WEST has been a 20-year dream that started back in Chicago. In 1998, I felt called to start a nonprofit in Chicago called The Legacy Project. The mission was to break the cycle of generational abuse, but the outcomes turned out to be about helping parents re-frame the story of their lives as the issues their kids were facing brought up their own unresolved histories. I worked with families who wanted to understand how to manage their kids behaviors with alternative and complementary methods. In the late 1990's, working with learning disorders, sensory processing disorders, ADD/ADHD, and other behavioral problems with children were just beginning to hit critical mass. Families were desperate to find ways to keep their child off of prescription medications. I created the first holistic education workshops to be approved as continuing education credits for teachers in the State of Illinois. Those CEUs were also approved for social workers, nurses, and licensed professional counselors. Legacy workshops taught meditation, gave ideas on how to apply spiritual concepts to parenting, and introduced many people to the idea of the power of thoughts and personal energy. In one of those workshops, I met a woman who was introducing equine assisted mental health activities into her social work practice. Twenty years ago, using horses for mental health issues was just beginning to have real credibility. I had been volunteering with hippotherapy programs for years. I wanted to build a program around this idea, but, unfortunately, it was not the right time, place, or people. That was 1998. Fast forward to 2015, about seventeen years later. It took that long for the Universe to provide the right circumstances in which Win Win Equine Services and Therapy, Inc. (WEST) could be born and thrive.
I can say that I never lost faith completely, but there were years when I stopped trying and moved on to other things. The Legacy Project failed in 2003. I learned a lot about the nonprofit world, the counseling, public speaking, and workshop facilitation professions, and how to survive with no traditional income. The Universe provided my needs (not my wants!) as long as I stayed faithful to my calling. WEST is not quite three years old. It's getting close to being able to provide an income for me, but we might have another year. Sheer stubbornness - tenacity - keeps me motivated to get up every day and work to make WEST successful. Resilience keeps me flexible, making sure that I learn from my mistakes without letting those mistakes stop me in my tracks. WEST is a calling and a labor of love for me. Faith, Tenacity, and Resliency are what I teach.