To make a donation and support a frontline worker – scroll to bottom of page. Thank you.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls into its second-year many frontline workers are feeling physically exhausted. They put on their masks and go to work every day because they don’t have the option of working from home.
Workers in health care, law enforcement, emergency responders, care home workers, grocery store clerks, crisis line volunteers, pharmacists, and many more working the front lines are experiencing the pressures of the pandemic, day after day. These frontline workers are also dealing with the same increased stresses in their personal lives as the rest of us, such as changes in household income, children and schooling hurdles, aging parents, and personal health issues – to name a few. The increased demands of the pandemic personally and professionally are leaving many frontline workers overwhelmed and burnt out.
The Front Line Hero Appreciation Initiative has been initiated by the Community Foundation North Okanagan in partnership with Central Okanagan Community Foundation, Community Foundation South Okanagan, Canadian Mental Health Association, and horse-assisted therapists across the region – as a way for the community to say thank you to frontline workers, by offering them a way to care for themselves.
Horses are known for their calming effects on people. Horse-assisted Therapy is a proven method for treating people who are experiencing stress and anxiety for various reasons. 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. Clients report feeling a deep sense of appreciation for how their emotions get accepted and acknowledged by the horse.
As Annika Voeltz, an experienced Horse-assisted Therapist, 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.”
This unique partnership between the three Okanagan Community Foundations, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and horse-assisted therapists across the Okanagan region, is encouraging the community to support frontline workers by making a donation. With support from the community, Horse-assisted Therapy can be offered to any frontline worker at no cost to them.