National Institute on Developmental Delays to benefit from Shawnee Rotary Club grant.

Shawnee Rotary Club recently received a grant totaling $6,158.56 from Rotary District 5770 to go toward an equestrian program for children with developmental delays.

Charlotte Barnett, local board member and *district officer, said grants are given based on a club’s community service, the need for the project and placement in one of the six areas of focus for Rotary.

The funds for the grant came from contributions that Rotarians from District 5770 gave to the Rotary International Foundation in 2010. Three years later, half of those contributions are returned to the district to use for local club projects, said Barnett.

“It’s good that we can bring that money back to our community,” she said.

Jada Old, local secretary, volunteers at the National Institute on Developmental Delays, a program set up by Father Paul Zahler and hosted at St. Gregory’s.

She said when volunteering she realized the helmets the children were wearing were nearing the expiration date and because the program relies on donations, it was important to her to get them new helmets.

Old said she, along with other volunteers, also saw a need for new saddles. Most of the saddles were heavy which caused aches for the horses along with difficulties for certain people to ride.

“The new saddles are lighter weight and safer,” she said.

After NIDD did a program for the local Rotary club, Old said all the members fell in love and wanted to help.

“Rotary is really honored to be a part of it,” said Kaye Green, local member.

Marcy Reeves is the program director for the Home Integration Child Development Center, a daily program serving children ages birth to 18 years old.

“This program is at no cost to the parents,” Reeves said, explaining they have had a contract since 1973 that includes covering the costs.

The program offers therapies such as horseback riding, swimming, music, art and several other things, she said.

Virginia Reeves, who also helps with leading programs, said the grant has helped with expenses they were unable to meet at the time. She said because they rely on donations and the economy has been so hard on people, the help came just in time.

“Rotary club has been a true blessing to us,” she said.

Reeves said NIDD also hosts Camp Benedictine, a monthly overnight camp experience for people with disabilities, both children and adults. The program offers the same therapies as the child development center.

She said NIDD also has an Equestrian Therapy Program, which is the program where the grant money was provided. The program provides an individualized one-on-one experience between the individual and the horse.

Reeves said in the program, people can learn horsemanship skills such as riding and grooming. By learning these skills she said people receive physical, mental and spiritual therapy. Reeves said volunteers help with this type of therapy. Volunteer training will take place to assist in different areas of the therapy process but to be able to help mount and dismount from the horse, a volunteer must be certified, she said.

Currently, NIDD has a certified horsemanship association volunteer, Terrie Sharp, who helps train volunteers in the program.

NIDD also has a Home Integration Supported Living Program, which is a 24 hour home and community program for adults with developmental disabilities.

Along with 16 new riding helmets, the grant also paid for two 42-inch barrel fans, 10 rainbow reigns to help teach hand movements and color identification, a set of poles, 10 fly masks for horses, 10 construction cones to mark loading zones for safety, three activity balls, six bio-fit saddle pads, three Abbeta square skirt saddles, three Abbeta endurance saddles and 10 loads of arena sand. All products were purchased from Shawnee Milling.

For more information on NIDD or to volunteer, please call 405-878-5289.