It’s been a couple of weeks since the amazing event at The Montalvo Center for the Arts. I’m still swimming in a sea of gratitude for the Herculean efforts of Heart of Silicon Valley, the heroic abilities of Jan Holland Malcom, who has had my back in every major event in my life for the last (gulp) 30 years. We had the services of the splendid heart of Peter Finch and the talents of Megan Slankard, Claes Clem, headliner band LUCE and our friend Nichole Schumacher.
There are so many more folks to thank, most especially the 250+ folks who showed up for the party and the concert, the sponsors including Gordon Biersch, Dio Deka, Sarah’s Vinyard and One Brick Volunteers, Martin Ranch Winery, Thor Audio Solutions and Party Helpers. Our volunteers were stellar and the event was a rousing success.
A few folks have asked us to publish my short presentation, it follows:
“Against some very expert advice – I’m famous for disregarding good advice. In fact, Square Peg EXISTS because Darius and I ignored the advice that it couldn’t be done. So I’m leading with the bad news: The bad news is that I’m going to ask you for money.
The good news is that I’m not going to bore you by explaining our methods and philosophies, I’m just going to tell you a few stories about why you need to support Square Peg.
You’ve heard Max tell his story. I never get tired of hearing Max speak, which is a good thing, because Max speaks A LOT! But seriously, Max is never happier than when he is helping other people. Max doesn’t just impress me, he’s my friend, and he inspires me.
On Tuesdays we spend time with three little boys who happen to be African refugees. They’re orphans and suffer from PTSD. Two of the three have learning difficulties and show tenets of autism. What these boys have seen, we can’t imagine. What’s important is that they boys and they are bursting with boy energy. Rather than force on them the finer points of equitation, we need them to feel powerful and able. We put bareback pads on three of our trustiest horses and Greg, Sigourney and I hopped on and put he boys in our lap. We had the rowdiest, squealing, gallopingest game of tag on horseback our arena has ever seen!
This summer, we finally got a chance to work with the SAGE Project, a program doing outreach for sex workers. We did a day trip for their youth program. Spend a minute with that thought: It’s just what you think: Trafficked. Child. Sex workers. Seven girls came out and we paired them up with seven of our best volunteers. Because there are no accidents, it was interesting to find that our seven volunteers almost exactly matched the ages of the girls from the SAGE Project. Each volunteer had chosen a horse she loved and she worked individually with the girls formerly from the streets. One on one, the volunteers taught the girls how to groom and saddle and ride the horses. There were peals of giggles and at the end, there were tears and hugs. For three hours, these girls got to be just silly girls learning a new skill.
Each of those seven teen-aged volunteers came to be over the next few days and told me how affected they were. Their worlds were larger and more compassionate and open for the experience. This, even by Square Peg standards was a good day.
In August this year, we turned out for our first unofficial match as a interscholastic polo team. We were to play against Cal Poly’s team. They showed up with beautiful horses, shiny tack and team jerseys. We didn’t even have matching shirts. Square Peg with our rescued and donated horses trounced our opponents 16 to 4!
In November, we started working the Horse Boy Method. If you have seen the movie or read the book you know it’s founders, an autistic child named Rowan and his dynamic parents, are amazing. We’ve never worked with a method before. We felt like an island that ignored really good advice and breaks rules; it’s been successful. But now, the doors that we had cracked open were now blown off the hinges! We have the tools to train our horses in collected gaits and movements we thought were only available to world-class dressage horses and now we offer these joyful movements to our kids. The results have us just plain giddy.
You see, when you train a horse, not with the intention of winning ribbons or of re-selling the animal to the highest bidder, but instead, if you train him to carry a child who can’t speak for himself, a child who might have forgotten what joy is, if you can train that horse to bear those children into an adventure, anything is possible.
We have so much more to tell you and so much work to do. Call me, write us a note, or plan a visit. I’m certain that you will never meet harder working people than the staff and volunteers at the ranch. Your pledge goes directly to services to rescued horses and kids who know what it’s like to be a Square Peg. Please come along on this amazing ride as we continue to change the world, one horse and one child at a time.”
Enjoy Bammy winning Luce’s hit song performed for Square Peg’s benefit here:
So much gratitude to all who made this day and the miracle we call Square Pegs possible!