatment centers. They feared for her life.
When she first came to us she didn’t speak a word. She was very withdrawn, never smiled or had any facial reactions except for sadness and pain.
By week three she started opening up a little bit more and talking to us.
By week five she opened up to her mental health provider at the SOAR program and told her about all of the hard things that are going on in her life and what she was struggling with.
By week seven she was leading horses around with all the confidence in the world. She set up an obstacle course for her peers and stood in the middle of the arena and gave them clear instructions as to what she wanted them to do. I invited the parents to watch the riding lesson during their children’s last week. Her parents were in tears by the end of the lesson, and could not believe the growth they saw in their daughter.
To see such a transformation in just this one person was greater than we imagined. Her parents immediately asked what other programs we had so they could make sure to sign her up for them right away.
This is a much-needed program for our community! We can't thank you all enough for the financial support that you have given us to make this program and others like it possible. A lot of the families that we serve are low income and can’t afford this much needed program for their teenagers. For this fiscal year it is our goal to run six more 8-week SOAR programs. We would love your continued support so we can continue to provide programs such as these.
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