Wings of Hope Ranch celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2016. We consider ourselves blessed and honored to have served our Lord through this unique type of ministry that utilizes rescued horses to help restore and heal children. After ten years, we paused to take note of how far we have come under the Lord’s provision and guidance.
From 2006 to 2016, Wings of Hope Ranch has ministered to 442 children for over 6,606 hours. Our adult volunteers have served a total of 5,781 hours of focused attention with one rancher and rescue horse at a time. Our eight resident rescued horses have served a minimum of 6,606 hours to the children paired with them. Our barn volunteers have fed the horses and cleaned the barn two times a day, 365 days a year for ten years or a minimum of 9,256 hours. Since 2011, when we added our Youth Leader program for 13 – 18 year olds from the community or graduating ranchers, we have had 146 youth leaders who have participated in our program and served 2202 hours. Wings of Hope Ranch has also adopted, re-homed, or facilitated the adoption of over 40 horses in need. These figures do not count special event volunteer hours, individuals completing their community service hours or special guests/groups served over the last decade. These figures DO include ranchers who returned season after season as ranchers and then graduated to be youth leaders themselves. In 2016 we saw our first rancher complete the entire cycle of starting as a rancher in 4th grade (age 10), graduate to be a youth leader/mentor at age 15 and then graduate high school and head off to college. We were as excited for her as her parents were! If the Lord allows, we hope to be serving and growing in the community for another ten years. We thank you all for your support and belief in us from the beginning when we had nothing but dreams and faith. Wings of Hope Ranch is nothing short of a miracle!
“Just do it!” (A brief story about how Wings of Hope came to be!)
The first conversation about the conception of Wings of Hope Ranch with me began around a kitchen table during a play date our then first grade boys were having at Alison’s house. Alison was sharing with me about her life and how she had always wanted to start a program that would nurture children and neglected horses, through a Christian ministry. After sharing with her my life/work experience as a victim advocate in a variety of settings, I cheered her on and told her to “Just do it!” As I too had a desire to serve, I assured Alison that I would be there to support her in that goal.Very soon after, Alison called me to tell me about a clinic that was being offered in Bend, Oregon at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch that would prove to be our model for Wings of Hope Ranch. We both flew out to Bend and were overwhelmingly inspired by Crystal Peaks and their devotion to serving children and horses during our training sessions. Once we returned home with all this wonderful information, we came to the realization that in order to make this dream a reality there are several basic things we would need….like land, barn, tack and horses…none of which we had at the time. But those “minor” things did not stop us … or God.
Soon after we returned from Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, we were invited to speak at the Beaverdam Baptist Equine ministry where we were able to share our vision of a children’s horse ministry. Amazingly, one of the attendees of the meeting was Cindy Colon, one of our founding members, who had a yearning to serve God in a similar ministry – AND she offered her barn and ring and facilities to us for the program. What we left with was a realization that God was indeed the Author and Director of Wings of Hope Ranch – amazingly connecting the three of us together to serve Him in this unique way.
During the first year and a half, we three spent many hours together planning the non-profit business side of the ministry, including by-laws, legal issues, Board of Directors, fundraising, horses and volunteers. During this process, Cindy introduced us to Betty Kniesche who would end up being an integral part of Wings of Hope by generously donating her 8 stall barn and farm for our Rescue Barn (as we fondly refer to as the “Red Barn”). Our amazing God-inspired journey that began in 2006 has been used by Him to teach each one of us many of His lessons …mercy, grace, patience and most of all LOVE. It has not always been an easy path, but through faith and trust in His word, we have been able to serve countless children and our family of horses.
As I look back on the beginnings of Wings of Hope and see the how it has blossomed, it resonates in my soul that Wings of Hope belongs to God and He, in His awesome, intricate way, has interwoven many lives together in a way that only He could have done to bring about a ministry that is truly here to serve Him and to give love where it is needed.
Jane Yancey, co-founder of Wings of Hope Ranch