Children give to assisted equine therapy program
TINA PEPLINSKIE email@example.com During their birthday party at the Forbes Stables, the Desmond family Dakai (second from left), 9, on Prince and Demirius, who turns seven later this month, and Gillian, 10, on Robin, raised money for Hope Reins Equine Assisted Therapy Program. Holding the horses’ reins are Andrea Vandergragt (left) and Kate Vandergragt of Vanderbrook Farms. For more community photos, please visit our website photo gallery at www.thedailyobserver.ca.
For the second year in a row, three local children opted to forgo birthday presents so they could help raise money for a local charity.
When Dakai, Demerius and Gillian Desmond invited classmates to their birthday party, which was held at the Forbes Stables on B-Line Road Sunday, they asked them to make a donation to the Hope Reins Assisted Equine Therapy Program instead of bringing them gifts. The attendees had an opportunity to interact with some horses, go for pony rides and have their photos taken with the animals and enjoy cupcakes inside a heated cabin. Last year each child selected a different charity to collect money for at their birthday party, but this time around they decided it was easier to direct all of their efforts to one large fundraiser.
Cheryl Garland, the mother of the children, is on the board of Hope Reins and the children have done programming with the organization, so they decided it was a fitting recipient. Even before the party began, Garland had secured about $500 in donations from family and friends that couldn't attend the party, so she was pleased to be able to help the program. Those who attended the party made an additional $250 in donations towards the program.
Alison Vandergragt, program director of Hope Reins, was pleased the family thought of them when choosing a cause to support. She noted Hope Reins recently secured its charitable status, which increases its capacity to fundraising.
Hope Reins runs its programs primarily at the Vandergragt's Killaloe-area Vanderbrook Farms, although it does use the Forbes Stables for programming involving the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families and for other clients in the Pembroke area. The primary focus of Hope Reins is to meet personal goals of the client as determined by them, their family and sometimes the mental health professional that is working with the client. The goals are achieved by providing individualized programs that are designed based on the therapeutic needs and the client’s ability.
The activities may or may not involve horseback riding, and can be individual, in a group, or involve the whole family. Hope Reins has provided programming to approximately 50 children and adults since inception in 2011. Many of the clients are on the Autism Spectrum, or have developmental delays. There is even even a child with spina bifida. Hope Reins relies on funding through grants and other fundraisers.
On March 16, there is a spaghetti dinner fundraiser being organized jointly between the 1st Laurentian Valley Scouts and Hope Reins. Some of the scouts and leaders will be on hand to help serve and clean up after the meal. It is being held at the Alice and Fraser Recreation Centre starting at 5 p.m. and everyone is welcome.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist