Some people say Refuge Services, Inc. is one of Lubbock's best kept secrets.
However, Patti Mandrell, director of therapy services for Refuge Services, said she never intended it to be this way. Mandrell and her husband started the non-profit organization 15 years ago, and are helping change lives every day.
Refuge is an acronym, standing for 'restoration, experiencing family, unity, God and environment'. Through the help of therapists, counselors and volunteers, the facility uses horses as part of equine-assisted therapies to families and individuals of all ages.
The three-dimensional movement of the horses helps clients physically, sensory, cognitively and psychologically. Mandrell said that this type of therapy can benefit people with a wide variety of disabilities and conditions.
"Anything you could do in the office," Mandrell said, "we can do here in the barn in a very nontraditional setting and incorporate the horses into that process. The longer I do this work in the arena, the less I want to be in the office as a counselor. In fact, all of my clients at this point are in the arena, because I see results faster there for people and see changes happening, whether that is a physical level, emotional, or even spiritual level for people"
Refuge Services relies on help from donations and volunteers. Volunteers must agree to a four month, four hours per week commitment.