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July 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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July 12, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

Southern Tier Alternative Therapies has been such a blessing for many individuals with an assortment of disabilities in our rural Upstate NY area. Being a teacher of children with autism, I learned of STAT as many of my students regularly attend riding lessons at the nearby Fargnoli Farms. Looking for a place to volunteer and intrigued as to why so many people flock there I contacted Linda. Immediately I feel in love. The other volunteers are so welcoming and are from all walks of life, the horses are simply amazing, and of course the kids are witty and wonderful. This meaningful volunteer opportunity has allowed me to be part of a wonderful team and has helped to bridge a gap between school and therapy. The Therapeutic Riding sessions focus on meeting a variety of students’ needs including, but not limited to, additional academic practice (recognizing letters, colors, and sight words, practicing propositions, knowing right vs. left, etc), balance and motor planning, increased communication (via more eye contact, waving hello, verbally greeting others, or using the iPad or Dynavox to facilitate conversation via STRIDES), addressing sensory needs and eliminating basic fears or anxieties. Progress is forward, noticeable, and ongoing. I am incredibly grateful to STAT for paving the way for such positive opportunities. I wish you continued growth and success in all the years to come!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 28, 2013

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October 28, 2013

I started to volunteer with the STAT Program at Fargnoli Farms in February 2012. I saw a story in a local weekly newspaper, The Tioga Courier, telling about the program and Linda Fargnoli. Linda opens her farm up to this program twice a week. The story talked about the need for volunteers for the STAT Program and what the volunteers need to do, keeping the children safe with no experience needed regarding horses. I had started taking lessons to learn to ride horses a year or so before, as in my 50's decided it was something I wanted to do. I love horses. I happen to love children. Seemed like a good mix to me. I started working with a pony names Snowy and a little boy named Evan. We had a team of 3; one to lead the pony, two people to sidewalk and make sure that little boy was safe. We also were to interact with our rider. In the beginning, Evan was reserved but seemed to be happy to be there. Dougie and Mrs. H. were the sidewalkers and Evan was very comfortable with Mrs. H. as he knew her from school. After a bit, we all became more comfortable with each other. We would be silly, sing, play different games that Linda would set up such as ring toss from the pony's back, find little plastic animals placed around outside, or throw rocks in the creek.

Mrs. H. left us but helped with finding another volunteer, Bernadette. We also started using a bigger horse. Evan seemed to get a little bored with the pony and it was felt that he may need more movement. Evan's sense of balance improved greatly. He is very happy to come every week. He interacts and is happy to see his team and his horse, Floozie. Evan loves the cats, chickens and ducks on the farm. He is particularly fond on the cats. Evan has learned to rein around barrels at a walk, turn Floozie in a circle and recently even rode at a trot. The biggest step for me in working with Evan is that he will walk with me and hold my hand or he has walked arm and arm with me. He now will air blow Floozie a kiss at the end of his ride.

I have also recruited a family friend, Dave, to help with sidewalking and recently added my husband, Ronald to our fun Saturday mornings as a volunteer, too. Linda Fargnoli will thank me for coming and it is like THANK YOU. I get so much out of this program, maybe more than Evan. Love everyone there and Linda has a big heart and caring for this program.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The only think I would do, is volunteer at Linda's on Mondays, too, if I could but have to work.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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October 26, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I have been volunteering here for over a year now and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Watching the kids improve so much has been a real treat. They do so many good things here and it really is amazing. Anyone can benefit from this, not just the children. The parents and the volunteers alike are taught things as well. It really is an awesome program.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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