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The PEACH Pit General

On Giving Tuesday, or any day, give (please)

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The PEACH Pit’s primary goal is to provide affordable mental health care for those in need. We believe no one should have to struggle to pay for this basic need.

On this day, please consider helping us help others. We know you have many worthy causes to consider. Please make The PEACH Pit one of them.

If you’re military, retired military, a federal civilian or retired federal civilian, please consider donating through the Combined Federal Campaign. Our CFC number is 27220.

No amount is too small, and, of course, no amount is too large. You also can volunteer your time.

#GAGives on #GivingTuesday: Help us help Veterans

#GivingEagala: Help us provide affordable mental health care

Thank you.

Donation video transcript

Broken bone; broken heart

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Horse eyeing a camera
Perry was an asset to The PEACH Pit.

One day, someone will create a technology that can fix the broken leg of a horse, so the horse’s humans won’t have a broken heart.

Perry, an off-the-track Thoroughbred, wasn’t supposed to have joined our team; he was sold to someone and then went lame. His partner, Cash, was being donated, and when Perry’s sale fell through, his owner asked if we could take Perry, as well.

Both immediately went to work during a women’s retreat and a trauma-focused training.

Lately, he’s just done horse stuff, grazing in the back pasture with Cash, another off-the-track Thoroughbred, a mini and a few other older horses.

As best as we can figure, the rain we had hoped for may have hurt Perry, the Alpha horse in the pasture. We think he slipped while chasing a horse away from food.

One day, someone will create a technology that can fix the broken leg of a horse, so the horse’s humans won’t have a broken heart.

We’ve lost a team member, and we’re brokenhearted.

Impact of D-Day

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Soldiers leaving a boat and in the water of Omaha Beach, Normandy, during World War II.
Assault landing, one of the first waves at Omaha Beach, Normandy. The Coast Guard caption identifies the unit as Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Photo courtesy of Center of Military History.

D-Day affected the world on a large scale. It affected individuals on a personal scale.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious attack in history, we honor the thousands of Allied servicemembers who lost their lives in France in an effort to save the world from tyranny.

D-Day, so called because it was Day 1 of the invasion, was a brutal and important day toward Allied victory in World War II.

It also had a lasting effect in a different way.

A 90-year-old French woman who lives feet from a Normandy beach, for example, reported she hasn’t stepped foot on the beach since she was a teenager, when she saw bodies of Allied servicemembers strewn along the sand.

Untreated trauma can haunt for a lifetime. It’s never too late to get help.

We can help.

Video: Horsepower and Heroes Retreat news coverage

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This nonprofit organization is bringing a different kind of therapy to Central Georgia

By Taylor Drake, WMAZ

Published: 10:51 PM EDT May 6, 2019

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — At the end of a dirt road off of River Road in Fort Valley sits a farm with a few cabins, some horses, and a couple of stray chickens.

The land belongs to Gwendolyn Coley, the founder of The PEACH Pit. The Peach Pit, founded in 2014, is a nonprofit organization that works to provide equine assisted psychotherapy to people in Central Georgia.

“Horses are my heart,” says Coley. “I use equine assisted psychotherapy to help people but also work with horses.”

Horse therapy is an alternative for people who may not want to talk about their problems.

“Horses are naturally reflective,” says Coley. “You can talk to the horses if you choose to. They don’t speak any language that we truly understand, but they can help solve some of your problems.”

In addition to working with clients on an individual level, Coley and her team host retreats and events for groups.

Last weekend, The PEACH Pit hosted its third Horsepower and Heroes Retreat for women veterans. The three-day retreat means a lot to Coley, who is an Army veteran herself.

“Sometimes, we’re invisible. There are a lot of programs out there to help men. To have women come here and just be, we don’t get enough of that time,” says Coley.

At the retreat, women participated in several activities like meditation and yoga to relax and get in touch with themselves.

Coley’s organization gives back to the Fort Valley community, but has still remained a well-kept secret.

“Every time I accept a speaking engagement, people are like, ‘I didn’t know you were here!” Coley says.

With her equine therapy, Coley is also trying to de-stigmatize and therapy.

“That is one of our big goals,” says Coley. “There’s no harm in getting help — in fact, it can be helpful to get help.”

At the end of the day, Coley loves seeing clients improve with the help of her horses.

“We’ve had people come in with some really complicated stories,” says Coley. “They come here and start seeing results immediately. That amazes me every single time.”

To learn more about Coley and The PEACH Pit, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

We’ve been busy

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Spring has been busy for The PEACH Pit: We hosted three events from April 12 through May 3.

Whew!

A woman in jeans walks a black horse around an arena.
Participants select a partner and share a stroll around the arena.

First up was our Renew and Reconnect Retreat for women. Cathy Woods Yoga facilitated the retreat, which included physical and emotional parallels between yoga and horsemanship.

Next, we partnered with Minds-n-Motion to host the Fundamentals of Psychodynamic Equine Assisted Trauma Therapy training,

A black horse has its nose near a woman's nose. The woman has white hair.
A horse and a human connect

which became an international affair. The primary trainer, Ilka Parent, is from Germany, and her team came from Germany and Connecticut. We also had participants from Norway,  Alaska, Colorado, Tennessee and Georgia.

The training helped participants understand how trauma affects the brain and how horses can help clients process trauma.

Our Horsepower and Heroes Retreat for women Veterans was our best yet. For the third consecutive retreat, our facilitators returned: Demetria Cannady led the vision board session. Lisa Cummings, Air Force Veteran, led yoga. Laurie Reisman led meditation, mindfulness and Qi Gong. Donna Watkins and Paige Jobe facilitated the equine-assisted learning session. Donna also facilitated Accelerated Resolution Therapy sessions, and Lisa conducted Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions.

Along with offering various nontraditional therapy models, we added Pounding, an aerobic activity that incorporates rhythmic drumstick pounding. Check out the video below with Leia Williams Hunley facilitating. 

Macon’s WMAZ covered that event.

Next up: the Peach-Quest Social Skills Summer Camp in July.

 

 

We won!

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The PEACH Pit has received the Strategic Star Award as an agency providing exemplary service and support to Veterans. The award was presented March 19 during the Georgia DBHDD’s annual conference in Columbus, Ga.

The goal of this year’s Department of Behavior Health and Developmental Disability Unspoken Wounds Conference was to increase the “knowledge, confidence, and skills in addressing the behavioral health, criminal justice, and reintegration needs” the state’s Veterans, active duty servicemembers and their families.

While The PEACH Pit Inc. serves the community at large, we’re particularly proud of our service that allows more Veterans to be helped:

  • We use of equine-assisted psychotherapy to destigmatize mental health care;
  • We believe mental health care is a basic necessity, in the category of food, shelter and medical care;
  • We offer low-cost, affordable mental health care to clients;
  • We partner with programs that fund Veteran mental health care;
  • We partnerships to help clinicians assist Veteran and servicemembers overcome PTSD;
  • We host annual free retreats for women Veterans; and
  • We offer volunteer opportunities for the military and others in the community.

Acrylic star with "Strategic Star Award" and "The PEACH Pit" etched in it.
The Department of Behavior Health and Developmental Disability presents this award to an agency that provides exemplary service to Veterans.

The PEACH Pit Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation founded by a woman Veteran. It works to help clients help themselves. Its mission is to tap into the naturally reflective nature of horses to help clients overcome obstacles to a happy and healthy life. Its vision is to ensure clients feel emotionally and physically safe enough to allow a horse to serve as part of their counseling and therapy team so they can walk away from the experience feeling more empowered to make changes.

The therapy sessions include very little talking and involve activities where clients interact with horses. These interactions allow clients to focus on the present while healing from the past and looking toward the future. The sessions are unmounted, with clients on a journey of self-discovery with horses.

When participating in hands-on equine-assisted therapy, clients can better understand how their current behavior and pattern may be unhealthy and practice changing those that aren’t working for them. The sessions empower the clients by helping them find their own answers based on their strengths.

The agency’s primary goal is key to its service to the community, particularly lower-income Veterans: to provide low-cost, affordable mental health care to clients. To do this, The PEACH Pit receives donations through various corporate and private supporters.

The agency also partners with other companies that receive funding to work with Veterans; those agencies allow Veterans to receive equine-assisted psychotherapy or other services at no cost. The PEACH Pit also is a recognized charity that receives donations through the annual Combined Federal Campaign. Finally, The PEACH Pit has an “equity payment program” that allows clients to pay what they can – without financial strain. Several Veterans have completed sessions under the program.

In April 2019, The PEACH Pit is partnering with a psychologist to offer training for clinicians who work with (or want to work with) clients with PTSD. Clinicians attending the four-day training, Fundamentals of Psychodynamic Equine Assisted Trauma Therapy, can receive 20 continuing education credits, and will experience innovative applications of equine-assisted psychotherapy to work with people who have experienced trauma, with a specific focus and case examples applicable to Veterans and servicemembers.

Along with having women Veterans as clients, The PEACH Pit hosts annual Horsepower and Heroes Retreatsfor women Veterans to help them realize their best selves. The Veteran’s only expense for the retreat is transportation to and from the farm in Fort Valley, Ga. The Veterans lodge in one of two modernized cabins; each cabin has one bathroom, a microwave, kitchen sink, refrigerator and bedding. The cabins do not have televisions or Wi-Fi or televisions, as the aim is for Veterans to use the weekend to focus on themselves and their needs, and not on technology.

The weekends include vision-boarding, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, horseback riding, individual Accelerated Resolution Therapy, a group equine-assisted learning (EAL) activity in the arena, individual Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, aromatherapy and a fireside talking circle. 2019 marks the third annual Horsepower and Heroes Retreat.

Finally, The PEACH Pit, as a nonprofit, offers opportunities for Veterans and others to give back to the community. The agency hosts at least two volunteer days and demonstrations a year, and Veterans, servicemembers, students and others in the community have participated. The volunteer activities have included:

  • Clearing downed trees
  • Cutting up downed trees
  • Landscaping/gardening
  • Mending/installing fencing
  • Marking riding and hiking trails
  • Mucking arena/dragging pastures
  • Cleaning, refilling water troughs
  • Collecting trash
  • Grooming horses
  • Cleaning saddles
  • Setting up for demo
  • Feeding horses
  • Planting seeds

We don’t do this alone; we count on your support to help others. Thank you for your support.

 

 

We’re a finalist!

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Unspoken Wounds logo with gold star in center and American flag in backgroundThe PEACH Pit is a finalist for the Agency Strategic Star Award to be presented at the 2019 Unspoken Wounds Conference: One Team. One Battle. Many Victories!
We’re being considered “for providing exemplary service and support to Veterans.”
The conference is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. We’ll be at the 2019 DBHDD Celebration and Awards Gala on Monday in Columbus, Ga.
Wish us luck!
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