Prosecutor with a Purpose : On a Mission of Hope to Heal Children Impacted by Trauma

Marley’s Mission is a non-profit organization that provides equine-based therapy free of charge to children who have experienced trauma. The Mission provides a less-threatening and non-clinical therapeutic environment which fosters healing – one child at a time.

My first memory of Gene Talerico was at 3:30AM in an emergency room. Police officers and medics surrounded my daughter collecting evidence. Everyone’s presence felt like a violation. Adding to this intrusion was this man, Gene, whom I didn’t know. He was speaking to the doctors and asking invasive questions about my little girl. I later learned that Gene is the First Assistant District Attorney for our county and he has spent over 20 years prosecuting those who hurt children. He came to the ER that night because he was going to prosecute my daughter’s attacker. He would find us justice.

As my daughter’s case went through the court system, Gene became the most significant person in my life, our lives and eventually, the lives of more than 140 children at what is now known as “Marley’s Mission”. When my daughter did not respond to traditional therapy, I was determined to find another way to help her.

I presented Gene with an idea – an idea which had already started to provide hope to my daughter as she tried to heal from the trauma of that night. My idea was Marley’s Mission: Horses Healing Children. Marley’s Mission harnesses the power and empathy of horses as a way to help children heal from emotional trauma.

I then asked Gene to join me in creating Marley’s Mission and his response was simple and powerful: “I’m in”. On the one year anniversary of the attack on my daughter, Marley’s Mission has opened its doors. We turned that day of hurt into a day of healing. For those who know Gene, we understand that his helping children and families is “just what he does”. He seeks justice for those who have no voice. He is selfless. He is courageous. And each day, he provides a helping hand and hope for the families of Marley’s Mission. Gene eats, breathes and sleeps Marley’s Mission.

Since its inception, Gene has been the President of the Board. He does it all – writing grant applications, seeking donations and speaking at public engagements. Since January 2011, he has dedicated over 900 hours of time to the continued growth and development of Marley’s Mission. His days start early and end late with emails, tweets and Facebook status updates to supporters and Board Member. In between this, Gene is at the District Attorney’s Office protecting our children.

On any given weekend, Gene is at Marley’s Mission mowing the lawn, feeding the horses and mucking stalls. He is a beacon of hope for children and families who visit the Mission, an example of what this life can hold for those who have lost faith.

April Loposky, Founder of the Mission observed: “for the young boys who visit the Mission, Gene is a role model any parent would want, and for the young girls, Gene is the man who didn’t hurt them. He is an example of what a man should be”. This mission would not be accomplished without Gene. For him, it’s not about accolades and recognition. For Gene, it is the crayon drawing of a horse standing beside a little girl that matters.

More About This Charity




Volunteer of the Year


Gene Talerico for Marley’s Mission


Marley’s Mission, Inc. offers expertise in Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for children and their families who have experienced trauma.


  • This Volunteer raised $50,000 through this Achievement
  • This Volunteer helped more than 140 children in the past year
  • This Volunteer logged more than 600 hours of volunteer service

Works In

United States

Learn More

Donate →