Spotlight Presents: Pegasus Project
I recently had the great pleasure of visiting the site of non-profit organization,Pegasus Project in Yakima, Washington. Pegasus Project is a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) Premier Accredited Center, providing therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities to those with special needs and disabilities.
Founded in 2003, Pegasus began as a pilot project and has since evolved into a facility that provides exceptional experiences for 43 riders (from 4 - 50 years old). Walking through the Pegasus doors, I was immediately greeted by smiling faces - one of which was our "guide," Janie Plath, Founding Director.
The property is idyllic, the horses reside in state-of-the-art stables and rolling pastures, people at Pegasus are genuinely thrilled to be there, and by my account - a ton of fun. The environment is peaceful, filled with love, and loaded with positive energy.
Current fundraising efforts are underway - to sponsor your own Pegasus horse for their Preakness Race online - follow this link!
While on the property, I had the great opportunity of meeting a parent to one of the program riders, Joy Lawrence Clark. We spoke briefly, and as she told me a bit about herself and their years with Pegasus, the enormous power of positive change Pegasus brings into the lives of their riders became abundantly clear.
As we parted ways, Joy agreed to send over a bit about their Pegasus experience which is posted below.
"Our son Jesse Clark started riding at the Pegasus Project in its first year. He was referred to them by Children’s Village where he was receiving Occupational Therapy. Jesse has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. Jesse was not able to participate in team sports, and it was very difficult for him to get physical exercise. He responded very well to the horse, his instructor Michelle, and the activity of riding. We know that the activity of riding helped him with executive function skills. He also learned to take directions, something he needed help with at that time. Over the years, Jesse became more competent as a rider, and has worked on beginning dressage routines. Jesse has now been riding for seven years, and we are so very grateful that he has the Pegasus Project as a place to develop skills in a supportive context. It’s been great to see him excel in this, and we know that his quality of life has been improved by the experience."
Non-profit and community involvement is a core value for the SPOTLIGHTseattle team, and finding ways to reach out and feature local organizations is important to us - this short feature is no exception. We look forward to reporting more on Pegasus Project, and sharing with you their upcoming events.
***Need for Pegasus Project volunteers is on the rise (a testament to their success). If you, or someone you know is interested in volunteering with Pegasus, follow this link.*** Next round of volunteer training on July 9, 2011 - get involved!
Thank you again to Janie for your time - I can't wait to stop in again!
One of two peaceful ponds on the property.
Home to the horses (the team).
Pegasus in action.