For Children Wounded By Sexual Abuse
WHY HOPE, HEALING & HOOF PRINTS?
It happens more often than you think. One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused resulting in a minimum of 4,000 children being abused each year in South Dakota. Watertown was chosen as the location by Jolene's Law Task Force to launch a 10-year pilot program called REACH, which stands for Results-Education-Advocate-Counsel-Healing. It's located on the 2nd floor of the Sanford Clinic in Watertown. It is South Dakota's first-ever multidisciplinary team of professionals who serve children and their families and help them navigate the Criminal Justice System.
Since opening their doors on August 22, 2017, they have served 147 children of which 106 children were seen for child sexual abuse. Ninety-eight (98) of the children were females and 49 were males. Ninety-one (91) of the children seen were Caucasian and 54 were Native American. Two (2) of the children were African American. The vast majority of the children seen were 3-12 years of age.
When we began Chief Jo's Hope, Healing and Hoof Prints ministry in March of 2016, we had no idea that the Holy Spirit would bring about these collaborative efforts between government officials and our grassroots ministry to help the children of South Dakota who are being hurt and harmed by child sexual abuse. In April 2016, we received our first referral, a female child who was just 5 years old.
Our first year, we provided individual equine experiences to girls only during late spring and summer months. During 2017, we continued to provide individual equine experiences and initiated summer group sessions. The group sessions proved to be extremely beneficial. The group sessions helped the children realize that they are not on this healing journey alone. There is comfort in finding others who look and feel like you do—other children who have had similar life altering experiences. In 2017, we provided 6 summer group session every other Sunday evening at Joy Ranch. We served 12 children.
This past summer in 2018, we doubled our sessions and provided 12 summer group sessions. We served 7 children every Sunday evening throughout June, July and August. Each Sunday night we gathered at the Joy Ranch Arena. Hope In God: Gather, Grow and Go Women who are also survivors of child sexual abuse volunteer their Sunday evenings to help the children. In effect, they are wounded healers who strive and thrive when helping others. We provided 61 HHH sessions to 15 children over the summer months.
Chief Jo’s HHH Fund makes it possible for these sexually abused children to make a new friends – with a horse through this faith-based ministry at Joy Ranch. The mission of Chief Jo’s HHH: Hope, Healing, and Hoof Prints is to foster spiritual connection with the Holy Spirit through the horse and horsemanship methods, which can help children of sexual abuse overcome spiritual, emotional, and physical barriers. We also strive to help children develop a vibrant spiritual life from which everything else flows.”
Native Americans believe the horse to have strong spiritual power. Hence, it is believed that the horse will lead individuals in the “right direction.” A horse’s spirit is believed to be able to assist others in understanding their place in the circle of life. Joy Ranch is the perfect place for children to experience this equine program.
Now, whenever law enforcement in 13 counties in Northeast SouthDakota investigates an incident of Child Sexual Abuse, before that child ‘walks out of the door,’ the officer can give the child a gift of hope and healing. Chief Jo’s HHH Fund is just another way the Watertown Area Community Foundation is “Looking Forward and Giving Back” while making a difference in the lives of our children in Watertown and northeast South Dakota.
For more information about Chief Jo's HHH program call us at 605.880.6201 or email us