Greenwell Foundation is a local non-profit providing therapeutic and recreational programs to children and adults with and without all kinds of disabilities. Greenwell and Charlotte Hall have partnered for many years, bringing veterans to Greenwell State Park for activities on the water and with their horses. When the pandemic hit, and Charlotte Hall locked down, the staff at Greenwell sent treats and videos to lift the residents’ spirits.

On Wednesday, November 4th, Greenwell’s Executive Director, Jolanda Campbell and Equestrian Director Jenn Emmart, were able to bring Maverick, a miniature horse and Summer, a piebald pony to Charlotte Hall to visit with Ambulatory and non-ambulatory residents, and patients in the dementia unit.

“We were extremely well received;” Campbell described, “they would host us again and again. Every single person who greeted us was THRILLED to see the horses. Staff were excited for themselves and to see the residents respond in such positive ways. It was really wonderful to see the staff enjoying the visit vicariously. They took photos to print out and hang on residents’ bulletin boards. They made sure all residents saw both Maverick AND Summer by wheeling them from place to place. We visited three outside locations including a locked courtyard on the Alzheimer’s unit wing. I was very glad that the staff felt comfortable bringing us to that location and did not exclude those very disabled veterans from this experience.”

“Most all residents immediately reached out and wanted to touch the ponies. They smiled huge smiles and laughed. Two non-verbal adults talked to us and we responded. The staff was shocked to hear these residents talking, one for the first time since arriving at the facility”

Greenwell looks forward to going back soon, and is actively seeking funding to underwrite additional visits. Next time, Emmart explained, they plan to take Maverick – in a diaper and harness – inside the facility to visit veterans who are bedridden.

“The event was magical! The residents had an absolute blast! The horses brought so much joy!” Ashley Radano, Director of Recreational Services, Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

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