Shared Experiences

"I was originally a Towson University Family Studies and Human Services intern at Rose of Sharon from January 2013-May 2013, became a donor in August 2013, and am now a volunteer. ROSES has not only introduced me to what I want to do but it has helped me grow and truly realize my full potential. From Jake the barn cat to Joan Twinning, everyone is warm, welcoming, kind, and nurturing. I have volunteered for other therapeutic equestrian centers and none compare. There is no better place to volunteer for or donate to. ROSES really works hard to be the best they can be and to benefit as many individuals as they can." Sarah 10/18/13

"I recently became a volunteer at Rose of Sharon Equestrian School.  From the very first day when I came to interview with Joan and see the facility, I was positively impressed by the environment there. The atmosphere is extremely pleasant and relaxing, with soft instrumental music playing in the barn which seems to enhance the well-appointed buildings and pastoral setting. The new indoor riding arena offers students an opportunity to work, while protected from the weather. The barn is the most clean and well-organized farm building I have ever visited. It is clear that these are not just animal stalls but the homes of the special equines which help to heal the spirit of all humans who come there. The horses receive the most exquisite individualized care, including specially tailored diets and meticulously groomed living quarters. Joan’s caring nature and gentle personality come together with the peaceful setting she has created to foster a positive learning and healing environment. My schedule is very busy and although time constraints only allow me to volunteer a few hours per week. I look forward to going to work there, whether I am sweeping floors, cleaning feeding trays or watering horses. It has rapidly become a respite from the daily grind of rushing around town. I highly recommend the ROSES as place of solace, encouragement and growth." Lynn 9/11/13

"Roses is an amazing organization for children with disabilities. The amount of time, effort, love, and caring that goes into making this such a life changing experience for their students is amazing. Joan is truly making a difference with not only her students, but every person that walks through her door." Kellene 10/18/12

"My daughter volunteered at ROSES. She came for the opportunity to work with horses and stayed for the love of Roses. The program is very well run with such love and attention to detail. The horse and barn are so well cared for. There is even soothing music that plays just for the horses. This is a place where healing occurs not only for the clients but also for the animals and anyone who comes into contact with Roses. Such a worthy program that will leave an impact on you for the rest of your life." Mom 11/16/12

"I have loved every second spent at Rose of Sharon. It is really an amazing place. The barn and rings are very well kept and very impressive. The horses clearly love their jobs and it is awesome to see them during lessons and the way they interact with the children. Ms. Joan is especially what makes Rose of Sharon so special. I have always loved watching her during lessons, because the patient, caring way she works with every child makes every experience that much better. My two years at Rose of Sharon were some of the most rewarding experiences I have had. ROSES is truly a unique and spectacular place!" Kayleigh 11/13/12

"When I first walked into the barn at ROSES, I knew it was a special place. Then when the children came, and I witnessed and experienced first hand the amazing relationship that built between Joan, the horses and the children, I knew I wanted to get involved. It has made me a better person. Having horses of my own, its made me a better horsewoman. During the program, we get so close to the children that by the end of the session we are sad to see them leave. When you see the progression of the children, you know good things are happening at ROSES. There are no coincidences. Everyone is touched." Gail 7/5/12

"I started as a volunteer at ROSES in September 2006 with horse experience but no experience with children with disabilities. I am a stay-at-home mom with two girls. Having a 10 year old and a two year old I know the patience understanding that's required when raising children. I was excited to hear from a friend that there was a volunteer opportunity where I could work with horses, my passion since a young girl, and also be rewarded by knowing I was helping children benefit a unique kind of therapy. The concept of therapeutic riding was completely new to me. The first student I assisted with was a four-year-old boy with autism. I was very nervous for the first lesson but not long after it began I realized how naturally it came to me. The pride I felt lasted long after I left the farm, and I knew that this was something I wanted to stick with. I looked forward to helping every week and to seeing the boy's excitement as well as the positive changes happening. It was wonderful witnessing the family's pride in their son's accomplishments.
The atmosphere of the beautiful barn was like nothing I had worked in before and it was inspiring. I became active with the Board of Directors and helped with the organization's "Nite at the Races" fundraiser. It felt great to be part of a new fundraising event and I loved going out into the community and talking about the School. It was a lot of work, but so well worth it. The fundraiser was a success and hearing that people had a great time and were looking forward to it next year made it all the more satisfying. I am excited to be a part of the next fundraiser being planned for October.
I have decided to pursue therapeutic riding as a career and I am now working toward becoming an instructor certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). I feel that having Joan as my mentor means that I will get training under a highly experienced teacher and encouragement every step of the way. Joan often says that there is something truly special that goes on in the barn beyond her and the horses and I believe it! I am looking forward to my future at ROSES and all the lives I hope to touch along the way." Karen

"Volunteering at Rose of Sharon Equestrian School has been one of the best things that I have ever done. I have volunteered other places working with animals but I love this one the most. The people and the horses are great. After a lesson, it is so rewarding to see how happy the student is to have been working with the horses. I just love the feeling you get from helping someone, it brightens up your day to know that you have helped. At ROSES you can really tell how dedicated the volunteers are to helping the students. Also, Joan, the founder of Roses, is the nicest person you will ever meet. I couldn't picture my life without volunteering at ROSES, I love it so much!" Candace

"I have seen ROSES grow incredibly over the past few years and have witnessed the program impact a remarkable number of people. Volunteering at ROSES has made me a bolder, more caring person; and it has taught me to be more discerning. It has also given me numerous opportunities to demonstrate leadership. The volunteers all connect with the students, and through the process of helping to teach them how to groom or ride a pony we in turn are taught the priceless traits of patience and wisdom. I don't know where I would be without Joan, the students, and the horses. They have all touched my life in a way that will forever leave its imprint on me and I can't imagine another experience that could ever touch it like that again." Jaime

"I have been around horses most of my life and I have to tell you, I would rate [the ROSES] facility as one of the best I have ever seen. How these kids with severe disabilities responded was thrilling. The excitement on their faces, the fact that they are learning what to do with an animal three times their size and can somewhat control it was amazing. Then I looked to the parents' faces. If you could have seen the sense of pride.I have volunteered in the past with Special Olympics and other volunteer organizations and have never walked away with the feeling that I did this past weekend." Bill

"ROSES has been a huge blessing in my life. I moved to Baltimore from Michigan in April of 2006. I'd lived in Michigan all my life and was very involved in a therapeutic riding program there. I was so sad to leave and was concerned I wouldn't be able to find a similar program to volunteer with here. Thankfully, I was blessed to come across Rose of Sharon. Being able to take part in working with the students and horses, and even the barn work can be just the therapy that I need each week!!! No matter how my day or week has gone, I always go away from ROSES feeling light-hearted and thankful that I was led to this program!" Tracy

"I have been volunteering at Rose of Sharon for a little over a year now and I have really enjoyed working here. Working with the students and other volunteers is such a wonderful experience. The students always put a smile on my face because of all the stories they tell us and the things they do. I always look forward to coming to ROSES because I love being with all the people and animals and helping the students with the horses. The experience at Rose of Sharon has been amazing!" Kaity