Miniature horse joins in story telling at the Pal-O-Mine Winter Wonderland Celebration. All photos in this article provided by Pal-O-Mine Equestrian
A Winter Wonderland
I was honored to be invited to Pal-O-Mine Equestrian’s Annual “Winter Wonderland” Donor and Volunteer Appreciation event. Although it was on an incredibly busy day in the middle of an incredibly busy few months for me, I knew it was best to make time for this event.
I’m so glad I did.
Even though the day was rather dark, cold and wet, it wasn’t gloomy on the farm. It was pleasant, peaceful and warmed the soul. There were warm, gentle lights, music, and holiday cheer. Delicious sandwiches were paired with hot soups and sweet treats, including a sweet hot chocolate bar. There were crafts, and opportunities to commune with the animals. A lovely time was had by all.
It is always moving how staff, including those with four legs or feathers, turn out in numbers to celebrate Pal-O-Mine donors and volunteers, and how those supporters are so grateful in return. The stories they share are deeply inspirational. The creatures are treated with honor and happy to be there. It’s hard to tell who’s giving and who’s receiving. All seem blessed to be involved.
The J-STEP Holiday Shop
An annual fixture during the holiday season at Pal-O-Mine is the J-STEP Holiday Shop.
J-STEP (Job Security Through Equine Partnership) is part of the continuum of care offered to Pal-O-Mine families. It fosters “growth and independence by providing meaningful vocational internships to young adults with varying abilities.”
It’s a true example of an empowering grass roots entrepreneurial business model. Many young adults who started at Pal-O-Mine as children are now interns. They grow, design and create all the items sold at the shop.
At the Firefly, we have long carried horseshoe-shaped keychains beaded in the advocacy colors of different conditions. These were conceived of and crafted by J-STEP program interns to raise awareness. I got to meet with them some time ago where they discussed this and shared their pride in crafting. It is wonderful to watch their offerings grow.
I bought a sage stick, a bunch of lavender and a beautiful holiday horseshoe. There were home grown loofahs made into soap. My daughter immediately swept up the beaded bookmarks I had intended to bring to the Firefly. There was more…
I’m excited that J-STEP volunteers will bring a larger variety of their wares to our gallery in Northport soon. We’ll let you know when they come in!
Holiday Wish List from the Herd
There is so much to savor at any Pal-O-Mine event. Among my favorite things is speaking with folks involved. Whether staff, volunteers, some donors, they always seem to deepen my appreciation. One I met that day had come as an intern and managed to return to craft a career. She made sure I knew about the 2024 Herd Wish List.
If you’d like to support Pal-O-Mine, the 2024 Herd Wish List is a charming way to not only support the farm, but to also better understand its needs. Click the link and select whichever horse (or fancy chicken, perhaps a cat or sheep). Then, make a donation to purchase something they require. It could be a blanket, a bowl, medication. a saddle…toys…bath and beauty…
It’s sweet and personal; a lovely way to give, and not a bad gift!
Your Support is Essential
“It just makes you remember what’s really important. It’s being there and helping people who need your support – and they help you too! We all help each other. I think that’s really the crux of it; that this is really a wonderful place to give back and get.” ~ Bernadette Commisa, Volunteer since 2002.
Pal-O-Mine crafts these unique, family-oriented events in deep gratitude for its community. The precious time and money folks give enables the farm and its life-changing programming to be. They are honored to get to know other folks who care, and appreciate all they bring.
For good things that serve our communities to exist, our support is essential. Even without such thoughtful thanks, being a part of such service is among the most fulfilling things we can do. Whether its Pal-O-Mine or one of the many other worthy non profits on Long Island, we pray that in this season of giving you remember a local organization that moves your heart.
The world needs us all. Every bit offered helps greatly. Thank you for all the good that you do.