The Wings of Hope Ranch has devel-oped a program to help unite rescued horses and children facing conflicts so that they can learn how to trust and love together. With 32 children attending ranch sessions, 16 youth leaders, 26 adult volunteers, and 8 rescued horses, Wings of Hope is flourishing.
To help keep this amazing program alive, around $40,000 must be raised annually. The foundation raises this money through corporate gifts, fundraisers, grants, and private donations. The biggest annual fundraiser is Hoedown for Hope, which is close to home for many Randolph-Macon associates.
The Wings of Hope Ranch was co-founded by 1990 alumna Alison Boyd. During her time at R-MC she was a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta, enabling her to contact the current sisters to help her set up for the event. Many Thetas arrived early during the morning of the event to help set up decorations, games, and signs.
Not only is the organization close to Boyd and her husband Charlie ’89, it is also close to the hearts of many current students, including senior Sophie Schaaf. Schaaf did a 300 hour internship for the Ranch and is currently working in their Administration and Media department.
At the Hoedown, Schaaf, along with Derek Dittmar ’16, performed live music for the crowd. Schaaf and Dittmar were not the only students to provide entertainment as Jessica Rawls ’16 and her friend Chris Lynn also provided live music.
Not only was the Hoedown a fundraiser, but it was also a chance for the organization to debut their new barn. Ryan Pettyjohn, a student at Atlee High School whose parents, Kathryn and Daniel, also graduated from R-MC, helped complete the restoration of the 50 year old barn with his Boy Scout troop.
“The Pettyjohns and I really enjoyed reconnecting again after all these years through this project,” Boyd said.
Boyd also connected with Kappa Alpha Theta sister, Melissa Puccinelli, since Boyd and Puccinelli’s parents attended R-MC together.
The Hoedown included horse rides, live music, a silent auction, games, crafts, and much more. The Hoedown is one of four fundraisers conducted each year.
“We have four fundraising events per year. In May we have our Trailblazer Trot 5K and 10K trail run in New Kent County on a private 2,000 acre farm. In September, we have our Hoedown for Hope at the ranch property. In November, we host a Trail Ride in New Kent at the same 2,000 acre property where people can bring their horses and ride all day on the perfectly manicured trails and enjoy a delicious lunch. In December, we have our Deck the Stalls event, which includes a live nativity play in the barn, hot chocolate and s’mores, Cowboy Church, and a Tack Sale,” Boyd said.
If anyone would like to get involved, there are many volunteer opportunities. Sophie Schaaf and Kayla Woolfin already volunteer weekly during the ranch sessions and the ranch would love to have more students involved! The volunteer application can be found online at www.wingsofhoper-anch.com People may also just volunteer for 1 day events if they would like!
“I am just so glad to have had so much support from R-MC and the student body, past and present, in this Ministry. R-MC was a great school for my husband and I, and there is a legacy and second generation of students there now that show a great amount of promise…..We are grateful to know each one!” Boyd said.
-Madison Guidry ’16, Editor-In-Chief