I have been involved with horses for years and was a member of the National Ski Patrol for over 30 years. When I came to Naples, I sought out NEC to learn what they were doing and to help. Their teachers are so well trained and SO patient; the horses are 'saints'. The students seem to get some joy, maybe a sense of accomplishment and comeraderie. The volunteers get to feel good about helping others less fortunate. All in all, it is a wonderful experience.
I found Naples Equestrian Challenge on Volunteermatch.org shortly after moving to Florida a year ago. Not being familiar with their programs, I volunteered as a sidewalker and went through their training program. From my first visit, and each subsequent trip, I've never failed to come home without a smile on my face. The work done at NEC benefits young children to mature adults with differing degrees of handicaps by offering them a chance to experience the joy of horses while exercising their bodies and minds. Sidewalkers provide an invaluable safety ingredient to successful experiences. Autistic children find dormant voices and adult MS patients exercise failing muscles. The reward for the valued voluteers are hugs and smiles, and oh yeah,3 year old Nathan's giggle as he trots! Thanks, NEC, for the opportunity to help you change lives!
The benefits that NEC provides for its participants is beyond compare. To see the smiles on the faces of the riders... To know that the program is providing physical and mental stimulation and support for the participants... NEC is an absolutely wonderful program. The staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing assistance to those in need. If you have not visited NEC, please do so. Not only is it worth your time, but you may find yourself signing up as a volunteer.