Team Velvet, Inc.
A Non Profit 501(C)(3) Charitable Organization
Equine Facilitated Mental Health Services for Children
Understanding Bereavement, Giftedness, Grief and Loss, Treatment of Trauma, Adjustment Issues
"Our horses work in the arena of a child's heart"
Services are provided at NO CHARGE to the families.
Or mail checks made out to Team Velvet, Inc. to PO Box 268, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553-0268.
Team Velvet Bookshelf
Each day there is a child who experiences the death of a loved one, witnesses violence, is victimized by crime of intense bullying, disfigured by an accident, or other countless events - all resulting in severe childhood trauma. In the extreme, child trauma may cause flashbacks, blackouts, and may result in severe and harmful physical behavior.
Team Velvet, Inc. provides multi-modal horse therapy for traumatized children ages 5-12 with psychologist Dr. Susan Edwards. Therapy horses may be involved in interactive games, kick a soccer ball, dance or be taught liberty performance. Children do not ride the horses, they interact while working towards goals of increased self-esteem and resiliency over adverse childhood events.
Team Velvet has treated 40 families with children who have experienced severe trauma. Many of these children have been referred to us by other professionals who found the child's problems intractable with traditional therapies. We do not have the funding and resources to treat all of the children referred to us. Therefore, we are seeking generous donors to help us to be able to accept all referrals of the most emotionally vulnerable children.
Our successful, continuing counseling service is located on our farm in Flemington, NJ. If you have any questions whatsoever about our history, therapy methods, potential therapy costs (if any) beyond insurance coverage, success stories, to arrange a visit to our farm etc., see out "Contact Us" page on how to contact Dr. Edwards directly.
Surrounded by Love
In Memoriam –
Lead Therapy Horse Velvet
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Velvet
who died January 8, 2023 from complications of a traumatic injury.
He was an amazing Trakehner gelding who partnered with
psychologist Dr. Susan Edwards in the work of emotional healing
in children ages 6-12 who had experienced life trauma and profound loss. In the fourteen years since Team Velvet Inc. was founded, Velvet helped children cope with parent death, abandonment, disfigurement, loss of a loved one, witnessing violence, severe bullying and grief associated with suicide, among others.
Velvet’s gentle spirit, keen intelligence, kind nature and sense of humor reached out to the hearts of children and filled them with love. Parents and children alike remarked about the power of his loving nature. He had the soul of a champion.
Velvet’s love lives on in spirit as his friends and teammates Precious and Little Annie continue providing equine mental health therapy without fee to families as we expand our program and continue to empower children to overcome adversity.
Donations in memoriam honoring Velvet and supporting the ongoing work of Team Velvet Inc. can be made securely via PayPal or by mail to Team Velvet Inc., PO Box 268, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553.
A Poem in Memoriam:
The Grandest Foal by Anonymous
I'll lend you for a little while, my grandest foal, God said.
For you to love while he's alive, and mourn for when he's dead.
It may be one or twenty years, or days or months, you see.
But will you, til I take him back, Take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief, you'll have those treasured memories, as solace for your grief
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught on earth I want this foal to learn.
I've looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, with trust, I have selected you. Now will you give him all your love?
Nor think the labor vain.
Nor hate me when I come to take him back again?
I know you'll give him tenderness and love will bloom each day.
And for the happiness you've known, you will forever-grateful stay
But should I come and call for him much sooner than you'd planned, you'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and maybe understand.
To view the valiant efforts of both an injured Velvet and the first responders who rescued him, click on:
VIP for Team Velvet Inc. February, 2023
In Memoriam - Lead Therapy Horse Velvet
A ten-year-old approached me with something folded in the right hand, saying “I have a present for you, Dr. Susan.”
Inside, folded neatly, were two dollar bills. “This is to help pay for Velvet’s medicine.” It was money from the child’s allowance.
Velvet, our lead therapy horse and the namesake of Team Velvet, Inc., died January 8th of complications from a traumatic injury. His mental health therapy horse career spanned many years and touched many hearts.
Velvet was an 18 hand, 2 black Trakehner who was foaled in Hopewell, NJ and served his entire life as a therapy partner for children with psychologist Dr. Susan Edwards, founder of Team Velvet Inc. Velvet was a gentle giant whose soft spirit allowed children to feel at ease when he bowed upon meeting them. He was able to kick a soccer ball with children and arrived on the media scene first in Ringoes, NJ in March, 2006 when his article “Horse To Face Off Against Soccer Team” appeared in the local Horse News.
Over the next several years he was featured in the Summer 2007 edition of a professional journal called “Equine Facilitated Mental Health” as well as the Spring 2008 issue of American Trakehner Magazine in “Trakehner Horses as Therapy Horses.”
Velvet was chosen as the November, 2009 winner of Equine Wellness Magazine’s “Profile of a Natural Performer” designation and in the 4/2010 German edition of Der Trakehner magazine in an article called “The Trakehner Therapist”. Articles in the local Horse News, Hunterdon Democrat and other publications appear appear on the website home page within tabs In the News and In the News Archives.
Velvet was the ‘voice’ of the team in four national award-winning short videos in the Equus Film Festival Contests over the past four years. The videos appear in the Awards Section of the website www.teamvelvet.com home page and cover topics from child mental health [“Little Horse, Big Medicine”] to humor [“Team Velvet Visits the Happy Horse Hat Shop”]. One video presents ways children can cope with stress during Covid.
Team Velvet Inc. continues searching for benefactor support for its ongoing work of equine mental health therapy for child trauma as the all-volunteer charity provides services at no fee to families. Velvet’s colleagues—Precious and Little Annie—continue to serve children and lend their voices to videos and planned publications and mental health coloring book projects currently being designed as well as mental health seminars for children to be held on site at the therapy farm in Flemington.
Velvet’s life as a foal—Wonder Horse: The Birthday—is available on the website.
In the years of his active career helping children, this special horse helped increase the happiness of a child’s life and facilitate emotional healing over adversity. His positive spirit, kindness and sense of humor live in the organization that bears his name.
Tax-deductible donations in honor of Velvet and to support the ongoing equine mental health work can be made via PayPal at www.teamvelvet.com and via mail at Team Velvet Inc., PO Box 268, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553.
Everyone Needs A Hug Sometimes
VIP December 2022 Team Velvet Inc. Column
by Susan Edwards PhD
Psychological lnvulnerability in Children
Two of the early researchers in the field of child mental health invulnerability were Dr. E.J. Anthony and Dr. Norman Garmezy. Both in the state of Minnesota, the doctors were interested in the mental resilience of children who had experienced severe trauma and in ways to strengthen the processes associated with overcoming devastating obstacles in the lives of children. Their original work, translated into languages world-wide, generated extensive research and program development for helping child mental health across the globe.
Two factors emerged as significant in the strengthening process. First was a constant source of love; second was the mental ability to think in symbolic terms. Love could be associated with a family member, significant other and in some cases, even a family pet.
The mental process allowed the child to understand the source of problems in more of an abstract manner. Dr. Garmezy described the case of one 8-year-old boy whose mother was paranoid schizophrenic. The mother kept complaining that someone was breaking into the house and poisoning the milk. When researchers from the University of Minnesota interviewed the boy, he said, "there's nothing wrong with the milk-I drink it
all the time. That's just Mom ma's illness."
As our equine mental health therapy program for children works on adapting to current needs, we continue to require additional donations and grants in order to sustain our work. In this season of holiday giving, we thank and appreciate all kindness directed
to helping our efforts. No one is paid in our all-volunteer organization which is sustained only by contributions.
For more information go to our website at www.teamvelvet.com and to refer a child contact Dr. Edwards at 609 924 4330. Donations may be made securely through the website or via mail at Team Velvet Inc., PO Box 268, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553. Thank you.
We Make Children Smile
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YOU Can Make a Difference in the Life of a Child
The continued success of Team Velvet depends on generous contributors like you. We are in urgent need of funds to ensure our continuing operation. Your donation provides therapy scholarships for children and help feed and care for our therapy horses. Your dollars can help to heal a child's heart and mind, one smile at a time.
Tax-deductible monetary contributions can be made through PayPal via our "Tax Deductible Donations" page or mail checks made out to Team Velvet, Inc. to PO Box 268, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553-0268.