CARROLLWOOD — It’s hard to understand how Brooke Geller finds time to sleep and have what she says is a personal life.
Geller, 17, is a senior at Freedom High School, but spends much of her time as a volunteer at the Equestrian Inc. farm in Carrollwood caring for horses that were abandoned or abused. She is working with the Stalls of Love program based at the farm, partly out of love for animals, and also to earn the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve: the Gold Award.
In addition to achieving a grade point average far above 4.0, she is creating an adoption book that includes all the horses at the farm as well as trying to find supporters for the organization.
Want more? OK, she is a member of the Freedom swim team and has a chance to be one of its captains this year. She is an officer of the Future Farmers of America, works with kids after school at Metropolitan Ministries, is a member of the National Honor Society, volunteers at Lowry Park Zoo, and spent the summer at a Jewish leadership camp in New York.
It’s a long day, going from school to the farm to the pool to the books and then finding a way to raise money for Stalls of Love, but Geller, who has a smile that could tame the wildest horse, just wants to contribute and help animals. She’s crammed a lot into her 17 years, but she said it has been worth it.
“I love being busy and doing all that I can do,” Geller said, wearing typical farm clothes on a day that she had to leave to have her senior photo taken. “I love animals and I will do anything for them.”
The farm gets calls from police departments about abused horses and works with the Tampa Bay Downs racetrack to help horses that simply can’t run. The horses are brought back to health by the farm’s volunteers and hopefully find new homes.
The goal for Stalls of Love is to help anyone with an interest in horses to adopt horses. The program is Geller’s Gold Award project, but she said she would be doing it anyway.
“A lot of these horses would end up in slaughterhouses,” Geller said. “We think they belong with good people who want a nice and beautiful horse. We have a lot of them.”
Geller, who wants to be a veterinarian after college, is always looking for more sponsors and volunteers for Stalls of Love, but it doesn’t stop there. She has personal relationships with the horses. She doesn’t have one of her own, but she is determined that someday she will.
It’s tough to adopt a horse. They are more expensive to care for than almost any other animal. They eat a lot and need to be boarded. So Geller said she feels like she has already adopted all of the horses at Equestrian Inc.
She spends a lot of time raising money, but every penny she raises goes straight back to the horses at the farm.
It takes a lot of work to achieve all that Geller has in her short life, but she has a lot more plans for the future. She’s a girl who knows how to get things done.
There will be a Stalls of Love event Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Equestrian Inc. farm at 4902 Timberlan St. in Tampa. To get more information, contact Brooke Geller at email@example.com.