Every month we highlight a volunteer who demonstrates exceptional dedication and passion for LiftMeUp! We could not do the work that we do without the help of our incredible volunteers. Volunteer Spotlight is our way of saying thanks! by sharing our volunteers' unique stories and perspective.
"My life has been so enriched by the last 8 years I have spent at LiftMeUp! Through my friendships with the fellow volunteers, the instructors, the riders and their families, I have witnessed incredible courage, dedication and sacrifice. Life’s struggles are quickly put into prospective. Initially volunteering with the notion that I wanted to make a difference in other’s lives, I realized that it has made all the difference in mine.
All the horses we work with have their own unique qualities which make them perfect for the therapeutic riding program. One of our latest arrivals, Titan, has completely stolen my heart. He reminds me of my preschoolers because he is curious, energetic, funny and loves to be with his friends. He is a great addition to our barn."
"I have been volunteering at Lift Me Up a little over 4 years. I have always wanted to learn more about and work with horses. At LMU I not only get to be around horses, but also get to interact with students by leading, side walking, or otherwise assisting as they improve their riding skills. Being at LMU has also given me the opportunity to meet many other volunteers as well as many knowledgeable instructors that have helped me learn a lot more about horses and therapeutic riding. There are always new and exciting things to learn at LMU."
Velvie is also part of the Equine Care Team, a group of volunteers who directly assist the Barn Manager with the daily care of the horses. This month, Velvie also kindly donated a brand new hay cart, new wheels for our wheelbarrows, and name tags for all the horses' tack.
Thank you, Velvie!!!
13-year-old volunteer Jamie is using her artistic talent to help one of our young riders, Louisa! Since Louisa is blind, she uses a "sight board" with miniature objects that instructor Maya created to allow Louisa to learn patterns and obstacle courses set up in the riding arena. Jamie, who makes tiny tack for model horses as a hobby, decided to make tack for the little model horse Louisa uses to navigate her sight board. What a special donation! Jamie also sells her tiny tack on Etsy, and LiftMeUp! riders and volunteers can use coupon code LIFTMEUP at checkout for 20% off.
Left: Louisa (middle) shows off her "sight board" with Jamie (left) and her mother Friederike (right).
Don started out at LMU a year ago as a regular volunteer working with our clients and horses. Then came the fateful day that he was asked, "Say, you don't happen to own a chainsaw, do you?" LMU has been reaping the benefits of his varied talents ever since! The raised garden beds that now grace the front of our barn and our new horse hay feeders in the pasture are some of his more notable contributions, along with a long list of previously unfixable farm equipment that has magically become operational again!
"My first few months here I was so impressed with the care and effort the instructors provide for their riders, and it was heartwarming to see how much of a difference the horses make with respect to clients' lives. And I get to work with a bunch of truly wonderful folks—overall my time here has been terrific. Anyone interested in a rewarding experience should consider volunteering here at LMU."
Kästlee has been volunteering at LMU for two years. Starting as a leader and sidewalker, she now also helps care for the LMU herd and will be working part-time with us this summer! Here are a few words from Kästlee about volunteering at LiftMeUp:
"I enjoy volunteering at LMU because the people and horses here are like family. It's such a thrill to see how our students can gain confidence and strength by riding and bonding with our special horses and be able to live truly enriching lives."