Front Line Hero Appreciation Initiative

Front Line Hero Appreciation
Donate NOW and give a Front Line Hero a unique community thank you!

For Immediate Release
October 19 2020  

We are all acutely aware of the impact that Covid-19 has had on our communities in the Okanagan, the country, and the entire world. You have likely even seen reports on the “echo-pandemic”, a phenomenon describing the immense toll the Covid-19 pandemic is having on mental health. Among those most affected are our Frontline workers – not just those in the medical field but also law enforcement, firefighters, Care Home workers, grocery store clerks, crisis line volunteers, your pharmacist – and many others. They face this pandemic head-on, day after day, and that pressure can have a profound effect on their Mental Health. 

Horses are known for their calming effects on people. Horse-assisted Therapy is a proven method for treating people who are experiencing depression, anxiety and symptoms related to trauma. Spending time interacting with horses can draw out some of the anxiety, stress, and mental strain we are all feeling. Clients working with a professional therapist, who is also a horse expert, can grow their own emotional awareness and transfer the learning that takes place with the horses into their everyday lives. Horses sense what is going on ‘underneath the surface’ and will respond accordingly, and clients report feeling a deep sense of appreciation for how their emotions get accepted and acknowledged by the horse. 

According to Leanne Hammond, executive director of the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, “The idea came from a successful initiative in the lower mainland. When we were approached to offer it here, it intuitively seemed like the right thing to do. We have donors who already champion equine based therapy for stress alleviation and treatment of PTSD. As the COVID-19 situation continues the timing seems perfect to put this idea into motion for the Okanagan.”

As Annika Voeltz explains, “Whoever you are and whatever you are experiencing – being with horses offers you a new perspective to life. Horses communicate with your very core, so everything on the outside, whether it’s stress, distractions or the layers you are putting on to protect yourself from life, simply seem to disappear and let you focus on your priorities.”

Now more than ever we need to support each other and help those most affected by the
stresses of Covid-19. Through a unique partnership between Community Foundations, Canadian Mental Health Association, some talented horse-assisted therapists, this innovative way for the community to say thank you was born. With your support we can offer Horse-assisted Therapy to any frontline worker at no cost to them. Your donation can make the difference for someone struggling without access to support, or for someone who needs the special kind of help only a horse can offer. Some things are hard to talk about, some things are hard to acknowledge, and some things just build without us even noticing. None of us should be dealing with mental health on our own, especially now and especially our frontline workers.

Our frontline workers have done so much for us and for our communities. We can give back to them in a meaningful way by offering a simple but profound experience that will help relieve their stress in a safe and therapeutic environment.

Each $75 donation funds one appreciation session – nominate someone you know, or leave it up to our team of Front Line Hero Appreciation Organizers to select someone who could benefit from a thank you session! 

To Donate Online go to:

For more information, contact the Community Foundation near you: