Officials at Sarasota Manatee Association of Riding Therapy (SMART) are pleased to announce that their non-profit group has received a grant of $2,336 from the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation.
The funds will be used to purchase an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), a small portable life-saving medical device designed for use with people suffering cardiac arrest. The grant will also cover related training for 10 staff workers and volunteers.
“We are so pleased and grateful to receive this grant,” said Gail Clifton, volunteer executive director of SMART. “This will enhance our existing safety program and allow SMART to provide the best in emergency services to our participants, staff and volunteers – if and when needed.”
The placement of AED devices in the workplace is encouraged by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross and OSHA as a measure to increase the survival chances of people with heart-related emergencies.
Established in 1987, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) is a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding, carriage driving and equine-assisted activities for individuals with disabilities. SMART is a Premier Accredited Center of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl) and is the only therapeutic riding center in Manatee and Sarasota counties with this accreditation.
Located in eastern Manatee County, SMART is an all-volunteer organization that serves up to 350 families per year, including people with a variety of special needs such as autism, stroke, attention deficit disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and physical disabilities, as well as at-risk youth, individuals with terminal illness, emotional or mental health conditions, and hearing, speech or vision impairments. Among the activities offered are therapeutic riding, driving, grooming and tacking, equine facilitated experiential learning programs, a literacy program, veterans’ program, and a program for women undergoing treatments for breast cancer. Volunteers over age 14 are welcome to join the organization at any time after completing an orientation and training program.
For more information, call 941-322-2000 or visit online at www.smartriders.org.