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Life Lessons: Horses that heal

Published On: Jun 06 2013 05:00:00 AM EDT

Life lessons healing with horses

The FBI says childhood sexual abuse is one of the most under reported crimes in the U.S.

Officials say the reporting rate of child sexual abuse is under eight-percent at best.

The trauma from this awful crime can last a lifetime.


One Scranton mom of a victim is trying a unique idea to help kids who have been abused. She uses a little help from horses.

She is April Founder, Program Director Marley's Mission in Lake Ariel.
"I'm a mom on a mission and hell bent on changing every single law that I'm told about."

The tragedy that set this mom on a mission? Her five-year-old was attacked by an intruder in her own bedroom. April explained the morning of the crime. "It's not locked, it's never locked; she knows not to lock the door. So I began pounding on the door and calling her name. Finally I hear her little voice say, 'I'm trying, I'm trying.' I'm spinning in a circle in her room and all of a sudden from underneath the bed I see a hand come out and I screamed, 'There is a man in her room!'"

A friend prevented the man from escaping, blocking him in the room until police arrived. April tried traditional therapy for her little girl, but hit a dead end. That's when she found Equine therapy, also known as Horse Assisted Psychotherapy.
"We saw her come back in a way we never thought possible again."

That's when Marley's Mission began, a non-profit located on this farm in Lake Ariel. April and her team of therapists have provided alternative psychotherapy to more than two-hundred children.
Alishia Allegrucci Equine Specialist says, "What's happening is you're giving them an activity that's directed towards the treatment plan and they are literally working it out with the horses."

April says every child should have the chance to survive a tragedy and still smile.
"There she is a five-year-old girl, maybe 70 pounds and she just kind of lays back and the horse leans in with her nose to nose and she's not scared."

Marley's mission is free to any child who needs help. The website is