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Equine Welfare Network Messenger

We are a 2017 Messenger!

We are proud to be an EQUUS Foundation Messenger and share our horse care & use practices with the public.

The Messenger Designation is awarded annually. To retain an existing EQUUS Foundation Messenger designation and apply for an EQUUS Foundation grant in 2017, organizations must provide all required information and update their Messenger information on or after January 1, 2017 and not later than April 30, 2017.



Messengers are organizations on the Equine Welfare Network that demonstrate a commitment to public transparency and accountability by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their operations.

Click here to learn more about our horse care and use practices.

Catholic Charities St. Vincent's School for Boys



Catholic Charities St. Vincent's School for Boys
990 Eddy Street
SAN FRANCISCO CA 94109
415-972-1200

Tax ID/EIN: 941498472
Year Founded: 1907
Last Updated 2017-08-09

Public Charity


View our WEBSITE

View our GUIDESTAR PROFILE


Primary Focus involving horses (Horse Welfare, Public Service, Sport & Recreation):  Public Service

Our organization operates programs involved with providing equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) using certified instructors for individuals with special needs.

Our organization is directly responsible for the care of horses to provide its services.

3%% of our total programs and services are horse-related.

Our organization conducts its horse-related programs at one facility.

Our organization operates programs involved with horses and other animals.


Our Mission/How we are involved with horses:
Founded as an orphanage in January 1855, Catholic Charities St. Vincent's School for Boys is one of the oldest institutions dedicated exclusively to care for severely abused, neglected and traumatized boys.

St. Vincent’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program provides a unique opportunity for boys to build trust, heal emotional scars, develop riding skills, foster confidence, and experience a sense of accomplishment. Most boys who come to us have been so severely traumatized that they find it almost impossible to form lasting, emotional bonds with anyone. Our 18 beautiful horses have an extraordinary way of connecting with our boys and healing these scars.

Horse-related programs:
St. Vincent’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program is an adjunctive therapy to the Clinical Department, providing mental health therapy that helps each child develop skills and learning strategies to promote self-esteem and positive self-identity. Due to the past traumas they have endured, many of the boys at St. Vincent’s exhibit anti-social and aggressive behavior. St. Vincent’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program plays a significant role in helping these troubled boys improve their behavior, a result supported by formal research. A 1997 study by Elizabeth Tate Pearson noted that Equine Assisted Therapy programs are effective in reducing the participants’ violent and self-destructive behavior and produce “significant decreases in aggression” among troubled male adolescents.<br /><br />Supervised by a trained equestrian clinical practitioner who works closely with individual rehabilitation specialists, St. Vincent’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program provides a unique opportunity for the boys to build trust, heal emotional scars, develop riding skills, foster confidence, and experience a sense of accomplishment. Many of the boys who come to us have been so severely traumatized that they find it almost impossible to form lasting, emotional bonds with anyone. Animals, however, have an extraordinary way of reaching children. To be able to connect with the horses at St. Vincent’s gives the boys a wonderful, non-threatening opportunity to engage in a relationship of love and devotion on a deep level.<br /><br />Through St. Vincent’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program, our boys receive the individualized treatment and care they need to develop healthy social, cognitive, and emotional behaviors. Fundamental Learning Elements of the Program are:<br /><br />-Relaxation<br />-Respect<br />-Commitment<br />-Self-discipline<br />-Concentration<br />-Responsibility<br />-Trust<br />-Patience<br />-Empathy<br />-Unconditional Positive Reward<br /><br />Annually over 60 boys participate in this enriching and rewarding program. Thirteen beautiful horses live on the St. Vincent’s campus and participate in St. Vincent’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program. The boys at St. Vincent’s aren’t the only ones getting a second chance at life. Just six of the thirteen horses have any resale value, meaning a dire future would await most of them were it not for this program. Instead, the horses receive more care and attention than they would in almost any other circumstance and can live out their lives in a beautiful setting, surrounded by people who care very much for them.

Non-horse-related programs:
Founded in 1907 and rooted in our faith traditions of charity and justice, Catholic Charities supports families, aging and disabled adults, and youth through social services and opportunities for healthy growth and development.

Catholic Charities serves annually more than 37,000 Bay Area residents in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, and Sonoma counties. We administer 35 programs in five service areas: Aging Support Services, Children and Youth Services, Behavioral Health Services, Homelessness and Housing Services, and Refugee and Immigrant Services. All of our program services are provided to our community’s poor and working poor families and individuals, regardless of age, race, color, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status or socioeconomic status.

Within our Therapeutic Equestrian Program, we have goats, cats and chickens that have been integrated into the therapy program. Some of our youth not only work with these animals, they care for them and have individualized therapy sessions unrelated to the horses with them.


Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteers Welcome
Minimum Age: 18
Catholic Charities is proud to create and foster great relationships with all of our volunteers. We look forward to hearing from you and beginning your process as a Catholic Charities volunteer!

Since we provide a variety of ongoing as well as seasonal volunteering opportunities for adults, youth and groups that vary widely in terms of expertise and time needed, it is best to visit our website and/or contact our Volunteer Manager Diana Contreras at DContreras@CatholicCharitiesSF.org or
415 972 1297. For a current list of volunteer opportunities, please visit: https://CatholicCharitiesSF.org/all-opportunities/.

Wish List Items


Please Donate Today To Feed Our Horses
Eighteen beautiful horses live on the St. Vincent's campus and participate in St. Vincent's Therapeutic Equestrian Program. We are seeking donations to purchase hay, feed, and nutritional supplements for our senior therapy horses.