Because we are a non-profit organization, we rely heavily on our volunteers to help us operate our ministry successfully, but there is another group of individuals who make sure Storybook is all it can be. We are blessed with a staff of four compassionate individuals who help with all of the behind-the-scenes tasks such as daily administrative business, fundraising, communicating with riders and volunteers and maintaining the Farm. Without our staff, Storybook and its ministry would not operate as successfully and efficiently as it does.
Dena Little, Founder and Director
As a youth, Dena was an award-winning hunter jumper who had a passion for equines. She learned the ins and outs of horse care and management, but more importantly she learned how much equines could enhance a life. She continued her career in hunter jumping at the University of Richmond where she studied English and Literature. Dena moved back to Atlanta and opened a successful bakery. After nine years of operation, Dena sold her business and bought a small farm in Auburn, Ala. where she planned to open an equine assisted ministry that would help children dealing with greif. Storybook Farm, Inc. was established in 2002, but because the farm had grown, she had to relocate to a bigger farm in Opelika, Ala. With nine years of successfully running Storybook, Dena is excited about the growth and ministry that Storybook continues to face.
Correlating with Storybook's theme bible verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," (Philippians 4:13), Dena knows that this ministry is all due to God's grace and work. She gives all the glory to Him and knows without Him Storybook would not be what it is today!
Originally from Dunwoody, Georgia, Linda Blakely joined the Storybook family in the Fall of 2010 after hearing about it through a friend. She was interested in a career in bereavement counseling so when she heard of Storybook's ministry with children facing mental and emotional issues, she knew she wanted to be involved. Linda completed her internship at Storybook and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University in December of 2010.
Linda is responsible for administrative tasks such as coordinating sessions, volunteers, fundraising and daily office tasks. She is a wonderful team player, whose love for Storybook Farm drives her hard work and dedication. She is truly an encouragement to be around, and we could not be successful without all of her hard work!
When we need a little beat in our step, Jessica Scott is our girl. Former Miss Georgia contestant and current musician, Jessica learned about Storybook Farm while promoting equine therapy as her platform in the Miss Georgia Pageant in 2005. After completing her internship with us in the Spring of 2011, Jessica graduated from Columbus State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. Jessica's horse background along with her wonderful people skills make her an irreplaceable asset to Storybook. She does a wonderful job planning and implementing riding sessions and helping any where she can. Her selfless spirit and charisma for equine assisted therapy is an encouragement to all. She completed her certification to become a PATH International equine instructor in March 2012. She is a talented musician who hopes to one day be a successful music-playing equine therapist.
Ellen's impressive amount of horse knowledge and kind spirit are just a few things that make her invaluable to the Storybook family. She initially came to the Farm when she was just 11 years old to work on a Girl Scout project. She helped organize and run the library, but within no time, she fell in love with Storybook and has been here ever since. Ellen's upbringing on a farm has taught her the dedication and sense of responsibility it takes to maintain a the animals and a farm. Ellen is currently a freshman at Auburn University and recently completed her PATH International certification to become an equine instructor. Along with practically running the Farm, Ellen is also responsible for planning and implementing riding sessions. She is a joyful person to be around, and her lovely smile is sure to brighten anyones day!