We have been truly humbled by the many volunteers who show up in so many different ways and whom without we could not accomplish our mission-critical activities. From collecting material donations to hosting Lakota families in their homes or strategic thought-partnership; our volunteers have become central to our ability to make a positive impact in the Indigenous communities we serve. This web-page is dedicated to our featured volunteer and will be updated quarterly.
FEATURED VOLUNTEERS: THE FANTASTIC FOUR!
Last quarter, we honored a mother & daughter duo as our featured volunteers... this time around, we're featuring a team!
Pictured, left to right: Volunteers Paula (through the eyes of Tipi Raisers' horse Okiniha), Katie, Jordan, and Sven!
Introducing the “Fantastic Four” : Paula, Katie, Jordan, and Sven! These four outstanding volunteers have been working together to take care of the Tipi Raisers horse herd since mid-2022 and have been integral to the organization’s activities in a number of ways since joining our circle. Paula, Katie, Jordan, and Sven represent the generosity and selfless service that the world so deeply needs at this time.
Paula has quickly become a mainstay in the Tipi Raisers volunteer community here in Lakewood! With decades of experience caring for horses, she has lent a skilled hand to the maintenance of our horse herd, and is always willing to make impromptu trips to Pine Ridge to transport Lakota friends home after Denver-area events! We are so grateful to her for her generosity of time and spirit. “I first got involved with Tipi Raisers when I brought a box of food to one of the food drives. I ended up spending the day helping and visiting with wonderful volunteers and tribal members who had come down to the food drive and hearing their stories. I love the heart and the people of this group. I’ve since volunteered at a few other events including a Gen7 meeting, food drives and rides. When I found out that the Tipi Raisers now had horses in Lakewood, I was thrilled. I grew up on a farm with horses, but haven’t had my own in almost 20 years. Being with the horses is my happy place. It brings me closer to my home and at the same time closer to the heart of our group. It’s always an honor and pleasure to work with the horses and with Tipi Raisers. I’m looking forward to being a part of many more experiences and accomplishments with Tipi Raisers.” - Paula Brallier
In her downtime from serving the community as an elementary teacher, Katie serves the Tipi Raisers horse herd with a joyful energy that is contagious to all who meet her! She inspires us with her commitment to service. We thank Katie for all her efforts to feed and care for the sacred horses that make up our herd, particularly during the single-digit temperatures that hit Denver in mid-December. “The horses are initially what drew me to working with the Tipi Raisers. I have loved horses since I was a little girl. The time I am able to spend with the horses is very rewarding. Then, I had the opportunity to join a few events including helping to raise a tipi, which was also a very rewarding experience. I started meeting all these amazing people in the organization and learning more about the mission of the Tipi Raisers. It is an incredible opportunity to be able to cross some cultural barriers and learn more about yourself and others.” - Katie Jones
Jordan brings such a calm and capable presence to our community! From her generous assistance with the feeding and care of our horse herd, to her extensive experience in the nonprofit world, she has been an incredible addition to our circle of volunteers since day one. It has been a joy to connect with Jordan and her family, and so beautiful to see how her young ones engage with ceremonies and service!
“I was really fortunate to have a grandmother with a love for Native American cultures and horses. She always brought elements of that around and shared it with me. And growing up in such a diverse area, I was always very aware of power dynamics between different cultures. My other grandmother was French, and I watched her struggle in a different culture. It led me to my work; helping people who had lost their homelands adjust to life here because of their refugee status was my way of honoring their communities and working towards that reconciliation that I feel is so important. When I realized whose land this (Colorado) originally was and that the Tipi Raisers’ horses were part of a herd connected to Pine Ridge, it felt like a great way to lean into and continue with that reconciliation locally. I get a lot out of working with the horses. They have taught me so much about intuition, trust and the importance of building relationships. Just energetically- I feel them, and they’ve helped me with my own spiritual growth. On a personal level, it’s been important to me as a mom. It helps me teach my boys how to serve others; for us to be able to help scoop the corral and feed the horses with the boys is an act that feels full of love, even if it’s small. It’s a way to do what is right based on the history that has happened, and to help in ways that are asked of us, not in the ways we may assume. It’s important to lean into work in ways that we have been asked to help, letting communities share what they need instead of coming in and identifying it as if we know what’s best. I love how Tipi Raisers listens to what the community is stating they need.
Relationships also come to mind. Meeting Darryl, Jeff, Joseph and other community members has been such an honor. I’ve learned so much from the brief interactions I’ve had with them. Between the community, the (Fantastic Four) horse team, and the Tipi Raisers team, it’s been nice to get to know people locally who are similarly aligned in terms of our beliefs, motivations and hearts. It’s not every day that you meet people who are committed to driving to meet horses, coming up with a volunteer schedule, etc. because they want to support the herd and Indigenous communities. It has started to feel like a family. Not being from Colorado originally, I didn’t really have that here yet. So to have it be built on something so much bigger than us is really amazing.” - Jordan Enger
Whether helping our horses get their day started with an early morning feeding at the farm, making the 30-hour round trip to and from the Hopi & Navajo Nations to deliver holiday gifts and food boxes to tribal members, or utilizing his expertise to support the upcoming delivery of five bison on Pine Ridge - Sven is a rockstar volunteer who has made such a difference for our horses and the communities we serve! We are so thankful for all that he contributes to our circle.
“It’s been really nice to connect with animals and to build community with Indigenous groups. There is so much segregation in our society - it’s so easy for communities to be isolated from each other and to get caught up in the Rat Race, but the horses bring people together. I love that aspect of it. It feels really good to take care of another being; it’s amazing to work with an animal that’s so gracious.” - Sven Ceelen
The Tipi Raisers is a registered nonprofit in Colorado and South Dakota and recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (C)(3).
All donations are tax deductible and a receipt will be mailed or emailed.
Donations can be made online or mailed to:
7830 W. Alameda Ave. Ste. 103-186
Lakewood, CO 80226