As my final report on this Appeal, I want to thank all our supporters who have contributed to our Scholarship Fund through Appeal # 22190. Children with depression, adults with balance and strength challenges, Veterans and first Responders have all taken advantage of your generous funding of our programs. BITS ETC has grown, and changed since the first appeal was made five years ago on the GlobalGiving platform, in 2015.
Across all appeals since then, using trainings and the power of the GlobalGiving online community, $17,712.00 has been raised for our mission.This proves the value of extending our support system to people physically far, but oh so close in understanding the healing power of the horse.
By closing this appeal and developing a new one I hope to tell our continuing story to a new group of possible supporters.
Since our humble beginnings over seventeen years ago, utilizing two horses, and one part-time instructor right up to today with three employees and eleven equines we strive for the development of healthy connection with horses as a healing medium to help us all form a healthy connection to people in our lives.
I hope to hold your interest in BITS ETC, and invite you to follow our on-going progress in new appeals, focused on extending our mission, and improving our services. Please keep us in your charitable plans for 2020 and beyond!
Later this month many in the US will gather together for a day of thanks. Families and friends will share time, a meal, memories of past years, and set aside the day to give thanks for things in their life that are good. It is fitting to shine a light on this day, and encourage a feeling of gratitude amid the usual hectic flow of daily life. But here at BITS I realize more and more that we get to experience days of Thanksgiving all year long, because of you, our donors, volunteers and supporters.
Global Giving donors are volunteers! Voluntarily giving of your treasure so others can treasure the experiences we, together, provide. Volunteers come in all sizes and shapes, all ages, and because of Global Giving, from all parts of the world (we have even been gifted with donations from China!). I find success with the help of connections that the Internet affords us, to spread the word of what we do so others can benefit. This force of good in the world has me giving thanks for modern technology even as we use some of the most ancient of methods to teach gratitude to our clients.
Ever since that first horse was tamed for human use, we've held them in high regard. In today's world of expanding tech, and distance from those times we sometimes forget the value of touch, the need for connection to something outside ourselves, the sheer exuberance of freedom of movement a horse affords. Working with horses to connect people with disabilities to the universal human need for growth, for strength of body and mind, for happy experiences, and connection to their own power to overcome what others perceive as disability leaves me thankful on a daily basis.
I have a tradition at the end of each riding lesson; I ask the rider to give their horse a pat, and thank them for the ride. They then thank the horse leader, and side walkers, for their support during the lesson, before dismounting. There is no mechanism for them to directly thank you, the many donors who make it all happen, so as a way to share this gratitude with you, I want to tell you Patsy's story today.
Patsy has lived for the last sixty eight years with a medical diagnosis of autism. Three years ago her deep desire to ride brought her here, and her love of horses has kept her coming, despite medical problems along the way that sometimes keep her from climbing on her horse. She comes to groom, to feed, to spend some time outside the usual daily routines, and breathe deeply of the smells of the barn. She relaxes to the sounds of nickering, and munching of hay which soothes the spirit and calms the mind. Patsy is most grateful for your support which keeps these experiences affordable and within her world. And when the doctor says she is recovered from surgery, she rides---free at last on her horse, the best feeling in the world! She inspires us all,
Pauline Meridien, founding Director, BITS ETC
We celebrate client's successes and spend the day cheering them on at our Annual Horse Show. This year saw clients find their voice in asking their horse to 'walk on." Riders sat tall as core strength was built with weekly challenges built into lessons. A wider range of clients, representing many disabilities was served by our therapy herd. And Volunteers gained joy and good health while exercising in the sunshine at BITS.
We also celebrate our Donors and Supporters from around the country (and the world, as we accepted our first donation from China!) with the help of GlobalGiving fundraising platform. Without this evolving method of communication we would be hard pressed to find like-minded people to join us. Our mission: providing quality therapeutic riding and equine assisted activities to people living with disabilities spreads the word of the healing power of horses.A lesson we all need to re-learn in our sometimes hectic world.
Thank you for your continued support. We couldn't do it without your help. I hope your summer fills you with as much satisfaction and joy as your donation has given to us. After all, we make a living by what we get, and a life by what we give. Thank you for making lives better with your gift to BITS ETC.
April showers bring May flowers but before the flowers bloom, we deal with MUD.
Almost lost a rider last week. Leon came to ride his horse, Gideon. While following Melissa, his instructor, across the paddock in what seemed to be the path, we heard:
“hold up there…I’m sinking in up to my jockey shorts!”
Melissa quickly bent in front of Leon, lifting him onto her back, and out of his mired boots. With the mud nearing the top of both boots, they were nearly impossible to extract from the sucking ooze. A quick-thinking volunteer rescued both of them and the boots for a happy ending to this story. Loud peals of laughter brought home the lesson learned:
“Don’t stray from the path lest you get mired in mud.”
Leon went on to groom his horse of all mud and dust, readying him for the lesson. His patience and ability to correctly lead and groom his horse starts from the ground up, with great results when he gets into the saddle. Gideon knows Leon, and Leon knows Gideon. Our community safely teaches self-reliance and team work to get the job done!
We can’t continue to do this work without the community of supporters like you who make it possible for Leon to learn from mud, and Gideon to teach him these lessons. We have doubled the number of riders in just one year, and currently teach 50 riders a week. To serve them we have added instructors and offer school break camps as an additional way to experience the healing power of our herd. Please consider a spring donation to support the new students who will appear with the flowers of May.
Please note we have permission to use all photo's in this report. To protect client privacy, I have changed names in this report.
"Do you still ride in the winter?" A hesitant voice on the other end of the phone line disrupted my morning of shoveling, sanding, and hauling water in addition to the regular barn chores needed to feed and house 11 horses. The local plow guy would be here in an hour, but the horses need breakfast early.
"My son has been diagnosed with autism, and his doctor thinks he could benefit from riding horses." she explained
"Of course we ride in the winter!" "Let me get your information, and we can set up a tour---how old is your son?" I replied
And now we have a reason to haul the water, and shovel the snow! A new rider will begin next week, and hopefully find delight in his 'therapy' and added focus. We offer riding year-round because our clients have told us of the skills lost when therapy is interrupted. We get help from neighbors with plowing the driveway and roads to the fields, and help from over 40 volunteers who give of their time each week to keep the office and grounds running smoothly, the stalls clean and bedded, the hay stored safely, the water buckets cleared of frozen water and refilled, the daily grind that winter adds to our routine. And winter here can be brutal, NH known for cold and snow.
Some clients take a break during the coldest parts of winter; turning to aqua sports, or skiing for exercise. Then most return with the spring, ready to be greeted by their friends in the barn. But many come all year round..from .Polly (67) who never misses a week, to Jackson(2), who can barely bend his elbows through his snowsuit! Schools send busloads for group interactions, and the days are busy, into the darkness of early evening.
With the New Year at hand, I want to thank you for your financial support of our programs. Without your help, the day would be colder, the wind stronger, and the task near unbearable. It's only with the help of our community of supporters that lets us just get it done!. "It takes a village to raise a child" is an old African proverb. Thank you for expanding our 'village" of support so all our clients who wish to, can ride all year long!
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