ELPO staff, attorneys participating in United Way Day of Caring
by Mandy Hicks
Volunteers from ELPO will be working with New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding, a non-profit in Bowling Green that is dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities by enhancing their lives using the power of horses. The organization’s goals are to strengthen the minds, bodies and souls of disabled individuals, encourage self-esteem, confidence and coordination and to give participants the ability and freedom to be mobile without artificial aides.
Volunteers will complete projects on the organization’s sensory trail. The sensory trail allows riders that have behavioral, emotional, mental and physical disabilities to stimulate all of their senses from the back of a horse. Plans include painting six-foot poles in many different colors and designs, sawing out puzzle pieces and painting the pieces different colors and other similar projects. Volunteers will also construct a wooden see-saw for the horse and rider to go over and build boxes that can contain items for therapeutic activities.
According to New Beginnings’ Executive Director, Michele Vise, “The sensory trail is for our students while they are riding their therapeutic horse in their weekly 45 minute class with three volunteers and instructor. This trail also provides a training tool for our therapeutic horses. This trail is very important to our program with helping our riders use horseback riding as an extension of their therapy. Also during the summer months the barn and the outdoor arena (which is not covered) becomes extremely warm and having this shaded trail allows the riders to achieve their goals.”
According to the United Way, nearly 1,000 volunteers participated in Day of Caring in 2014, which was the sixth annual for the organization. The volunteers represented 70 companies across Allen, Barren, Logan, Simpson, and Warren Counties, joining with local non-profits to complete more than 76 projects.
The United Way Day of Caring is a structured volunteer opportunity that provides participants with a peek at volunteering. As part of the Day of Caring, businesses make a commitment to offer their employees a chance to “step away from their desks” to provide hands-on, volunteer labor for a wide variety of projects. Team participation in the Day of Caring aids in building camaraderie and goodwill among employees while also helping the community.