In 2009, Jodi Geerlings, a special education teacher and life-long horsewoman, had a vision to offer therapeutic riding to students in the greater Holland area. The organization, then called A Touch of Hope and Healing, was incorporated and received non-profit status. In late 2009, Ms. Geerlings and Phyllis DeHaan taught the first therapeutic riding lessons at a local farm owned by Terry Brink and Kris Lamm.
In 2010, the program moved to leased facilities at the Rusty Spurs Ranch, owned by Tom and Kelli Rozema, and changed its name to Renew Therapeutic Riding Center. The name, Renew, was inspired by Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.”
Also in 2010, Ms. Geerlings and Ms. DeHaan received instructor certification from NARHA (now PATH International).
Shaina Faber Strikwerda joins Renew and becomes a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor by PATH International.
Melissa Conner is hired as Executive Director and Certified Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor.
Renew began a Capital Campaign to raise funds for a build out at the current Rusty Spurs location where the program leased land.
After a successful campaign, Renew adds several horses, hires additional certified instructors, and adds a part-time Barn Manager and Volunteer Coordinator to its staff.
Renew purchased 20 acres on the south side of Holland (5080 146th Ave) as its permanent home. The facility was designed to serve current clients, accommodate more students, and offer expanded programs.
Renew moves to it new home and begins construction of a state-of-the-art indoor riding arena, which is completed in spring 2020, marking the end of Phase One of the Ride with Renew Capital Campaign
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic Renew continues to serve its students and expand programming. As restrictions gradually lifted, demand for services increased.
Phase Two of the Ride with Renew Campaign is launched to include the addition of paddock space, an outdoor arena, and a round pen. Speech therapy camps are piloted during the summer, and regular weekly speech therapy lessons are offered in the fall as a new service.
Phase Two of the Ride with Renew Capital Campaign continues to raise funds to construct a new 24 stall barn, a separate hay storage facility, and a Learning Center.