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December 2023
First Nature Notes:
A Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from First Nature Foundation
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Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,

 

Almost 2024! We hope your holidays have been blessed and happy ones so far. It’s hard to believe the new year is less than 2 weeks away! It’s been a busy time at the ranch and with the foundation. We want to express our gratitude to those of you who responded to our Galoshes Fundraiser, posted in last month’s newsletter. We received enough funding from your donations to purchase 10 new pairs of rain boots. This was fantastic timing as we had them at the ready for this past weekend’s programming, as we got 4.5” of rain in about 24 hours! The boys and the girls in our Horse Sense for Teens program were so happy to have these boots available for their use, and even though the arena footing was somewhat sandy soup we were still able to conduct horse activities in it. These kids, who come from Lotus Behavioral Health, a residential treatment facility for teens with substance use disorder, have only one or two pair of shoes while they are at the facility, and they don’t want to get their shoes wet and dirty… we can’t blame them! Mission accomplished, thanks to you! Please help us purchase a few more by using the link below to donate!

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Speaking of the Horse Sense for Teens program, we rolled it out in mid-July, and we have already served over 50 youth! Here are some of the quotes directly from the mouths of those kids:

 

"The horses have taught me that I need to pay more attention to other people's feelings."

 

"It's important to have patience. I'm a very inpatient person. I have learned a lot about patience through the horses."  

 

"I can be a leader. I have a voice. I want better for my life because I let other people take charge of my life too much."

 

"I was able to create a special bond with the horses - I felt connected to them and to nature. I've learned a lot about myself. I'm discovering myself at the ranch."

 

One of their behavioral therapists reports that “First Nature Ranch has been a life-changing experience for our teens. The Horse Sense for Teens program has helped them boost their self-confidence through leadership and communication skills. They have learned the importance and power of their own voice. This program has helped them gain self-awareness by connecting with nature. We are so thankful for the services Kerul and her team provide to our teens, and we look forward to our continued partnership.” It does our hearts so much good to read these words and know that our efforts are making a big difference! And so does your support of programs like this. Please forward this newsletter to someone you think might want to support our Horse Sense for Teens program, to help us cover program-related costs? 

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Another big win was our Nonprofit of the Year Award from the Lake Nona Regional Chamber of Commerce…and while we announced the win in the last two newsletters we weren’t allowed to announce it on social media, until the awards dinner, which was held earlier this month at Disney. We even got a photo with Mickey Mouse!

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Pictured Left to Right: Austin Carnahan, Groundskeeper. Allyn Carnahan, Promotional Director. Mickey Mouse. Kerul Kassel, President. Melanie Murphy, Horse Care Professional. Kristina Bozanich, Community Relations Director. Lisandra Gonzalez, Board Member.

CHECK AT THE END TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP US!

Our next Horse Wisdom for Heroes starts right after New Years, on January 6 and we are looking forward to meeting our next cohort of veterans and introducing them to our herd. One of our former veteran participants, Carlos, has made yet another generous contribution to the local society. Carlos was part of our Horse Wisdom for Heroes program in 2022. Earlier this yeah he donated his car to a mother in need. Recently he graciously donated an Xbox, Playstation, some clothes, and shoes to the Boys and Girls Club of St. Cloud.

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The foundation has two new staff members: Kristina Bozanich is our Community Engagement Director, and she will be doing regional outreach to attract sponsors, donors, collaborators, partners, and clients.  In a more recent career change, she has focused on how content creation, art, and strategy can be used a platform to build a network and relationships. Coincidentally, this career change introduced her to First Nature Foundation which became a great fit! Bill Gusler is our new fundraising professional. Bill’s overall task is fundraising, and he will help to generate sponsorships, as well as research and apply for grants. Bill has over 15 years of fundraising experience and chose this career path because he believes it is important for people to give back and help where they can.

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The foundation has two new staff members: Kristina Bozanich is our Community Engagement Director, and she will be doing regional outreach to attract sponsors, donors, collaborators, partners, and clients.  In a more recent career change, she has focused on how content creation, art, and strategy can be used a platform to build a network and relationships. Coincidentally, this career change introduced her to First Nature Foundation which became a great fit! Bill Gusler is our new fundraising professional. Bill’s overall task is fundraising, and he will help to generate sponsorships, as well as research and apply for grants. Bill has over 15 years of fundraising experience and chose this career path because he believes it is important for people to give back and help where they can.

Now’s the time of year to make your last minute donations, or to start making arrangements to fulfill your New Year’s Resolution to volunteer for a nonprofit (wink wink!). Please see below for opportunities to support us now and in 2024!

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How Can You Help?

Everyone has a talent or resource that is valuable. It could be time, money, contacts, or a love of horses. Every little bit helps, and your support can make a big difference in our mission. Here are some easy ways to help:

 

  • Volunteer: Your time and skills to help with our horses, facility, or programs. Or are you interested in serving as a board member for our nonprofit? We are still looking!

  • Donations: You can make a one-time donation, set up a recurring donation, or donate in-kind gifts, such as treats or equipment that can assist us with our programs and serving our clients. You can donate here! 

  • Advocate: Spread the word about First Nature and share our mission to equip our community with leadership skills for the 21st century. 

  • Sponsor a veteran or a teen: It takes $500 to sponsor just one veteran for their 6-week Horse Wisdom for Heroes program, or $300 for one session for the Horse Sense for Teens program. Consider donating and sponsoring a veteran or teen.

 

Simply reply to this email to get started with one of these items today!

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Wishing you many blessings over the holidays and through the coming year!

Kerul and Crew

 

 

 

First Nature Ranch / First Nature Foundation  

“Where the past, present, and future of leadership come together for the dignity and benefit of all.” 

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