Horses Healing Hearts helps children who have been affected by a family member with addiction to heal emotionally, build self-esteem, and learn life-coping skills by working with horses. The only one of it’s kind in the nation, our program is unique and made strong by the commitment of our volunteers, host barns and magnificence of the horses that help these vulnerable kids open their hearts to trust again. Some of our children have lost a parent recently to suicide, overdose and murder. They are crying out for help and guidance.
Liz Olszewski, HHH Executive Director, testifying to congress regarding the importance of prevention programs for Children of Alcoholics and Addicts:
Dylan Armus, HHH Participant, testifying to congress on behalf of children of alcoholics and addicts:
The majority of the public does not understand how devastating and deep-rooted addiction is and/or the impact it has on the entire family — most notably the children.
Additionally, the general public does not understand how incredibly healing horses can be for all types of trauma. Our charity brings together the children who have been affected by addiction and the horses who offer their acceptance, love, and incredible ability to sense when someone is not “in touch” with their feelings.
There are tens of thousands of us who love horses, grew up with addicted parent(s) and felt the only place of solace and escape was the barn. Our faces were pressed against our horse’s neck and cheeks pressed against their nose- feeling their sweet and calming breath on our shoulder — Knowing they understood everything without a word. Being one of those children I wanted to start a group using what saved me, mentors and horses, to pay forward what was offered to me in the most difficult years of my life.
Why Addiction Is a Generational Cycle:
Children who grow up with addiction learn three unspoken rules — “Don’t talk, don’t trust, and don’t feel.” These rules enable them to temporarily survive the trauma and violence that they live daily.
However, as they grow up the feelings start coming to the surface, and they are very uncomfortable and painful. Unless the child has learned a positive way to deal with their feelings… Through means such as a sport, a hobby, or by being involved with a group such as Horses Healing Hearts, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, etc, they are very likely to follow the pattern of their parents and have a very strong desire to numb the pain of the feelings through alcohol or drugs.
At our prevention sessions, we teach them they are not alone, their parents addiction is not their fault, and it is safe to feel their feelings.
Thank you for taking the time to inquire and giving us the opportunity to share what we do.
One fourth of our children have a parent absent due to incarceration, suicide, over-dose, murder and other substance abuse related deaths. Thank you for your interest in Horses Healing Hearts.