Wednesday, January 8, 2014

JACOB'S FUND :: A grant writer and a big ole hippotherapy farm

Jessica and one of McKenna Farms' therapy horses
Recently, TRTP grant writer, Jessica, visited our partners at McKenna Farms (Dallas, GA). What began as a research trip—to give her a taste of the true Jacob's Fund experience—morphed into something more meaningful than she could have hoped!


It was a beautiful Friday morning. Skies cleared as the brilliance of the sunlight pierced the gloomy puffs that enveloped the city only hours earlier. Just as the rush of traffic quieted itself, I made my journey to the outskirts of town. Passing shops and eateries, small businesses and neighborhoods, my little car finally rolled to a stop in front of the small pastures where unsuspecting horses grazed nearby.

There, nestled in the midst of ordinary life, my adventure began.  

Jessica and tour guide, Belen
I found my way to the front desk where I met my smiling tour guide for the day, Belen. We began walking the grounds and found ourselves at McKenna Farm's indoor arena, the newest addition to the property. What an amazing space! Belen's gratitude for such a welcome provision spilled over into her description of its great importance. In years past as all hippotherapy and therapeutic riding was done in the outdoor arena, any inclement weather postponed the children's therapy frequently in winter and spring months. With the addition of this large covered space, the children were able to continue their therapy without any interruptions, protected from the elements, a priceless gift!

At the head of the Jacob Beachy Sensory Trail
We continued down the path to the Jacob Beachy Sensory Trail, named after our own Jacob Noah Beachy. As we walked along the trail, observing each sensory station, I imagined what it would be like to be one of these children—to see the world through the eyes of someone born with a disability.
  • How much would it mean to laugh if I often felt discomfort or pain? 
  • How much would it mean to smell the sweetness of the herbs and hear the melodic chirps from the birds when I was usually indoors? 
  • How much would it mean to see the various colors and shapes and feel different textures? 
Not only to experience all of these things, but to experience them pleasantly... not as loud, intrusive noises and odors pressing in to overwhelm, but as gifts meant to be enjoyed. I closed my eyes and envisioned all of the delightful moments that must take place on this very trail in the midst of healing therapy.

Beyond all of the trees surrounding the trail, beyond disability and limitation, there lies refuge and peace for children in need. A place all their own. Amazed by what such simple materials could accomplish, I wandered up to the therapy rooms where I met Cecilia. You can meet her too in our next post.

~ Jessica, TRTP Grant Writer

View from the trail

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