GUYTON, Ga. (WTOC) - The Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center in Guyton has been a community staple for years.
Making a name for themselves for their willingness to give back and their work with children with mental, physical and emotional disabilities.
Faith Equestrian founder and CEO Bonnie Rachael says initially 2020 was looking bright for the center.
“This was going to be one of our best years yet.”
But in an instant, everything changed.
“Mid-March hit, everything got cancelled. So, we lost a $30,000 golf tournament and our donations dropped by like 75 percent,” said Rachael.
Like many businesses and non profits they were forced to close due to COVID-19.
But what made this uniquely challenging for them.
“We can’t just shut the lights off and close,” Rachael says.
Because of the horses. They still needed fed and regularly trained for when children could return.
Which means a lot of money out of pocket with very little coming in.
Putting them in a tough situation if donations don’t pick up.
"We could close down, it could happen."
A very real possibility they’re hoping to avoid. Working around the clock to get ready to bring the kids back.
“We are set up to do our summer camps and we’re going to open up gradually with our therapeutic riding again,” said Rachael.
A decision not made financially but because they know what this therapy can do.
“We see miracles everyday basically,” said Program Director Hallie Myers.
Programs that have changed lives of everyone involved.
“I mean this is my passion. I don’t do it for the money. I mean this is what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about helping these kids have the best life they can possibly have,” Myers adds.
Something they can't do without your help.
But luckily if there's one thing, other than horses, they have plenty of, it's faith.
“We gotta trust that the God Lord has a plan and we do the best we can to get by because I’m a woman of faith and I believe we’re going to get through it,” said Rachael.
The families of the children who take their therapy riding classes at Faith Equestrian don’t pay anything, it’s all free.
So their money to provide those classes comes from donations, fundraisers and their summer camps.
Registration for those camps is now open, they say they’re a little behind compared to years past so if you’d like to sign your kid up or donate to just click here.