Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Zach directing traffic to the lemonade stand

Some thirsty patrons of the lemonade stand

“We need more lemonade!”That cry reverberated through Glenna's house repeatedly on Wednesday, July 14, as Jacob’s sisters, cousins and neighborhood kids poured glass after glass of tangy-sweet refreshment for both walk-up and drive-through customers at Jacob’s Fund’s Lemonade Sale. The hot, thirsty afternoon drew business people, workmen, Vacation Bible School teachers, neighbors and friends of all ages. Visitors munched brownies, chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes as they relaxed under a shade tree and watched Jacob’s baby sister, Juliet, play.

Weeks earlier, Evan and Mason—the senior members of the group at age 14—began planning the lemonade sale, making work assignments, selecting the right location and scheduling the hours of operation. They dubbed all adults as cooks and secured a neighbor's driveway near an intersection to maximize sales. Each of the seven member team had a job crucial to the success of the sale.

  • Maggie stayed up late the night before to make a fabulous t-shirt featuring the lemonade stand.

Maggie, t-shirt artist extraordinaire
  • Elyse, Jacob's sister, decorated cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles. Of course, the cupcakes were the much sought after favorites of young customers.
Elyse (left) and Brookie (right)
  • Brookie was everywhere - setting up, pouring, making change, and moving everyone out of the hot sun to a spot under a tree when the temperature rose to nearly 95 degrees.
  • Mollie selected strategic spots for signs which she and Zach posted.
    Molly proudly displaying the flyer

  • Zach’s his melodic “Get your ice-cold lemonade here!” brought attention to the stand.

Proceeds of the sale topped out at $89.23! Those funds are now traveling along the silken Red Thread to McKenna Farms to the child who will sit astride a horse for another therapy session thanks to seven kids and a lemonade stand on a hot afternoon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Keeping the momentum rolling, St. Paul's!

The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) of St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Lakeview (Louisiana) have been actively supporting The Red Thread's Wheelchair Promise Program over the past several months.

The program provides All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs) to disabled Haitians. ATWs enable immobile individuals to attend school, return to jobs and further support themselves and their families. These specialized chairs are perfectly suited to traverse Haiti's rough terrain.

To date, St. Paul's ECW has raised $14,251
to purchase 43 wheelchairs for Haiti!

One hundred wheelchairs are needed to fill a container before it can set course for Port au Prince. If you would like to support St. Paul's and the Wheelchair Promise Program, please send your tax deductible donation to the The Red Thread Promise at the address on the upper right or contribute via PayPal. Please mark "wheelchair" in the memo line.

A special thank you to the churches that St. Paul's ECW has reached out to who have laready contributed generously to the Wheelchair Promise Program:
  • All Saint’s Episcopal - Hershey, PA
  • Christ Church Episcopal - Kealakekua, HI
  • Church of the Annunciation Episcopal - New Orleans, LA
  • Episcopal Church of the Advent - Medfield, MA
  • St. Francis Episcopal - Denham Springs, LA
  • St. James Episcopal Church - Eureka Springs, AR
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church - Harvey, LA
  • St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal - Baton Rouge, LA
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal - Payson, AZ
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church - Gainesville, TX
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church - North Andover, MA
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church - Salt Lake City, UT
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church-Lakeview - New Orleans, LA
  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal - Ridgeway, SC
  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church - Longview, WA
  • St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church - LaPlace, LA
Go St. Paul's! Keep the momentum rolling.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Remembering Jacob

Jacob Beachy (May 21, 2004 - July 21, 2007)

Sarah, Jacob's mommy, and Jacob

Jacob loved coming to McKenna Farms. With shining eyes, he would tell anyone who would listen, “I ride Major!” Major was his horse at the Farm.

Children who are born with disabilities face many years of therapy, often three times a week from infancy until early adolescence. Typical clinical settings can be frightening to children who see round after round of doctors throughout each year, a constant reminder of all the poking and prodding that goes on at each visit. The routine of therapy can quickly become stale as children repeat exercises using inanimate objects. Therapy is work for these children, hard work that requires making muscles and nerves do things that their little bodies haven’t found a way to do on their own.

But McKenna Farms is just “the farm” to these kids and their families. Therapy play rooms are in the house where children are encouraged to get busy right away. Outside, siblings of those receiving therapy play on a playground while parents watch from the porch or the yard. Here is a home-like setting where disabled children feel comfortable and are cared for.

Jacob loved his therapists and wanted to go see them. He adored Major and, though it was an hour’s drive to McKenna Farms, he was eager and excited, anticipating each visit.

Glenna remembers

I sometimes took Jacob to the farm for his hippotherapy sessions. One day we’d gone into the barn to greet Major. Horses surrounded us in the neighboring stalls.

One of the staff led Major to where Jacob and I stood. The huge horse towered over Jacob, who weighed less than thirty pounds at the time. However, Jacob's relationship to the horse became clear as he reached to pat Major. The horse stood still, nuzzling my little grandson. Truly Jacob had formed a bond with his therapy partner.

Jacob and big sister, Elyse

The Silken Red Thread Lassoes a Horse…and Puts Kids in the Saddle

Sign commemorating Jacob Beachy, the namesake for Jacob's Fund, at McKenna Farms

Leslie (right), hippotherapy recipient at McKenna Farms

Glenna and Bernie

Back in May, Glenna, our diligent Jacob's Fund Coordinator, had the opportunity to visit McKenna Farms in Dallas, Georgia. It is in this beautiful rural setting that Jacob’s Fund continues to help needy children with disabilities learn basic life skills such as walking and talking, feeding themselves and playing like other children.

A little about Glenna

For those of you who don't know Glenna, she is the loving grandma to Jacob, the fund's namesake. She is a gem and has dedicated countless hours to helping raise awareness and funds for this type of treatment so that children you and I will probably never meet will have the opportunity to lead a more productive life in spite of their disabilities.

Jacob's Fund / A super-quick refresher course

Jacob's Fund is a growing active program of The Red Thread Promise that provides hippotherapy / therapeutic riding to underprivileged young people in the United States who suffer from a variety of health issues including:
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cerebral Vascular Accident (stroke)
  • Developmental Delay
  • Down Syndrome
  • Functional Spinal Curvature (scoliosis)
  • Learning or Language Disabilities
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes. According to the American Hippotherapy Association, this type of therapy is critically acclaimed for its ability to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development as well as emotional well-being and a laundry list of other benefits.

Back to McKenna Farms

After exchanging many emails and phone calls over the past few years, Glenna was finally able to meet the facility's Founder and Executive Director, Jessica Moore, face-to-face. In Glenna's words, "Jessica's a dynamo. In the space of three minutes, she consulted with therapists, greeted families, and made decisions about the horses. Her compassion and desire to help children came through very clearly in our conversations."

Everyone was eager to meet the horses and visit the place where the magic happens: the riding ring. Jessica led the way to the ring with her son, Aiden, in her arms, accompanied by Glenna, Sarah (Jacob’s mom) and Jacob's sister, Juliet.

Inside the ring they watched Leslie, a four-year-old child who was born with Down syndrome, the most common genetic cause of severe learning disabilities in children. She’s been coming to McKenna Farms for three years and in that time she’s had tremendous gains in all developmental areas attributed to her work on her favorite horse, Jasmine.

Leslie riding her favorite horse, Jasmine

Pausing to answer questions with her therapist

She looked darling in her riding helmet as she rode atop the horse while her therapist walked alongside her. Occasionally, her therapist stopped the horse to allow Leslie to review words for colors and pause before a change of pace on the horse. After the questions were answered, Leslie resumed riding, smiling with satisfaction from her own sense of accomplishment and the words of acknowledgement from the therapist. It is through exercises like this that Leslie's cognitive ability as well as her nerve and muscle function are stimulated.

The scholarships

This sweet little girl, who is a joy to all around her, has benefited from Jacob’s Fund in the past. Due to Jacob's Fund's rotating scholarship, it is it’s her turn again. Why rotate the scholarships? Because nearly 90 percent of the children at McKenna Farms are Medicaid patients with little to no financial means for this type of therapy. By rotating the scholarships among the children most in need at McKenna Farms, each has the opportunity for additional sessions.

Your gift to a child

The Red Thread Promise feels blessed that we have been able to help ten children with Jacob’s Fund monies, but it’s apparent from our conversation with Jessica that so much more is needed. Please consider a gift to Jacob’s Fund to help children like Leslie receive therapy at McKenna Farms, a life-changing gift that enables children to function in their daily lives.

Here’s what your gift can mean:

  • $180 pays for one hippotherapy session
  • $100 covers barn fees for one horse for a month
  • $90, combined with an equal gift, provides one session for a child
  • $25 covers one week’s barn fees for one horse

May 21, 2010 would have been Jacob's 6th birthday. He adored his horse and therapists at McKenna Farms. A memorial gift of $60 will help another child enjoy the same great experience. (Read more about Jacob's experience at McKenna Farms in the next post.)

Your tax deductible gift can be made through PayPal (button on the right) or by sending a check to:

The Red Thread Promise

4027 Dauphine Street

New Orleans, LA 70117