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Blossom Trail | Fresno County Status: Completed Categories: Animal Science, Citizenship Youth Leader: Tristan | Age: 16

Silverwings is a nonprofit horse rescue ranch facility whose mission is to help horses with housing, feed, vet care and adoption placement. They are overwhelmed right now. Due to the downturn in the economy, more people are abandoning their horses. Silverwings has received overflow from the SPCA of two counties that do not have the space for the horses they are taking in. Silverwings is in desperate need of funds to purchase feed and cover vet fees for these animals. This project will raise funds for them as well as bring awareness to their needs.

How has 4-H helped?

4-Hers participated in a service learning day at the ranch with a class taught by the Silverwings director on its mission, what it takes to run a rescue facility, and how they can continue to help meet this community need. This rescue is important to the community as it prevents horses from being euthanized unnecessarily. Many of these rescue horses are of excellent breed, friendly and adoptable if they can be saved. Tristan, a Fresno County 4-H member organized a Silent Auction to benefit Silverwings. He also developed a curriculum with Silverwings to host the class and plan a day of service at the ranch with local 4-H members. The 4Hers learned from the director about the ranch, it's mission, history and place in the community, as well as "learning by doing" through hands on service at the rescue. The goal is to have this project serve Silverwings long term. By using his curriculum model, Silverwings can continue to reach out to 4-H as well as other groups in the community, therefore building upon the effort to provide community-wide support through education at the rescue.

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know when it will be too late."

- Gina Caglia, Director Silverwings Horse Rescue

The Impact

Tristan worked diligently to get all of the items donated for the auction and service day in order to maximize funds to go directly to Silverwings to pay for food and veterinarian fees for the horses in need. His efforts inspired another 4-H member to raise funds through her club and a 4-H family is now considering adopting a horse from Silverwings. The 4-Hers learned how the economy affects the world around us in all sorts of ways, what it takes to run a non-profit, what it took to get the place running, what is involved in taking in an animal (e.g., legal issues, housing, feed, vet care, and analyzing the horses for temperament) for adoption placement. 4-Hers also worked at the ranch by providing hands-on service and were able to socialize and interact with the horses and those surveyed after the experience reported a new appreciation for non-profits and animal rescue, were inspired to volunteer again at the ranch, and many plan to continue to raise funds and awareness for Silverwings. All reported that they learned confidence, competence, character, caring, contribution and connection from working and learning at the ranch.