Meet the Team2018-12-08T21:15:50+00:00

Kim Tschirret

Founder & CEO

“My intention was to help kids but now Hope Reins has become so much more than that – it has become a community of healing – a safe place for people to come and truly be who they are.”

I didn’t even realize I was a session kid until we got further along in ministry. When I was a child, I didn’t have a Hope Reins or Jesus, but I did have a horse where I continually found comfort and safety. God always works in us in ways that apply to us and what I discovered with the growth of Hope Reins was true personal healing and unconditional love from a loving Father.

My father was successful in all his business endeavors but an alcoholic at home. My childhood was void of the unconditional love of a father and developed a performance-based mentality to earn my father’s love. We shared a passion for horses but my dad always pushed me to show, and all I ever wanted to do was be in the stall, take care of my horse and ride… I always wanted the relationship with my horse. This young desire has been nurtured into fruition at Hope Reins.

The founding hope for Hope Reins of Raleigh is Inspire True Hope and Real Healing. I believe in this. We want to help more people, help more kids and more than anything else glorify the Lord! As the community at Hope Reins has grown I have observed, you can truly come as you are and Jesus will meet you where you are, and he will heal you. Hope Reins has become a community of Grace that extends to the Triangle, volunteers, families and me, personally. It’s an easy thing for people to talk about but it’s another thing to see it and experience.

Barbara Foulkrod

Vice President

“I love seeing the redemptive work of the Lord every single day at the Ranch.”

Hope Reins combines everything that I love: the redemptive power of the Gospel, family, community, horses and the outdoors. While I am passionate about everything out at Hope Reins, my favorite moments happen when I step back as the Lord showcases His healing power and hope-giving love. This showcase happens weekly during sessions but, honestly, it takes place every time the gate is open to volunteers, donors and community partners.

Back to when Hope Reins was only a dream, my precious friend, Kim, asked me to read a book called “Hope Rising” and to pray about participating in a similar ministry here in Raleigh. Upon finishing the book, my heart was so overjoyed! I knew this is where I was meant to be. Years later, I continue to be humbled by the opportunity to offer the same hope that I have been given and it continues to be the best “yes” ever!

I am humbled that the Lord redeemed me and offered me True Hope and Real Healing. Now, He allows me to tell others of His great healing love. As he’s shown me, I see him show others that there is nothing outside of God’s power to redeem and nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God. I love that we see proof of that every day at Hope Reins. As the healing of Jesus seeps into us, He transforms our areas of pain into opportunities to relate to others and showcase the power of the Gospel.
At Hope Reins, I am privileged to maintain the character and integrity of our organizational culture. It’s a joy to set the stage at the ranch and at our events where our volunteers and donors feel like we have been waiting just for them!

Hilary Schofield

Director of Programs

“I’ve bungee jumped from the third highest jump in the world over Victoria Falls!”

Hope Reins is a beautiful way to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I have one goal in life: to share the joy that I have in Christ. At Hope Reins, I get to live out Joy in Christ through the things I love most: kids, horses, people and beautiful outdoors! Tell me that is not a dream come true!

When I was a little girl, I used to dream about what it would look like to use horses as a tool to help other kids. When I read a book about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, I was completely inspired. Thankfully, I was introduced to Hope Reins just starting in Raleigh as a freshman at North Carolina State University. Who knew as I walked up the driveway that first day I would go from volunteering to interning to NOW being on the staff team working with the greatest women!

I see Jesus through His people at Hope Reins more than anywhere else. We can talk all day about serving the Lord, but here I see proof of the Lord as volunteers/staff serve Him. I see Him maturing people, I see Him changing lives, I see Him using us. Here, I have the privilege of seeing God working in others’ lives every single day.

As the Director of Community Programs, I ensure the volunteers, interns, and community partners of Hope Reins serve in a capacity that is meaningful. I realize that investing in Hope Reins’ volunteers, interns, and community partners today is a vital aspect in impacting tomorrow’s hurting children and youth. This personally touches me because I have the opportunity to build relationships with wonderful people!

Jennifer Shepard

Director of Operations

“I have my motorcycle license.”

It excites me how the Gospel is displayed in such practical and approachable ways to our kids, families and volunteers. Horses and horsemanship (speaking “horse language”) provide endless illustrations of the relationship that God seeks with each of us. Their honesty and unconditional acceptance help kids experience True Hope that leads to Real Healing.

I discovered Hope Reins shortly after moving cross-country, searching for purpose and needing healing in my own life. I found both in the beautiful people I met here and in the amazing ways God gave meaning to my story in light of Hope Reins’ vision and mission.
Of all the things God says He is to us, the most precious to me is “Father.” Each week in sessions I see God coming to be a Father to the fatherless, to revive the discouraged, to provide for those who do not have, to defend the unprotected, to comfort the grieving heart, and to bring hope where there seems to be no hope. 1 John 3:1 says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” And that is what we are!

Working here is a dream for me. Every part of my life – every passion, every pain – all finds its purpose in light of our cause to bring true hope and healing to every child. Every day I get to partner with our amazing volunteers, serve our brave families, and play with some truly exceptional horses in the beautiful place God has provided for us. I have seen God grow Hope Reins into an essential support to our community. This is more than a job for me. This is a life calling.

Brooklyn Stephens

Community Programs Manager

“Joy in my heart and coffee in my veins.”

Hope Reins takes what I hold to be most dear in this life– God, youth, family, horses– and weaves them together in a beautiful, love-fueled way within a community. God has used horses to shape and mold my personal life by showing me His love, character, and hope through them. It’s thrilling to watch God use these majestic animals to speak where words fail and love beyond impenetrable walls.

Hope Reins snuck up on me in a glorious unfolding of God’s providence. I went from nannying a child who experienced the benefits of sessions to working as an intern and now, I have grown into my dream job of Community Programs Manager.

At Hope Reins, I see Jesus’ love on display as we participate in God’s heart and rejoice in the restoration he allows our willing hands to accomplish. Those apart of this wonderful place are clearly about the mission of God: to love the community and each other as Jesus first loved us. It fills my soul to be in their presence. Hope Reins is where I see the “immeasurably more” of Ephesians 3.

As the Community Programs Manager at Hope Reins, I have been gifted with the opportunity to participate in what God does as he uses Hope Reins to profoundly change the community. There is no greater joy than seeing the light move forward and push back the darkness that has crept into precious lives. I am grateful to be apart of this grand adventure of True Hope and Real Healing.

Elizabeth Love Kennon

Equine Manager

“I’m a ‘horse whisperer’ and a life coach.”

Hope Reins is the place where I can share the love and grace of God. Here, through the experience of connecting deeply with ourselves and others via extraordinary relationships with horses, God opens hearts, heals old wounds, and brings hope into our lives. I’m so blessed to be part of this process and incredible community.

Horses have always been in my blood. They were my passion in my childhood, my lifeline in my teens, helped me walk away from drugs and alcohol, and they saved me in my twenties when I finally came out of years of sexual and emotional abuse at the hand of a teacher. They’ve been the catalyst for my deeper spiritual journey, healing, and “waking up” that began in my late ‘30s, and the “place” where I can give back, living my calling and purpose now in my ‘50s.

God brought me to Hope Reins a year after I sold my farm and gave away my precious horses. This was a dream I never could have imagined He was preparing me for. Here I am able to give back the gifts I’ve received – training our staff and volunteers in natural horsemanship and equine-facilitated growth while learning and developing leadership through our growing organization. It is pure joy, being part of this community.

I’ve fallen in love with the amazing people here and the opportunity to share love and joy with all those who drive through our gates.

Christy Burkey

Director of Marketing & Communications

“I’m married to most awesome man alive and have three wonderful teenage boys!”

Hope Reins has been a part of my life since its inception. It was over a bagel and cup of coffee that my sister, founder Kim Tschirret, first shared her vision for the ministry. Flash forward to today, and I can honestly say my job at Hope Reins has been the most rewarding and cathartic of my life.

I worked 17 years in Dallas radio and television broadcasting, busy building my resume upward and onward for my glory and the feeling of being accepted and relevant. It wasn’t until after my mother’s death that I faced my own emptiness and the emotional effects of growing up with an alcoholic father.

God got a hold of my heart during a neighborhood bible study, and the kids, horses, and volunteers at Hope Reins began to fill it with meaning and purpose. Even though I’m a gifted wordsmith and creative being, I truly believe the impact of being present with the hurting kids at the ranch is my most important role.

As Director of Marketing & Communications, I tell the story of Hope Reins with beautiful pictures and the written word. As you can imagine, I’m never at a shortage for visuals or content because God is busy healing and redeeming souls every day.

Micah Sedillos

Client Services Manager

“I have roasted marshmallows on a volcano (and melted the soles of my shoes at the same time).”

Originally from Colorado, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to travel all over the United States and world. I spent part of my career in the outdoor and camping industry, so zip lining, hiking and yes, even rappelling came with the job description!

But when Jesus tugs on your compass and places road markers along your path, you listen!

I discovered Hope Reins through a friend, who also encouraged me to put some roots down – and I’m thrilled I did. Hope Reins’ first core value, Jesus Heals, resonates with me. I’ve experienced His love in my own life, and it’s such a privilege to watch Him impact others – especially the kids we serve.

As a Certified Child Life Specialist, I worked with children, teens and their families in very stressful and traumatic situations within the hospital system. As you can imagine, there were heartbreaks and triumphs, just like at Hope Reins.

As Client Services Manager, I’m on the front lines helping our kids and families connect within our different programs as well as ensure they receive consistent and loving care. And, because you can convince me to engage in almost any outdoor activity, I’m looking forward to working with the horses, hanging out at the dock and hiking the beautiful trails that surround Hope Reins.

I’m certainly looking forward to our big fundraising hike, Hoofin’ It for Hope in September!

Brandon Wert

Ranch Manager

It was lucky for Hope Reins that one of Brandon Wert’s best buddies thought of him when he learned about the ranch manager position at Hope Reins. After 2 years working as teachers in the island country of Singapore with their teen girls, Jakelynn and Lucia, Brandon and his wife Jodi we’re looking for work in their new hometown of Durham, NC.  

Even before leaving the country, the Werts knew they would return to Durham to live near close friends from their time in Chicago attending seminary. An added attraction to the area was Brandon’s participation in the launch of Farm Church, a Christ-centered congregation that meets on a farm and leverages the resources of a farm to address food insecurity.  Brandon’s background and passion for building communities of service, working outdoors and Jesus (he’s an ordained minister), complimented the church’s mission perfectly.

And, Hope Reins soon discovered that Brandon was also a perfect match for its open ranch manager position.  “I realized immediately how impactful the ministry is as a safe space where kids can learn to trust again,” says Brandon.

He could also envision his family living on the ranch property inside the beautiful 4,000 square foot lodge.  “It was important to us to give our girls the gift of living abroad and gaining an international perspective on life,” says Brandon.  “And we are beyond thrilled to grow roots in the community at Hope Reins as well as at Farm Church.”

The staff and volunteers at Hope Reins are thankful, too.  Says Operations Manager Jennifer Shephard, “Brandon brings a tremendous amount of energy and creativity to the team.  He comes to life with a ‘yes’ and that has spurred us all on to greater things!”

Mary Kramer

Director of Development

I love watching Sci/Fi movies with my son!

I dedicated 20 years of my professional and personal life to nonprofit organizations serving communities and changing lives for the better. But I can honestly say, Hope Reins captured my heart in a way I’ve never experienced.  

In looking for a greater purpose in my life, I found a mission where my extensive training in development and nonprofit management compliments an even greater calling for me – sharing God’s story of hope and healing with others.

I moved to Raleigh with my husband, Phil, after working as Director of Constituent Relations at the country’s oldest all-girls boarding school, Linden Hall. Prior to that, I served as Executive Director for the in-house Orchestra of Wilson College.  As luck would have it – both colleges had equestrian programs and worked with equine therapy as a major. I now recognize God was winking at me!

As Director of Development, in addition to sharing our story with others, I write grants – an important skill I’ve honed over the years.  After graduating college with a degree in Paralegal Studies and Not-for-Profit Management, I completed the Grant Writing Program at Stony Brook University and accepted a year-long internship for Nonprofit Organization Directors.  Being able to formulate a logical and compelling invitation to a prospective funder on behalf of our kids and horses is such a privilege!

On a personal note, I live in Wakefield with my husband and son, John, and our two senior rescues, Henry and Louie. We love to take long walks together and are always looking for a new senior fur-baby to join our family.

My position at Hope Reins is such a gift because I have the privilege of sharing the mission and story of an organization that gives so much to so many.


Special Friends

Allin Foulkrod and Creative Visions have been dedicated partners of Hope Reins since our inception in 2010. Allin’s talented creative team have masterfully produced our annual fundraiser Mane Event and other events with meticulous detail. When you have an important message to deliver to a live audience, you need to have the best working for you —you need Creative Visions.

Learn More

The Indie Image captures the essence of Hope Reins through the lens of a camera. Rebecca Mill, owner, is able to tell a thousand word story with her beautiful photography. All of the beautiful images on our website, in our newsletter and other printed collateral. She also volunteers with us as a session leader!

Learn more

XU Catering gets rave reviews every year at our annual Mane Event fundraiser in the fall. Everyone wants to know who our caterer is! Kenton Jenkins turns everything into an eye appealing and gastronomique fine dining experience. Amazingly gifted and highly skilled!


Support Hope & Healing!

Would you consider donating your time or financial resources toward our ministry helping hurting kids find true hope and real healing?


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