Alison Boyd, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Alison Boyd co-founded Wings of Hope Ranch with friends Jane Yancey and Cindy Colon in 2006 after being inspired by the book “Hope Rising” by Kim Meeder. Since that time, Alison has served on the board of directors and managed the program as a volunteer until 2018. In 2018, Alison became the executive director of Wings of Hope Ranch and now manages day to day operations under the board’s leadership. It has always been Alison’s passion to have a ranch for children someday and it is her pleasure to serve daily in this unique ministry opportunity that pairs rescue horses with children facing conflicts and challenges. She considers it a gift from God and a personal calling on her life to be in this role. Alison loves working with the horses, the children and managing operations but best of all she loves to see the Holy Spirit move in the people, the property, the land and the horses that all participate in the program.
Diane Pace, Administrative Team Leader
Diane has had a love of horses since she was a very young child growing up in Northern Virginia. While she didn’t take riding lessons until she was in her 40’s (thank you Jane Yancey for getting her going) her love and compassion for horses never left.
Diane has served at Wings of Hope Ranch since the beginning and has had quite a few roles. In the beginning, sessions were held at co-founder (and neighbor of Diane) Cindy Colon’s barn. Diane would walk to Cindy’s, ride with her to Betty’s to help trailer the horses back to Cindy’s for sessions and then they’d trailer horses back to Betty’s after sessions. Diane said that working with the ranchers and horses back in the beginning was a special time. Diane believes that the healing power of horses is incredible for not only ranchers but volunteers as well. Diane has served regularly every week since 2006 in both morning and evening feeding routines, cleaning stalls and caring for the herd.
As the Ranch grew, Diane moved into the role of barn manager. This job included scheduling vet appointments, managing volunteers and the day to day needs at the barn. She also had the privilege of joining the Board of Wings of Hope Ranch, a role she proudly served in for many years alongside some pretty remarkable people.
In early 2019 a need arose for some help with the Ranch’s administrative duties. A job was created for administrative assistance to help with these tasks. Diane personally felt better suited for this position. After some thought, and quite a few prayers, Diane felt it was her time to step down from the Board and become the administrative assistant for the Ranch. She is very proud of the time she’s spent at Wings of Hope and is truly honored to be part of the ranch family and history. Diane says she has “learned a ton, would love to learn more, has met some truly inspirational people of faith over the years and she is still excited to get to work every time she pulls into the ranch driveway.
Sharon Dennehy, Program Director
Sharon Dennehy says that her position as Program Director at the Ranch is a combination of her dream job and her “what I want to be when I grow up” job. It allows her to combine all of the things she loves most into one role: Her lived experience with children with special needs, her love of the LORD and desire to spread His Word and her lifelong love of horses.
Sharon and her husband Mike have 13 children: Three biological children and 10 adopted children from six different countries. Many of her children have either physical, emotional or educational special needs and she has spent more than 34 years navigating resources to help them reach their full potentials.
As a result of this experience, Sharon became a State Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) in order to walk alongside other parents of children with special needs. As a Family Support Partner at United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) she offered peer support to families in crisis for 4 years.
Sharon then became a foster parent trainer at UMFS, where she learned more about trauma-informed parenting philosophies and techniques and combined that knowledge with her lived experience to develop and implement training for families interested in providing therapeutic foster care.
She is thankful to be able to serve God and others in this special ministry alongside so many other wonderful volunteers and staff—both human and equine.
Elizabeth Pace, Development Director
Elizabeth Pace is a Christian, wife and mother of two. She enjoys meeting new people and creating opportunities to collaborate with others. Elizabeth enjoys BIG picture projects and sees potential and beauty in just about everything.
Evan DesLesDernier, Bookkeeper
Evan DeLesDernier is proud to work as the bookkeeper for Wings of Hope! He loves to volunteer with the children and the horses whenever possible. He is working on his accounting degree, so working as the bookkeeper gives him an amazing opportunity to gain real world experience and he’s glad to be able to contribute just a little bit more! He learned of Wings of Hope from his then girlfriend, now Fiancee, and soon to be wife Kennedy, who is the current barn manager at the ranch. She brought him to the ranch and he quickly realized how great of a mission and organization this is. It did not take long for him to start volunteering with the children. He feels that this is just another way he can contribute, and is very happy to do so!
Kennedy DeLesDernier, Barn Manager
Kennedy Hall is the barn manager of Wings of Hope Ranch. She have been involved with wings for literally half of her life! It all started when she was 13 after reading a book called Hope Rising. She felt so moved by the mission of pairing hurting horses and hurting kids to find healing that she just had to be part of it, so she did some research and found Wings. She started out by helping with fundraising events, then into barn chores and helping with some of the horse training. She became a session leader and later a session supervisor while becoming more involved with the horses’ medical care. She was then approached about becoming barn manager at the beginning of 2017, and she could not have been more thrilled. Her day to day at the ranch involves ensuring the ranch is stocked on supplies (feed, hay, shavings, etc.), scheduling vet visits, working on any behavioral problems with the horses, training volunteers on horse care, and managing the volunteer schedule for barn chores. Outside of the ranch she work as a vet assistant at an animal hospital and is a Master’s Degree student studying Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at VCU.