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Jen Veatch - Artist, Michelle Swickard - Everyday Stars (H-12)




Jen Veatch
Parkview Staff 

Michelle Swickard
Everyday Star

Combining a heartfelt love for horses and children, Michelle started volunteering in 2008 at the Dare to Dream Horse Ranch, a ranch providing free therapeutic support to children with physical and emotional disabilities. Michelle's passion for the ranch quickly grew, and before long Michelle was managing the ranch on a full time voluntary basis.

To learn more about Michelle's passion, I visited the ranch.  The energy of the volunteers was infectious, and the powerful beauty of the horses was humbling.  I watched the sun bounce off the children as they played and giggled...they were in a safe haven with a sense of belonging.  I found myself smiling - a lot, I was in awe of this place! As we walked the grounds Michelle introduced me to the horses by name.  They responded to her voice like an old familiar friend.  Michelle explained that any child can come to the ranch, whether they have a physical disability or an emotional struggle like dealing with bullying at school.  With a horse, a child can feel in control...free from judgement.  As we walked back to the stable I asked Michelle why she keeps volunteering.  The smile on her face and the tears in her eyes told me more than words could say.

The Dare to Dream Horse Ranch was started in 2007 and continues today thanks to the love and commitment of volunteers, and donations from individuals and the community.  The ranch provides hope for a better tomorrow and I thank you, Michelle, for dedicating your time and efforts to this special and worthy cause.

I selected to paint a child hugging a horse to represent the genuine bond that can blossom from unconditional love.  When Michelle viewed the painting she said it looked like her with her own horse when she was young.  I was honored and we both felt that God brought us together for a reason.