Pathways for Veterans is Proud to Partner with Hands & Hoofs

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to review the Hands & Hoofs program we are offering to the youth in our area.

We know that our youth are struggling through the challenges of our current times and also know that being in nature and interacting with animals is a healing and heart-opening experience.  Because of our desire to share ranch life and the animals with kids, we have developed a day- long, hands on experience at Painted Sky Serenity Ranch where kids can be with the animals and explore the land. Painted Sky Serenity Ranch is a small working ranch located in the Sly Park area of the Sierras. The day includes carefully planned activities guided by trained horse handlers as well as art and exploration activities on the land.

Our program will be offered once each month through the spring and summer and is funded by our generous donors. Upcoming dates for 2022 is the 3rd Saturday of April, May, June, September, and October. We have 8 openings for children in age groups 9-13 and 14-19 for each date.

Contact: Julie or Mary @ or call 530-647-2049 to leave a message we will return your call within 24 hours!

Make a Donation to Help Support Hands & Hoofs

Program Testimonials

Meet the Team

Julie Schultz – my wife and I own Painted Sky Serenity Ranch in for Sierra Mountains. I have spent 22 years playing with horses and learning about myself through their eyes, I like to call it soul connection! Our herd of horses has been a blessing in our lives teaching us every day about ourselves by being a mirror of inner reflection. We are excited to share our herd with kids allowing them to interact & play while discovering something inside of them that reflects their inner selves.



Jen Berz – As a lifelong horse lover, I know firsthand the power of the horse to heal. Horses have brought me so much joy while helping me live with presence, connection and authenticity by acting as a mirror to my soul. After many years of working in Silicon Valley, I became certified as an Equine Facilitated Coach where I help people discover a deeper awareness of their soul’s purpose so they can take action to achieve their goals with confidence. I am passionate about connecting our youth to their own path to possibilities through the power of connection and experiential learning.


Pat Souza – I had a 36 year career in public education as a teacher and administrator. My passion has always been kids and families; how to support them and help make their lives happier and more productive. I grew up around horses and know the power of the connection between humans and animals.  Horses are wise teachers and ready for hands on experiences with humans, especially children. I am ‘all in’ to support children as they experience the wonder of connection with horses and ranch life through the Hands and Hoofs Project.



Sherry  Wynne –  I have a great passion for nature and the intimate connection with all of life   I have been in the healing arts for 40 years also I am an ordained minister, teacher and spiritual counselor. I am the novice in this group in relationship to horses and am in awe of the great gift of wellbeing and joy that occurs when I am with these incredible animal teachers. I am so delighted to be a part of this group and know that the children, families and everyone will benefit greatly in this beautiful setting where life slows down, we breathe a little deeper and soak in the goodness nature offers us. 


Mary Georgis – I am co-owner of Painted Sky Serenity Ranch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. I have a love of the land and the animals upon the land; both wild and domestic and have a heartfelt need to share this ranch experience with children.  I have had firsthand experience with special needs children and have seen the impact interaction with animals and nature can have on their sense of wholeness and worthiness.  I know that my skills in organization, motivation, communication and relationship building will support the success of the Hands and Hoofs Project. I work with these loving animals every day and know that the children who come to our program are in for a life changing experience.


Lora Jones For over the last 20 years I have been blessed with the opportunity to share my life with horses. The lessons I have learned from my experience with them are immeasurable. In learning how to connect with them I have been taught about mutual partnership and trust, emotional attachment, respect, responsibility and most of all sensitivity. These teachings reach beyond what I could have ever imagined and have lead to growth in every aspect of my everyday life. I appreciate the opportunity to share what I love and what has inspired me most in life about these special horse- human relationships as a gift for all to share.


Monica DaCosta Monica DaCosta has been active in many volunteer activities over the years. Following college, she spent two years in Honduras as a volunteer for the Direct Relief Foundation, teaching organic vegetable gardening and cooking classes.  When her 2 sons were young, she volunteered for 7 years as a Camp Fire Boys and Girls club leader and organized many day camps. She is a past-president of Soroptimist International of Capitola-By-The-Sea, as well as P.E.O. Chapter XK. She also served as the Youth Education Director at her church for nearly 30 years. Monica felt very honored to be chosen as a Santa Cruz County United Way Community Hero in 2011.

In 2005 she and her husband volunteered in Kenya for 3 months, working at an orphanage and living with a local family. Monica has returned to Kenya twice, since then and is mentoring a young woman there whom she has helped to set up a Days for Girls enterprise that manufactures and distributes reusable/washable feminine hygiene products and conducts training for local school girls.

Moving to El Dorado County in 2015, she now leads the Placerville chapter of Together Women Rise and has recently begun to volunteer with Hands and Hoofs.  She loves working with children and encouraging their creativity and is really enjoying leading the hikes and craft projects at the Hands and Hoofs programs!