What is Shining Stars Therapeutic Ministries?

Our mission is to provide therapeutic horsemanship programs to children, adults, and families with special needs in order to improve physical, mental, emotional, and social areas of their lives.

Our Vision: We exist to embrace our community with hope and unconditional love by serving individuals with special needs in order to develop strength, build confidence, and achieve goals. At Shining Stars, families get the therapy they need from the horses they love.

Located near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Shining Stars Therapeutic Ministries (SSTM) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving local communities, generally in Adams and York Counties. Student registration is open to anyone 2 to 92+ years old with special needs. Instructor-guided exercises, activities, and games provide opportunities for student challenge and progress, as well as a means of recreation and enjoyment.

We have received many client referrals from surgeons, neurologists, hospitals, schools, etc., with recommendations from Hershey Medical Center, the MH/IDD organization, and United Cerebral Palsy. At present, the organization coordinates over 275 service-minded volunteers to implement its current programs. All volunteers are required to have background clearances and arena training.

Celebrating 20 years of ministry in 2023

A Note from our Founding Executive Director

In 2003, Shining Stars began as a Sunday school program, offering children with developmental disabilities an opportunity to learn about Jesus in a setting that was designed specifically for their special needs. At that time, I had just retired from a 20-year career in the equine industry. It was there that I witnessed the dramatic impact horses had in the lives of those who were hurting – both mentally and physically. I saw firsthand how God created a connection between humans and horses. So, with the support of my husband Vaughn, a team of volunteers that had a heart for God, a love for children, and an understanding of horses, Shining Stars became not only a Sunday school program, but an equine therapy ministry as well.

Today, Shining Stars continues to exist because of the generosity of others. Currently, we are operating from two locations and more growth is on the horizon. We are grateful for the many individuals and businesses that fund these programs and keep our horses well-fed and cared for. We could not do this without you!

God has established Shining Stars in our community as a mission field. Our desire is to serve as a refuge for those searching for hope and healing. He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us.

The love we have for our Lord is what we strive to show others.

What a great opportunity we have that we can serve Christ through facilitating the connection between horses and humans. Here hope is apparent with every milestone achieved, heart healed and blessing bestowed.

Psalm 90:17 “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands.”