Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rainbow Riders

Here is another great organization serving special needs children that can use some help. Located in Monmouth, Illinois, the Rainbow Riders Therapeutic Horseback Riding program gives special needs children the thrilling experience of riding a horse, but the experience does more than just boost self-esteem. The movement of the horse "provides healthy exercise while improving the riders strength, circulation, muscle tone and sensory integration." Each client is given an individual therapy plan developed in partnership with education and medical professionals. The most amazing piece to me is that Rainbow Riders charges at most 14% of the actual cost to provide the therapy to the clients. Some clients even qualify for paying only $1 per session (0.7% of cost) due to financial needs. The remaining costs are all defrayed through tax-deductible donations and volunteer efforts. Check out some inspiring photographs here and then:

  • Donate - Rainbow Riders receives no government funding for their program. They rely on donations and grants. All donations are tax-deductible. You can sponsor children or horses at varying amounts.
  • Volunteer - If you live near Monmouth, Illinois, Rainbow Riders would welcome your donation of time. They say no horse experience is needed.
  • Spread the word - twitter, facebook, digg, whatever your social media of choice I'm sure Rainbow Riders would appreciate the shout out.
  • Research - If you don't live near Monmouth, Illinois, but you are interested in helping a similar organization, check out the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) website to find a certified center near you.

P.S. I realized after posting this that I should also point you to my friend Janet Ann Collins' blog where she recently posted a review of children's books about this type of therapy. Although I've been seeing referral lists, advertisements and articles about equine therapy for over a year now, I'm sure that reading Janet's post at least subliminally nudged me to post about Rainbow Riders when I was choosing my topic. I do so love to give credit where it is due...


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