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Jan23 VOMJanuary 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! 💚🐴🍪

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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!