Grateful Dead Invests in Berkshires


Berkshire HorseWorks secures grant from the Rex Foundation to fund empowerment program for young girls at risk

Richmond, MA – July 11, 2016 Berkshire HorseWorks Inc., which utilizes EAGALA Model Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to provide services to at-risk youth, veterans, families and individuals has secured three grants from the Rex Foundation, US Trust and Seven Towns’ Educational Partnership Fund, according to Hayley Sumner, Founder and Executive Director of the 501(c)3. The Rex Foundation, created by members, family and friends of the Grateful Dead, granted $5,000.00 to fund an eight week empowerment program for young girls. Since opening its doors, Berkshire HorseWorks has provided services to nearly 300 clients, most of whom are suffering from mental and behavioral challenges.
In the fall of 1983, the Rex Foundation was established as a nonprofit charitable organization with a mission to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure their cultural survival, build a stronger community, and educate children and adults everywhere. The band played the first of many Rex Foundation benefit concerts in the spring of 1984. The Rex Foundation has since granted $8.9 million to over 1,200 recipients.
This funding has enabled Berkshire HorseWorks to provide an eight week “Girls Rule!” program to a group of young women from the surrounding community to help them learn how to stand their ground when needed, practice self-care, and know when to ask for help. It is our intention to provide a safe, fun and challenging environment in which the participants may learn and grow. Sessions are designed to foster self-reflection and target key strengths including leadership, independence, confidence, and perseverance. Berkshire HorseWorks is currently identifying eligible individuals to partake in this program from Berkshire Regional and Pittsfield School Districts, residential treatment facilities, the Student Resource Center, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, Berkshire Children and Families, the YMCA, and the Brein Center.
In addition to the Rex Grant, Berkshire HorseWorks has also received a $1,000 from the Seven Towns’ Educational Partnership Fund to provide a half day Life Skills Development workshop for Wahconah Regional High School students. The program is designed to support the school’s initiatives to increase self-confidence, foster creative thinking, encourage problem-solving, nurture empowerment, explore effective communication, enhance time management techniques, develop healthy boundaries, strengthen self-care skills, cultivate mutual respect, and provide a safe environment to have fun and build friendships. This program will kick off in the Fall of this coming school year.
Berkshire HorseWorks has also received an unrestricted grant from the U.S. Trust which will supplement existing programs at the farm and help expand the reach to more of those in need.
“I can’t thank these foundations enough for supporting our equine assisted programs. Although we have been seeing clients for over three years, we are just in our second year as a nonprofit and these grants in conjunction with our generous donors have enabled us to expand our programming. It is critical that we catch our youth at a young age and give them every opportunity to develop the skills to excel and make good choices. Integrating families and other support structures is key to their success and that is a large focus of our life skill development initiatives,” stated Hayley Sumner

Also, remember to register for the first annual “Horses and Hikers for Healing: A Scavenger Hunt,” to run through BNRC’s Hollow Fields. The event will be held on Saturday, August 13th and will be followed by a BBQ Hoedown, with live music from Dan Gingras. To register, click here:

Berkshire HorseWorks™, a 501(C)3 based out of a 27 acre compound in Richmond, MA is part of the international EAGALA network of 4,500 certified professionals in 50 countries providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) to at-risk youth, veterans, active duty, their families and corporations. Experiential, highly effective, and rooted in evidence-based practices, EAP treats a broad array of mental and behavioral challenges. EAL incorporates Equine Assisted Team building by partnering with school districts, local businesses, and international corporations to enhance personal development and reinforce group dynamics in the workplace. Services are offered by appointment seven days a week during individual sessions, workshops and wellness retreats. Through the power of horses, Berkshire HorseWorks™ provides the tools to cope, challenge, communicate, heal, lead, empathize and thrive in today’s world.

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