Many children and adults with disabilities in South Florida are limited in access to activities that can help them improve their physical, emotional or mental health and wellbeing. Equine therapy serves as an adjunct treatment that provides benefits not found within standard medical interventions. Equine-based programs are proven to be beneficial for those with disabilities, helping with mobility and cognitive or emotional skills. You can help can place them on the Path to Independence.
The disability community represents the largest minority in the world. Parents of children with special needs find it extremely difficult to pay for services like an equine therapy program. The average household income for these parents and guardians is $35,000 per year. This year, 66% of our participants depended on a financial hardship scholarship to take part in the program. That number is expected to increase as families are impacted by COVID-19 and medical costs continue to rise.
Meeting our goal can allow us to provide a full year of therapeutic horseback riding for 20 children with special needs. Scholarship recipients mount their horse partners once each week for 30 weeks throughout the year. Riders may begin in the program as young as age 4 and can participate for years. You can have a direct impact on the life of someone like Anthony who will be celebrating his 30th year of riding in the program in June. He has progressed physically and is now fully independent.
Since 1982, EATSF has provided service to more than 2,300 individuals with disabilities. Four equine therapy programs are executed with the aid of 11 specially-trained horses serving more than 130 students each year. Joyce, mother of twins with Cerebral Palsy, puts their experience into words beautifully. "Horse therapy has a been a wonderful thing for our girls. It has helped Faith and Hope get stronger and increase their balance. They both have a long way to go, but they have come so far."
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).