The John Howard Society (JHS) in Prince George is typically known for helping men get back on their feet, but there’s plenty of work being done to support women as well.
Just this year, a new Equine Therapy program enlisted 28 women who participated across three workshops from Spring until Fall. Owner of LL Equine and Family Violence Facilitator with JHS, Lisa Loewen started the program three years ago as a volunteer with parolees. “John Howard has been known to deal with men and that’s not necessarily the case, we deal with all walks of life, so we had an opportunity to work with women who have experienced domestic violence and marry equine therapy with that.”
Loewen hopes to get many more women involved next year, but money has been an issue. “On average, one workshop it would be about 13 hundred dollars,” she said. “What we’re really looking forward to doing is continuing to work with the women, we have an opportunity to apply for funding and working with victims of sexual violence.”
A recent Imagine Grant from Northern Health helped to develop this year’s program for women and has already made big strides. “They’re all working on their own journey and horses are such a great way to facilitate us getting to the next step, learning new methods of awareness and abilities and really pushing our own boundaries to create that connection,” Loewen said.
It’s especially been a captivating experience for Lenna Pittinger who has struggled with her own personal battles in the past. As a volunteer and a participant with the program, she says the meditation with horses has provided her with a new sense of connection and awareness. “I could see the ladies just at first be really unsure and then almost go into themselves, and have peace and awareness of what they were feeling and then be able to journal and talk about their experience and how interesting it was.”
For now, the John Howard Society is now looking at applying for a civil forfeiture grant and is open to accepting monetary donations from the public.