Square Peg Foundation

A nonprofit organization

67 donors

36% complete

$25,000 Goal

Every day, I sit with parents who tell me stories of how their child was expelled, shunned, rejected because of “behaviors” in the classroom.  I hear about how people came up to them in the grocery store to tell them that their child needed “a swift kick in the butt.”  They tell us stories of finding their child looking in the bathroom mirror and telling their reflection that they are “bad” or “crazy.”

At the ranch, difference is celebrated – childhood is revered.  The animals reflect back the innocence and the curiosity that the students project.  The natural setting creates a space with minimal sensory triggers – the things that often bring about behaviors such as aggression or elopement (running away) or the dreaded autism tantrums – (crying and screaming jags that can last hours).

The environment we developed at the ranch is set up so that there is an inherent feeling of peace for the parents and the animals and especially for the students.  Laughter is the original communication because it imparts the permission to be joyful.

The experts say that people won’t care what you do – they care why you do it.


In 1984 I became a mom.  I was still in high school.  My son Greg was born 9 weeks early and barely 3lbs. While he grew in an incubator in the hospital, I finished both high school and my first quarter of college.

My son’s learning difficulty started early.  He had trouble focusing and staying still.  The more people tried to force him to sit in a classroom, the worse his frustration grew.  He was singled out for visits to the principal, suspensions, bullying from not just other kids, but by parents who felt their child wasn’t getting the education they needed because of his behaviors.

By 5th grade I’d run out of options.  He was expelled from school for fighting.  I was working two jobs.  I pulled him from school and began to homeschool despite threats from the superintendent who warned me that he wouldn’t get the socialization he needed.  I reminded him that my son was beaten brutally by another 5th grader while he was at school and that was not exactly a model for socialization.

I learned more about education than I thought possible.  Not from books, but from my son.  I learned that he needed to touch things, manipulate them and feel them.  His brain needed to run and climb and wonder. I learned that daydreaming time is critical mind processing time. We read books in trees, we learned fractions in the kitchen with measuring cups and bags of macaroni noodles. We learned history from reading foreign films, visited art museums and splashed in the creek. 

In 2004, we started Square Peg Ranch.  My son was now a young man, working on a farm in Maui.  He’d left high school and was looking for his place in the world.  In Maui, he re-discovered nature and beauty.  He began riding horses again and was mentored by the local polo pro who taught him the game he loves. He explored the Haleakla Volcano by horseback for days on end.

As his life began to take shape, this thing called Square Peg did as well.  I knew how much kids who didn’t feel like they “fit in” needed a place where they were valued and accepted.  I also wanted to provide a space for the horses who didn’t fit in – mainly failed race horses could find safety.  My thought was that these kids would care for the horses and both would find peace and safety.


Square Peg Foundation has two clear missions:

• To teach children who know what it is like to be a Square Peg to turn “I wish” into “I can.”

• To rescue, retrain and re-home horses who needed another chance at life.


Square Peg seeks $25,000 to care for the horses and families that need us most.

Organization Data


Organization name

Square Peg Foundation

Tax id (EIN)


Organization Category

Human Services

Operating Budget

$1,000,001 and over


PMB #402, 80 Cabrillo Hwy N. Ste Q



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