SOUTHINGTON, Ohio (WKBN) – A nonprofit organization in Southington that has helped people for more than two decades with therapeutic horseback riding is looking for more volunteers to help expand its services.
Emma, 15, knows first-hand the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding.
“My anxiety level is down. I’m more happy. This is my happy place here,” she said of Camelot Center.
Emma suffers from anxiety. Her family said during her time at Camelot Center as a rider, they’ve seen how much it has helped her.
“She’s not nearly as nervous as she used to be about anything, and this truly is her happy place. This is where she enjoys to be, and she’s most happy on the horse,” said her mother, Diana.
For 27 years, the Camelot Center has been helping people like Emma with lessons designed for each individual rider.
“It just inspires us to see how they improve when they come here,” said Brenda Evans, a volunteer coordinator.
Northeast Ohio Children’s Rehabilitation Center even uses the center’s horses for physical therapy.
“The way that the horse moves is the same as the human pelvis, so when I put a kid on the horse, I get all these perfect movements that I can’t do chasing a child around the room,” said physical therapist Melissa Pucak.
During the pandemic, lessons were cut back, leaving the center with a large waiting list. But now, with lifted restrictions, a new certified instructor, and another that will be testing soon, they want to reach even more riders.
“We want to add more days and times,” said program director Debbie Meeker.
They’d also like to add another specialized program for veterans, and they’ve already received grant money for it to get started.
There’s just one hurdle in their way.
“Without the volunteers, we can’t do that,” Meeker said.
The center is looking for at least another dozen volunteers to help out.
“The more the merrier. If we had the volunteers, we could actually open up more days for riding lessons,” said Evans.
“We could go six days a week if we have the volunteers,” Meeker said.
Those interested in volunteering can pick up a volunteer packet at the Camelot Center during office hours. They can also download the packet online www.thecamelotcenter.org/volunteer.
They’re also hosting an informational “volunteer orientation” at 2 p.m. June 19.