Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – My Mission at Marley’s

Name: Emily Bamkin
From: Clarks Summit, PA
Grade: Junior
School: Abington Heights High School
Votes: 0

My Mom came from humble beginnings. She was raised by her single mom
and lived with her mom and her brother in a small trailer park in
Pennsylvania until she was 22 years old. She drives my brother and
me through the trailer park sometimes, making sure we understand from
where she came and to remind to continue to be appreciative and
humble. She also welcomes these “teaching moments,” as she calls
them, to reinforce to us that we can accomplish great things if we
put in the hard work. I love my Mom and I am proud of her for
accomplishments, especially knowing that she grew up very differently
from me and my brother.

In 2009, in this same trailer park in which we had become so familiar, a
5-year old girl was brutally sexually assaulted by a stranger in her
own home. The attacker was captured and was prosecuted and is
serving a life sentence for his horrendous crimes.

Not surprisingly, the community came together and established a fund for
the girl so that she and her family could begin to put their lives
back together. The family bought the little girl a horse, and they
soon discovered that the horse was the best therapy for her. Her mom
had a realization that if the horse made such a difference in her
daughter, maybe it could help others who have suffered the same
trauma. And so, Marley’s Mission, a non-profit organization that
provides equine-based therapy free of charge to children, and their
families, who have experienced trauma, was born.

Last summer, I chose to volunteer at Marley’s Mission rather than taking
a summer job, volunteering over 150 hours. It is hard work mucking
horse stalls all day. It’s hot and it doesn’t smell so great,
but it was the most wonderful summer of my life. I worked closely
with the girl who was the victim of the crime. We became good
friends and I learned a lot from her. Not only about barn chores,
and how to handle horses and what to feed them, etc., but also about
determination, perseverance and courage. I felt a connection with
her, and with the horses. Maybe because my Mom grew up in that
trailer park and I kept thinking that the same thing could have very
easily happened to her. Maybe because I know how traumatic it is to
feel the shame of molestation as it happened to me when I was 11
years old. But whatever the connection, my life is now forever
changed because of my work at Marley’s Mission.

It was my intention for the last five years to become a therapist, and I
had already chosen my “dream college.” After a campus visit, I
discovered that I have an opportunity, should I be fortunate enough
to be accepted and to afford Wilson College, to major in psychology,
animal studies and equine therapy. And it all came together just
like that!

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