419-833-1308 email@example.com 501 C3 non Profit Charity
Meet Our Staff
Amanda Cajka Executive Director Amanda is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with a master’s degree in recreation administration from The University of Toledo. While earning her undergraduate degree, Amanda spent a summer interning at Serenity Farm. She loved the atmosphere and mission of the farm and is thrilled to be back! She currently lives on a farm just outside of Luckey with her husband and young son. Before becoming a mom, Amanda worked for the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a Service and Support Specialist. She is thankful for the opportunity to join the Serenity Farm family!
Deb DeHoff Founder- Advanced Equine Specialist-EAGALA-PATH Instructor-PATH Mentor Founding Serenity Farm in 2001, Debra set out on a mission designing a safe, high standards, quality programming therapeutic center in Northwest Ohio. Creating a 501 C 3 non-profit charity was not a complete new venture in business, with a background in corporate America in accounting, strong background in social work and professional horse career.
No stranger to working with horses or families, Debra is an Advanced Level equine specialist with EAGALA and also spent several years developing and mentoring for the company with members across the U.S., South Africa, Germany, Norway, and Scotland. With a passion to work with Equine assisted Psychotherapy, equine assisted learning programs, therapeutic riding and Parelli Natural Horsemanship, Debra has brought a wealth of education and training to the Serenity Farm business model. Concentration has always been to add educational components to the staff/volunteers and horses, which translates clearly over to the clients served at the farm. Receiving certification from PATH, INTL. in 2002 to instruct therapeutic riding, Debra enjoys the arena classroom of clients of all ages, offering fun, engaging lesson plans. Named 2014 PATH certified instructor of the year for our region, she is humbled by the opportunity to work in the field. Working with a diverse population and equine assisted therapy, most of her caseload are those who have been abused, trafficked and veterans. Debra offers mentoring to individuals wishing to become a PATH Intl, certified instructor.
An avid student of the Parelli (PNH) method, and also a volunteer for the Parelli Foundation, she enjoys the journey of improving horsemanship skills for self, horses and entire therapy center of staff and volunteers. Integrating training methods into lesson plans for riders, advancing volunteer horse handling training and inviting Parelli instructors to the farm are a huge asset to the health and wellness of Serenity Farm horses. Accomplished official Level 1 and 2, Debra is working on levels 3 and 4.
Equine history includes: two time World qualifier in barrel racing, team penning – Penna circuit, cutting - novice, boarding, foaling, starting 2-3 year olds, previous riding lessons for kids and adults, and sports therapy (to include red light, massage, general chiropractic, lay ups). Maintaining 9 horses for the Serenity Farm non-profit organization is a 24/7 position to ensuring all horses are well cared for and ready for each program when needed. Debra’s responsibilities include selecting quality horses for each program, ensuring exercise programs are aligned with program needs, training new horse handlers and troubleshooting any potential safety hazards within the liability standards. With Debra’s advanced knowledge Serenity is in good hands for equine details.
Michelle Reiter Associate Director/PATH Certified Instructor With over 25 years of teaching and 35 years of riding experience, certified instructor Michelle Reiter offers a unique combination of talent and passion to the mission of Serenity Farm. “To combine my love for children and horses, that’s the reason I joined the Serenity Farm family,” said Michelle. With undergraduate degrees in Elementary and Special Education, and a Master’s Degree in Reading, Michelle uses her extensive teaching experience to foster stronger relationships with clients. “I started my career as a teacher of developmentally handicapped children,” Michelle states. “That experience guides my interaction with the children and helps me respond to their needs in an understanding and caring way.” Riding horses has been part of Michelle’s life since the age of 10. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the emotion in a child’s face as they connect with one of the horses. Even more gratifying is seeing the positive emotional reaction of a loving parent.”
Michelle has spent the last few years embracing the Parelli Natural Horsemanship (PNH) method as both a student and a teacher. She has ridden in Jesse Peters' level 2 PNH clinics to improve her horsemanship skills, which enables her to model and integrate those skills into her therapeutic riding classes. These are skills which her students/clients can apply both inside the arena with their equine partner as well as outside the arena. She loves the way that the Parelli method teaches trust and respect, which she implements into her lessons. She enjoys watching her clients play the Parelli 7 Games both on the ground and in the saddle. Michelle also helps to assess and integrate new therapy horses that are entering the Serenity Farm therapeutic riding program. Being able to identify their horsenality helps her find the "best fit" horse for her clients.
Kathleen Warrington Team Thunder Coordinator Kathleen is a retired school teacher. She joined the Serenity Farm Team in 2005. Over the years, she became a barn buddy, side walker, horse handler and team captain in the Therapeutic Riding Program. As the Team Thunder Coordinator she organizes visits to many establishments such as care centers, senior centers, special needs classrooms, hospice, libraries, and others. Kathleen is also involved in fundraising and EAL Sessions.
Pam Hoch Graphic Designer/ Therapeutic Riding Volunteer When I was growing up, I honed my artistic skills by drawing horses. So, it is no wonder that I am a graphic designer by profession and spend my weekends with horses for fun. Serenity Farm is a place where I can nurture both my passions. Since 2009, I have been happy to share my skills to help Serenity Farm Equestrian Center project an image that is consistent with the quality of their programs and the friendly professionalism of their volunteers and staff. There's always something going on at the farm and good communication keeps everyone informed.
In addition to graphic and web support, I am a horse handler for Therapeutic Riding. I have audited or participated in the Jesse Peters Clinic since 2015. The wealth of knowledge Jesse shares with us helps all of the horse handlers refine our skills. Clear and consistent communication with the horses makes them happier and our clients happier and safer!