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November 2023
First Nature Notes: Much to Be Thankful For

Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,


Happy Holidays! As of this writing, Thanksgiving is tomorrow and the holidays are just beyond. We have just over a week left of hurricane season here in Central Florida, and we are grateful not to have had many storms to worry about this season. But it’s not just hurricanes we have to be ready for. In the last 10 days, we had 4 days in a row of rain which led to flooding even worse than that from recent hurricanes. We did need rain, as we had none for about a month and a half and our pastures were starting to look yellow and crunchy. That’s not exactly the condition we want our grass to be in entering the dry season. But it was SO much rain in a short period, we just wished the storms had been spread out. Wishing to control the weather is futile, of course, and all we can do is wait patiently for the ranch to slowly dry out. Fortunately, aside from it being a mess everywhere, the facility and the horses are all doing fine, not much worse for the wear. But the deluge of rain did mean that some of our programming was impacted...


Some of our program participants, particularly those with limited resources, do not have appropriate footwear for when it’s damp or wet at the ranch. Oftentimes they will decline to participate in some of the outdoor programming because they don’t want to get their shoes (the only ones they have at that time) wet or dirty. So, we’re having a holiday fundraiser! We want to purchase some galoshes (or rain boots) of different sizes for kids and adults, so they can feel more comfortable participating when the weather isn’t cooperative and when it impacts the outdoor conditions. They’ll borrow the boots for the few hours they’ll be at the ranch, so we can re-use them over and over.


Some of these program participants are teens in a residential treatment facility that helps them overcome substance abuse. These are kids who have been through a variety of significant early traumas that have led them to their current circumstances. We feel blessed to help support their recovery through our Horse Sense for Teens program. The facility that we contract with to bring them loves our programs (because the kids and their therapists do!) and has just signed on for programming every other week through 2024!


The fee their facility pays to bring these teen patients produces just enough revenue to cover our staffing needs for the program hours; it doesn’t cover all program costs nor any of the facility and nonprofit overhead expenses. Because of that, we are looking for program sponsors and donors to help us continue these programs. It costs approximately $125 per teen to take them through our Horse Sense for Teens program during their time at the residential facility. Would you consider being a champion for these teenagers and sponsoring one teen through the program? 

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In 2 weeks, our little nonprofit will be celebrated at the 2023 Lake Nona Regional Chamber of Commerce Illumination Awards as Nonprofit of the Year! We recently learned that one member of their Awards Nominating Committee nominated First Nature Foundation, and the vote among the entire committee was unanimous – we are so honored and privileged! We’ll have photos for you in next month’s newsletter.


Our most recent Horse Wisdom for Heroes cohort graduated on Veterans Day, and we had a guitar serenade by one of our staff members and ice cream cake all around, in addition to a brand new horseplay activity with the participants. Also, this week we heard about one of our graduates, who has gone on to help a community in Africa. Kent participated and completed all the requirements during his time at The Transition House, our partner who brings participants for the Horse Wisdom for Heroes program. He participated in several cohorts at the ranch, and also enrolled at Valencia College to matriculate toward his BA degree. Kent was encouraged by The Transition House team to participate in Regents University long distance learning, and they were able to assist in partnering with him to support his desire to do mission work in Africa, something that had been a long-time dream of Kent’s. We congratulate him on his hard-earned success and thank all those who helped him get there.


We need your word of mouth to prosper! As a nonprofit, we depend on your support to continue to offer our programs and events. Fortunately, there are many ways to support us! See below for more information. We invite you to come out to the ranch if you haven’t been in a while. Reach out and we’ll get a tour on the calendar. The horses would be delighted to see you and have you give them a treat!


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.

  • Fundraising: Have you helped a nonprofit with fundraising? If so, we’d love to speak with you!


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


Happy Holidays!

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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