Inspired Studio supports local charity, Marley’s Mission


Last month the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center was the home of the 12th annual ‘Night of Hope’ Blue Ribbon fundraising gala for Marley’s Mission.

Marley’s Mission is where hope comes alive for children and their families who have experienced trauma. Since 2010 this non profit has provided equine-assisted psychotherapy to more than 1,400 children over 17 countries who’ve suffered emotional trauma ranging from abuse and neglect to profound grief so that they can begin to heal. 

This charity holds a very dear place within our founder and CEO’s, Maria Traino, heart—not only was she honorary co-chair of the gala this year but her close relationship with the late Rebecca Haggerty, a former board member, was a source of inspiration and support over the years. 

The Inspired team attended the gala with their partners and it was an unforgettable night with Maria also being awarded with The Rebecca Haggerty Memorial Reins of Healing Award. This award is given from time to time to recognize an individual who has demonstrated deep compassion, commitment and dedication to the work of Marley’s Mission, and most importantly to the children it serves. 

“Rebecca was why we strive for good and to be good and Maria has exemplified that as a volunteer just like Rebecca. Exactly the same heart, giving, caring and extraordinarily talented.”

—Gene Talerico, Jr. Esq., President

Maria’s honorary speech

A Cherokee Indian chief was teaching a young man about life.

“A battle is going on inside me,” he said, “a fight between a dog and a wolf.

“The wolf is darkness – he is angry, greedy and arrogant… he is filled with self-pity, guilt, resentment, and false pride.

The dog is pure light – he is joyful, peaceful, and loving… he is filled with hope, humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, and faith. 

The same fight is going on inside of you… and inside of every other person on the face of this earth.”

The young man thought about this for a minute and then asked, “Which one will win the battle?”

He smiled and said, “The one you feed.”

I love this parable about the gift of choice. The power to choose how we take in the external world, process it internally, and make a decision about how to respond to and interact with it.

It’s very simple, do we choose to feed fear or faith? Lack or potential? Anxiety or peace? 

The truth is, they all exist all the time—both lightness and darkness are available to choose from at any given moment… especially for you and I.

But what happens when a child’s bright white dog is taken away? When the child, through no fault of their own, is forced to be alone with their dark wolf?

Alone—with fear, guilt, resentment, embarrassment, shame? When there’s nowhere to hide from the darkness… and not even a flicker of light to be found. What happens when that poor child’s dog is gone?

When that gift of choice is stolen away from them?

That’s why Marley’s Mission was founded. The horses at Marley’s Mission aren’t really horses at all…. They’re white dogs in disguise.

When a child loses their dog, they can come to Marley’s Mission to find it. To find the light. The horses and therapists at MM help children regain a sense of hope. Find their voices again, trust themselves again, and courageously face the world again.

Tragedies happen—AND, hope always exists. But not enough people know about the HOPE that Marley’s Mission provides to traumatized children and their families.

  • They don’t know the stories about children who have been face-to-face with evil himself and have survived and thrived because a horse gave their light back.
  • They don’t know that Marley’s Mission has served nearly one thousand children in the last 12 years.
  • Or that they help families who’ve experienced trauma such as grief, PTSD, all areas of abuse, incarceration and even Covid-19. 
  • They don’t know that to be able to do that, it costs MM a bare minimum of $300,000 per year… just to keep the lights on.

They NEED to know—more people need to know about the mission. And more people need to HELP the mission fund their supply of hope.

Every light source needs fuel. 

Every mission needs a margin.

Every movement needs a community.

That’s where you and I come in. Each and every one of us here tonight has made a choice to feed their sense of generosity, compassion, and community by buying a ticket to be here. Or by asking their employer to be a sponsor. By purchasing a raffle ticket. By setting up the decorations, and inviting your friends. 

You’ve chosen the light!! And it makes me so happy to see everyone come together, on such a beautiful night, in such a gorgeously decorated venue, with cocktails and food overflowing!! For a cause that has a direct impact on our next generation.

I’m eternally grateful to be standing here today, to be able to use my voice in this way. 

I’ll never forget the first time I heard about Marley’s Mission. I had just made the scary decision to quit the safety and security of the corporate world and launch my design and marketing business. Gene Talerico called me one night, about 11 years ago, and told me all about the mission, why he was so personally invested in seeing its success, and told me that they needed help adding a tagline to their logo. They were getting ready to break ground on their new location—the stunning property they’re at now, donated by the family of Matt Burne. 

MM needed donations in the form of time and talent. I was honored to have the opportunity to give both. Over time, as I was able, I contributed in financial ways as well.

Creating a movement, sparking change, and spreading awareness doesn’t have to take a lot from a few people—it can be even more powerful when a lot of people give a little. 

I am hopeful that you will share this message with others and spread awareness!! Help those in need find MM. And help empower those who can… to contribute their time, talents or treasure.

Help me, April, Gene, therapists, staff, board, and the entire committee continue to spread LIGHT… and FEED THE DOG… not just in yourself, but in others. Not just tonight, but whenever you can.

Thank you.

At Inspired Studio we are incredibly proud to be part of that community behind this movement! To find out more about Marley’s Mission and support them year round in the form of charitable donations and volunteering visit for details.