Recently, the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, a non-profit where the disabled can work on their development with the help of horses and other animals, recognized riders who completed their six-month program. Held on June 21, this ceremony recognized Deen Chadwick, son of GSF Irvine Senior Executive Assistant, Margo Chadwick, making it even more personal.
“This meant so much to me, because kids like Deen don’t get awards in their everyday life,” explained Chadwick, of the twice-yearly event, which awards graduating riders with special ribbons for their progress. “They are children who struggle at school, are in remedial classes, and often can’t participate in sports due to physical limitations. As we were driving, Deen held the ribbon and said, ‘Momma, when everyone was saying my name and cheering for me I felt like I got my wings back.’”
Becky Kruger, Customer Service/Sales Specialist, along with Jared Dunn, Senior Account Manager, and Belinda Salazar, Food Technologist, helped hand out ribbons on behalf of GSFF to those who completed their programs. Each child or adult received a ribbon in honor of an achievement they made throughout their time in the program. Some children learned to gallop on a horse, others to sit up on their own, and Deen was recognized for his excellent two-point while trotting.
“I remember my first time taking a tour of the Center,” said Becky Kruger. “There was a little girl with polio, barely able to walk down a hill, so they had her lead their community dog, Emerson, around on a leash. Pretty soon, the little girl was walking and when we visit now, she is even able to ride a horse! It’s been amazing to watch her progress and the progress of others at the Center.”
Jared Dunn, GSF associate for almost two years, said that volunteer opportunities like this one are part of his reason for joining the company. “Participating in philanthropic endeavors like this is part of what drew me to Golden State Foods,” said Dunn. “Just to be there and hand out the awards and witness the excitement in the children’s eyes was such an incredible feeling.”
Since 2010, the GSF Foundation has had a significant role in supporting the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, which now serves more than 600 riders each year, with the help of 20 horses and more than 600 community volunteers, including GSF associates. Associates volunteer their time whenever possible and in the past four years, more than $20,000 in grants has been donated, allowing the center to help more individuals with disabilities.
The Shea Therapeutic Riding Center has been helping improve the lives of people with disabilities through therapeutic horse-related programs since 1978. Over time, the center has expanded its facilities and been able to serve more children and adults each year. The Golden State Foods Foundation is proud to have played a part in the growth of the center and congratulates all riders who finished their program last week, including Deen. Congratulations to all of the Shea graduates!