100 Year Stories > Jessica McWilliams

Jessica McWilliams

Volunteer, Former Staff Member

A collage of four photos showcasing moments with horses: the top left image shows two horses nuzzling each other, the top right image captures a horse standing solo in an enclosure, the bottom left photo depicts a person and a brown horse with a blue hoola hoop, and the bottom right photo features a person playing with a horse using a long green pool noodle.

My Story

In 2013 I worked for the Rome Regional Youth Detention Center and was told of a placement in Cedartown that housed some of our Department of Juvenile Justice kids and they used horses. I originally went to volunteer, but turns out they were hiring for the equine coordinator and I got the job. I never knew going to volunteer would change the next 8 years of my life in the best way!

Working in the Recreation Department as the equine coordinator, I was able to witness many kids’ firsts: first time seeing or touching a horse, first time going to prom, first movie, Christmas, birthday party and so much more. My all-time favorite though was getting to watch kids learn and grow through our equine therapy program. Partnering with the therapists, we were able to help many kids work through past traumas and develop skills needed to be successful in life. I was able to witness a passion for horses grow in many kids at Murphy-Harpst and the value of them having an animal they could love, trust and care for. Some of those kids left and continued their newfound passion for horses by either owning them or creating a career centered around the equine industry. Just as much as we helped change kids’ lives for the better, they changed mine for the better too.

Share Your Story

As we celebrate our centennial, we reflect on the stories that shape us…including YOURS! Our collective journeys have had a lasting impact over these 100 years. Whether you’re a donor, team member, former resident, volunteer, or witnessed lives changed by Murphy-Harpst, share your story with us!

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Your MH 100 Story


Story Details

How have you seen the work of Murphy-Harpst restore children and help them have a brighter future?
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