My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Southern Tier Alternative Therapies, Inc. (STAT), Binghamton, NY, USA
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.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
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