There is something about a horse
There is something remarkable happening in Fellsmere at the Florida Equestrian Foundation. Lives are being changed, minds are being rescued and hearts are being healed through a type of therapy work that dates back to WWII and the special gift of understanding as only a horse can give.
Winston Churchill said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Florida Equestrian Foundation (FEF) has living proof. Seeking to help her clients grow, heal and maximize their potential, Cindy Devine, Executive Officer of FEF, uses her team of eight horses in special equine assisted activities designed to help individuals understand their own emotions and how their behavior effects them and the world they live in. Through instant feedback clients learn to control themselves and overcome negative past experiences that effect everyday behavior. The equine therapy has benefits such as increased concentration, relief from stress, emotional and mental calmness and decreased anxiety. Clients who are referred to Cindy or seek out FEF as a solution often suffer from mental or emotional stress and negative behaviors brought on by emotional or behavioral disorders such as PTSD, ADHD, depression, social discomfort, abuse, eating disorder, anger, aggression and more. Autism, communication and esteem issues are among other examples of issues also successfully treated through Cindy’s equine therapy and with the help of a therapist, when requested.
Horses react to human emotion by way of copying or mimicking our behavior and energy we emanate. If you are scared, the horse becomes scared. If you are angry, the horse becomes angry. For the client, seeing the connection between how the horse is reacting to instructions he or she gives provides that individual such an immediate picture of the issue or problem they are facing that there is no other program or therapy as instantly effective in promoting a long term, permanent change. And perhaps most revolutionary or inspiring at this point in time is the fact that all of this is accomplished without drugs or testing. Pure and simple, it’s all about healing.
Cindy and her daughter, Marci Dalton – the horse trainer, started working with horses and interested riders over seven years ago when they opened their riding program at Scarlett Stables. “It all started as a riding program and then took off when we started being asked to work with specific individuals. When I started working with people who could see and feel the effects of what that horse had on him or her, I knew that this was it – what I wanted to do,” shares Cindy. With a varied background including Radiation Therapy, teaching the medical science program at local high schools and IRSC, as well as authoring twelve books on children’s nutrition, FEF’s chief officer is no stranger to helping people in the work she does. She is also no stranger to horses with a daughter who came out of the womb saying “horsey” and grew into such an accomplished horsewoman.
With a team of nine horses distinctively different in attitude and personality – each horse has his own role on the team. Cindy and Marci know all of their “staff’s’” winsome and most loveable traits, as well as each horse’s unique ability to work with mentally wounded individuals. There is a careful assessment that occurs when the capacity to change a life is at hand. Cindy will evaluate her client and then usually she selects a horse or group of horses that can successfully team with that individual to work through the therapy session. It is not even unusual for her horses to pick the client! Most of her equine assistants have also changed in nature over the years, becoming heartwarmingly loveable, or attention seeking when once standoffish, even mischievous, but in only the best kind of way! Horses consistently treated with respect and love and nurtured in a quiet, healthy environment as well as being encouraged to socialize, have all the potential in the world to extend compassion, acceptance and understanding to the human hearts and minds they meet seeking rescue and healing.
With veterans, seniors and autistic individuals comprising the majority of the foundation’s client list, Cindy shares that they have seen many other kinds of success stories in families, couples and individuals alike. For example, test anxiety has been cured in one session. Kids who are being bullied at school experience renewed confidence as they regain control of their lives and learn to diffuse situations with the help of the horse. One of the foundation’s therapists specializes in addictions – and they have even seen clients ultimately get off prescriptions. FEF has had tremendous success with veterans experiencing this type of therapy… men who have taken to these horses because they need to work with something that is big and strong and because it provides them with immediate feedback as they work toward a renewed peace of mind post war. Regardless of the pain, loss, dysfunction or injury that has been inherited or inflicted, clients are experiencing life changing results that are making a long-term permanent difference.
Based solely on donations and the help of volunteers, this 501(c)3 foundation operates off of the benevolence of others. With no immediate marketing endeavors or fundraising events planned in the coming months, the foundation’s focus is on implementing the Social Program for Horses and Autism, and on fundraising directed toward obtaining 40 sponsorships for this program’s waiting list for the coming year. Busy organizing the first social program in IRC for autism, Cindy has hired a public relations individual to develop the sponsorship concept. With local corporations in our area known for hiring the mentally/behaviorally challenged individuals, FEF can focus on obtaining the backing and encouragement of companies that may ultimately employ individuals who experience and succeed through equine therapy. Cindy’s ultimate goal is to work with many more therapists and to nationally franchise the foundation putting a facility near each of our major military bases.
Florida Equestrian Foundation’s work is remarkable and unusual to our area of Florida, but not unique in its methods of using behavioral or mental equine therapy. With current efforts and future hopes of working with the University of Florida’s Psychotherapy Center in Vero Beach, perhaps we will see FEF’s work being included in local studies. There is also a possibility that FEF will collaborate with another barn and move the facility closer to Vero Beach, making the long trek to the current remote but very private Fellsmere location an easier commute for many in the future.
Cindy’s clients are referred by word of mouth, therapists, doctors, and ‘FRIENDS’ – the businesses or organizations who support the foundation in various ways. “Doctors have had client’s who have heard about us tell them about FEF. We have never had anyone come once and not want to come back.” Between the work that Cindy, Marci, the therapists, and the staff of equine assistants are doing and the warmth of loving volunteers, her three friendly dogs and the beauty of the remote land and stables…it’s very easy to understand why anyone would want to return – even if you just need a little TLC from an amazing group of very special horses.
Scott, a new volunteer at FEF shares, “I like coming out here. The horses are relaxing to be around…and they are nice. Before coming to FEF I had no experience with horses. All of the horses listen very well and seem to like me – I’m still pretty new. This is a pretty calming place to be. Usually I get to work with the horses for a few hours, which is nice.
Joshua has been volunteering for about a month or two and usually arrives in the afternoon. “I spend time with the horses and clean their stalls. I have been getting back into riding lessons – it is good to be back on a horse, it really relaxes me. Horses make me feel better about myself. All of the horses know me – but, I really love Schadow. They are all very special horses though.” While volunteering at FEF, Joshua has noticed that working with horses has helped him with his self-esteem and his confidence – something everyone can use.
“There are a lot of different ways to volunteer at FEF – everything from hands on work with the horses to marketing, social media, accounting, and social connections. It doesn’t have to be hands-on. You can volunteer even if you have no experience with horses at all. We don’t allow anyone to volunteer that doesn’t understand the philosophy of accepting everyone – everyone is treated the same. We work as a group – it all has to be positive and harmonious,” states Cindy.
The Florida Equestrian Foundation believes that every individual has the ability within themselves for growth, healing and maximizing their own potential. When you consider the impact the foundation’s work has had not only on its clients’ lives, but the lives of their family members as well, you begin to understand that equine behavioral therapy is unlike anything else.
For additional information about Florida Equestrian Foundation visit www.floridaequestrianfoundation.org. There are many ways to donate financially or to volunteer help. Along with a team of the tenderhearted, supportive and abundantly loved horses, the devoted and tireless crew of volunteers at FEF are the heart of the organization. Volunteers who assist are relied on in many ways and no gift of time is ever too small.
To contact Cindy Devine, please call 772-538-3748 or email FloridaEquestrianFoundation@gmail.com. FEF is located at Scarlett Stables, 9745 141st Avenue, Fellsmere, Florida. Please call Cindy for directions or to schedule an appointment.
For the fifth consecutive election since 2005, Andrea Coy won re-election to the Sebastian City Council. Not even taking time to savior her victory, Coy was hard at work immediately following the certification of the election results to ensure the success of the Sebastian Clambake scheduled for Nov. 9 and 10 at the Sebastian Riverview Park.
In responding to what Coy felt were the top priorities for her new term, she said that the “first priority had to be the hiring of a new City Manager to replace Al Minner who is leaving to accept a job in Leesburg.”
Coy wants to find a city manager who shares her commitment “to making improvements to the City of Sebastian.” It is her belief that staffing levels have been cut over the years so that additional reductions in personnel would make it difficult to fulfill the needs of the city residents. Even if it takes months to find the appropriate candidate, Coy wants to ensure that the next city manager will be someone who is an innovative thinker and who will work to meet the needs of the residents.
Coy’s second priority is to work day and night if necessary with federal, state, county and local civic leaders to improve the quality of the Indian River Lagoon. With emphatic sternness, she said “I will take my case to lobby whoever is necessary to protect our lagoon.”
Priority number three for Coy is one which is asked about most often by city residents and that is the ditches and swales need to be brought up to speed in order to save money. The contractor who had been hired to address this problem had been terminated and a new contractor will soon take over the project. It is Coy’s intention to “make sure that the contractor meets all the contract specifications in a cost-effective and timely fashion.”
City Clerk Sally Maio stated, “The new council will be sworn in on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 and there is a six page agenda for the first business meeting of the new City Council.” Joining in the swearing will be Bob McPartlan, and Richard Gillmor. Bob McPartlan easily won re-election and former City Councilman Richard Gillmor won a close contest over Don Wright who has declined to challenge the election results.
When asked what she attributed her renewed vote of confidence that she continues to get from the voters, Coy stated, “They know that I am fighting each and every day to make Sebastian a better place to live.”
As a retired U. S. Army Master Sergeant, Coy has worked with seven non-profits and gotten to know large groups of voters with differing priorities. The voters in return know that she works tirelessly on their behalf.
Coy through her long public service career in elected office has accomplished many things. However, the one accomplishment of which she is most proud of is the Senior Activity Center of Sebastian. This facility provides social recreational opportunities to more than 200 people. The cost to the City of Sebastian is essentially only to cover the costs of the utility services for the non-profit organization that charges no membership fees. The center became a reality by “working closely with the business community that provided funding, offered discounts and made donations of needed items to create a safe and secure environment for seniors to enjoy the company of their peers.”
In responding to her personal career goal, Andrea said she “never wanted to be one of those people whose heads get too big for their hats.” As someone with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Education, Andrea is fully prepared to educate politicians at the federal, state, county and local level about why it is so important to protect the Lagoon. Thus, she is ready to once again roll up her sleeves and work tirelessly to meet the needs of the voters.
9/11 observances in Sebastian today
Riverview Park, Sebastian – Speaker, retired Col. Bill Prince; St. Peter’s Academy Choir; veterans color guards; members of county and local government; artifact from ground zero on display; wreath laying; veterans salute. 8:43 a.m.
First Responder Recognition Dinner: 4 p.m. Sept. 11. American Legion Post 189, 807 Louisiana Ave., Sebastian. 321-956-0135
Exchange Club of Sebastian gives $16,000 to help prevent child abuse
The Exchange Club of Sebastian was honored to present Yellow Umbrella with a check for $16,000 in August. Exchange Club Yellow Umbrella is a Child Abuse Prevention Center, located in South Brevard. This donation is the direct result of the Sebastian Exchange Club Foundation’s 20th Annual Blue Water Open Charity Offshore Fishing Tournament, which was held on June 8th of this year. The proceeds from this tournament allows the Sebastian Exchange Club to support many non-profit organizations in the local community, Yellow Umbrella being it’s largest recipient. The date for the 2014 BWO has been set for June 7, 2014.
The prevention of child abuse is near and dear to all Exchange Clubs across America. Sebastian Exchange has the privilege of sponsoring Yellow Umbrella. In 1979, Child Abuse Prevention was adopted as Exchange’s National Project. Each Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Center, sanctioned by the National Organization, requires a local Exchange Club sponsorship, and Sebastian Exchange was happy to oblige.
Child abuse affects more than 3.2 million children each year in America. Yellow Umbrella, as with other CAP centers, utilizes professionally trained parent aides who act as role models and teach parents how to be more loving and responsible to their children, through home intervention, structured classes, and training materials. The supportive relationship that develops between the parent aide and the family helps to break the cycle of abuse. Terri Mermis, Executive Director of Yellow Umbrella states, “In just the first two months of the new fiscal year, we have assisted 257 parents and 674 children. Our programs include, but are not limited to, Parenting and Anger Management classes, youth mentoring, counseling, family stabilization, supervised visitation, and paraprofessional services, as well as providing donations of food, furniture, diapers, clothing, housewares, and baby items to families in need.”
Michael Natale, President of the Exchange Club of Sebastian, states, “In these troubling times, there is a great need for the services provided by Yellow Umbrella. Parents, as well as children need to know that help is available to them should they require it. We believe in what Yellow Umbrella represents and the services they provide. Through our support, we hope to help them continue in their endeavors. “
Exchange is the oldest service organization in America, founded in 1917. Throughout the years, Exchange Clubs have served their communities in areas of Americanism, Community Service, Youth and the Prevention of Child Abuse. These activities are designed to meet the needs of the communities they serve as well as to preserve and strengthen the principles that make our nation great.
Sebastian Exchange is actively involved in all these activities, and is always looking for other individuals in the community with similar aspirations for service. The Exchange Club of Sebastian meets every Wednesday (except the first Wednesday of each month) at noon at Captain Hiram’s Tiffany Room. If interested, join them any time at a luncheon meeting.
Fellsmere Police Chief to retire
After 19 years of service to the City of Fellsmere, 7 serving as Police Chief, Scott A. Melanson will be retiring from the City September 23. In a written announcement, City Manager Jason Nunemaker wrote, “The City owes a debt of gratitude to Chief Melanson for his dedication throughout his years of service. As City Manager it has been a pleasure working with Scott and I wish him the best in his future pursuits.”
Nunemaker announced Keith M. Touchberry, who is currently a Captain with the Vero Beach Police Department, will be Fellsmere’s new Chief of Police. “Mr. Touchberry is currently a Captain with Vero Beach Police Department serving as Second in Command. Mr. Touchberry has over 24 years of law enforcement experience and is a greater Fellsmere resident. We look forward to welcoming Keith aboard and joining the management team,” Nunemaker wrote.
Questions regarding this transition may be directed to Jason Nunemaker, City Manager at 772-646-6303 or email@example.com.
Exchange Club fills Food Pantry shelves
The Exchange Club of Sebastian is dedicated to Community Service. A favorite project is filling the shelves of the Roseland Ecumenical Food Pantry, which happened on August 12, just in time to aid back-to-school children and their families. $1,000 worth of food and paper products were donated as a way of showing the Club’s gratitude for the wonderful contribution the Food Pantry makes in our community.
The Sebastian Exchange Club, thanks to the efforts of members, friends, community sponsors, and fishermen, raises funds each year through the Sebastian Exchange Club Foundation’s Blue Water Open Charity Offshore Fishing Tournament, which was held this year on June 8th. All proceeds from the tournament are directed back into the community, through the Club’s dedication to Community Service, Patriotism, Youth Activities, and the Prevention of Child Abuse. These are the Pillars on which the National Exchange Club and local Exchange clubs are founded.
The Exchange Club of Sebastian meets every Wednesday (except the first Wednesday) of each month at noon at Capt’n Hiram’s on Indian River Drive in Sebastian. The club welcomes residents with like-minded goals of making a positive difference in the community to join them for lunch. For more information regarding Sebastian Exchange, get in touch with Michael Natale, President, at 772-388-0044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sebastian Exchange Club sopports Youth Guidance
The Exchange Club of Sebastian presented Youth Guidance a check for $6,000 at their July 17th luncheon meeting, in support of their programs and mentoring achievements. This donation was made possible through Sebastian Exchange’s very successful 20th Annual Blue Water Open Charity Offshore Fishing Tournament which was held on June 8th, 2013.
Youth Guidance provides programs and activities for children of low income, single parent families. The Exchange Club of Sebastian is all about helping at-risk children and helping to prevent child abuse. A partnership between these two organizations is a natural fit!
Doug Borrie, Executive Director of Youth Guidance is quoted as saying, “The Sebastian Exchange Club is a huge supporter of Youth Guidance. This donation ($6,000) will help us serve more than 400 of Indian River County’s neediest children by providing mentors and adult role models. Youth Guidance appreciates the Sebastian Exchange’s dedication, generosity and willingness to make a difference with the children enrolled in our program.”
Exchange, America’s Service Club, is a group of men and women working together to make our communities better places to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities, and its national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse. The Exchange Club of Sebastian meets every Wednesday (except the first Wednesday of each month) at noon at Captain Hiram’s Tiffany Room. They welcome like-minded people looking for a way to serve the community. If interested, join them any time at a luncheon meeting.
“America’s Gatekeeper: The Story of Paul Kroegel” begins production
Marvo Entertainment Group has announce the newest project in its series on heroes of conservation, America’s Gatekeeper: The Story of Paul Kroegel, is in production. This one-hour documentary will tell the story of a young German immigrant who left his native Chemnitz to become the first Refuge Manager of America’s first National Wildlife Refuge, Pelican Island, Florida. This is the story of a man whose deep and abiding love for nature still inspires us today—a man who truly proved one person can make a difference.
Filming began in March as videographer Mike Benton captured the celebration of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge’s 110th birthday, along with many gorgeous images of the island, its wildlife and the Paul Kroegel Homestead. We also caught up with “Theodore Roosevelt,” a.k.a. Jim Wiegand, and recorded some of his inspiring words about Kroegel. We extend special thanks to Kevin Lowry, Pelican Island NWR Visitor Services Manager, for his historical perspective and assistance with educational outreach. See the new promotional video for the project at: http://www.marvoentertainmentgroup.com/agpk-home
In our archival research, Marvo has started on a new path of discovery with a treasure trove of documents and photographs that are being made available through the generosity of Kroegel’s granddaughter, Janice Timinski; Jim Culberson of Sea Bird Publishing; and the National Conservation Training Center Archives. You may view a sampling of these wonderful documents at: http://www.marvoentertainmentgroup.com/agpk-home/paul-kroegel-2/agpk- updates-surprises-and-treasures/agpk-archival-treasures
We have put together an extraordinary team for the project, including our host, Kroegel’s great- great grandson, Nicholas Rouco. “I am very excited at the prospect of being able to contribute to his legacy,” Rouco said. “When I was young I was amazed at the fact that there was a statue dedicated to him. Being so young I had not fully understood his impact. Several years later … I finally began to understand and appreciate the importance and the impact my great-great grandfather had on America’s history.”
Pelican Island NWR Manager Charlie Pelizza feels Kroegel’s life is a real source of inspiration. “What started with Paul and a small five-acre protected island has grown to a nationwide network of 556 refuges totaling over 150 million acres,” he said. “Being only the third Refuge Manager in Pelican Island’s history, I am continually humbled to be in his company, but share in his dedication and passion. Knowing Paul and understanding the refuge management tradition that began with him is not only important for us to connect with today but also for the generations to come.”
The Cultural Council of Indian River County, Florida, has partnered with Marvo to help spearhead the multimedia project. It has recently been presented to the Sebastian City Council,
City of Sebastian, Florida, and the Board of County Commissioners, Indian River County, Florida.
Barbara Hoffman, Chairman of the Board of the Cultural Council of Indian River County, Florida, emphasized the importance of Kroegel’s legacy. “Preserving our environment and its inhabitants is such a worthy endeavor,” she said. “To learn how one person can make such a difference in this world is inspiring to all, but especially to the young. This is a story that needs to be told.”
We look forward to telling the story of the immigrant who changed our landscapes with our first National Wildlife Refuge. For underwriting opportunities in bringing this extraordinary story to life, contact Samuel Koltinsky at email@example.com.
Marvo Executive Producer Samuel Koltinsky’s work is inspired by a passion for stories, history, preservation, and the environment. Over the past twenty years, he has produced numerous documentaries in Europe and the United States and has worked with PBS, the History Channel and the Documentary Channel.
National Elephant Center’s first phase unveiled
“We are hoping this becomes a pachyderm’s paradise” said Rick Barongi, outgoing chairman of the National Elephant Center, speaking to a group of approximately 50 people who turned out Wednesday for the unveiling of the center’s first phase.
“We are on time and under budget” said executive director John Lehnhardt, referring to the 30-acre, $2.5 million project. When complete, the center, a collaborative effort of 73 zoos from across the country, will span 225 acres on the Fellsmere Grade, about 3 miles northwest of downtown Fellsmere.
The center will be home to aging elephants, young male elephants, transitioning herds, and others being moved between zoos.
Phase one includes a 13,000-square-foot open air receiving area, a keeper’s station and four paddocks. Up to nine elephants will be housed in the initial phase. The elephants will begin arriving in the late spring, Lehnhardt said. Eventually the center will accommodate up to 37 elephants.
Though the center will not be open to the general public, visiting schoolchildren and adult groups will be invited out, and will be able to see the elephants from a viewing area next to the keeper’s station.
Lehnhardt explained that the initial funding for the purchase of the land and construction of phase one came from the participating zoos. He said the group plans to expand fundraising to appeal to private donors.