Giving Back: Austin Team Saddles Up to Help Spirit Reins

Supporting and giving back to our community is a key initiative throughout projekt202.

Spirit Reins is an important partner in our community involvement. Since 2003, Spirit Reins has provided life-changing therapy to children and families suffering from the effects of abuse, neglect and other traumatic events.

Using tools and resources such as Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, play therapy, and sensory and motor psychotherapy, Spirit Rein's licensed mental health professionals annually serve more than 250 children, ranging in age from 3 to 17, and families throughout Central Texas.

Through the services of Spirit Reins, traumatized children experience measureable improvements in their abilities to gain self-control, regulate emotions, control impulsive behaviors, and form and maintain healthy social relationships.

For a child who has been traumatized, learning to trust themselves and other people can be difficult. Horses provide a foundation for healing to begin because clients can relate to and interact with horses in ways that often prove difficult when it comes to people.
— Spirit Reins

projekt202 Vice President of Technology Paul Tidwell discussed the Austin team’s volunteer work with Spirit Reins:

projekt202's Austin team has been actively involved in volunteering throughout the community, particularly with Spirit Reins. Can you tell us about that?

We’ve had a cross-practice volunteer team working with Spirit Reins. The treatment facility itself is focused around children who traditional therapy has not really worked for. They take care of a horse, and basically become responsible for that horse and build a bond.

It sets them outside the context of traditional therapy and a traditional therapy environment, so it allows them to begin to heal in a really different way. It’s been very successful and it’s an organization we really believe in.

They’re doing it with very limited resources. We’ve been helping them re-envision their web presence, thinking about how they do online fundraising, and working with them on some IT infrastructure challenges as well.

What are some of the biggest challenges they’re facing?

Being a technologist, some of the conversations I was in were around a hodgepodge of platforms, and they also had some really basic infrastructure challenges. They’re out in the country and they’re getting their internet service off of line-of-sight microwave service. Basically, it’s coming from a tower that they have line-of-sight to. They have a main building, a barn, a couple of out-buildings, and not a lot of traditional office infrastructure.

They’re using a lot of consumer-grade WiFi, so we’ve helped them strategize around how to get better service out of their Voice-over-IP phone system, and how to get more devices on the network.

The Rhythmic Riding program at Spirit Reins helps children learn ways to stay in control of their bodies and emotions, even when they experience stress. The equine-assisted therapy helps clients passively learn to self-regulate through the use of the horses' rhythmic, patterned, repetitive movements.

The Rhythmic Riding program at Spirit Reins helps children learn ways to stay in control of their bodies and emotions, even when they experience stress. The equine-assisted therapy helps clients passively learn to self-regulate through the use of the horses' rhythmic, patterned, repetitive movements.

Those are vital hurdles to overcome. Communication is crucial, especially for a nonprofit organization that needs to share its message with the public.

For example, we’re talking about how they can use an iPad out in the field between the buildings and the barn, things like that, basic infrastructure stuff that needs to be done on a pretty tight budget, along with some challenges that are getting in the way of them being able to provide service.

You really want your IT to be transparent to all of that and focus on the good things that they are doing.

Are there other challenges that projekt202 is taking on to help Spirit Reins?

The other thing is, their CMS platform is not necessarily put together in the best way. Also, their website is not seeing a high rate of conversion or a lot of traffic.

We’re also going to help them out with some SEO initiatives, perhaps rebuilding their website from the ground up, to make it a little easier for them to provide rich content, and also organizing that content a little better.

It sounds like a pretty comprehensive team effort.

It’s kind of the full suite of offerings from projekt202, in an attempt to really help them channel some more resources to their fundraising.

The importance and power of a conversion there can actually change someone’s life.

For more information on the mission to support children who have experienced trauma and to learn how you can help, visit Spirit Reins online or call 512-515-0845.


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