Major: Criminal Justice
Alishia Allegrucci vividly remembers the joy she experienced the first time she ever road a horse as a young girl. Now, at age 22, the 2010 Keystone graduate and Dalton resident is helping a special group of children discover the same type of happiness she experienced as a child.
Equine therapy for children at Marley's Mission
Alishia is able to share her love of horses as an equine specialist with Marley’s Mission, a non-profit organization in Lake Ariel, Pa. which provides equine therapy to children who have experienced some type of trauma in their lives.
Equine-assisted psychotherapy has been shown to help patients who have experienced abuse and suffer from depression, anxiety, and similar symptoms. The Marley’s Mission treatment team, including Alishia, has been specially trained in equine assisted therapy. The organization has seven horses as well as the use of stables and fields.
Marley’s Mission was founded by April Loposky. Ms. Loposky’s daughter was attacked in her home by an intruder in 2009. While the intruder was apprehended and prosecuted, the young girl suffered significant emotional trauma after the incident. Realizing how well her daughter responded after interacting with horses, Ms. Loposky founded Marley’s Mission to help traumatized children experience the benefits of equine therapy, just as her daughter did.
Helping children with her love of horses
Alishia, who has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with minors in psychology and political science, was hired as an equestrian specialist shortly after graduating from Keystone in May, 2010. The job enables her to combine her lifelong love of horses and her strong desire to help children in need. She began riding horses at the age of seven and just one year later, Alishia began competing in horse shows and continues to do so. She participated in interscholastic riding at Lakeland High School, and has participated in competitions across the country. Recently, Alishia successfully completed the first of two levels of training to obtain her certification in equine assisted psychotherapy.
“Ever since I was a child, riding horses has given me a tremendous amount of joy and satisfaction. Now, I am able to combine my love and knowledge of horses to help children who need it most. Working at Marley’s Mission has been a tremendous experience and I know we are going to continue to do great things in the future.”
Students Also Volunteer to Help Important Cause
Alishia is not the only Keystonian who has been involved with helping Marley’s Mission. In the Fall 2010 semester, six Keystone students served as volunteer workers at Marley’s Mission as part of a psychology course taught by Assistant Psychology Professor Patty Fox, Psy.D. to prepare them for their senior capstone project. Mara Stucker, Mikaela Maria, Tiffany Carpenter, Rebecca Swierczek, Rebecca Corby and Dana Simon all spent time doing a variety of projects at Marley’s Mission.
“Seeing joy return to the face of a child who has undergone some type of traumatic experience is a wonderful sight. Marley’s Mission is helping to make that possible and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Alishia said.