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The magic of horses with vulnerable youth

Posted by SVP Vancouver
Getting to know SVP Vancouver’s first animal-based Investee.

Urban Horse Project understands the incredible impact horses can have on people, and harnesses that power in its program to build confidence, communication, and leadership skills for at-risk youth in Metro Vancouver.

SVP Vancouver welcomed Urban Horse Project (UHP) into its family in May, 2019, after a thorough Opportunities Committee discovery, led by SVP Partner team, Janet Allan and Marcelo Bohm. A strong partnership developed between the two Partners and UHP’s Executive Director, Nancy McRitchie, which led to Marcelo and Janet’s commitment to become Co-Lead Partners for the organization.

Janet Allen, SVP Co-Lead Partner

“Getting involved with Urban Horse Project has been an amazing experience in learning the value of equine learning for youth-at-risk,” states Janet. “This unique program provides youth with the opportunity to work with horses and express themselves in a calm environment. I’m confident Nancy’s vision and drive will ensure the success of UHP  and make a positive impact for youth-at-risk in our community.”

Nancy is a seasoned non-profit professional who established UHP two years ago, setting a solid foundation for the organization to continue its growth and broaden its impact.

“Urban Horse Project is using strategic partnerships to bring the outstanding Cartier Farms Equine Assisted Learning model into Metro Vancouver,” says Nancy. “SVP support is much needed to help us gain capacity and strategies for the growth of this weekly experiential life-skills training program that truly empowers youth-at-risk.”

Nancy McRitchie, UHP ED, and Marcelo Bohm, SVP Co-Lead Partner

Marcelo has seen the power of UHP’s programs first hand.

“Urban Horse Project provides at-risk youth with an experiential learning opportunity using horses as teachers,” shares Marcelo. “While attending various sessions, I heard youth workers talk about how UHP brought out traits such as empathy, love, caring and calmness in the kids… traits they don’t often get to see. I’ve heard kids talk about the same feelings, saying how much they liked experiencing them and how they wanted to experience them again.”

UHP requested an SVP grant of $160,000 over four years to fund staff hires and enhance their communications. They are looking for Partner expertise in capacity-building areas strategic planning, human resources, communications, technology, systems development and fund development.

Would you like to get involved? Let us know!