A Day at “The Hill”

It started out bright and sunshiny, but the weather was positively wintery! The chilly 32 degrees at 8am greeted Rosey Moreno-Jones and a team of Kids Central staff and volunteers. They began feeding, grooming and tacking up her beautiful semi-retired Arabian show horses for KCI foster families to enjoy. The families would participate in a recruitment video shoot on November 15.
Five families and all their foster, adopted and biological children came out for the kids to take turns riding horses and having fun at Jonesmore Hill in Southeast Ocala. In all, there were 28 children and 30 adults there that day with a great many of them helping as volunteer leaders and sidewalkers for the horses. It was all about sharing the mission of these families and their work with Kids Central. Though it started out chilly, you could not have asked for a prettier day and the smiles on those kids faces shone even brighter than the sunshine.

The day was the idea of KCI Director of Community Affairs, Nicole Pulcini Mason, and Foster Parent Recruiter, Rosey Moreno-Jones, as a way of highlighting the need for more foster families in Circuit 5 and providing a day of fun at the same time. According to Rosey, “Nothing helps a hurting heart more than a big, proud horse that loves being petted, groomed and loved on by kids.” As a former foster and adoptive parent, Rosey knows how much her horses, dogs and cats have helped children, since she became a foster parent over two decades ago. “Something magic happens when you get kids around horses, dogs, and even the barn cats! The kids just let go and feel these animals trusting them and not judging them, and it begins to open their little hearts right up.”

As part of the day, all the families also took part in a great bbq cookout and family fellowship time at “The Hill”, with lots of room for the children to run and play and time to just hang out on a farm surrounded by love. A highlight of the day was when a WCJB TV20 News Crew stopped by to film a story for the Saturday evening news. Reporter Stephanie Bechara did a wonderful piece on the day which gained a lot of exposure for the need for foster families across Marion, Citrus, Sumter, Lake and Hernando Counties. Click here to watch the video.

Kids Central sends special thanks out to Tender Moments Video and James and Cathy Vergara for coming and donating the filming of this day on the farm. Their help makes it possible to have a beautiful video with gorgeous hillside views and lots of happy children enjoying themselves with new found friends. Thank you to all of the Kids Central staff that spent their Saturday entertaining kids, speaking with parents, and being a huge help: Nicole Pulcini Mason, Jennifer Clark, Yisel Connolly, Joy Foreman, and Kristin Folts. And thanks to all our families who participated: Jack & Joy Foreman, Chris & Heather Gingrasso, Dann & Victoria Herrin, Chris & Alicia Johnson and Jonathan & Ashley Kennen – along with all their children!

Stay tuned, Rosey and her husband Bob plan to start a nonprofit organization at the Hill in 2015 that will offer FREE riding lessons for foster children and their foster families in an effort to reach out with horses helping hurting hearts.◘