Starfish Foster Program

Foster Starfish - Girl painting horse
Girl Painting Horse

What is the Starfish Foster Program?

Maybe you’ve heard the story of the young girl walking along the seashore, who noticed hundreds of starfish that had washed up along the beach with the incoming tide. Knowing they would soon dry out in the hot sun and die, she quickly started picking them up and throwing them back into the sea. One by one, the starfish were returned to safety.

“What are you doing?” inquired a nearby fisherman.

“I’m saving the starfish,” the girl replied proudly. “If they don’t make it back into the water, they will die.” >br>
The fisherman, shaking his head, looked at the girl and said, “You can’t possibly save all these starfish . . . there are so many you can’t even count them!” And then he asked, “What difference can you possibly make?”

The spunky girl, looking down at the sand, picked up another starfish and tossed it into the ocean. “It made a difference to that one!” she exclaimed.

Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and the foster families we serve represent the spunky girl in this parable.

We believe that children deserve to grow and thrive in loving families.

As a result of a myriad of reasons, foster children have been reported to exhibit an increase in adverse behaviors ranging from nightmares, anxiety, excessive crying, sadness, disappointment, and withdrawal to anti-social and physical behaviors such as hitting, screaming, kicking, and biting. These behaviors are typically the result of their exposure to unsafe and uncertain environments, not because they are “bad.”


Children in our Starfish Foster Program can benefit from the emotional support and empowerment that therapeutic riding offers. The human-horse bond, along with the sense of accomplishment and self- esteem derived from collaborating with horses, can contribute to emotional regulation and improved mental well-being.


At Emerald M, we do more than allow a child to visit and pet a horse. We become a part of their community and provide a reliable, safe place where they can explore and grow.

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