The Pegasus Program was founded on January 1, 2001 to serve children in the
surrounding area of Pierce County by providing an educational, mentoring
program that meets children's emotional and physical needs. Pierce County has
few after school programs. It has poverty (34% of our students qualify for free
or reduced school lunches), a drug problem, a high teen pregnancy rate, and a
large number of children suffering from mental illness. The United Way of Pierce
County stated that "children who are involved in after school activity
are 47% less likely to be involved with drugs." Research has found that "children who develop
positive relationships with adults and have their discretionary time filled with worthwhile
activity make better choices and become more successful adults." According to the University
of Washington the "number one reason for hospitalization of Children (in WA state ages
5-19 years) is Depression and Behavior Problems."
It is common Knowledge that children who are actively involved in after school activities and have a health connection with caring adults are less troubled and are much more likely to be successful later in life. Providing mentoring and educational opportunities along with healthy recreational and animal husbandry activities can do a lot to support children's emotional and physical needs.
The Pegasus Program was founded to meet the needs of children by offering encouragement, recreation, a "wellness education", a chance to make friends, and healthy adult mentors. The program originally involved horsemanship and horseback riding lessons. We've branched out into other recreational and educational activities so that youth who might not be interested in riding horses could benefit from participation. Mentoring children, improving their lives and helping them grow into healthy successful members of society is a win/win/win scenario. The youth win, society wins and our volunteers benefit as well. Several of our past program participants have had emotional or physical challenges, several have been deaf. We feel from the feedback given by the youth and their parents that their Pegasus Program experience has helped participants move forward to taking on the challenge of integrating into society. In the case of our deaf participants this involves living in a society which doesn't "speak" their language. We are proud of them and happy we were there to help them fulfill their potential.
In 2008 the Pegasus Program provided an equestrian portion to a camp for the children of wounded warriors. The camp sponsors relayed that the Pegasus Program's portion was the favorite activity offered. That same year we were included in American Family Insurance's 2008 Annual Report. We have also been included in United Way of Pierce County's Day of Caring. We are very thankful for the support we have had from them, the community and individuals. Our success is dependent on the generous help and support we have had and continue to receive from others.
We are looking forward to the future and are excited to see where it will lead. You are welcome to join us on our journey. It is sure to be an exciting and rewarding.
Margaret M. Mason, R.N., B.S.N.
Pegasus Program Executive Director