The Story of Marley’s Mission
In July of 2009, at home with her family in a small Northeast Pennsylvania town, a 5 year old girl was brutally attacked in her own room by a complete stranger. Police immediately responded and captured the girl’s attacker. He has been prosecuted and is currently serving a life sentence.
Immediately after the arrest, the outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming. A fund was established for the benefit of the little girl and her family. With these funds, the family moved from their home to try to start a new life. As a longstanding wish of their daughter, the family also bought the little girl a horse.
After limited success with traditional therapy, a horse was infused into her daughter’s therapy regimen. Immediately, a recognizable change was witnessed. For the first time since the attack, the mother of the young victim saw a glimmer of her daughter that had not been seen since July 2009.
It was at this time that April Kemp realized that if a horse can have such a dramatic and positive impact on the healing process of her daughter, why couldn’t it help other childhood victims of abuse… Marley’s Mission was born.
Marley’s Mission is a non-profit organization that provides equine-based therapy free of charge to children, and their families, who have experienced trauma. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) has shown evidenced-based efficacy in patients who have experience abuse and now suffer with depression, anxiety and other symptoms as a result of abuse. Research and observational findings have shown EAP yields a variety of psychotherapeutic benefits such as: confidence; self-efficacy; self-concept; communication; anxiety reduction, and most importantly… trust.
Marley’s Mission currently housed on a 32 acre campus in Newton Township, Lackawanna County, PA. The Mission currently utilizes twelve horses in its EAP program. Marley’s Mission employs a team approach to healing children who have experienced trauma. The treatment team includes a specially trained Trauma Therapist and an Equine Specialist. The treatment team has been educated in the internationally recognized Equine-Assisted Therapy Model (EAP) developed by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).
The form of therapy used at Marley’s Mission does not include horseback riding. Rather, our work with horses and children is completed on the ground helping children develop solutions in their own lives and breaking barriers in their own healing.
As a 501(c)(3) organization, donations and contributions to Marley’s Mission are tax deductible.