Volunteer Spotlight

Marcy and Mark

Volunteer since: Spring 2020

Why do you volunteer at the Shane Center?

Our 27 year old son Sam is on the autism spectrum and started riding there when he was 8 years old. Riding at the Shane Center has been such a great recreational experience for him, as well as for other kids and adults with special needs. When the covid-19 crisis began, Sam’s riding was interrupted temporarily, like many other activities. We were delighted when the Shane Center reopened, but we knew that Sam wouldn’t understand the need to wear a mask and that it was unlikely he would tolerate wearing one. Given the current health and safety concerns due to the pandemic, we thought it might be best for us to become Sam’s lesson volunteers. 

What is your favorite thing about the Shane Center?

Mark and I have thoroughly enjoyed being Sam’s lesson volunteers  – and Sam seems to enjoy having Mark and I right there in the ring with him too. We get to see more closely the things that Sam has learned to do. It’s good exercise for us too!

Carissa

carissa

Volunteer since: 2017

Why do you volunteer at the Shane Center?

I volunteer at Shane Center because I enjoy spending time with happy people and happy horses!  I love seeing what people can accomplish with some encouragement and a little assistance – it is as therapeutic for me as it is for the riders.  And I love seeing the power that horses have to lead people to experience independence and joy.  

What is your favorite thing about the Shane Center?

My favorite activity is the summertime water squirt gun “fights” because it feels so cooling on a hot day after a lesson!  

Valerie

Stevie (1)

Volunteer since: 2015

Why do you volunteer at the Shane Center?

Being around horses has always brought me joy and happiness, so being able to help bring that feeling to our students is pretty cool!

What is your favorite thing about the Shane Center?

The week of Halloween is my favorite time of the year to volunteer.  Students in costume and dresssing up the horses – what could be better?

Sarah

Volunteer since: 2019

Why do you volunteer at the Shane Center?

I have been riding horses for almost 10 years, from 4H to hunter jumper and even a little bit of dressage. However, I’ve always wanted to get more involved in the therapeutic riding world. After just a couple weeks of volunteering at the Shane Center, I loved it. It is such a great environment full of kind, welcoming people who truly care about making positive changes in these communities that often don’t receive ample opportunities.

What is your favorite thing about the Shane Center?

My favorite part of this program is watching both kids and adults experience such joy and engagement while riding. Many students faces will light up when they see the horses and they get so excited to play certain games or activities during the lesson. Not only is is fun for the students, but for the volunteers as well! I work as a side walker and help out in lessons and I cherish every second I am at the barn. I am so grateful to be a part of this organization, and even if I can help be a small part of positive change in somebody’s life, it is 100% worth it!

Brenda

Volunteer since: 2017

Why do you volunteer at the Shane Center?

When I first read about the Shane Center, my first thought was “WOW, what an awesome program!” I am a people person/horse person/dog person! I love helping others and when you add a horse to that scenario, that led me to volunteer at the Shane Center. I rode a pony before I walked, was in 4-H with all my horses, traveled for horse shows, and I love seeing and being a part of the participants enjoying their riding sessions just as much as I did. The smiles on their faces or even the smile you can see in their eyes when they come into the arena, say hi to you and greet their horse, warms my heart. I enjoy cheering them on and high-fiving when they do a great job! 

What is your favorite thing about the Shane Center?

This program touches the lives of so many different people, young children, teens, adults. It is so exciting to see a new rider learn how to groom their horse, learn how to ride, and see that beautiful friendship form between them. Everyone gives a lot of encouragement for them to be as independent as they can be, to learn a new skill and practice it until the day they can accomplish it. The smile on their face or the smile you can see in their eyes when they look over at you once they realize “I did it,” is so rewarding to me. It is an honor for me to be able to volunteer here at the Shane Center. It is not always all hard work though… I love it when we can all be silly, dress the horses and ourselves up for holidays! We sing, we laugh, we play games (even being a sheriff catching bad guys!), we form friendships, all on the backs of some horses who are the absolute BEST! I love all those boys!!

Kylie

Volunteer since: 2017

Why do you volunteer at the Shane Center?

I started volunteering 3 years ago as a stable mate to be around horses more often,and learn how to take care of them. Then I was old enough to help with lessons and learned that I really enjoy helping people with disabilities. The Shane center has also helped me with my overall happiness and has given me the idea that I may want to be a special education teacher when I’m older.

What is your favorite thing about the Shane Center?

My favorite thing about volunteering at the Shane center is forming a bond with the students and seeing the smile on their face while they’re riding, and see them enjoy being at the Shane Center as much as I do. 

Kara

Volunteer since: Summer of 2012

Why do you volunteer at the Shane Center?

Since I grew up riding horses, I knew firsthand how much joy and confidence riding can bring and I wanted to help others experience this. I also wanted to know more about the therapeutic benefits of riding (I learned there are many!). 

What is your favorite thing about the Shane Center or a favorite memory?

One of my favorite things about volunteering has been watching riders progress and experience breakthroughs. The Shane Center not only teaches the fundamentals, but they also challenge riders to keep growing and adding skills.

 

If you are a volunteer and would like to share your story, please send an email to info@shanecenter.org. 

Include:

  1. Your name
  2. Years of service
  3. Why you volunteer at the Shane Center
  4. A fun story or favorite thing about volunteering with us
  5. A photo of yourself in action or a selfie if you want one shared