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February 2024
First Nature Notes: Springing Into Action
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Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,

While much of the continental US is still in the deep throes of winter, we are at the cusp of spring here in Central Florida. The maples already shedding their seeds, the live oaks dropping tons of leaves in the effort to push out fresh green ones, and I’ve already heard a meadowlark and seen my first robin of the year. This is welcome news after a rainy, windy, chilly unseasonable winter here!

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Spring is the time of new beginnings, and our programs are focused on helping folks find hope and confidence after significant loss or pain. Has one of your loved ones been touched by domestic violence, or by suicide? Are you aware that we offer programs aimed to help those who have been through such a difficult experience? Might you consider sponsoring a session or donating towards a year’s worth of either program? Read on for more about these programs!

 

Horses Healing Hearts is designed to offer solace and empowerment to survivors of domestic abuse. It’s a developmental (non-therapeutic) program in which participants engage in a variety of exercises and experiences with our horses. These experiences are designed to enhance self-leadership and evoke a greater sense of peace and potential, as well.  A local shelter has agreed to bring a cohort of participants to the ranch for this program, but we need sponsors to cover program costs before we commit to a date. Do you know of a business owner or well-resourced person whose life has been touched by domestic violence in some way and who might consider helping us with this need?

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Another program we don’t often talk about much is PASOS – which stands for Parents and Spouses of Suicide. It’s a virtual grief support group and it turned out to be our very first offering, mostly due to the pandemic.

 

Most of you know that I lost my husband to suicide in July 2020, just as we were ready to open our doors for programming, and coincidentally as the first big peak of COVID hit the USA. My husband’s death was totally shocking, surreal, so hard to wrap my head and heart around, as maybe you could imagine. I struggled with how to come to terms with it, and I still do. What helped me was to try to make something positive out of such a devastating loss, and while I initially thought of PASOS as an in-person program, COVID wasn’t cooperating.

 

It took a while to find a suitable mental health professional to facilitate the group, and then to find participants, and we held our first PASOS Zoom in January 2021. We have held twice-monthly Zoom meetings ever since and have folks from all over the country attending: Oregon, Arkansas, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, Arizona, and elsewhere. Some have been attending for years now. What you might not know is that we do not charge anything for this service, though we do pay our mental health professional for every meeting, and there’s the Zoom subscription. If you are someone whom suicide has touched, might you consider donating to help us continue this program, or passing along this information to someone you know whose life has been impacted by suicide?  

A hearty thank you to those of you who responded to our request to share our January newsletter, and to donate!! If you donated through Facebook, we are grateful…though please note that we do not receive any notification when you might have done so; we’re apologizing if you hadn’t heard from us!   

We have a very cool event coming to the ranch soon! We have been hard at work giving ranch tours to like-minded entrepreneurs who believe in our mission and want to bring their clients to the ranch for their programs into which we will be incorporating some horse-interaction activities.

 

One such event that has come from it is the IntegrateHer retreat program from Victoria Dume and some of her colleagues, taking place on March 9th. These events are described as “retreats where women can cultivate resilience, celebrate their strengths, and embrace the richness of each life season with grace and authenticity.” We are excited to be apart of this endeavor!

Next month our hope is to introduce you to some new staff members at the ranch – they will be starting shortly. We have been fairly short staffed at the ranch between illnesses and turnover. I have been working 6 or 7 days at the ranch each week, while also working at the foundation. New staff means I can take a bit more time away from the ranch and horses. Keep your fingers crossed for us, please?  

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Is there a friend or colleague you think would be interested in what we do at First Nature Foundation? If so, please do take a moment and forward it to them so we can expand our reach and our impact?  And please see below to learn about other ways you can help us.

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 an early Spring,

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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