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Equine therapy program expands as more address mental health

Hope Meadows Foundation moves into new space in Medina County
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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 18:42:14-04

GRANGER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — After spending years splitting resources across several locations, Hope Meadows Foundation recently bought and moved into a Medina County property, marking the first time the nonprofit owned its own space.

The Hope Meadows Foundation is an equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning program that serves Cuyahoga, Summit, Lorain and Medina counties.

“Working at a place like a barn has offered a level of safety that people may not feel in an office or in a more clinical setting,” mental health specialist Rebecca Quella said.

Previously, the organization spread its resources across several leased properties.

RELATED: Equine therapy helps Cleveland police officer cope with department tragedies

“We were working with a herd of five and a herd of three horses and two donkeys in another location,” executive director Michelle Togliatti reminisced.

The new space stretches across more than 20 acres and features 16 barn stalls, an indoor arena and five outdoor pastures.

“We were limited with the spaces we had before; now we can see groups several times a day,” Valorie Gill, equine director, said.

Over the years, the organization has worked with local law enforcement, teens in need, and made appearances at local schools as part of increased mental health awareness.

Pre-pandemic, Togliatti said this nonprofit would help about 130 people in a year. This past May, Hope Meadows served 130 people in a single month.

“I think people are talking about things they didn’t want to talk about before and that’s a good thing,” Togliatti added.

Going forward, Togliatti told News 5 Hope Meadows will work to improve its focus on not just treatment, but prevention as well in the future.

To learn more about Hope Meadows, click here.