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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Partners For Progress NFP

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: •The mission of Partners For Progress is to provide alternative equine therapeutic programs to individuals with physical, mental and emotional challenges. By using quality trained horses, each individual participant rider will have a chance to experience the highest quality therapeutic ride with maximum benefits.

Results: Partners For Progress is committed to: 1.helping each individual that comes to our facility achieve their maximum personal potential, welfare, and self-achievement, 2.paving ground in the field of equine therapy by continually thinking outside of the box for ways to assist these individuals, whether their need be emotional, mental, or physical in nature, and 3.making equine therapeutic programs more efficient and effective, and are willing to share this information - once proven - with other equine therapy programs. All those who come to Partners For Progress are treated as an individual, and receive an evaluation delivered by a licensed Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, or a Speech/Language Pathologist to pinpoint deficit areas which impact the function of daily life. Once that evaluation is completed, therapist, instructor, family members, and participant (if able) work together to generate a treatment plan that is most affective and beneficial for the participants functional gain, allowing for unlimited possibilities. Our therapists and staff have designed the programs at Partners For Progress to be goal oriented utilizing measurable goals. Overall well-being health is promoted in an attempt to prevent the prevalence and progression of disease and disability. With measurable goals for the participants as well as the programs, progress is easily identifiable for the over 160 participants per week that we serve. Collaborative teamwork based on purpose is also integral to success for Partners For Progress. With a skeletal staff (compared to other equine therapeutic centers) and 5 years of documented outcome history, the programs at Partners For Progress have been able to attain a 70% goal achievement success rate. What does that mean? It means that 70% of the goals assessed to our participants are achieved, or for 70% of the opportunities presented the participant will demonstrate moderate or better progress toward the assigned goal. It is quite the moment to see the joy on a participants face when they realize that they are no longer limited due their achievement of a goal. To support our programs, Partners For Progress provides a quality of horse that falls within the top 5% of therapeutic facilities within the United States. A higher quality of horse allows for more functional gain which is a necessity to all of our participants. This exceptional level of equine quality and ability - which is of the greatest importance to the participant - is maintained through rigorous training, maintenance, and quality veterinarian care. Because of all this, Partners For Progress has been able to stretch our reach past the therapeutic needs of our participants. We are currently the only therapeutic riding center within the states of Illinois and Wisconsin that maintains a national traveling show team. This team participates in competition with the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), and its participants have achieved honors that include World Championship titles. As we look forward to 2012, some of our goals for continued growth are: •Locate and financially secure a permanent home for our program •Grow our overall program base with additional services, i.e., supportive cancer therapy •Grow our participant and volunteer population by 20% •Continue staff education, training, and program development •Expand vocational services and promote volunteer experiences to all populations

Target demographics: those with special needs

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 170 riders per week through their challenges to improve their abilities, building loads of self-esteem, confidence, and smiles.

Geographic areas served: Located in Lake County, Illinois, we serve individuals from Northeastern Illinois & Southeastern Wisconsin

Programs: Hippotherapy - Improves posture, movement, neuromuscular functions, sensory integration and speech through constant individual direct intervention, from either a physical or occupational therapist. Requires a physical therapy and/or occupational therapy prescription. Therapeutic Power Hour - Includes equine activities offered in a group structure. Areas of focus are cognitive skills, motor planning, visual perceptual skills, social interaction and sensory processing. Family, therapist and equine instructor collaborate to generate goals unique to each child or adult's needs. Therapeutic Sports Riding - Independence is the goal in this program. PFP’s sports riders develop riding skills, stable management skills (horse and tack care), and have the pportunity to join one of our show teams with Special Olympics, the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA), and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Equine Facilitated Learning - For reasons that may forever be unknown, the horse holds a special captivation and an innate power by having the capacity to surround us with healing energy. This program fosters positive risk taking, leadership, social communication, independence, mental attitude, motivation and teamwork. Equine Facilitated Craniosacrial Therapy - Craniosacrial Therapy (CST) is a light touch manual therapy that addresses restrictions in the craniosacrial system and directly impacts the central nervous system. This program offers the best of Equine and Craniosacrial by combining equine facilitated therapy with CST techniques. Heroes on Horses - Our Heroes on horses program assists military veterans by providing equine activities, therapies, and riding programs tailored specifically to the needs of each veteran. Benefits may include increased balance, coordination, muscle strength, self-esteem, and self control along with developing riding skills.

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Deb V.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

PFP has been a powerful presence in my niece's life. She has Asberger's, and although she is high-functioning, she still has had many trials. PFP as a whole, as well as their tremendous and dedicated staff take every person's needs individually and are fabulous at what they do. Rhiannon has been "going to the barn" for 14 years now and is so much more confident and can deal with many issues that she may never have learned how to without them.

Every time she has a new achievement, I thank her mother and PFP. They are truly a GREAT Non Profit !

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Partners for Progress NFP for 19 years as a physical therapist. PFP provides quality therapy with quality horses for individuals with physical.mental or emotional challenges. I have seen remarkable gains with every person who enters our program. PFP provides Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy with qualified Therapists and Therapeutic Horseback riding with Certificated Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructors, 12 months a year. PFP presently treats 200 clients per week. Sue Aileen Lutz

Client Served

Rating: 1

Very rude personnel. Horses are great and my son enjoyed riding them however the staff is RUDE!!!
I have been trying to resolve my situation for the past 2 MONTHS and still no answer!!! They will be more than happy to take your money but to get a refund for unused services you will get no call back.

WHAT KIND OF SERVICE IS THIS???

Very unhappy parents,

I am still waiting for a resolution!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would like to thank everyone on staff, the families, clients and volunteers at Partners For Progress for the wonderful opportunity you have given my daughter. Over the last three years, she has found a second home at your facility where she enjoyed volunteering. She truly considers all of you her second family. You can be certain that you have inspired her and given her a direction with which to pursue a career in Equine Assisted Therapy at William Woods University. The knowledge, confidence and dedication she gained working with all of you has been a joy for me as a parent to observe. Even though I know she will miss you all very much as we as a family move out of Illinois, please be assured she will come back to visit and will always hold a special place in her heart for all of you. As she starts her college adventure, please know that the experiences she had with you helped her decide her school/career path. Thank you for all of the fun times, lovely going away gifts and giving her direction. I appreciate it more than you know. I wish PFP continued success in the future.

Client Served

Rating: 1

Personally, I didn't find it that great. The horses yes, but the people that ran it were rude.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Truly a wonderful organization! Everyone associated from staff to volunteers to students want to be there and it shows.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners for Progress is changing my son's life. After suffering a severe brain injury we have been on a very aggressive rehabilitation plan to help him recover. The work PFP does has been outstanding in improving his core strength, balance, and self esteem. We are so grateful for the work the team does and their individualized approach to his recovery.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am amazed at the results I have seen over the last 6 months of being involved with Partners For Progress and inspired by the dedication of the staff.

1 Nina20

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners for Progress provides state of the art interventions for children with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities using wonderful therapeutic horses as the tool.
My daughter Olivia has been riding for 12 years has made incredible progress in many areas. I do not believe she would be walking if it wasn't for this therapy. We are blessed beyond belief to have found the talented staff who work in this program.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a volunteer at Partners for Progress NFP, Therapeutic Riding Center is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. The staff is professional, caring and compassionate and all of the volunteers are considered an important part of the "team". I learn something new each day I am there, whether about the horses or how to assist better with the clients. It is amazing to see the interactions between clients and horses and the positive outcomes that extend to other family members as well. Each time I go home, I know that "I have made a positive difference" in someone's life.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners for Progress Nfp (PFP) therapeutic has done an amazing job with my children. They set specific goals for each child. It has enhanced and improved their lives. It has brought them further in development and strength, endurance, and coordination than any other program. It has given them self confidence and go out of their comfort zone. The staff and volunteers are Wonderful!!!! We are truly blessed to have PFP close to home.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer at PFP and never stop being amazed and gratified and the wonderful work the therapists and other volunteers do with the special needs children and young adults.

Terese D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

There is not enough time to fully explain all the benefits that participating in Partner For Progress Nfp (PFP) therapeutic riding programs has helped me. An added benefit is that PFP provides is the ability to take the experience, skills and confidence that I have gained to the next level. PFP riders have participated in Special Olympics Equestrian events, National Snaffle Bite Association, American Quarter Horse Associations, American Quarter Horse Congress events. PFP provides the opportunity to apply what each rider has learned and take it to the show arena. Because of PFP I have had the opportunity to compete at the National Snaffle Bite Association World Show in their Heroes on Horses class. A class where wounded active duty military and disabled veterans get to showcase how these programs are helping us heal. With out PFP support out side the therapeutic arena there is no way that myself or others in their programs would be able to going into the competition arena.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners For Progress isn’t just about having a good time while doing therapy on horseback. They are all about setting and achieving goals that enrich, enhance and improve the lives of their rider.
I participate in PFP’s “Heroes on Horses” program for our nation’s veterans and active duty wounded warriors. It has helped me in providing therapy forces me to focus on the moment and not the past or what might happen in the future. The therapy carries over for several hours and comes back throughout the week.
Through Partners For Progress I have been able to participate in the National Snaffle Bit Association’s “Heroes on Horses” class, independent riders category, at their World Show and at other NSBA Horse Show events

Client Served

Rating: 5

This place has been a life changer for my family. My son has learned self confidence, independence skills, social skills, and self regulation. Every person who work or volunteers there is amazing!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been riding with Partners for Progress since he was 4 years old, for a total of 4 1/2 years. He has participated in many types of therapies since he was 4 months old, but the therapy provided by the horses and the excellent staff and volunteers has brought him further in development and strength than any other therapy. Equally important are the friendships he has developed, with other riders and also with the people who help him each week. The riding looks mostly like fun, but the strength, endurance and coordination it builds in the children is amazing. Most of the time the riders are smiling, being encouraged and challenged by the volunteers walking with them. Recently my 13 month old daughter started riding to assist with her muscular issues. She looks so tiny atop the huge horse, but there are always loving hands on her and she has come to trust her helpers. Her progress in movement in the past month is nothing short of miraculous. What a wonderful resource and group of friends we have in our community; we are truly blessed to have them here.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been riding with Partners For Progress now for over 8 years. The level of therapy that is provided there is more than just therapy, and it is definitely not a "pony ride". The staff truly knows how to integrate therapy with necessary life skills to help the riders overcome their challenges and apply it to everyday life - and then make them feel successful. The staff is firm about their requests, but gentle in the way that they guide the rider to complete the request, giving the rider the ability to realize accomplishment. My daughter - who has Autism - has gained incredible ability in team work, motor planning, socialization, problem solving, transitioning, executive functioning, and so much more along with improvement in her physical which has given her an incredible sense of self-esteem and confidence -and it helps that she loves being with the horses. She actually wants to work with the challenging instructors because she knows that it makes her a stronger, more able individual. In addition, the volunteers that give of their time here are amazing. They are eager to assist the riders, and truly become involved in supporting them and their goals. They are a very integral part of the team work that is necessary for the riders to succeed. I cannot say enough wonderful things about what happens here for the riders, and the care that is given to their horses. If you are looking for results for your loved one, this is the place to come, and if you are looking for a place in which to make a difference, this is the place to come. It will change your life.

Peggy46

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been with Partners for Progress for 8 months now and what a tremendous difference it has made in her life and in ours. The therapists / equestrians are amazing ladies and they really work hard to make a difference in my daughters life. After being given the Autistic Diagnosis there are so many suggestions and paths you will be given to follow but I will say that the path to this place was the best one so far and the one in which we've seen the best progress. This can be attributed to the hard work individuals at this facility that really go above and beyond to make this place super special. The barn is always clean, the horses are well kept and cared for, and the staff is always pleasant. My family and I cannot say enough about PFP and what an amazing organization they run.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been coming to Partners for Progress for over a year. He has shown tremendous improvement in many areas in such a short time that are noticeable to everyone. I am so impressed with the program and the staff is just as outstanding, as are the volunteers. I truly feel that this is a life changing organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Extremely professional and wonderful organization. Outstanding people with full support of all volunteers. A true blessing for their students and their families and we are proud to be able to participate. Always a highlight of my week.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Partners For Progress for almost a year. I am there several days a week and continue to be impressed by the organization, level of expertise and genuine caring and therapy provided to the clients they serve. This is an extraordinary well run organization. The therapists are careful, knowledgeable and have detailed therapeutic plans and goals for each and every client. In addition, the volunteers and their equine partners are treated with respect and appreciation. So happy to be a part of such a wonderful program.

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter is the client served and she has the most outstanding therapist here who is supportive and kind yet makes my daughter accountable for her actions and choices. Traditional therapy did not work as well for her. We have been coming for over 3 years but things constantly change to meet her growth and needs. My daughter never says she doesn't want to come even after all this time-she loves it!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started with PFP approximately 1 1/2 years ago as a volunteer/sidewalker. I was immediately impressed with the quality of their program, as I had been a volunteer in another program in Wyoming. The quality of PFP's facilities, horses, and therapists are what makes this program one-of-a-kind. Their dedication to the children and riders in the program are second to none. I personally have seen many children progress over the short time that I've been there, and I am honored to have been asked to join the board of directors to help with some of the behind the scenes fundraising. The dedication of everyone, from the director, to the newest volunteer, are what makes this program one of the best in the nation!

Susan357

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is a patient served at Partners For Progress and she has been receiving therapy there for almost 2 years. She was in traditional therapy for 4 years and plateaued. We came to PFP to see if she could progress further. PFP has helped her regain more movement and stability where traditional methods were no longer helping. We are grateful for this program. My daughter loves coming to therapy every week and the therapists are caring and motivating. There is a real sense of community at PFP. We are grateful for PFP and all the horses that work to help others.

Peggy45

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been riding for over 7 years at Partners For Progress. He has autism, and had difficulty speaking and low muscle tone. He has come so far. Some of the staff is like family. My son has ridden in the Special Olympics for the past three years, and really enjoys the challenge of riding now.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been riding here for a year and a half. The staff are so dedicated and the volunteers are always friendly. I always get excited when I meet a family just starting with PFP because I just know how good they are going to feel about it! Hippotherapy has been a blessing for my little guy, helping him grow stronger and learn to talk! There are volunteers here who have been working with PFP for years, which I think always tells the story of a well established, well run organization. If you're in the area, come take a tour-- you will not regret it!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am writing about our daughter's experience with Partners for Progress. She has been riding there for a little over a year. Because she was deathly afraid of horses, we simply never considered Hippotherapy. But then a friend of hers from her Special Needs Cheer leading Team - Ultimate Athletics of Wauconda - kept encouraging us to - at least - come to watch. Well I was so impressed at what her two 9 year old disabled friends had been able to accomplish (kneeling on the horse with arms outstretched while the horse was trotting) that I thought it would not hurt to give it a try. The first day, we were sure that she would be eliminated from the program. She was 44 years old and has been thrown out of every public program because of her behaviors. As soon as she heard the word "helmet" and that she would have to wear, one she started screaming, jumping up and down and running all around the room. One of the owners, who is also an occupational therapist, Mandy, simply came over said "Put on your helmet" and our daughter put on the helmet, followed her into the barn, walked out into the arena and began brushing the horse! To say we were astounded is to put it mildly. Mandy assured us that screaming is normal and that because of her balance issues that it would be normal for her to have such a fear of falling and a special fear of falling off of a horse. Mandy's no nonsense, totally pragmatic, of-course-she-can-do-it attitude made all the difference. Her ACCEPTANCE of Sarah and her total belief in the ability for her to work through her issues was life changing. In the beginning she screamed the whole time she was on the horse and especially when the horse stopped, started or turned a corner. One year later she rides the horse as if she is sitting on a couch, stands in the stirrups, posts, rides while holding her arms in front of her, behind her etc. Rides while throwing balls into baskets. Rides outside up and down hills etc. She begs to go horseback riding so we have increased it to twice a week. There isn't a peep out of her with the exception when she is placed on the horse and that lasts for seconds. This is an incredible organization in every way. We have witnessed their work with children from the age of 2 to veterans in their 60's and most of all we have seen the results. We have been part of their fundraisers for 2 years. These are the most professionally run fundraisers that I have ever been to. Everything that they do is the best quality from the quality of their horses to their commitment to their clients. THANK YOU PFP - The Parsons Family

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son and I began volunteering almost a year ago. PFP is the only organization where I have volunteered and made to feel so welcome from the first minute.The staff is absolutely amazing, they love and care for each and every child who rides in the program. My son, who is 15, has completely emersed himself in the organiation and with the staff. He volunteers there every minute he can. This is due in large to how the staff makes you feel like family. I look forward to volunteering every week. I really love seeing the kids every week and gain such a feeling of pride when a rider you have been working with accomplishes a goal. I have told many people about this organization and have had a friend start their own child in the program. I can't say enough about how wonderful this organization is and how fantastic staff is.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son has been riding at Partners for Progerss for six years. He enjoys his weekly rides along with volunteering in the barn. The supportive atmosphere and calm environment along with a warm and understanding staff make the experience so positive for him. My son continues to make gains and always looks forward to the days when he rides. The staff work very hard and are committed to enriching the lives of all of the participants they serve. A wonderful organization!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is 20 months old and has been attending hippo therapy at PFP since May 2013. Everyone at PFP are wonderful, understanding, caring and most importantly supportive. My husband and I have seen significant improvement since starting hippo therapy. My son has low muscle tone and was unable to crawl / kneel /pull to stand / or attempt going up stairs and within months he was able to do it all, along with gaining more self confidence. He absolutely loves it!!!! I would highly recommend PFP.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I'm a volunteer at PFP and am very impressed with the work they do. It's exciting to be part of this wonderful program. I work with both children and adults. They are very caring and totally professional.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been riding with PFP for 6 years. The gains she has achieved are nothing short than amazing! Mind you, the gains physically have been plentiful but you really cannot discount the changes she has experienced socially and emotionally - her ability to attend grows daily and her self confidence has increased tenfold.

The staff at PFP are skilled at identifying both strengths and weaknesses. That is one of my favorite things about this organization. They totally "get" that you cannot take a square peg and shove it into a round hole. Sure, many of their processes are similar but they take that extra step to truly customize a program for each participant.

My child has achieved skills that I could never do! She is so brave and determined. PFP encourages her continually and shares in each and every success. Make no mistake, this is hard work! But with all the support I think she forgets that this is "therapy" and not just fun!

The atmosphere is one where it feels like home. As you view your child working, you also have the opportunity to network with other parents. Both my daughter and I have made long lasting relationships that we truly cherish. I have gladly shared our experiences with other that I thought might benefit from their services and am thrilled to say they have found success with PFP as well! I also love volunteering there and have seen some fantastic results!

Client Served

Rating: 5

A therapy my son looks forward to! My 15 year old son has ridden @ Partners For Progress since 2008. Besides improving his motor coordination and muscle strength, riding @ PFP has increased his ability to take direction, filter out distractions, and become more patient. The incredibly supportive PFP staff provide a safe environment for my son to improve his social skills and confidence to the point of being able to volunteer at the barn!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned about Partners for Progress in January 2013 and what they do for children as well as adults and immediately became a side walker. I love helping the kids so much because you can see how hard they try and the great results they get from the therapists, teacher, of course the horses and everyone who helps. It is like seeing miracles happen before your eyes. I was raised with horses as a child, so I can see the great communication that results from the horse to its rider. The horse takes its job very seriously and really is in tune to the precious cargo (the human) it carries.

I also have a handicapp. When I was 11 years old, I was hit by a car while getting off the school bus. The doctors told my parents that I would never walk right again and that they should not put me into sports. etc. At that age, I told my parents that was unacceptable! I was going to prove them all wrong! We lived on a horse farm and so my brother who was only 14, picked me up and placed me on the back of a horse. As children, we did not know that the horse's gate is the same as a humans. What miracuously occurred is that I was able to walk again and live a somewhat normal childhood, thanks to the horse. Who knew that just being on the back of a horse could bring wonderful results.

As time went on and we started growing up, well life changed and I was no longer riding a horse. Sure I did other exercises and activities, but over the years (40) the pain just became exceedingly worse in my knees. You see I developed arthritis at a very young age due to the accident. Not only do I have constant pain in my legs, but I must have been compensating my gait because now my hip was popping out and back in every morning. I am a mom and also work and because your life is filled with your family, work and volunteering, pain just becomes a way of life. Kinda sad, huh?

One day as I was volunteering at Partners For Progress, I was asked if I was having a tough time walking in the sand of the arena? I then told them my story. They immediately suggested I see their therapist to find out if they could help me.

I went to see her and as we were wallking and talking in the arena, she mentioned that my hips were out. Wow, she could see that! We talked for awhile and then she suggested I get on Rupert (the beautiful Shire horse) and see how it goes. She thought I could be helped. It had been a long time (about 40 years) since I had been a horse, and one that was soooo tall. When I reached the top of the mounting block, I got scared and said I couldn't do it, but the kids, staff and everyone started cheering me on, and so I got on.

Let me tell you, it is a lot different being a side walker and then being the rider. I too had a leader for the horse and 2 side walkers. I felt very secure and after 10 minutes I started to relax and could really feel my hips start to loosen up and rock in tune to the movement of the horse (Rupert). It was wonderful! I felt like I was a kid again! After about an hour we went back to the mounting block where everyone helped me to get off. When I reached the ground I was asked how I felt? I said "I may be in a daze, or I am really pain free!" I could tell from just 1 session that I was standing straighter. In the morning, my hip didn't pop out! OMG! I cannot even begin to tell how wonderful it is to be pain free!! You see for me, it was a way of life for many years now. Who knew that something I had done as a child would now help me as an adult.

I have now had 3 sessions. My hip has not popped out since the first session. I am pain free for about 3-4 days after the session, so I know how important it is to have this therapy each and every week.

Partners For Progress is truly a blessing to sooo many people, including myself. I am not only a volunteer (which I still do), but also a very happy client. I use to thank God for the opportunity in being a side walker to help others, but now I also thank God for all the help everyone (including Rupert, the horse) gives me each week. If I never knew about this wonderful organization, I would still be walking funny with my hip out and in constant pain. The pain I do experience after 3-4 days is still no where near as bad as it use to be and for that I am so blessed.

Thank you Partners for Progress for giving me my life back!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been riding with Diane since 1997. The riding has increased his tone and his stability. What started as therapy has turned into a lifelong hobby.

filedris

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a 67 yr old with numerous physical problems, including cerebral palsy. I started about a year ago and have been delighted to ride again after some 40 yrs. The riding has improved my muscle tone , posture, and other physical aspects. I was so happy to find a place that accepted adults. The staff and volunteers there are great; all are friendly and helpful. I look forward to my ride every week. I have done a little bit of volunteering also and enjoyed working with staff and volunteers there.