Classes Are Back in Session
We are so pleased to welcome everyone back to Miracles! Classes started the first week in April. It had been over a year since the horses and kids had seen each other and there were smiles all around! Four training sessions were held to train new volunteers and refresh the skills of returning volunteers. Therapists from ChildServe also started holding their therapy sessions one day a week. Of course COVID protocols were followed to keep everyone safe.
If you are interested in signing someone up for classes, head over to our services page to learn about which classes are being offered and fill out an application. Check back often as the schedule is ever evolving and classes fill quickly! If you have questions, call the Miracles office and talk to Deb or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Volunteer Trainings Scheduled: 26 June, 22 August
The first step if you are interested in being a volunteer, is to fill out the application under the Volunteer tab. If you would like to work with the horses, you will need to attend a volunteer training, read the volunteer manual, and review videos available on working with therapy horses.
For the June 26 and August 22 trainings, side walkers will only need to be there for the morning session, 8:30 a.m. until lunch break. Horse leads and barn assistants will need to attend both the morning and afternoon session, which lasts until 4 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
Email Maggie Elliott, Volunteer Coordinator, email@example.com, if you will attend and indicate if you will be staying for the afternoon.
On the Road Again
Our wonderful mini ambassadors have started their summer outreach with an April visit to Stoney Point Memory Care Center in Cedar Rapids. It was a beautiful spring day and the residents seemed to take great joy in seeing and petting Mr Sea and Little Guy. If you would like to see some photos, click on the April 2021 newsletter. There is also an article about Mr Sea and his breed, Falabella, the smallest of the mini breeds. If you have a group or event that might be appropriate for a visit from the minis, contact the Miracles office for consideration.
Work Day Magic
On Sunday, April 11, members of the Johnson County 4H Horse and Pony club spent hours at Miracles painting, dusting, weeding, raking, cleaning, and other spring (and post-construction) tasks. They were an amazing group, as you can see by admiring the dusted and painted Upmier Arena. Miracles is grateful for our volunteers.
It Has Been a Learning Year: Giving Tuesday
The challenges of 2020 cannot be understated. But out of those challenges, we have developed new ways of communicating, had time to reflect on what is next for Miracles, and learned what Derecho means!
One of the advantages of working with therapeutic riding students online through our Zoom classes, is they can participate in the classes even when they are on vacation. The instructor, Diana, was so pleased to get a postcard from Cooper when he was vacationing with his family. And he was still able to sign in for that week’s Zoom class!
Giving Tuesday is a great time for us to recognize how much Miracles has been given this year – in addition to learning how to incorporate videos into our communication with students, parents, volunteers, and the interested public, we learned that even in times of stress, our supporters are still so generous! We also learned that support sometimes comes from unlikely sources – a group of “cowgirls” who had a rodeo after learning how to back up a horse trailer, a Minnesota Half-Arabian Horse Association looking to help a nonprofit after the Derecho, an Arizona therapeutic riding center closing its doors.
We are again asking for the support of those who can – many of our costs do not change despite not being able to welcome students to the farm, except in individual family groups. In addition to finishing our fundraising to enhance the experience for our riders through three capital projects, we still need to feed the horses, maintain fences, and complete the myriad tasks it takes to run a 76-acre farm.
For more information on Cooper’s experience (above: Cooper haltering Jet; Cooper outside riding Aspen) with our online classes, head over to our donation page. You can also see photos on our website of the enclosed Pavilion and construction progress on the new “front door” to the arena. Thank you for your continued support of Miracles!
ALL DONATIONS BETWEEN NOW AND THE END OF THE YEAR WILL BE DOUBLED!
Aspen not only remembered Cooper, but he also really enjoyed the grooming session that followed the online learning about “the Miracles way” to groom one of our therapy horses.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenge for everyone including Miracles in Motion. But, as is often the case, out of adversity comes growth. Providing therapeutic riding classes virtually isn’t intuitive, but our intrepid PATH instructor, Diana Harris, and willing volunteers, Tracy Kolosik and Nikole Tutton, made it work. Diana and Tracy recorded videos for access by our students so they could learn about all that happens before a horse is brought up to the mounting block for classes. These videos will also prove invaluable to reinforce “the Miracles way” for our volunteer training.
After the students had a chance to view the videos, zoom classes were scheduled with 2-3 therapeutic riding students at a time. Each 4-week series of classes covered one topic. The material – haltering, leading, grooming, tacking, etc. – was demonstrated in real time and students could ask and answer questions to facilitate understanding. After completion of each unit the students were offered the opportunity to practice what they had learned, one at a time, at the farm. This hands-on session was so rewarding for the students, parents, and volunteers. The enthusiasm was contagious. It was so wonderful to again have students and therapy horses together!
In talking with Cooper and his mom, Becky, she mentioned that the day before the session, Cooper would say, “I can’t wait to tell Diana something tomorrow!” And we at Miracles can’t wait to have all our therapeutic riding students and hippotherapy riders back at Miracles!
We would appreciate your help in continuing to provide those with special needs the chance to connect with our volunteers, other students and our wonderful horses. Donate here and hear Becky's comments about Cooper and Miracles.
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Our newsletter is formatted and edited by Lois James .