Giant Steps provides an amazing service for members of the community. It attracts students with many different disabilities some of whom drive for over an hour to participate in therapeutic riding lessons. It has a dedicated staff who give many hours beyond those expected of them and has created a community among its volunteers. Giant Steps is a gem of an organization that deserves recognition.
I have the privilege of spending my work days with children with autism, "at risk" teenagers, veterans, young people with visual and hearing impairments and wonderful groups of dedicated volunteers. Most weeks I feel like I learn more from my students than they do from me. Seeing the compassion they have for the horse they ride, watching them overcome fears and canter for the first time, and seeing them laugh when they feel a bouncy trot. It is a wonderful privilege to witness the growth that happens in just one week spent with the people and horses at Giant Steps. Just this week I saw the joy that one of my students gets from just being able to put her hands on a horse. You can positively feel the excitement coming off her when she waits to mount her horse. In just three classes she has started to halt her horse with some measure of independence. The truly amazing thing is this young rider has both visual and hearing impairments, but what you notice when she is on a horse is that she has a smile that could light a room.
I have been a paraplegic for 32 years. I started riding when I was 9 years old, and was absolutely in love with them as a teenager. When I was injured in a car accident at 21 years old I thought my riding days were over. Now I get to enjoy riding, petting, and talking to my favorite animals because of Giant Steps. They make it affordable and safe for a person like me to enjoy the magic of the horse. Not only do they provide good horses, but the staff and volunteers are so kind and understanding. I know my life is healthy and happy because of the Giants Steps Therapeutic Riding Program!
The instructors and staff, the clients, and the horses all make Giants Steps truly special. You notice right away the joy people experience every time they drive into the parking lot, and it’s because of the great and dedicated people who are involved. As a volunteer, I’m constantly amazed at the high caliber of the instructors, firing on all levels during a riding session. They are good teachers, caring task masters, and inspiring negotiators with each client. The riders are learning, trying, and changing before your eyes, benefiting both physically and emotionally from each session. It is a joy and reward to be involved with such an inspiring, well-run, and enriching program.
Giant Steps is truly a miracle. Trained instructors pair with trained horses and create magic for their "students". Movement and balance are achieved. Milestones accomplished. The joy on the faces of the students is a marvelous thing to see. It's magic. It works.
I have been volunteering at Giant Steps for almost thirteen years. Giant Steps instructors work on the individual needs of each rider. The instructors are amazing as are the volunteers. I've never worked with such a caring, loving, talented group. I have seen riders come in wheelchairs and eventually learn to walk. I seen riders come with no speech and begin talking. I've seen riders come with very little upper body strength be able to sit strong and tall. The riders accomplish so much from learning to focus, build upper body strength, develop confidence and learn empathy! It's an amazing organization!
My granddaughter has been riding at Giant Steps for over two years. The progress she has made is amazing. Her cerebral palsy affects the left side of her body so when she first started riding her body leaned to the left and she sagged forward. You should see her now--riding has strengthened her core muscles, she sits up straight and tall and is so proud that she can use her arms and legs to guide her horse. The instructors and other staff are caring and ever so professional. The volunteers are amazing and kind, they know us by name and make my grandaughter feel so welcome. At the end of every lesson my grandaughter is happy and relaxed. We can't say enough wonderful things about Giant Steps.
Amazingly dedicated and hard working group of people getting wonderful results with participants. The physical improvements and the joy they experience are very evident.
Good people helping people with disabilities - that's Giant Steps!I've never seen such a dedicated group of volunteers and staff. They love what they do here, and that makes a huge difference. It meant the world to me that these wonderful people were willing to give of their time to help my child succeed better in life! My son developed a longer attention span, communication skills, and problem solving skills. But, mostly, he learned to have a relationship with his 1200 lb best friend! This organization deserves your support!
What I enjoy most about working with Giant Steps is that we see real results every day and are able to improve the lives of so many people. The caliber of the staff and the volunteers is extraordinary. It amazes me that we are able to serve such a diverse range of people, from all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability. There is a real draw and a very special energy watching our riders in the arena, and witnessing the commitment and dedication of all involved has touched me greatly.