Shawnee Rotary Club used a recent grant to help fund equipment for a local equestrian program. This grant helped the National Institute on Developmental Delays at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee.
Terry Sharp, director of the NIDD program said “This program gives the campers an enjoyable experience, allows them to stand taller and put a smile on their face.”
All 64 Rotarian members contributed to this project by either fundraising or helping with the grant writing.
Jana Old, local secretary, volunteers at NIDD, said all funds were spent locally. The Rotary Club used businesses such as Tractor Supply, Shawnee Milling and David Lane Trucking to provide all equipment necessary to complete this project.
One of the items NIDD received were BioFit saddles. These saddles help protect the muscular and bone structure of the horse. Additionally, a BioFit saddle helps campers with endurance and ensures them a safer position to ride the horses.
Rainbow reins were also funded by the Rotary Club to help children with color recognition and hand placement.
The camps held at NIDD are conducted once every month on weekends only. During this time, the children are able to create bonds, establish a sense of comfort with the horses and interact with the animals around them.
Additionally, Sharp said this camp averages about 40-50 students per camp and is designed to give the student’s caretakers a break.
“NIDD focuses on the mental and physical needs of the children. Mentally, children will gain esteem and confidence, while physically students will help build muscle endurance,” she said.
Within the span of three days, campers are given the opportunity to spend the night in the old gym located on St. Gregory’s University. The rest of the days include the camp riding the horses all day Saturday and having “Barn Day” on Sunday.
“Sunday, I give the campers an opportunity to learn responsibility. At our facility we have two goats, a pot-belly pig and horses we let them feed on Sunday,” said Sharp.
Marcy Reeves, director of childhood development center at St. Gregory’s, said this facility helps with disorders such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and individuals who are wheelchair bound.
NIDD would like to give a special thanks to Father Paul Zahler, founder and director; Virginia Reves, administrative director; and Marcy Reeves. Also, NIDD thanks these volunteers: Ryen Macy, Allison Moery, Kelsea Mcelfresh, Cowboy Jack, Peewee Taron, Caitlin Kuchynka and many others not mentioned.
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NIDD expresses their gratitude to Rotary board members Kay Green, Sherry Lankford, Charlotte Barnett, Gary Barnett, Larry Gill and President Mike McCormick.
For more information on NIDD or to volunteer, please call 405-820-6545.