Two Weeks on the Job! – Haley Kuenzel

Though originally from Arlington, Texas, I now bleed orange and IMG_2129blue and shout “Warrr Eagle” all too frequently! Yes, you’re right in your assumption that I’m an Auburn Tiger. In fact, this May I will graduate from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.

During the past four years of my higher education, my desire for a future in the nonprofit sector has increased significantly. My dream is to work for an animal-focused nonprofit.  So it’s no big surprise that I find myself sitting in Storybook Farm’s office today, composing my first blog as a spring semester intern.

Actually, I was first introduced to Storybook’s mission during my freshman year through a student-led volunteer organization called IMPACT. I instantly fell in love! Surrounded by animals and children, I knew that this was the kind of place I belonged.

I am overjoyed and extremely thankful to have the opportunity to be an SBF Intern. It’s a great ministry with a great cause with equally great mentors (all the fun animals are just an added bonus☺) By the way, I’m really beginning to feel like part of the family, and after seven days on the job I am finally learning to recognize the animals from one another (without cheating and looking at their names!!)

My excitement for the riding sessions grows each day. Most of my tasks thus far have been in preparation for the kids’ arrival in February.  Currently, I am making Valentine Cards for each family Storybook serves as well as their contributors.  My fellow interns and I are also creating the Session Theme Wall, an area in which all the rider and volunteer photos are prominently displayed. The theme for this semester is the XXXI Olympiad. The riders will represent 1 of 12 countries and compete in the Storybook Olympics. (Spoiler Alert – all the riders are awarded a Gold Medal at the 12th Annual Horse Show at the conclusion of the session.)

I am so amazed by the generous support for Storybook.  The number of volunteers and donors is outstanding!! I have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside and getting to know the staff (Ms. Dena, Erin, Andrew and Wade) and the other interns.

All the interns are currently enrolled in Storybook’s intro class, Horse 101!  Whew, there’s a lot more to it than you’d think! Fortunately, the horses are patient as I learn how to put on a halter and lead them to their paddock for the day.  They truly are amazingly beautiful and gentle animals, each with their own personality.

I cannot wait to learn and grow throughout the semester as I experience what it is like to work for a nonprofit!  But most of all, I feel blessed to have this opportunity to experience it all – from animal care to assisting riders in Paddington Station Arena; from marketing to accounting – I’m just soaking it all in.  Stay tuned for my next installment. I know I’m about to embark on an awesome journey of hope.

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