Saturday, September 29, 2012

JACOB'S FUND :: Photo of the day

Barb, Wilma, Alice, Jaden and Hana having some fun on the Gator!

JACOB'S FUND :: McKenna Farms part 2

Getting to work!
Following a hearty breakfast provided by McKenna Farm board members and volunteers, the group set out to work. On the agenda for the next 2 days was a variety of groundwork, mainly in the gardens surrounding the therapy building and all along the Jacob Beachy Sensory Trail. 

Sign at the beginning of the trail
Jaden learning to drive the Gator, hauling supplies for the team
Wilma and Hana clearing the area
Wilma and Jaden filling the umpteenth wheelbarrow of brush
Hana clearing the base of the beautiful Crepe Myrtles
The completed beautification job 
In addition to gardening, the youngest team members set to staining new fences and gates around some of the pastures. 

Elyse, Jacob's big sister, came in from Atlanta to help
Jaden staining the new posts around the pasture gate
Hana and Elyse, proud of the finished product

Friday, September 28, 2012

JACOB'S FUND :: McKenna Farms part 1

Jessie, Director of McKenna Farms, and Sonya, Vice President of The Red Thread Promise
It was a whirlwind weekend at McKenna Farms for The Red Thread and a group of volunteers. An ambitious team of 7—all eager to get their hands dirty—arrived at the Farm on Thursday evening. After the LONG drive from Cincinnati and Columbus Ohio, they were each warmly greeted by Jessie Moore, Director of McKenna Farms. The group gratefully climbed the stairs leading to the barn loft where they would bunk together for the next 3 nights. 

The dormitory for both 4-legged and 2-legged friends!
After a good night's sleep, a visit to the downstairs residents of the barn was in order. What a lovely sight the horses were. Wish we could remember all of their names but there were just too many. They were as curious about us as we were about them.

Hana making friends with Pocket
Tiger, the Farm's 20+ lb. mouser, even came to greet us. We're not sure, but we think he's even bigger than when we saw him last year!

Jaden greeting the extra fluffy farm cat, Tiger

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CRITICAL REQUEST – Turning a crisis into a miracle

Imagine yourself being 
an active participant in turning 
crisis into a miracle. 


We recently found out that St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince is in dire circumstances. Simply stated, ST. VINCENT’S NEEDS FOOD. This includes the orphans and their caregivers, boarding and day students, as well as the teaching and administrative staff.

The food donor that has sustained the Center for the past school year is ending its food distributions all over Haiti at the end of September, 2012. With limited resources, only two feasible options have been identified for St. Vincent's to sustain itself if a new food donor is not secured:

  1. St. Vincent’s will close the dormitory to all students except the orphans; OR
  2. St. Vincent’s will close the dormitory to all blind and deaf children from the countryside

In either scenario, children who would normally board at St. Vincent’s will, more than likely, no longer be able to go to school due to the distance between their homes and the Center. And, many may go without food at all. This effects not only their physical well-being but also greatly limits, if not eliminates, any educational opportunities that may be near their homes as most schools in Haiti can not take children with disabilities.

YOU can be the difference for these children. This is a wonderful opportunity for our supporters to touch young lives in a critical way. 

The cost of 3 meals a day for a single person is only $2.00. That’s less than an average cup of coffee from a gourmet coffee shop. We've done the math to see how far your donation can go:

  • $2.00 – one day (3 meals)
  • $14.00 – one week (21 meals)
  • $60.00 – one month (90 meals)
  • $180.00 – three months (270 meals)
  • $360.00 – six months (540 meals)
  • $540.00 – full school year (810 meals)
  • $720.00 – one full year (1095 meals)

Donations can be made by sending a check to the address on the top right or by clicking on our PayPal button. Please be sure to write "SV food" in the memo line.

Don't let the opportunity to change lives in a meaningful and immediate way pass you by. Join The Red Thread Promise in bringing food to St. Vincent's.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jacob's Fund mission trip: JOIN US

The Red Thread team is off again, this time to McKenna Farms in Dallas, Georgia for our second mission trip. Members of Christ United Methodist Church in Middletown, Ohio, were given a personal invitation this morning by Glenna, Director of Jacob’s Fund, pictured below.

We’d like to extend that same invitation to YOU!
This year we’ll be at the farm on a weekday when many of the children come for therapy. We’re hoping to meet some of the kids and observe hippotherapy and therapeutic riding sessions as we work around the farm, broadening our understanding of this life-changing treatment. We’ll spruce up the Jacob Beachy Sensory Trail, perform other needed tasks and form lasting relationships.

Folks from Christ Church who went with us in 2011 are eager to return to visit the courageous kids, caring staff, beautiful horses, and lovely farm setting that inspired and humbled us.

Fall 2011 mission team  
It's all in the details
  • THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 – Evening arrival; set up sleeping quarters in the farmhouse
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 - Work day (all meals provided)
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 – Work day (all meals provided)
  • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – Return home
If you’d like to be a part of Jacob’s Fund Mission Trip, please call or email Glenna Fisher (513-423-0108, or Sonya Yencer (614-316-9491,

Can’t make the trip?  You can still help. Your donation in any amount will help cover therapy costs and barn fees for the kids we’re currently supporting at McKenna Farms:  three-year-old twins Cameron and Landon and teenager Brandon.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Jacob’s Fund!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jacob’s Fund :: Special Olympics :: Madison rides again, and Krista Shines at her First Special Olympics

Madison, showing grace under pressure, wins a fourth place ribbon
Remember Madison’s ride with the Mounted Patrol in the opening ceremonies of last year’s Special Olympics? This year marked her third in the competition, and she performed with great flexibility in the face of challenges and came away with ribbons and medals. 

Change is stressful for those of us who have no physical or learning disabilities. For children like Madison, stress is multiplied many times over.  

So when the mount she’d been practicing with came down with tendonitis the week before the Special Olympics, Madison needed to quickly become comfortable enough to complete her classes. Her first day of competition started well, but nerves overcame her and her horse, Spirit of the Wind. Switching to dependable Hershey, Madison re-did the dressage portion of the program and performed brilliantly. 

Kristen Moreland of McKenna Farms said, “We take for granted our ability to change things at the last minute, but for these riders processing time is an important part of success. I was very proud of her just going with the flow and taking on new challenges like the champ she is! And of course she did it all with a smile on her face.”

And, as the saying goes, she got right back on that horse. She finished the show with Spirit as her mount, bringing home two bronze medals and two fourth-place ribbons.

Madison and Spirit—real teammates and winners!
Krista, happy first-time competitor
Krista has been riding for just nine months, but when she rode Major into the dressage ring, she was outstanding.  She’d memorized the complete test (something Kristen urges her riders to do to boost their confidence, knowing that they can do something on their own). That confidence brought her a gold medal.

Showmanship, a class that requires waking on foot leading your horse through a pattern, is judged on style, grace, conformation, and completing the pattern correctly. This is a real test for Krista, who has difficulty walking due to Cerebral Palsy. Yet Krista walked away with the bronze for this one.  

Krista atop Major in the ring
She went on to pick up gold in equitation and in her partner class in Unified Drill, a great fun class. In Unified Drill a rider picks a partner and a song. Krista chose Delaney, a high school student, as her partner, and Katy Perry’s Fireworks for their song, which they choreographed. They dressed in costumes, with headpieces made by Krista’s mom, and finished by throwing confetti to the sounds of the Firework Finale.

Krista and Delaney in Unified Drill
Learning, competing with their best stuff, dancing, dressing up and having fun – things all kids love. Seeing Madison and Krista’s accomplishments fills us with hope and tugs at our hearts. We are proud to support children as they seek to make their dreams a reality. If you’d like to join us (and we’re thrilled when you do), you can donate by check or PayPal (info at the top right in the sidebar). Please be sure to indicate “Jacob’s Fund” or “hippotherapy” in the memo line so we can allocate your donations as you wish. We’re currently supporting three-year old twins Landon and Cameron, and teen Brandon.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Jacob’s Fund :: Special Olympics :: In the Show Ring and Behind the Scenes, Featuring Maya

 Multiple medalist, Maya, sporting a huge smile

You already know your donations to Jacob’s Fund help children with disabilities master basic skills like walking and talking.  Along with the new abilities, you’re also giving hope and opening the door to big dreams.

All children dream of being a champion, with all the accolades and awards that entails.  And the show ring at the Equestrian Special Olympics was the stage for that dream to come true for the dozen McKenna Farms riders who found themselves there this year. 

McKenna Farms, one of the larger and more advanced groups competing, created a buzz as the riders, each in four to five classes, performed beautifully and garnered medals.

Working behind the scenes during the long, hot days, fifteen volunteers kept the horses clean, well fed, hydrated, and happy.  They were by the side of each athlete, ready with reassurance and comfort when nerves threatened to overwhelm the riders, and making sure everyone was at the ring on time.

    Maya and her amazing volunteer, Jamie, 
who is also her clinical therapist at McKenna Farms.

Special needs children work hard, and so do their parents.  Sometimes parents need a break, and when counties provide chaperones, accommodations, and host events for their children on a weekend, often parents take the weekend off.  

McKenna Farms parents went above and beyond expectations, though, accompanying their kids, being there for them, cheering them on, and being their biggest supporter in encouraging their success.  And they were beside the medals podium to give their child a hug as they stepped off.

Just like the riders, the horses sometimes feel nervous and pressured in the spotlight.  Maya learned this first-hand on the big weekend.  Her mount, Pocket Full of Sunshine (shortened to Pocket for brevity), is a Percheron/Thoroughbred cross.  He gave a stunning performance with another rider on opening day in the dressage event, which was held in the open-air covered arena.  

When the program moved indoors to an enclosed arena, Pocket became uncomfortable.  He was nervous and did not want to stand still during his first class with Maya.  

Maya has been riding for only a few months, but she handled the massive 16.3 draft horse with such poise and confidence that the judge for the event came over to her and complemented her on her solid performance with a horse that was obviously uncomfortable in his new surroundings.

Maya’s excellent handling of the situation is even more impressive knowing that she has struggled with confidence throughout her life and is very uncomfortable in the spotlight.

Pocket’s skittishness meant that Maya would need to find a new mount for the balance of her events.  Before doing so, though, she visited Pocket’s stall for a heart-to-heart about his nervous performance.  She was concerned that he wouldn’t like her anymore if she rode someone else for her other classes.  They talked it out, and she realized he would understand.  (Back home at McKenna Farms a few days later, she rode him in a class.)

 Maya's heart-to-heart with Pocket

The following day Maya rode Aka-San (also called Red), a horse she’d only ridden once, months earlier.  She brought home a silver medal for that working trail class, and continued to perform like the champion she is, winning both a bronze and yes, a gold medal for her weekend’s work!

Kristen Moreland of McKenna Farms commented on Maya and her progress.  “A couple of months ago there is no way this girl would’ve not only kept it together in the ring while her horse acted up, but she also would not have switched horses to an unknown and been able to stay focused enough to get through the course!  It’s amazing what some confidence and the opportunity to succeed can do for a young girl!”

Indeed, Kristen, indeed.

With your support, other kids can receive needed therapy and gain the skills and confidence Maya has.  The Red Thread Promise is now supporting three boys at McKenna Farms:  Cameron, Landon, and Brandon. If you’d like to make a donation toward their hippotherapy and therapeutic riding, you can do so via check or PayPal (upper right in the sidebar).