Julia Chapin Bozzo has been on an equestrian crusade for 20 years. She founded NorthWest Therapeutic Riding Center in 1993, and has overseen its Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) programs since day one, fostering a welcoming, nurturing environment for riders with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and brain injuries. Adhering to the strict guidelines set forth by PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), her facility leverages the healing power of horses to enrich the well-being of riders of all ages. Whether they're toddlers or seniors, each participant reaps the physical, mental, emotional, and social rewards of riding with the center’s gentle horses—gaining strength and coordination, interacting with the natural world, and, most importantly, building self-esteem. Thanks to Julia’s efforts and the assistance of certified riding instructors and a 30-strong team of weekly volunteers, the center conducts more than 950 lessons annually, each individually tailored to the rider’s therapeutic goals.
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Through its Monroe Service Dog Partnership, Summit Assistance Dogs recruits inmates at the Monroe Correctional Complex to help increase its capacity to train service dogs. After being taught extensively in the art of animal training, carefully screened and supervised inmates work in pairs during two months of dog training, during which they help to groom, exercise, and train dogs from shelters, all the while evaluating the animals’ progress and temperament. In turn, the participating inmates get an opportunity to serve the community, take on new responsibilities, and earn incentives for good behavior. Summit Assistance Dogs funds training staff and prison administration time, as well as training equipment and treats for the dogs.
During the course of a 3.5-month classroom-gardening program, chefs visit an elementary classroom every two weeks to help students plant and tend windowsill vegetable gardens. In the meantime, students play games and engage in other activities designed to teach them about plant growth, local agriculture, sustainability, and nutrition. Once it's time to harvest the vegetables, the chefs teach students how to cook nutritious meals with their homegrown goods. Growing Chef! organizers hope that after participating in the program, students will be more likely to eat healthful meals on their own based on what they've learned about growing and cooking healthy foods.
Part of Copley Commons, the Heritage Orchard celebrates the generosity of Richard Copley, who developed the orchard and donated apple trees to the neighbourhood. The EYA aims to expand the Heritage Orchard’s natural splendour with perennial fruit crops by replanting a total of 16 apple trees at Heritage Orchard. Each apple tree costs $60 to plant, and the EYA is still in need of funds for the seeds, materials, transportation, and labour costs necessary to reach its 16-tree goal. The addition of apple trees to the commons will help beautify the neighbourhood, increase its organic-fruit supply, and help teach youth about sustainable-food production.
Though it’s only been open less than one year, Supernal Arts has already amassed an impressive cache of art in its private gallery. Paintings burst from their canvases in the form of an impressionist-style bouquet of red and white roses, a riverbed dotted with copper-hued stones and cascading water, and a wintry forest full of stark, bare trees. Visitors to the space can peruse paintings or take one of the many classes that teach the skills needed to craft such pieces. The instructors, all experienced artists themselves, harness their backgrounds and skills to lead students of all ages toward their own artistic goals, such as becoming a professional painter or exhibiting works somewhere other than inside the lion cage of the local zoo.
Scrub-A-Mutt initially started as an annual dog-wash event held each August. Now, it's expanded to include SAM's Fund, which raises money for homeless dogs in need of medical care that rescue groups and shelters can't afford. The first SAM's Fund project is helping Sadie, a three-year-old black-lab and mastiff mix, receive knee surgery and find a permanent, loving home. At the annual dog wash volunteers bathe and trim the nails of more than 250 dogs. Meanwhile, rescue groups with adoptable pets, dog trainers, and other pet vendors set up tents at the park. Scrub-A-Mutt donates all funds raised at the dog wash to pet-rescue groups as part of its larger mission to raise community awareness about homeless pets.