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