EASTER found its way to the heart of our Nation early on the day of April 12, as global news welcomed some of the world’s best Christian Orators and musicians to their world broadcast connections and many community churches live streamed the message of the resurrected Jesus in the midst of a broken world.

The traditional Easter lily had its own voice of beauty at the farm house.

The house contains 3 offices: 1) CEO  2) Executive Director of Development and 3) a space that welcomes volunteers to do support office work.

The primary gathering hub for meetings with guests, volunteers, Therapy Providers, Program Services appointments is the kitchen table.

Though our offices remain closed in keeping with COVID-19 protocols, Equine Assisted Therapy sessions are considered an essential service and have continued with care given to maintain social distancing; farm operations work goes on: Fields have been seeded and fertilized. Fence repairs made, yards of weeding and mulching is in progress. Inside, renovation work on the top floor of the barn to finish gathering space for 150 people and an organized storage space nears final stages.  A stair railing has been crafted and placed from the first level to the second. Painting and finishing work is in progress on both levels.

We continue to make advance in updating our Website; keeping Facebook relevant; have established a digital filing system, and are in process of initiating a data base management program.

Opportunity to review and order files that opened in December 2017 as first files on this computer, track process, trace progress, view communications and pictures has been “special privilege” in these days. Though the current national and federal social distancing directives to safeguard the Nation’s “most vulnerable” and promote recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic aligns us to cancel our annual Memorial Day on site activities for this year and reschedule the pre-Memorial Day Golf Tournament; we look forward to “opening Day” for the Veterans Café as soon as we can.

Since 1868, America, following General John Logan’s command, designated the 30th day of May to lay flowers on the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.

The day gradually expanded by the 19th century to remember the deceased veterans of all wars fought by American forces. With the 1968 National Holiday Act Memorial Day was given the floating date of the last Monday of May.

Two years ago, Building Bridges Foundation linked to an online network that allows candidates seeking mental health care to connect with us. We wondered if Veterans would find us through this link. We heard from an average of 3 seekers / month (none of them were Veterans).

March of 2020 brought a pattern shift. During the weeks from March 15-April 15 we received over 1000 requests from people seeking mental health support. These requests have come from almost every State / Commonwealth in the nation.

The impact of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic journey.

The experience has inspired us here at Building Bridges to offer the same kind of accessibility of sign up through a Facebook Group for Veterans and their families. Trish De Pompeo has set up a Building Bridges Facebook Group to become a link to our Website and an account to connect with a service provider regarding the Equine Assisted Therapy that is offered here. And offers a way we can adapt to leaning into the nation in event of a national crisis.

DUTY.  HONOR.  COUNTRY.

Vet 21 Salute Honor Guard

Our Mission is to Provide a safe space for personal growth through equine assisted activities for veterans and their families, as well as those suffering from trauma and loss, and those who are struggling with cognitive and emotional challenges.

Our horses stay socially well through the connections with young and old.

Charlene Holder (President of Building Bridges Foundation) is a retired school counselor who holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. …in a “chance” meeting with a former student that signed up to volunteer as a Horse Handler.

The Raffle Team with Steve Fisher Jr., (SteelFab Inc.) as Chairman organized a gun raffle with the draw as a program feature following our 2019 annual Veterans Day Program; 30 guns were sponsored by community businesses / individuals and approx. 3000 tickets were sold, a silent auction, wall of guns and 50 / 50’s generated $60,000+ for sustaining ongoing operations and advancing with increased session opportunities and services for Veterans and their families.

Veteran Frank Robillard is standing ready to welcome Veterans and “watch over” the Veterans’ Café!

Cupboards built by Veteran Adrian Sica are in place. Coffee makers are in place. The walls are painted A new fridge is in place. Storage space is ready.  The radio and TV are in place along with an assortment of DVD’s.  The games table is ready along with a stack of table games. Community professionals including a barber, a masseuse, a dietician have indicated willingness to be once a month resource people. Those of you that have offered to help with the Café servicing will be called!

Bill Dangro POW guest at our annual 2019 Veteran’s Day Event.

Erik Anderson from Delisle SK has given three months of volunteer time onsite as IT support to 1) Initiate a digital / online filing system 2) Initiation of A Data Management Program and 3) Updating the Building Bridges Website. The website, a work in progress will present programming, services and happenings from 2017 forward.

Deb Enderle and Dale Shaw

Wellsboro PA Riding Club’s open 2-day horse show, welcomed Building Bridges presence as an exhibitor and donated the proceeds to Building Bridges Foundation.

A 2019 team of Volunteers from the WARE Institute for Civic Engagement, Franklin & Marshall College – painted stalls gave some tech support… achieved much progress and seemed to delight in their work!  We’ve received notice of their intent to have a team here in August 2020.

Veterans and Family

2019 Veteran Equine Therapy participant’s report – I’ve found my way; going to move on without the therapy sessions… glad to be a friend and volunteer at the farm…look forward to horse handler orientation sessions—

Easter week 2020. Dave Anderson, Founder of Building Bridges Foundation in Spring clean-up along the walking trail – deer siting and beautiful sunsets prevail along this walk

Veteran Patricia DE Pompeo, Building Bridges Facebook Administrator with Carmo and Mr. Friendly

A Horse Handler Network is currently reorganizing to include Orientation sessions one on one for those wanting to partner in horse care services. Our Mental Health Provider & Equine Specialist team will meet with every Horse Handler for an Intro Orientation.

Katie O’Toole Rineer and her Horse bow for playing of the National Anthem.

Katie will be coordinating the Horse Handler onsite schedule and group Horse Handler sessions that will resume in step with post COVID-19 permissions and times.

In these “time out” times, Ken Steinman and Jim Steinman have made great progress in the renovation of the upper level of the barn.

When you come to the farm, we invite you to consider it for what it is ever becoming… a place to serve & recognize and remember those who served this country; the farm is a special place offering company, sharing of experiences and significant steps toward healing.  We’re making progress and we’re able to chart successful results.

The property itself is an instrument of healing.

The flower gardens, the trees, the grasses, the blueberry and raspberry bushes, the string of peach trees on the top flat and the creatures that inhabit it, all provide much pleasure to those who pass by – someone told me they could even see the tomato plants growing.

To make it possible for people to “stop and talk awhile” or simply “stop and be still” we offer the “Memorial Bench Project”.

The Memorial Bench Project invites you to participate in property hospitality by purchasing a bench with a memorial tag on it in honor of a friend, family member, neighbor, teacher, that served to defend our freedoms and pleasures and with understanding that “no soldier returns uninjured”.

Veteran Manny Acuna with Dale Shaw

The Lancaster Equestrian Club welcomed us to Their 7th annual Spring Pace Maker Event at Spring Valley Park. It was a fabulous family friendly, soul nurturing day. Proceeds of the event were donated to Building Bridges Foundation. This club generously invested a lot of equine intelligence, encouragement and farm operations conversation when they visited us.

Tanglewood golf club donated proceeds from their 2019 Flag Day event, $2000. to Building Bridges Foundation. Proprieter, Jeff Minnich presented Dale and Ann Marie Shaw with a check for $2000. For Building Bridges Foundation.

Dale Shaw with Fletcher and Mary Slutman, parents of Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Kenley Aldric Slutman. One of three Americans killed by a roadside bomb near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan April 8th 2019. Expressing appreciation for Building Bridges mission in reflection of their 8 other children / spouses that are in military service.

Braden Steele at Horse Care and Farm Operations work

Grant Baker into painting, painting, painting!

Not in “lock up” just “out of the way of the paint brush

Logan and Elizabeth Ditzler Building Bridges Farm Operations Team.

Building Bridges Foundation at Anderson Farm (501c3 Nonprofit Organization Donation EIN Number: 474645614) continues to advance the Mission of caring for Veterans and their families by “being all they can be” and “doing all they can do” in the present and with an eye toward the future.

Our MAP – Mission Action Plan (also referenced as our operational budget) is 80% directed to costs of professional equine therapy services that are offered for no costs to veterans and their families; 20% going to administration, marketing and community networking events.

Thank you for your help.  As we increase our number of therapy participants there is need for additional and new money.

If you can make a 3-5-year commitment to making Building Bridges Center of Caring for Veterans a choice for your charitable contributions, we would be glad to talk with you about that and the variety of ways those contributions can be made over an extended window of time.

This kind of partnership helps us plan more effectively.

Your service ideas help us establish a 10 year vision document to guide our way in achieving our mission.

 

For more information contact the Building Bridges Foundation
Office: 717-368-3019
Text: 574-849-3232
International: 717-219-4187
Email annmarie@buildingbridgesfoundation.com
Ann Marie Shaw, Executive Director of Development