My name is Sarah, I’m 15 years old. As a student my schedule is very busy but I do make time for Simple Changes. It is the highlight of my week. I volunteer once a week for two and a half hours, and that’s been very good for my balanced schedule to balance my athletics, scouting activities, my academics and all of that.
My favorite part of interacting with the animals is the first moment we’re greeted by their faces here. I love to help feed them and groom them. It’s always great. They all have their own personalities. It’s been really fun to get to know them and to work with them too. They’re amazing animals.
“Hey, how are you?”
“I’m good how are you?”
“Have a good day.”
My favorite part about being a volunteer is working with our riders towards shared goals.
So we’re teaching them to ride a horse really working towards things one step at a time in reaching their full potential. So we work in small groups with the riders, we communicate instructions from the instructor and we also care for the horses.
I’ve witnessed several moments where I really realized full circle what we’re doing here with our horses, with physical benefits, the emotional benefits, and the social ones as well. I remember a particular moment with a rider who was very limited in what he was able to do, but he was able to come here and ride a horse, hold his reins and sit up tall and then that word “walk on”, those two words, and that was really great for him. He’s now walking assisted and doing very well.
The location of Simple Changes is very therapeutic. We’re located in Mason Neck, Virginia so we have natural beauty, the Potomac River is nearby. We have access to all the trails and beautiful trees and wildflowers, we have mild pasture. Volunteering is affecting my life here. I’m able to see past disability now and to recognize the abilities of everyone and to celebrate them.
Simple Changes has really taught me to see the person within and then to help them reach the goals that they can reach. So by riding horses here and by sharing my love of horses I’m able to share my passion and help them reach their goals.
I really enjoy working in groups of people. Here at Simple Changes our volunteers are from all stages of life and all walks of life as well. It’s certainly a great environment. I’ve learned a lot from everyone here and it’s great to be able to work in these groups of people.
The feeling I get when I leave here is a big feeling of shared accomplishment in each of our lessons.
We’ve worked towards goals that our riders have to reach their full potential and what they can do to the best of their ability on our horses. So it can be little things like we held our reins, or can be larger things like we posted the entire long side at a beautiful trot.
“Have a good week.”
So I certainly have that feeling of shared accomplishment and the joy that I shared my passion with another who might not have an opportunity otherwise.