New Grants Enable Nonprofit to Service At-Risk Youth, Veterans and Families

FROM: Berkshire HorseWorks, Inc., EAGALA Certified Program

CONTACT: Hayley Sumner,, (413) 698-3700




New funds enable nonprofit to expand programming servicing at-risk youth, veterans and families

Richmond, MA – Berkshire HorseWorks which utilizes EAGALA Model Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, has secured, since receiving its 501(C)3 designation, its first three grants, some of the most respected and innovative funders including Berkshire Bank Foundation, the Warner Fund in New York and an international organization which prefers to remain anonymous, it was announced today by Hayley Sumner, Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit. Since opening its doors, Berkshire HorseWorks has served nearly 200 at-risk youth, veterans, families, couples, and individuals in need.

In line with the Berkshire Bank Foundation’s mission of helping to create healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities where educational and economic opportunities are available for everyone, Berkshire HorseWorks will devise an eight week Life Skills Program for local students from the Berkshire Regional and Pittsfield School Districts who because of financial constraints would not otherwise have access to this support. These students have a range of mental and behavioral challenges including ADHD, autism, sexual abuse, addiction, learning disorders, trauma, domestic violence, and depression. The key goals of the program are to: develop and explore emotional self-awareness through the use of perception; identify how problems are viewed and what strengths overcome challenges; explore differences and create tolerance in our lives; and finally, to explore observations and perceptions and their affect on group dynamics.

“I saw great synergism between our mission and that of Berkshire HorseWorks. They are truly committed to educating our community’s youth in a sensitive, different and thought-provoking way. We are happy to be able to support this program.” Stated Lori Gazzillo, Vice President and Foundation Director of Berkshire Bank. “As a new nonprofit, we are incredibly lucky to have these foundations behind us. We can’t thank them enough,” said Sumner. “It was challenging the first year as we were self-funded and did not anticipate the magnitude of the need in the community for this type of work. Horses facilitate change and we see it every single day. It’s magical.”

The Warner Fund’s mission is to support programs which benefit children with disabilities and children in foster care in innovative ways. Their commitment will facilitate numerous Berkshire HorseWorks programs targeting this population including Bully Intervention/Prevention, Girls Rule!, Sister Sense, and Team Effectiveness. Executive Director, Michael D. Stalonas and the Board of Directors of The Warner Fund have been committed to providing grants for hands on service programs, advocacy and research which help children to achieve their full potential.

Berkshire HorseWorks™, a 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation, 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 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.