Anonymous Donor Saves Summer Horse Program

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

An anonymous donor heard about the organization's need on television, and made a donation that will sustain the program through the summer.

"Late yesterday we had an anonymous donor call us after viewing the stories on television and he has come forth with enough funding so that we are able to operate through the summer, " Valerie Taylor, Flint Hills Therapeutic Riding Center Executive Director.

The horses are a centerpiece of the Flint Hills Therapeutic Riding Center's programs.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The horses are used by social workers to help clients with disabilities, but many of the clients won't be able to come this spring and summer because of flagging donations.

Therapy sessions at Flint Hills Therapeutic Riding Center aren't held in paneled offices with couches and chairs, they're usually in a corral or indoor horse arena.

Members of the 'Breakthrough Club of Sedgwick County' come to the center once a week. The program is for clients suffer severe and persistent mental illness. Members of "Breakthrough" will be able to continue participating because of their own funding, but many of the other families with severely handicapped children who depend on the financial giving of foundations in order to participate will have to stop coming April 30th.

"We're looking at April 30th to do a complete suspension of all of our programming with the hopes that over the summer we'll be able to
focus some more efforts on fundraiser and cut some more expenditures," Valerie Taylor, Executive Director of the Flint Hills Therapeutic Riding Center, said.

The center is a non-profit organization, and most of its funding comes from grants and donations from individuals, corporations and charitable foundations. But Taylor says a down economy has made competing for donations more challenging.

"It's not that they're not supportive, and don't love the services we offer
it's just due to the economy," Taylor said.

Taylor describes this as an alternative and innovative service. She says the clients who come to the center have been very resistant to traditional office therapy, but blossom with interaction with the horses. "They will come here, and they will do activity with the horses but there just comes a point when the money just runs out," she added.

Many of the sessions will end April 30th and will resume September 13th, unless someone out there has some money that they can donate to them to get them through the summer.

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