Welcome to our Changemaker Profiles blog series! Each edition will profile one outstanding social changemaker from the JVA client community. By sharing the stories of some of the incredible people we get to work with every day, each accomplishing extraordinary work in nonprofits, government, social enterprise and elsewhere, we hope we will bring a little light and inspiration to your day!
For this edition, we spoke with Annette Price, founding director of Pegasus Bridge to Wellness, a nonprofit that supports equine-partnered coaching for populations that seek emotional, physical and spiritual healing but have limited resources to fund it. Pegasus’ pilot program is Camp Unplugged, for children ages 8–12, which incorporates hands-on horsemanship skills, exploration of the natural world, and arts and crafts activities.
1. Tell us about you and your organization and the social change you are trying to achieve.
“I will give you a little history. I am a certified Equine Gestalt coach. My personal coaching business is On the Wings of a Horse. About five years ago, I had a friend in Boston who wanted to send me a donation for my camp. I told him it wouldn’t work because it’s not a nonprofit. I tried not to get excited. Indeed, it didn’t work.
“I started asking questions, dreaming. A lot of people said it was not possible, it was too big—forget about it. Then I had a chance encounter with a friend who had started a nonprofit in Pennsylvania.
“Pegasus Bridge to Wellness is a nonprofit set up to help my fellow practitioners of Equine Gestalt. It was born out of a huge need I saw to bring people together—people who are trained to relieve suffering—and there are so many different populations who could really benefit. Pegasus Bridge is a place to hold money, gained through fundraising and private donations, for people who have great ideas for programs and/or who have communities across the U.S. that need assistance and can be helped by what we do—women’s shelters, at-risk teens, foster children, veterans…
“So we are trained and ready to work; we have ideas and people in the community who need us—a lot of those people don’t have funding, and a lot of us don’t have businesses set up as nonprofits. So Pegasus Bridge is set up to be that source of funding. People can come to us with a need in their community, a proposed client and tell us how much it would take to pull it off. A lot of times it is under $5,000.
“Our pilot program for the last four years has been Camp Unplugged, a horse and nature camp whose goal is to give children a week of being outdoors away from their devices— their cells and iPads— for hands-on training in how to meet another species and learn to be safe with them. The self-esteem and the confidence building from Monday to Friday is amazing. It’s an incredible program. Weld County, where I live, isn’t a wealthy county, so this camp wouldn’t survive without people in town sponsoring these children. About half of them are sponsored. Now, with Pegasus Bridge, the gifts can be tax deductible.”
2. What keeps you inspired and going when things get tough?
“I am inspired by a need for a healthier society. I am a very optimistic person, but it is difficult to turn on the news and not see that there are so many people we are not serving, that are not healthy.
“Let’s start at home and then go global. There is so much potential in the United States. Let’s concentrate more on the things we can do, and see how the ripples flow out from that. I didn’t originally intend to work with children, but they are so hungry for what we’re offering at camp. A healthier society could begin with children.”
3. What advice would you give to someone who is trying to break new ground in a traditional field?
“Weigh and discern all advice you receive. You have to filter it through your own experience. Because if I had stopped in the beginning… I would have given up. But you also have to know what a huge commitment this is if you want to make it right and make a difference. I had no idea how much time this would take.”
4. What book do you recommend to everyone you meet and why? OR What book is on your to-read list and why?
“I’m a contributing editor on a book called ‘Touched by a Horse: Equine Coach Stories by Equine Gestalt Coaches’ by Melisa Pearce. It’s a book of stories by practitioners on what this Equine Gestalt coaching looks like, because it’s difficult to understand unless you tell a story about it.”
5. How have you worked with JVA, and how has that helped your organization?
“I love JVA. I got turned onto JVA by the lawyer who helped me set up my nonprofit. I signed up for a class two or three years ago. I have attended three or four different classes, and they are so focused. Watching Adam Brock answer a question blows me away. He knows this stuff inside and out on a cellular level. I went to him for a sort of mentorship—a two-hour one-on-one coaching session, and he changed my life; he is incredible. JVA is so focused, helpful and has great programs.”
If you want to keep up with the area’s most inspiring changemakers, read JVA’s Changemakers blog!