About us

Dedicated to serving those who serve at home.


The Hero Kids Foundation's aim is to provide a multidisciplinary approach to promote and support Military & First Responders children, together with the whole family, utilizing animal-assisted  therapies along with nature based activities. We strive on building hope, confidence, and self-worth.

Hero Kids Foundation is dedicated to serving those who serve at home & enriching families to connect, restore, and thrive.


Board of Directors


John Raniowski

Founder & Executive Director

Former Naval Chief Hospital Corpsman; Non-Profit Program Management Certified You do not realize what your service really means until you hear how it impacted your children and spouse. I want every parent to have that same opportunity I have had to Connect with my daughters, Restore our communications and relationship, and obtain the tools to Thrive in a new normalcy. None of this could have been done without the animals or nature based environment.



Board President

VP of Network and Security Solutions for SAIC. (Science Applications International Corporation.) She is currently pursing dual graduate degrees in Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Management Information Systems (MIS) from University of Mary Washington to augment additional undergraduate degrees in computer science and computer information systems. Barb and her family live in Stafford, VA.

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Certified public accountant and 20 years of supporting youth and community activities. "Working with Children has always been my passion and I feel like this organization is a great place to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

program directors

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barbara ford

Director of Equine Program

Barbara S. Ford, , MA, LPC, NCC, CTRI is a Licensed Professional Counselor offering Solution Focused, Nature-based and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy services in the Hampton Roads area.  A 2014 Graduate from Regent University, Ms. Ford is also a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor with the PATH, International organization.

Our Animals



  • 12.1 hands

  • Welsh Cob pony

  • Black

  • 22 years old

  • Tank is a 22 year old welsh cob. He has played mounted games,
    polocrosse, show jumping, and was a cart pony when he was
    younger. He really relies on his rider to show him what to do.
    He is a big baby and loves to be near people especially when he
    is away from home. At the moment he is being trained for
    masters level Mounted Games. He was on the USA
    international team at United States Pony Club Championships
    in 2015, where he also competed in the senior division for
    Mounted Games. He won first place and went on to compete at
    Presidents Cup at the Olympic Trials in Maryland that October.
    He won the cup and has been back two times since then taking
    4 th in 2016 and 3 rd in 2017. Mounted Games Across America is
    another organization that tank has done well in. In 2015 and
    2016 he was the reserve champion for both Nationals and end
    of the year awards. 2017 was a good year for him too,
    becoming the Intermediate Champion at Nationals and reserve
    Champion for end of the year awards.



  • 13.3 hands

  • welsh, chestnut mix.

  • brown

  • 19 years old

  • Misty has competed for the last two years in United State Pony Club, Games Discipline, Championships, placing in top three teams. Misty has qualified for Pony Clubs Grand Prix events of Prince Philip Cup and President's Cup. Misty is 2018 Individuals Mounted Games Champion in Canada and has competed in Canadian pairs and team competitions. Misty has also won Worlds Team  U17 Competition 2015  and Worlds U17 Individuals 2015.

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Tommy, milk Dud and Jarod

What farm would be complete without a goat or two?! Tommy,Milk Dud, and Jarod are the life of the farm. They are loved by everyone from the horses to the visitors. They help provide comfort and affection to visitors. Just like with many other therapeutic animals research indicates that interaction with goats can temporarily affect the release of various neurotransmitters in the brain. In turn this relaxes people and helps them to distress.