Share Lifetime Volunteer and Horse Whisperer
Twenty years ago I walked into the Fran-Joswick Therapeutic Horseback riding center to give back to my community...and “play with horses” as I told my Mom with a diabolical grin. Little did I know I was going to find something in myself that would bring me back two decades later. Albeit, my choice to volunteer here at the age of 18 was for less-than-purely-altruistic reasons. I love, and I mean LOVE, horses. When I was a
small child, I would beg my Father to take me to Mr. Smith’s (dilapidated) Pony Farm where for $5 I could ride a pony for an hour. Even though we grew up in Orange County, my family wasn’t wealthy enough to own a horse, so this volunteering opportunity would be two-fold, give back to the community and give me my horse fix: Win-Win! Now named the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, this gorgeous, well-maintained center embraces so much opportunity for the disabled community. From young children, to older adults, the members here are thriving in an environment that promotes independence, confidence, and teaches skills necessary for the riders to adapt to an often times demanding society that condescends their disability. It’s no longer about my obsession with horses, it’s about my passion for disability advocacy. Every member is getting the opportunity to know equity, instead of charity, and every family that enrolls their sibling, parent, or child, is giving them an invaluable gift: pride.