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December 2023:  Angie

VOM 23 12An 11 drummers drumming drum roll please… 

Our December Volunteer of the Month is Angie! Angie comes in every Saturday and works with Andrew and Dusty.  They all have a great connection and a great time. 

“I was looking to give back to my community” says Angie “so I looked on Google and found Praying Hands Ranch.  I love horses and I love the mission of the ranch.”  Her favorite horse is Dusty which is nice since it’s the horse that Andrew rides.

Her favorite actives are grooming with Dusty and Andrew and the joking around they do.  

Thank you Angie for all you do for the ranch and Andrew! 

November 2023: Rondi

VOM 23 11Time for the November drumroll please! Congratulations to Rondi! 

Rondi started volunteering at Promise Ranch.  Her 6 year anniversary will be in January.  She had been wanting to volunteer, for quite some time, especially therapeutic riding for the horses and the clients.  I was still working full time, so I told myself I could only do a few Saturdays, but after 2 or 3 times, I was giving up all my Saturdays to volunteer. 

Rondi loves working with Tricia and the Wellspring clients on Thursdays afternoons. Her favorite part is watching the clients bond with the horses & other animals.  During this class the volunteers work with a variety of age groups and animals.  She loves all the animals equally, but would pick Mia as one of her favorite horses. 

We are so thankful to have Rondi volunteering at the new (to her) location! Thank you Rondi!  

23 09September 2023: Deb

Drumrolllllll  Our September volunteer of the month is Deb!  

She first came to Promise Ranch because she grew up with horses and wanted to go “back to being a kid” after living in the corporate world. She enjoys working with the ranch crew and clients, and she said “It’s fulfilling in all ways.”  Her favorite horse wonderful, blue-eyed Link  She enjoys their sweet relationship. Thank you, Deb, for all that you do! We couldn’t do what we do without you! 



23 07July 2023:

Drumrolllllll  Our July volunteer of the month is our beloved Ashlee!

She first came to PHR for her service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She said she loves being with the volunteers and staff, but her favorite part is the seeing the progress the clients make. It’s amazing to witness even over the course of a short period! Her favorite horse Rainy  Thank you, Ashlee, for giving your time, energy, and love toward our mission! You are always a friendly and kind face to see. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

23-06.jpgJune 2023: Maureen

Drumrollllllll  Our June volunteer of the month is Maureen!

When asked what brought her to the ranch she responded, “I love horses and wanted to spend time volunteering and getting to be around them.” She said her favorite part is just getting to be with them, whether it’s grooming or walking them around the arena. She said “It just connects you with them, they have a neat energy about them. I love how I’m constantly learning being around everyone.”

Her favorite horses are Dusty and Bailey  And her favorite small animals are Dolly Lamba and Dolly Parton 

She ended with “I just love it here, it’s a great place to volunteer.” Well we love having you, Maureen! Thank you for giving your time, energy, and love toward our mission! 

23 05May 2023: Isaac

Drumroll please…. Introducing our May volunteer of the month, Isaac!
He came to the ranch for his Latter Day Saints mission, and we are so grateful for all of his help and support! 
His favorite horse is Bailey and he says his favorite thing about his time at the ranch is working with the clients and learning about horsemanship.  
Thank you, Isaac, for all of your time and hard work! We couldn’t do what we do without you!

JoshApril 2023: Josh

Drumroll please… introducing our volunteer of the month, Josh!  
He saw the sign out front saying “volunteers needed” and came for an orientation! Then he attended the Christmas open house, and he was hooked. He says he keeps coming back for the horses, the classes, the people  His favorite horse is Bailey, and he especially enjoys working with Isabella and AJ. 
Thank you, Josh, for giving your time, energy, and heart to our mission! We couldn’t do what we do without you.

2023 03March 2023: Christine

Congratulations to our March Volunteer of the Month, Christine! One day last summer she was walking her Giants (3 huge draft horses: Seneca, Bailey and Spot) when one of our instructors saw her and suggested she bring her horses to Praying Hands Ranch to be therapy horses.  She thought that was a great idea and soon after those three horses joined our herd.  
Besides letting us use her horses, Christine has been busy doing chores and planning events.  She has taken the goats, sheep, alpacas and chickens under her wing and always made sure they were ready for bed when she would come get her horses tucked in for the night.  
She has taken on the volunteer position of Special Projects Coordinator. Her role as Special Projects Coordinator is the ideal fit for her dedication to bringing the community to PHR and help make it their home too! She headed up getting us in the Parker Christmas parade this year with the Giants leading the way in their Christmas finery.  She  also worked to get Spot on a 9 news segment before the parade - see the video here!.  
Christine you are a true blessing to Praying Hands Ranch as are your Giants! Thank you! 

February 2023: Connie ClConnie Cliffordifford

Big announcement! Introducing our February volunteer of the month, drumroll please... it's our beloved, Connie!

She has been at the ranch for 25 years! Her favorite part of being a volunteer is working with the horses, and her favorite horse is Rainy. Her advice for new volunteers is to have fun and ask questions! She found out about PHR when she was a paraprofessional educator at a school and some of her students were riders here. And the rest, they say, is history!

Thank you, Connie, for all that you do at the ranch! We couldn't do what we do without you!


Lynn HoppeJanuary 2023: Lynn Hoppe

We are starting off the year right by presenting our January 2023 Volunteer of the month, our IT Volunteer Lynn!
Lynn was introduced to PHR by her husband, Glenn, who has been volunteering since 2016 when he retired. Although Lynn was not comfortable with working with the horses, she offered up her computer skills to update the website and anything IT the ranch needed. She has developed a number of applications for the ranch, including the volunteer check-in/check-out system to improve the ability to track volunteer hours and multiple behind the scene applications to help the front office track a variety of things including horse health, client assessments, donations, and much, much more... getting rid of a lot of paperwork and filing! Lynn loves spending time at the ranch - great people, great mission and she can still use her computer skills to help others.
Lynn, we are so blessed to have you at the Ranch and Thank you so much for bringing us up to date in the computer world!

BenDecember 2022: Ben

A belated Congratulations to our December Volunteer of the Month, Ben! 
Ben came to PHR during high school to meet his school's community service requirements.  Ben is our local Canadian and has had lots of moves in his lifetime.  He has found himself still in our "neighborhood" while all of his school records catch up to him, thus giving him a gap year of sorts.  While we are excited to see what Ben will do with his future we are thrilled that he spends some of his gap time with us! 
He is our go to when we find ourselves short on the volunteer side.  He comes in just about every time we put out the plea, and he always brings his phenomenal work ethic and most importantly his great sense of humor when he comes.  
Ben we are going to miss you terribly when your make your next step in the world.  We are truly blessed to have you amongst us.

Kim StricklandNovember 2022: Kim Strickland

Have you enjoyed the new life that our social media has been given? Especially the reels and videos? Then you can thank our new Social Media Queen and our November Volunteer of the Month, Kim Strickland! (By the way, she is NOT composing this post!)
We recently asked Kim about her connection with Praying Hands Ranch. Here is what she had to say:
"I’ve always wanted to be with horses, I had so many horse encyclopedias and toys as a kid. I feel like I’m now living out my childhood dream! I’m a speech-language pathologist, but I’m currently staying home with my kids while they’re little. Since staying home there’s been a hole in my heart, I miss the work and the clients. I started volunteering at the ranch as self-care time to fill me up, but it’s become so much more than that. I love the clients, horses, and community! It’s been such a gift in my life."
Kim, YOU are truly a gift to us! We love having you (& your kids) smiling faces grace us with your presence.... and your baked goods!

22 10

October 2022: Drea

We are pleased to honor our October Volunteer of the Month.  Congratulations to Drea! 

We asked Drea first off, which was her favorite  horse.   “I thought there’s too many to choose from! Seneca is the sweetest- she has that big dog syndrome. She’s this huge horse but she’s so gentle and kind.”

When asked her about what she loves about Praying Hands Ranch, she said “I have 14 years of experience working with children and adults with disabilities. I now work in human services but behind a desk. Volunteering at PHR allows me to be reunite with my passion of helping others. Along with working with so many amazing horses and fun animals.”

“It’s been such a gift of self care for me to set the time aside for something that brings me so much joy and fulfillment.”  Drea we could not have said it better. We want everyone who comes through our doors to leave feeling better about themselves.  Sums up why it is better to give than to receive. 

Thank you Drea for all you bring to PHR.  We are so blessed to have you!

22 09September 2022: Jim Clifford

Meet our volunteer of the month for September, Jim Clifford (and his sweetie Annie!)

Jim has been volunteering at Praying Hands Ranch for over four years. His wife (long time volunteer Connie) "made" him come out the first time. 
Although he loves working with the clients, the other volunteers and all of the horses, he does admit that Annie and Marley are his BFFs.  He says he has learned so much information about horses by working with our instructors.

Thank you Jim for your four plus years of service and we look forward to working with you for many more years. 

Mary_Beth.jpgVolunteer of the Year: Dr. Mary Beth Chismarich

We are past due for recognizing our Volunteer of the Year! We are very pleased to honor Dr. Mary Beth Chismarich. Yes, our Executive Director is a volunteer!

Mary Beth Chismarich, M.D. grew up on a farm near St. Louis, Missouri.  She loved doctoring all the livestock on the farm and debated human vs veterinary medicine during her childhood, but eventually her love of children led her to medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She completed her pediatrics residency at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, KY.  After completing residency, she returned to St. Louis and worked at Mercy Hospital in the Pediatric Emergency Department and Pediatric ICU.  She then completed a fellowship in Pediatric and Hospice and Palliative Care and started the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at Mercy Hospital.  Mary Beth also served as the Medical Director for the Children’s Home Society and as the treasurer for a local non-profit.  Shortly after an unexpected early medical retirement, Mary Beth’s husband, Stephen, received a job offer in the Denver area so they packed up their 4 children who were still at home and moved to Parker in May of 2021.  Mary Beth began looking for ways to serve her community and keep busy and started volunteering at Praying Hands Ranch.

One of our instructors at the time saw the leadership and experience Mary Beth had to offer and suggested her for the board.  The full board too saw that and made her the Acting Director.  When our beloved Shirley passed away, Mary Beth became our Executive Director. 

Mary Beth is honored to be our volunteer of the year.  She says  "I fell in love from the first day and I am very excited to ensure the mission of PHR so it can continue to expand and thrive." 

Mary Beth, Thank you from all of us at Praying Hands.  We are blessed to have you as the leader of our team and we look forward to working with you for a very long time!


Mike and RockyJuly 2022: Mykhe (or Mike)

Join us in congratulating our July Volunteer of the Month! Mykhe (or Mike) and his family moved to the United States over a year ago from the Ukraine. At his orientation Mike was worried he wouldn’t be busy enough! So we put him to work with Earnest, and he is keeping busy! His work ethic is so admirable.

He is pictured with one of our newer horses Rocky, one of his favorites.

Thank you Mike for all you contribute to Praying Hands Ranch. You are a true blessing!

Volunteer of the monthJune 2022:  Kirk and Sharilyn 

This month we are celebrating TWO volunteers of the month! Sharilyn & Kirk!

"We were initially drawn to PHR because it offered us the opportunity for hands on volunteer work with special needs children and adults. It was an added bonus that our volunteer work included working with horses. As time went on we realized PHR offers more than we initially thought. It is a place where clients, volunteers, and horses are treated with dignity and respect. It is a safe place in this troubled world. It is a family. I have always been fond of Paints, probably because I grew up watching the t.v. show Ponderosa. So, I would have to say Dancer has my heart. My husband is especially fond of Rooster. But big or small, we love them all."

Thank you Sharilyn & Kirk for your love and dedication! We are blessed to have you here!

Katie - Volunteer May 22May 2022: Katie Moore

Katie Moore is our May 2022 Volunteer of the month.

Katie has been volunteering at PHR for 3 years now. She had an aunt with special needs, and she loved horses. Through her aunt Katie saw firsthand what a difference the relationship with a horse made in her aunt's quality of life. Katie says "Being at PHR reminds me of her, and I love being able to see the joy the horses bring to the clients and the things they can accomplish together." Her favorite horse at PHR is Blue. "He always takes great care of his riders!" 

Katie you are truly a blessing to Praying Hands!

Volunteer of the Month - AprilApril 2022: Doreen

Doreen has been volunteering at Praying Hands Ranch for about two years. Her favorite horses are Preacher and Diamond. She loves working with our clients and has loved learning so much about horses.

Thank you Doreen for your dedication to Praying Hands Ranch!