Written by: Lenore Brown-Phillips
Client: Horses Healing Hearts, Inc. http://www.horseshealingheartsusa.org
Release Date: 2016-10-04
Even in his adolescence, Robbins felt compelled to help at-risk youth and adults. “After being involved in some really special programs as a teenager, I was inspired to do work for people. I learned that I had certain skills that were beneficial when applied to helping others,” Robbins explained. “I have a strong ability to connect to youth and adults, and I think that comes from having a deep sense of empathy. I also facilitate well and understand how groups work, which allows me to make experiences that are both educational and meaningful.”
Through the HHH involvement with the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition, Robbins met the organization’s Founder and Director, Lizabeth Olszewski. “Over a year ago, HHH came to some of our coalition meetings. I immediately became interested in their program because of the uniqueness, quality and passion of their program,” Robbins said. “When Liz came to me seeking advice on someone who might be appropriate as a Director of Membership, I immediately said ‘Me! Please let me do this!'”
HHH is designed to help children in families suffering from substance abuse by allowing them the opportunity to learn about and ride horses. HHH provides each child with an escape from the day-to-day and an opportunity for empowerment through life-coping skills and confidence, which are learned through riding and caring for horses. While there are more than 28 million children currently living with an alcoholic parent or guardian, HHH is the only non-profit of its kind utilizing equine-assisted therapy.
“Programs like HHH can be highly effective,” Robbins said. “Humans have an innate desire to connect with animals and nature. When it is done in a structured way, you see great results. Horses are a wonderful piece to the puzzle.”
When discussing his goals in his new position with the Wellington-based non-profit, Robbins is eager to build the most effective mentoring program by working with existing partners of HHH. Robbins is confident that in the long term, the mentorship program will facilitate positive consequences in the children who participate, including academic, behavioral and aspirational improvements.
“Mentorship is something that I have a lot of experience with and something that I am very passionate about, because it helped develop me as an adult and professional. It is also one of the most effective prevention strategies for a variety of challenges that young people face,” Robbins remarked.
Laurie Chaplin, a member of the Board of Directors for HHH and mother to the young woman who founded the mentorship program, can personally relate to the positive impact that the program on the children who participate.
“I have seen so many of our younger participants come out of their shells during their time in the program,” she said. “In the case of my daughter, who started the Mentor program, her “little” confided in her and reacted in such a positive way that it was life changing for both of them.”