GWIL2015 Nonprofit Profile: Red Arena Reply

Week of Online Giving 2015 April 19-26

Week of Online Giving 2015
April 19-26

The 2014 Givin’ Where I’m Livin’ (GWIL) campaign provides support and publicity for local non-profit charitable organizations competing for GWIL matching funds during the campaign’s Week of Online Giving, April 20-25th. Around Dripping Springs is pleased to feature this series of GWIL non-profit profiles to help publicize their unique missions to the community. We invite you to get to know these wonderful organizers and learn more about the important work they are each doing to enrich our community. Please share their stories, and be sure to donate to your favorite during the Week of Online Giving! Learn more at: http://www.GivinWhereImLivin.org

MEET RED ARENA WITH FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JENNIFER YOUNG :

WHEN, HOW, AND WHY WAS YOUR ORGANIZATION FOUNDED?0-1

RED Arena was founded in 2008 in Dripping Springs by Jennifer Young, a Physical Therapist who wanted to empower children with disabilities. Being on horseback is an excellent way to work on core strength and balance in a physical therapy session but it also provides the unique opportunity for building communication, confidence, emotional bonds and self-esteem.  RED Arena was founded to expand this unique experience in our community so everyone, regardless of ability to pay, could benefit from this empowering experience. 

images-2WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?

Our mission is to empower individuals with disabilities through horses. We provide physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions on the horses by licensed therapists and therapeutic riding lessons with PATH certified instructors.  We serve over 60 riders per week ages 2 to 50+ years old. We provide full scholarships to Military Veterans and those with financial hardships and partial scholarships to keep the costs low for ALL our participants.  The diagnoses we see include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, developmental delay, autism, stroke and traumatic brain injury. 

In keeping with our mission we also offer inclusive summer horse camps and an inclusive rodeo play day, the RED Arena Round-Up, in which kids of all ability levels can enjoy horses together.  We also partner with other non-profits such as Friendships for Life and The Marylee Foundation to provide adults with disabilities job/functional training on horse care and barn management at no cost to them. images-1

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE COMMUNITY THROUGH THESE EFFORTS?

We have so many heartwarming experiences every week.  The power of seeing our riders physically strengthen and grow in confidence and self-esteem each week is overwhelming.  One life changing moment in particular was early on with Regan.  She came to us when she was 2 years old and her parents had just been told by her doctors that she would never walk and they should consider a wheelchair for her mobility. They were visibly shaken and distraught over this news. Her Mom conveyed that Regan HATES all therapies and will not participate or talk, so she doubts this will work either but at this point she’s willing to try anything.  

imgresWe proceeded to get little Regan on the horse, she was crying and screaming at the top of her lungs and struggling to get off. After about 5 minutes of the horse walking, she calmed and started playing ball. We got a glimpse of her parents and they were BEAMING! She only had about 20 words in her vocabulary and she was using all of them to engage with us.  Unfortunately, her ride ended abruptly as the horse she was on, our only therapy horse at the time, started showing signs of colic.  We immediately took him to the vet and sadly he did not survive.  We were complete heartbroken and could not justify the amount of work and expense to start this type of program when there would be heartache like this.  We called Regan’s Mom later that week to let her know we weren’t sure how we’d proceed since we no longer had a horse.  She told us that Regan took her first steps all by herself and they would wait as long as needed for us to start back up.  At that moment we knew this IS what we are supposed to be doing!  It was a miracle that their family needed.  For us, it wasn’t  a miracle that she walked (that was just good timing on our part that her body got to feel what she needed to make that progression) it was the timing of her experience to show us that this is where we should be.  Today, Regan can walk, run, climb, is learning to ride a bike and is progressing to riding lessons.imgres 

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS IN 2015? 

One goal in 2015 is to raise $70,000 at the RED Arena Round-Up on Saturday May 30th so we can continue our current programs and expand our services to this community by another 30%.  Our second goal is securing larger facility, we are in dire need of a covered arena, and more horse stalls as well as space for wheelchair accessible mini horse halter classes, day programs like inclusive summer horse camp for kids of all abilities and the job skills training programs for adults with disabilities.

red-arena-logo_b-2-1HOW CAN FOLKS DONATE OR VOLUNTEER YEAR-ROUND?

We have lots of info for volunteers and donors on our website www.REDarena.org and the best way to reach us is by email at info@REDarena.org 

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GWIL2015 Nonprofit Profile: DSHS Project Graduation Reply

Week of Online Giving 2015 April 19-26

Week of Online Giving 2015
April 19-26

The 2015 Givin’ Where I’m Livin’ (GWIL) campaign provides support and publicity for local non-profit charitable organizations competing for GWIL matching funds during the campaign’s Week of Online Giving, April 19-26. Around Dripping Springs is pleased to feature this series of GWIL non-profit profiles to help publicize their unique missions to the community. We invite you to get to know these wonderful organizers and learn more about the important work they are each doing to enrich our community. Please share their stories, and be sure to donate to your favorite during the Week of Online Giving! Learn more at: http://www.GivinWhereImLivin.org

NOW MEET DSHS PROJECT GRADUATION:

WHEN, HOW, AND WHY WAS YOUR ORGANIZATION FOUNDED?dshs

Our organization is Dripping Springs High School Project Graduation. President for 2015 is Marchele Tubbs.  We have been operational at DSHS for about 20 years. Our organization is actually a nationwide effort and was founded in Maine in 1979 as a result of 18 area teenagers dying from alcohol and drug related accidents.

WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY MISSION?

grad capOur primary mission is to educate seniors throughout the school year as to the dangers of driving while under the influence and also to keep them safe on graduation night by providing them a protected and chaperoned place in which to celebrate.  We are currently serving the senior population of DS High school, but our efforts ultimately serve the entire DS population by keeping our kids safe on graduation night.  Their families don’t have to worry about if they are out participating in dangerous activities – we are keeping them safe and sound while allowing them to have the best time of their lives and celebrate their huge accomplishment. 

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE COMMUNITY THROUGH YOUR ORGANIZATION’S EFFORTS?IMG_2432

I would have to say that the most memorable thing is that we have brought awareness to the parents and community.  By us having a presence at every football game, at community functions, and school events, we are bringing awareness as to what Project Graduation is all about.  Many, many parents do not know what PG means and we have been able to educate them, students, as well as community members.  The students seem genuinely excited about attending this year’s event which makes us very happy!

WHAT ARE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S PRIMARY GOALS IN 2015? 

Our primary goals are to educate this years’ senior class about the danger of drugs and alcohol through the various awareness programs that we are hosting. Our other goal is to raise approximately $40,000 in order to put on our graduation night event. The events that we will be doing in order to support those goals are:  Senior “Now that you are 18” education luncheon in April; Participated in TXDOT’s “Project Celebration” workshop in which one senior volunteered to speak on the risks and consequences of underage drinking to a panel of traffic safety advocates; Breakfast with Santa Fundraiser; Golf Tournament at Grey Rock on April 9Kendra Scott Jewelry show on April 23Gun Raffle fundraiser

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 3.10.26 PMHOW CAN FOLKS DONATE OR VOLUNTEER YEAR-ROUND?

They can contact us through either our website, email or our PO Box. We have a PayPal link on our website that is an easy way to accept donations, or send a check to our PO Box!