GOLD BEACH andndash;andensp;Bonnie Paasch has a passion for children and horses.
Paasch, who raised and trained horses for 25 years, recently decided to combine her two passions by building a foundation: Dreams, Hope and Faith, for children and families.
"We just really want to be able to give kids something to do. Something that they can afford," Dreams, Hope and Faith Foundation Project Director Bonnie Paasch said. "We're trying to come up with things because there's not a whole lot to do in the area. We want to give kids an opportunity to find out what they're all about. They often have so many interests. We want to give them a chance to explore those interests."
Dreams, Hope and Faith, housed on 480-acre Cornerstone Ranch, is "a non-profit Christian based mentorship program that gives individuals and families the tools to discover the talents within."
Among those tools are more than 450 acres to roam, a horse arena, a greenhouse to learn how to garden, a music studio to learn to play and record music, a multi-purpose room for youth groups or family nights, a metal and wood shop to learn the art of these crafts, and horse sessions to provide therapy or to teach youth to ride horses.
In the future, Paasch would like to incorporate a big brother and sister program for youth and the retired. She would love for the retired community to teach youth archery or sewing.
Her goal is "to show kids how things can happen. To go for their dreams and not hold back," Paasch said. "All you have to do sometimes is just care."
From 11-4 p.m. on Saturday, the foundation will host an open house at Cornerstone Ranch, 94589 North Bank Rogue River Road in Gold Beach.
Families will have an opportunity to participate in arena competitions such as a three-legged sack race and carnival events.
There will be a dunk tank with the Central Curry School District principals in it as well, Paasch said.
Everything is free except for the carnival games, which will cost $1.
"It's kind of like our kickoff," Paasch. "We try and do events that are encouraging for families to get out and do together."
Based on past events that the foundation has held (kickball, an obstacle course and fish derby) Paasch said she expects 200-300 people on Saturday.
To build and operate the foundation, Paasch and her husband Chris, sold two of their race horses: Stardombound and Principal Secret. Stardombound won the Breeders' Cup and three Grade I's in a row.
"You just never know when you can touch somebody's life," Paasch said. "Our doors are open to anybody."
Paasch said people are welcome to come from wherever they are willing to drive.
Paasch said she is working with employees from the Central Curry School District, and the foster care system to make the foundation a resource.
The foundation is operated by Pasch, her husband, her dad, John Carbonaro, the metal and wood shop volunteer, and Rebecca Rothermund, the horse instructor.
Rothermund, who has a bachelor's in Equine Facilitated Mental Health, instructs children in lessons with horses.
She said she is the therapist, and the horse is the co-therapist.
Together, Rothermund and the horse help youth work to overcome challenges or problems they may have.
She said horses help her determine where a child is at emotionally.
Rothermund said horses are hyper-vigilant animals that speak through body language: the way a person sits, places their hands or move on a horse all speak to the horse.
When a rider mounts a horse, the horse goes into a vigilant mode, which allows them to sense when a person is confident, angry, or depressed, for example.
Rothermund can see the horse's reaction, and have an idea of what is going on with a child. She uses the horse to approach different emotions children may be experiencing.
If a horse senses a certain emotion and refuses to move, children are forced to address the problem to get the horse to gallop, for example.
"It's so dynamic as to what can be done through the use of a horse," Rothermund said.
Sessions are offered every day after school, Rothermund said.
To schedule a horse session or an appointment to visit the ranch, please call 541-373-0818.
"We just want to give back to God," Paasch said. "He's given us so much. It's just about making a difference in this community."