(Southwest Florida) Nearly 700 children and adults participated in SMART programs in 2016. That’s something that the staff and volunteers are feeling particularly proud about as what has been a particularly busy year at the therapeutic equestrian center draws to a close.
“We have had an eventful year, from growing our program through new partnerships to our fundraising successes,” said executive director Gail Clifton. “By far the most rewarding aspect has been interacting with our clients and cheering them on for their progress and accomplishments. We’re especially grateful for our hard-working volunteers who logged over 16,000 hours this year and for our 14 beautiful therapy horses who continue to be healthy and happily engaged in their work and play.”
A sampling of SMART highlights from 2016 includes:
- Raising $76,000 in their third annual Mint Julips and Roses Derby Days event and another $23,000 during the 2016 Giving Challenge
- Inspiring 140 elementary school students to enjoy reading through their SMART Horse Sense Literacy Program.
- Hosting 71 veterans in a free “Warriors in Transition” program through a partnership with Bay Pines VA and other sponsors
- Expanding their involvement with other non-profit groups and area schools, including Beyond the Spectrum, Selah Freedom, United Cerebral Palsy of Sarasota, Community Haven, Just for Girls, Easter Seals SWFL, Jewish Family & Children Service of the Suncoast, Polk State College and Keiser University
Established in 1987, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) is a non-profit organization that provides horseback riding, carriage driving and equine-assisted activities for individuals with disabilities. Located in eastern Manatee County, SMART is a mostly volunteer organization that serves over 650 individuals with disabilities each year, including people with a variety of challenges such as autism, attention deficit disorder, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, as well as individuals with terminal illness, emotional or mental health conditions, and hearing, speech or vision impairments. Among the activities offered are therapeutic horseback riding and driving, a literacy program, and programs for veterans, women with breast cancer, at risk youth and teens, and victims of human trafficking. Volunteers age 14 and over are welcome to join the organization at any time after completing an orientation and training program.
Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Organization. All Contributions are Tax Deductible.
CH 4398 Fed ID 65-0043354 A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR BY VISITING www.800helpfla.com REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
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