Behind the Scenes of Hoofprints of Hope!

Hoofprints of Hope was conceived from a previous program that HGR had in place.  Fifteen years ago the ranch applied for and received a grant as part of the HGR- Benson Public school programming to provide a work-based learning curriculum and business as part of  the school day. An embroidery business, In-Stitches was developed.  Girls were able to work in this business as part of their curriculum or be placed into businesses in the community as a school to learning experience. Girls in the In-Stitches business learned all aspect of producing and selling a variety of products with original stitching on them.  The business took off and sold many products including, team sports wear, hats, blankets, sport bags to school teams and many in the community. With a change in staff brought the end to In-Stitches.

The idea for developing Hoofprints of Hope, an online store to sell unique handmade crafts and other horse themed products began with CeCe Terlouw, Executive Director of Strategic Development. Having seen the success of In-Stitches, HGR wanted to begin develop a permanent business that would provide unique job skill opportunities to residents in our programming.

Hoofprints of Hope supports the mission of Heartland Girls’ Ranch by providing opportunities to “experience success and write a new story for themselves”.

Selected staff, girls, and volunteers are working together on the business.  Currently there are six girls working on this project every Tuesday evening.  The first half hour of the evening they participate in an educational session aimed at learning various skills needed for starting or managing a business.  The remainder of the evening is spent making and preparing products for sale.  So far we have been busy making braided leather bracelets and horseshoe art.  A few additional girls are even making homemade horse treats!  Our next project will be decorating horse cutouts. Girls will also be selling products at horse shows and vendor fairs.

In addition to these handmade products, Hoofprints of Hope is selling T-shirts and plush horses.  We are also working with a photographer to make calendars and greeting cards featuring pictures of horses at Heartland Girls Ranch. 

It is exciting to see the girls’ creativity take shape and be shared with others!  Several have commented on how therapeutic it is for them to be a part of this project.  Their success has also given them ideas for other job and business opportunities they may want to pursue in the future.  This is a new venture which is a learning experience for all of us.  I look forward to seeing the project continue to develop.

Thank you for supporting Heartland Girls’ Ranch and for your continued support as we launch this newest endeavor!!

This idea began to take shape with the grant assistance and mentorship of the Initiative Foundation and the Southwest Initiative Foundation.  We have also been fortunate to receive support from the MN Department of Human Services to support the girls in the business. 

We look forward to your business!

Jill Fugleberg, Recreation/Employment Skills Coordinator


HGR Horses and I Honor a Good Man

I am writing this note to honor a good man who served as one of the original and long time Heartland Girls Ranch Board members.  I only learned of Henry Walsh’s passing last week as I was away on vacation through the holidays.  I was quite sadden to hear this news and want to also give my condolences to his family.  Henry dedicated his time and farming expertise to Heartland for many years, even after he resigned from the board, I remember him stopping by to check on the farm operations and lend advice every now and then.

I would like to share something special that happened during his processional and graveside service.  I share this second hand from Heartland’s barn staff who witnessed the event. We at Heartland are keenly aware of how are horses “seem to know” and daily demonstrate their own keen awareness. I believe this is a God gift.   According to the events reported, As Henry’s processional traveled to the Saint Frances Cemetery our horses ran alongside the cars as they traveled along our property toward the cemetery.  They then dispersed once the cars arrived.  As the trumpet played to honor Henry’s years of military service, it was observed that all of the horses moved back over to the graveside and stood at what appeared to be “at attention” through the playing of the song.  Once done they went back to their normal mode of grazing. I choose tobelieve the horses knew and were honoring a man who had dedicated much of his time to the success of Heartland Ranch!  Thank You Henry!

Everyday we see amazing things happen down at the barn at HGR!  The relationships the girls form with their assigned horse is a wonderful thing to witness. The trust and care exhibited by horse and girl as the girl learns to become a "capable leader" of her horse. The horses mirror the girls attitudes, and behaviors allowing the girls to learn and reflect about themselves. The horses seem to observe and "speak" into the girls' lives, helping them to connect and heal from past wounds.  Sometimes despite a horse assignment by Bridget our Horse Program Director, a horse will pick a  girl and simultaneously that girl is drawn to that particular horse.  Bridget will reassign at those times knowing that the pairing is best for both.  Yes, God did a good thing when He made horses!  They do just "seem to "know!".

CeCe Terlouw



HGR to be featured at this years Bridging The Gap- Thrive Conference

Every Heart has a Story to Tell!  This is the theme of this years Bridging The Gap Conference, newly named the 2015 Thrive Conference. The Conference will bring together women from all over the state  at the Rivers Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, on October 9th & 10th.  It is a Christian women's conference offering opportunity to learn, grow, worship, fellowship and understand the significance of each of our stories in God's heart and plans.

I m excited to say that Heartland Girls' Ranch and our work through our Hearts For Freedom project has been chosen to  be featured on Saturday of the conference! I will be interviewed by Susie Larson, radio host, author and national speaker to discuss the very important topic of the trafficking of our Minnesota youth.   I believe it is very important to raise awareness about the sex trafficking of our youth and help communities understand that sex trafficking/sexual exploitation is not just a big city problem, that it is  happening in our own backyards in small towns & rural communities.  Everyday there are children (and adults) being sold as slaves for others pleasure.   Heartland Girls Ranch is on the front lines working to solve this national epidemic though our Hearts for Freedom project.  

The Hearts for Freedom Project is a three-pronged approach to increasing programs and services for sexually exploited youth. The first prong being our Hearts for Freedom house which provides long-term group home services for girls ages 12-17 years old.  Two, is our Hearts for Freedom Project Resource Guide which is a comprehensive resource guide for service providers and stake holders. The guide gives an overview of sex trafficking in Minnesota and our states response, the Safe Harbor No Wrong Door Model. It also outlines Heartland's program model based on best-practices in serving sexually exploited youth in a healthy, trauma-informed and culturally specific manner.  Third, is our Hearts for Freedom Network, a system of coordinated care for sexually exploited youth in the West Central MN region.  This includes an accompanying website that provides resources and services for those addressing sex trafficking in the region. 

At Heartland Girls' Ranch in our Hearts for Freedom house our mission is to help girls heal from the trauma of sexual exploitation and give them an opportunity to write a new story for themselves.

Please join us us at the Thrive Conference to celebrate our accomplishments and to learn and grow as we work together to end the sex trafficking of our youth!  

You can find out more information on the Thrive conference at  You can also visit to learn more about child trafficking and whats being done in west central MN.  

CeCe Terlouw