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Florida Therapeutic Riding Program Awarded National Grant to Empower Girls

Sep 23, 2021

Rock Island, Ill. (Sept. 23, 2021) – Royal Neighbors of America, one of the largest and first women-led insurance organizations in the US, located in Rock Island, Ill., has announced that Molly Murphy, executive director of Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida (EATSF), Coconut Creek, Fla., has been presented with one of ten Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment awards and grants presented nationwide. In addition to the award, she received a $10,000 grant for her organization.

Founded in 1982, EATSF provides therapeutic riding and equine activities to children and adults with special needs so that they may improve physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a recipient of equine-assisted services throughout her childhood, Murphy knows the impact the therapy can have on one’s quality of life. “I believe that horses instill a significant amount of confidence because they rely on you to be a leader,” said Murphy. “For someone with a disability, that might not be a position that we find ourselves in, in many areas of our lives. The horses allow us to believe in ourselves,” she added.

Under Murphy’s leadership, EATSF developed Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy programs for girls at risk, those who have experienced trauma, and Veterans introducing participants to horse behavior and how horses can mirror human emotions and help with the healing process.

Murphy was presented with the empowerment award and grant by Royal Neighbors of America on Thursday, September 23. “Molly has used her personal experience and training as motivation to remove stigma, advocate for, and empower persons with disabilities,” stated Royal Neighbors of America Sr. Member Engagement Specialist Darcy Smith. “Her leadership, volunteerism, and purpose truly exemplify Royal Neighbors’ 126-year-old mission to empower women and improve their quality of life.”

The grant will provide 15 girls and women with a scholarship to receive 30-weeks of therapeutic horseback riding lessons. “Because healthcare insurers do not consider riding therapy as medically necessary, this grant will assuage the financial concerns of parents or individuals seeking to provide this needed therapeutic service for their loved one,” said Murphy. “I am humbled to have the opportunity to provide healing and empowerment to more women and girls through the magic of our programs.”

Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that awards financial assistance to nominated individuals who have a plan to start or expand a business, organization, program, or nonprofit that helps women and/or girls in their community. To date, nearly $2.5 million has been awarded nationwide.

About Royal Neighbors of America
Royal Neighbors of America is a unique provider of life insurance and annuities whose mission is to protect women financially and empower them to improve their lives, families, and communities. Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 as a membership organization by nine pioneering women who recognized the need to insure the lives of women and children. In 2020, Royal Neighbors was upgraded to “A Excellent” (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificate holders. For more information about Royal Neighbors of America, visit

Media Contact:
Marie Young, Manager, Communications | (309) 732-8280

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