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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Victory Reins Therapeutic Riding Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Health Support

Mission: To provide therapeutic recreational equine activities for children and adults with special needs to experience the bond that is created between horse and rider. Empowering them to be victorious in all areas of life and reach their fullest potential.

Results: Since inception in Oct 2007, we have grown from 5 students to 40 plus steady students in additon to hosting special needs groups for day trips to the farm. We educate them with hands on learning experience with all the animals on the farm in a safe and supervised environment. The benefits impact them physically, cognitively and psychologically. These aspects of the session awaken their awareness, increase coordination and attention span, along with giving them a CAN DO attitude to succeed in life. Providing volunteer opportunities for school groups, individuals and community service workers to enable them to give back to their communities.

Target demographics: Handicapped, disabled or special needs peopleVolunteers who want to assist people with disabilities in the South Chicagoland area and surrounding suburbs.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 40 plus special needs students with various disibilities like CP, MS, Autism, ADHD, Learning disibilities,Speech delays etc.and their families, plus groups from Elim , Cornerstone, St. Colletta's, The Lions Club, various preschools, Girl scouts, Brownie groups and youth groups.

Geographic areas served: Northern Il.

Programs: Riding sessions that takes therapy out of the clinical setting and puts it in a safe and fun environment. Horse/animal care education and hands on experience.

Community Stories

57 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Deborah H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Victory Reins creates a family environment. They have worked with my daughter Makayla for 10 years. She has become much stronger and showed many horsemanship skills that would not have been possible many years ago. When she got sick last year, Sandy and Jim called right away. We look forward to lessons every week.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been taking lessons for one year. She has right-sided weakness. Victory reins has helped her become a more confident person. I have noticed that she is much stronger and she has begun to ride a bike. Victory Reins is a Godsend!

Angie G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has received services though Victory Reins for many years. He is Autsitc and had Cerebral Palsy, among other health issuses. My son has made many gains; physical, emotional, sensory, as well as boosts to his self- esteem. The staff and volunteers are so caring, and do what they do because they love it. There is no better environment for riding therapy. I highly recommend Victory Reins.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Victory Reins is am amazing non-profit, where my son has been lucky enough to be able to attend therapeutic riding sessions since he was just a tiny boy. Now, at age 13, he is extremely excited that the riding season has begun because he loves it so much. Everyone at Victory Reins loves what they do, and treats the riders as if they are family. You will not find another therapeutic riding center like this one! I am so glad we found Victory Reins so many years ago. Riding there had helped my son, who is Autistic and had CP, develop fine and gross motor skills, coordination, increased cognitive and social skills, and much more. Best of all, he has fun! I highly recommend this organization!

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I don't even know where to start. :)
Sandy, Jim, and the staff at Victory Reins, mean the world to our family.
Our four daughters ride, three of our girls have physical health issues (orthopedic and cardiac), and our fourth battles anxiety.
We feel like family when we walk through the doors, our kids are loved and encouraged. They never want to dismount and could live at the stable if we'd let them. ☺
This place, is very special, peaceful, and accepting of all children/families.
It's a little piece of our heaven on earth.
We love Victory Reins! ❤

1 MRossi

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are no words to convey how we feel about this amazing place. Our son Will has ASD, and has been riding with Ms. Sandy and her amazing volunteers for two years now. He works on listening, following directions, academics and extras such as sign language. He has now worked up to riding a horse on his own, with a volunteer coach who walks along side him. He has built his confidence immensely. We look forward to seeing Will ride in the Special Olympics again this fall.

Faye just turned 3 years old. She was born with a micro-deletion on her 6th chromosome. She has a lot of developmental delays, including gross motor and speech. Faye is currently working on using her vocabulary while riding and strengthening her core muscles. When we arrive at Victory Reins, Faye begins yelling and cheering in anticipation to riding a horse.

Sandy is such an amazing and special person with such a gift with working with children and horses. The entire atmosphere of this place breathes "amazing" as well as relaxing. It just gives you a chance to sit back, watch, relax and breathe.

We were fortunate enough this year to come out to the farm and work two weekends with the volunteers, in order to prepare for the upcoming spring season. It gave us such a sense of accomplishment, knowing that so many children and adults would be enjoying this wonderful place, in a matter of weeks. We are fortunate enough to have this wonderful extended family.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son Will (11yrs old) has been riding with Victory Reins for two years now. He absolutely loves his Saturday morning sessions with Sandy and her amazing staff of leaders/side walkers. William has ASD and her sessions are geared to his needs. What I like best about Sandy's sessions is that she has high standards and expectations for Will. He thrives at achieving those goals and expectations. Sandy and her staff truly have a passion for all her riders. You leave there feeling a sense of peace and the smile on the kids' faces is priceless. We wouldn't participate in any other program.

Irishlad

Client Served

Rating: 5

This lovely little place has a very inviting and warm family atmosphere .It also has the worlds most amazing staff of volunteers That give theirs all to make this place run so smood .

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

This place is awesome my son goes here and it's a great place the staff and volunteers make you always feel welcome and my son loves all the horses and the program

Client Served

Rating: 5

Victory Reigns has amazed us! We began taking our preschooler for therapeutic riding after he was diagnosed with low tone and poor motor coordination. Other extracurricular activities we tried, such has Tae Kwan Do and gymnastics, proved to be challenging for our son and he soon became discouraged. His strength and confidence has improved and his love for horses has blossomed! The kindness and positive energy of the staff is contagious and I leave his lessons feeling proud of my son and wanting to pass on the kindness the staff and volunteers have bestowed on my family. Victory Reigns is truly a gem!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son just started therapeutic riding lessons a few months ago and it has been nothing but a positive experience! Great clean facility with staff that really engages with my son. Sandy knows how to push my son to excel and learn. We look forward every week to going!

JRossi

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Will enjoys his therapeutic riding lessons every Saturday. He is super excited to find out which of the horses he will be riding for that lesson. Will can be quite "headstrong" at times and Sandy knows how to redirect him so that he can focus on the task. Will has learned how to get on and off his horse, walk-on, whoa, back-up and direct his horse to where it needs to be during the lesson. Sandy has also incorporated math, sign-language, alphabet games, etc. into her lessons. Will has also gained better posture and core strength. Sandy and her volunteers have a passion for what they do every day and it really shows. We look forward to each riding lesson and seeing all the students achieve their goals and their smiling faces.

Angela134

Client Served

Rating: 5

Victory Reins has been a blessing to our family. Our son has Autism and therapeutic riding has been so good for helping him with OT and interacting with others. Sandy and her team of volunteers do everything with love, creating a wonderful community for riders and their families. We are so thankful for this organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son receives therapeutic riding lessons at Victory Reins. My son had never been on a horse until he started at Victory Reins. He is only 4 so he was understandably scared his first time on the horse. Sandy was so patient, calm and positive with him. He felt so secure that within a short time he was totally at ease being on the horse. Now it is one of his favorite places to go. All of the volunteers are fantastic! Each person there helps my son and the other children to feel empowered and confident in their abilities. They also take the time to focus on each child as an individual and give them exactly what they need to help them overcome their disabilities. It is so peaceful and everyone is so kind and caring. Victory Reins is fantastic!!!

Kyle19

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic organization that focuses on each child's need as an individual. The care and support given is wonderful!

Not only am I a client, but also volunteered while I was there. Any help given is always appreciated!

Client Served

Rating: 5

There is a quote by an author named George Aliston. He said, "How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it." This reminds me of Victory Reins. Every Saturday when my daughter attends Victory Reins is a beautiful day. Everyone connected with this organization is very kind and so positive. My daughter has been going there for many years. It has helped her feel confident and accomplished. It is also really a lot of fun. The horses and all the other animals are wonderful . This is a great place for children and adults with disabilities. I am so glad we found this place!

Client Served

Rating: 5

When physically and mentally challenged children are small, the opportunities for social interaction are plentiful but as they get older, the opportunities are slim to almost non-existent. We were very excited to find out about the Victory Reins Center last summer and our 40 year-old son has enjoyed the experience very much. He is in the early stages of learning how to ride a horse but the staff at VR is knowledgeable and patient which is the perfect combination of skills needed to work with the disabled.

Angela89

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has cerebral palsy. The recreational activities he can actively participate in are few. He loves going to Victory Reins and riding his favorite horse. He is greeted warmly by the volunteers and staff.

Thomas29

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been going to Victory Reins for years, and the staff there is great. They really know how to interact with the kids, and are sensitive to children with varying special needs. My son has multiple special needs, and he has gained many skills, both physical and mental over his years of riding at Victory Reins. Everyone there really goes the extra mile!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter loves this place. The people are very caring and hard working.
They serve people with special needs and teach them horseback riding skills. It allows them to be successful at something that not everyone can do. And for many of these clients that doesn't happen very often in their lives. I think it is wonderful for their self confidence and self image. It is also good exercise for them. Some of the clients just attended The Special Olympics with Victory Reins. It was a very special time for them and I am sure they have wonderful memories from this experience. If it wasn't for Victory Reins they would not have had this experience. Victory Reins is a wonderful place and great fun also. The horses are wonderful also!

Michelle191

Client Served

Rating: 5

Victory Reins selflessly give to people with special needs opportunities to enjoy love for animals with services they need to excel inside and outside of therapy. They deliver a caring and gentile touch to real life experience not offered in a clinical setting. We are happy and grateful to have found Victory Reins.

Kathy142

Client Served

Rating: 5

Before I participated in the therapeutic riding program at Victory Reins, I participated in a program at a different stable. I was immediately impressed with Sandy's teaching style. She was detail oriented and used a great amount of positive reinforcement. She is a natural teacher. I say this because I have been a classroom teacher for 27 years! Victory Reins is truly an asset to this community.

Scott Y.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am from the Mokena Lions Club. Almost three years ago I came to Sandy and Victory Reins with an idea of an outting that I wanted to put together. I was working with the Will County Special Education. What I wanted to do was to give some low vision children a chance to ride a horse and show the members of the Lions Club why we raise the money we do. Sandy blew us away with her energy and genuine love of what she does. As I have said from day one. Sandy and her volunteers create magic. The smiles on the kids faces and the tears of joy and smiles on the Lions are memories that never will be forgotten. It is the most looked forward to event we have. We have even had our District Govenor come participate. I can't write enough words to show how much Victory Reins means to the Mokena Lions!!!!!!!'

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Scott Youdris and I am the 1st vice president of the Mokena Lion's Club. We had a vision to create an outting for some low vision children. I wanted to do something with the kids that we spend so much time fundraising money for. I found Sandy at Victory Reins through a mutual horse lover who couldn't say enough about the magic they create there! Sandy and her staff made our vision for a fun outting an experience that no one will ever forget! We brought 12 low vision kids to Victory Reins for a half day of riding horses. It was so much more. The kids we lead through 3 different stations learning about the horses, cleaning the horses, and finally riding the horses. We got to watch as these children went from terrified to overjoyed! The staff at VR taught us how to help so that we could interact with the kids as well! By the end of the day, there wasn't a dry eye among those of us that were there!I am still getting thank yous from the parents and my fellow Lions as well as "when are we doing this again"! Victory Reins has so much heart and spirit! Sandy is so incredible with these kids! There was one child who was totally blind and scared to death of the horses. Sandy and her staff worked so hard with him to ease his fears. By the end of the day, he was able to touch and pet the horse but just couldn't bring himself to get on and ride. Sandy saw his desire to do it. Sandy wanted him to have the experience of riding so bad that she got in contact with his family and invited him to come out again (at no charge) to try again. With some one on one that boy was able to get on and ride a horse! That is the love and magic VR has for what they do!!!!!!!!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Victory Reins is a wonderful place with outstanding people providing an exceptional experience for our family! Our son loves everything and everyone at the center, especially the wonderful horses! Staff and volunteers all treat the kids like their own, which makes us so comfortable spending time at the center.