LUBBOCK, Texas – Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy nonprofit is in need of more volunteers. In a typical week, the organization has around fifty volunteers, but right now they only have around 20-25.

Executive director Patti Mandrell said in Refuge Services’ 23 years of service, volunteerism has never been so low. While it has improved a little over the summer, she said they still have gaps to fill.

“We serve over 160 clients a week, helping deal with so many different situations and adding this great team member here (Elvis the horse) to their treatment and getting to see how that is impacting lives,” Mandrell said.

Volunteers are critical in making therapy sessions happen – both in the session itself and behind the scenes.

Volunteer coordinator Kathy Curbo said, “We usually ask a commitment of about four hours a week. You have dirt in the arena’s, you have equipment and saddles, and all kinds of things that have to be tended to.”

Anyone interested in volunteering doesn’t need any previous training or experience. They will train anyone that comes in after they sign up and go through an interview.

Mandrell said they understand everyone’s busy schedules, and they would never want to burn anyone out.

Both explained how volunteering can benefit someone, and why they should think about joining the team.

“Just to see their faces light up, and there’s no way to describe it,” Curbo said.

Mandrell said, “It’s when I’m giving that I’m actually receiving so I know that when you are able to invest time into someone else how rewarding that is.”

To volunteer or donate visit Refuge Services website here.