A California-based charity that has been quietly helping forgotten racehorses and children with disabilities for years was spotlighted last week by the Bay Area nightly news.
The Square Peg Foundation, a 501 c 3 nonprofit serving off-track Thoroughbreds, was featured recently in a broadcast by reporter Garvin Thomas, of NBC news. The organization has been doing yeoman’s work in this area since 2004.
“It was really such an honor,” says Joell Dunlap, founder of the nonprofit charity that helps children with autism, eating disorders and other disabilities. “The reporter contacted us and after we played telephone tag for a week, he just showed up. I thought it’d be horrible, but it was an amazing experience.”
The report delved into the longtime charity’s work serving 40-50 families a week, primarily with autistic children. And in reporting the charity’s odyssey, revealed that Dunlap’s horse-crazy girlhood wasn’t exactly typical.
Dunlap admitted to the interviewer that her zeal for horses caused a few brushes with authority. “As a child,” she admits, “I had the police called on me a few times.” More than once for sitting on other people’s horses without their permission. “It was a problem,” she admits, laughing.
Nowadays, Dunlap is more often found helping to steady a child who sits with delight on the back of an ex-racehorse Thoroughbred. Children with disabilities simply blossom in the presence of the beautiful and gentle creatures, she notes.
Her obsession with horses led Dunlap to pursue a career helping kids connect with her herd of 20 retired racehorses.
Please check out the NBC Nightly News story: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Half-Moon-Bay-Non-Profit-Sees-Wonderful-Success-Pairing-Rescued-Racehorses-With-Children-With-Special-Needs-388345712.html