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As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls into its second-year many frontline workers are feeling physically exhausted. They put on their masks and go to work every day because they don’t have the option of working from home.
Workers in health care, law enforcement, emergency responders, care home workers, grocery store clerks, pharmacists, and many more working the front lines are experiencing the pressures of the pandemic, day after day. Along with work stresses, they face the same challenges as the rest of us, changes in household income, kids and schooling hurdles, aging parents, and personal health issues - to name a few. Due to the increased demands the pandemic has had on the personal and professional lives of frontline workers, many are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
The Front Line Hero Appreciation Initiative was initiated by the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan in partnership with Central Okanagan Foundation, Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen, Canadian Mental Health Association , and horse-assisted therapists across the region – as a way for the community to say thank you to frontline workers, by offering them a way to care for themselves.
Horse-assisted Therapy is a proven method for treating people who are experiencing stress and anxiety for various reasons. Clients working with a professional therapist, who is also a horse expert, can grow their own emotional awareness and transfer the learning that takes place with the horses into their everyday lives.
Annika Voeltz, an experienced Horse-assisted Therapist, explains, “Whoever you are and whatever you are experiencing being with horses offers you a new perspective to life. Horses communicate with your very core, so everything on the outside, whether it’s stress, distractions, or the layers you are putting on to protect yourself from life, simply seem to disappear and let you focus on your priorities.”
With support from the community, Horse-assisted Therapy can be offered to any frontline worker at no cost to them. None of us should be dealing with mental health on our own, especially our frontline workers.
Donations are being accepted online at, every $75 donation funds one appreciation session.