Our Equine-Assisted Youth Peer Support program (EAYPS) partners youth ages 10-17 with horses over a course of 6 weeks in a horsemanship program. Twelve core values are emphasized in the relationship with horses.
Our Equine Assisted Youth Peer Support (EAYPS) program supports youth ages 11-17 through a partnership with Thurston County Juvenile Court. The 6-week courses incorporate horsemanship activities and peer support. Our staff include certified peer counselors and a mental health counselor to fulfill the therapeutic needs of each participant and promote recovery through a trauma informed model.
We partner youth with horses to motivate youth, reduce anxieties, develop trust, learn self-evaluation, build self-esteem, and develop and enhance relationship skills. While youth are tasked with working with their horses, respect happens naturally and appropriate boundaries are understood.
In our program, youth work through curriculum that is designed around twelve core values: honesty, hope, trust, courage, self-reflection, willingness, humility, forgiveness, accountability, perseverance, gratitude, and community. These core values are reinforced with a range of hands-on activities that teach the youth the significance of each value, learned metaphorically through interactions with the horse. The participants work in a group setting to apply lessons learnt through the horse-human relationship and apply them to everyday life and academic situations.
Participants are referred to our program through the Thurston County Juvenile Court system; referrals from outside partners will only be accepted if the court does not fill all available slots.