Thursday, September 8, 2011

KAYLA'S TOP 30 before I turn 30 - Celebrate Katy


Today is another beautiful day in the Top 30 before I turn 30 countdown. Today, I celebrate my favorite memories of a little girl named Katy. I met Katy through volunteer work with a local hippotherapy program called Spirit Therapies. Every time I think of that little girl, my heart warms and my eyes tear up. She had a very rare disease that has a grim diagnosis at a very young age. She had a very gentle spirit. She didn't talk, but together with all of the volunteers, we learned sign language for things like stop, go, horse and thirsty. One time though, she said my name. I was blown away! It was the last time I saw her. Her little spirit was so precious and loving. I loved that little girl so much - and was very sad when my volunteer commitments took me elsewhere. But, for those who wish to participate in the program, here are some more details about it.

The program utilizes horses to provide physical therapy to individuals with disabilities. The horses pick up on the needs of the rider and with help from volutneers that act as spotters, the horse leader and the follower (I am sure there is more to it than that) the client gets special attention on specific needs. The motion of riding the horse also provides great muscle strengthening opportunities, especially for core muscle groups.
We had several smaller children that we worked with - in the ballpark age of about 4 or 5 years old - and some older individuals. On Saturday mornings, I spent time cleaning stalls, brushing and getting horses ready and then the rest of the morning learning from the people at the site. The Executive Director was amazing and truly had a heart for what she was doing. The volutneers were amazing, too! For a short time I got to work with a couple wives from Britian (whose husbands were stationed at Nellis). You complete training to work with the horses and with the clients. You also learn a lot about team work and listening to directions. I totally recommend volunteering at a hippotherapy program!
So today, in my countdown, I celebrate a beautiful little angel named Katy and the power of connection through volunteerism!

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