Improving the life course of foster and adopted children who have experienced early developmental trauma
We achieve this by developing life skills through equine-assisted learning and community mentorship. The Stable Moments model is built on these values:
Stable Moments started as a non-profit organization in Georgia. Through trial and error the dream of a world where community members played an active role in the lives of foster and adopted children took shape.
To be successful, structured plans of care, activities and trainings had to be developed. Once the model was refined and running smoothly, this program idea was shared at the PATH International 2016 Conference where an overwhelming interest lead the founder to publish the model and assist other therapeutic equine facilities to open their own Stable Moments programs.
While interaction with a horse is therapeutic in and of itself, it is the consistent, one-on-one time that makes the Stable Moments mentorship model so successful. Teaching these children how to communicate with their horse through body language, energy and pressure lets them develop a greater capacity for empathy, social- and self-awareness. As these youth get comfortable in their routine with their mentors and horse, their willingness to apply themselves improves. This success eventually translates to home, school and community settings.
Children who have suffered abuse and neglect have good reason to be untrusting of people, especially those in authority or care roles. For these children, the horse provides an alternative sentient being with whom they can achieve a partnership through trust. This type of relationship—which is often foreign to these children—can be the beginning of building more stable connections with other humans, hence the name Stable Moments.
The Stable Moments mentorship model runs the length of a typical school year. The longer youth have access to the same horse and mentor, the more stability. Each mentor session builds on the last to create a strong foundation that equips these children to make healthy choices, value themselves and become productive members of society. Mentorship and development of life skills through EAL give these children a glimmer of hope and a reason to live when all they have known is how to survive.
Each child has an individualized plan of care that highlights their strengths and challenges. It also outlines goals to keep the mentor on track and directed during sessions. The model uses structured EAL activities to develop life skills such as emotional awareness, self-regulation, anger management, healthy relationships, social cues and appropriate boundaries just to name a few. Stable Moments also uses daily activity logs and progress summaries to ensure plan-of-care goals are being met and to collect qualitative data.