Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School

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OLSH Students Volunteer at Orchardview Stables

“When driving up the roadway that leads to the main house of the Orchardview Stables Farm, you get an instant feeling of peace,” commented OLSH Mission Leader Mr. Jeff Hulbert. Mr. Hulbert and members of the Young Hands service group from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, along with Sr. Ann Marie Klasky, visited the Orchardview Stable on Thursday, May 1st. Co-founder and instructor Mary Kay Soergel was there waiting for the group on the front porch. As she welcomed them to the property, one could hear the Holy Spirit coming through her words.  She explained that the stables are not a job, but a mission. She had a calling some years ago and left her career to create a place where people in need could find sanctuary. One of the OLSH students Nicco Piccolo commented, “This was a perfect place where someone could relax, enjoy the horses and help others.”

Participants at Orchardview experience equine activities as well as therapy.  People with both physical and mental disabilities come to ride horses, work the farm, or sit and find comfort with all of the animals. The presence of God’s love could be felt through the horses to the dogs, chickens and even the farm’s cat. Mr. Hulbert noted that it was the type place that St. Francis of Assisi himself would have found comfort and supported. The members of Young Hands had the opportunity to groom a couple of the horses and walk them to the riding stable. While at the riding stable they were given a demonstration of how the chair lift works to help riders with disabilities have easier access to get on the horse. The Young Hands group donated funds to help offset the total cost of the chair.

Ms. Soergel informed the group of all the benefits the stables has to offer.  The Stables are also welcome members of the Wounded Warriors program, in particular helping those who suffer from PTSD.  She told a touching story where a couple that was struggling to return to normalcy after coming home from deployment painted a horse together as part of an activity.  The soldier was so overwhelmed with how the day had helped him and his wife that he painted on the horse the words “Thank you for saving our marriage”. This is truly a testament to the healing power that Orchardview Stable can have on people who enter the property.  Ms. Soergel reminded the group how the farm would not be able to function if it were not for the number of volunteers and their countless hours of service. She went on to thank the students for their contribution and the importance of their continued service to others.