Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre, Ontario- Puslinch

Beneficiaries of this grant will participate in one semester (10 weeks) of weekly therapeutic riding lessons. Most children continue their participation in therapeutic riding long past the initial semester, and continue to benefit from these programs for years to come.                                     

The group served by this program are children with special needs from financially-marginalized families. For many of these children, viable fitness and sport opportunities are extremely limited due to their cognitive, behavioral, emotional and / or physical needs. For some families, registration fees can create additional barriers to participation. Therapeutic riding is a safe, empowering sport opportunity, and many parents have found it to be one of the few (or only) physical recreation programs in which their child can happily participate on a long-term basis. Only swimming and riding offer complete freedom of movement for children with physical special needs, allowing them to leave walkers or wheelchairs behind.

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This grant was made possible by the fundraising efforts of Guelph Pergola Commons GoodLife Fitness staff and members during the 2013 fundraising campaign. 

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Nicky’s favourite part of dance class? The performance! He’s a true showman, relishing the chance to show off all the new skills he’s learned. “It’s definitely the highlight for him,” explains Scott. Nicky is an enthusiastic 10-year-old with Down syndrome, who loves to express himself through movement. The first time Nicky tried his new Wii Dance system, his passion became even clearer and his parents became determined to support him exploring his love of dance. Propeller Dance prides themselves on offering opportunities for all children and was the perfect fit for Nicky. With live music for each and every class, he learned the power of creative movement and expression, including the use of space, time, and composition. And with dancers of all abilities in the same class, the kids in the program must continuously work together, adapt, and learn from one another. The result? A caring and understanding environment where Nicky can thrive and be himself. For four years, Nicky has been learning new ways to be creative, has developing innovative dance moves, and enjoying a new outlet for expressing himself. And just as important, he’s made tons of new friends who he gets to connect with every week. On top of being active and having tons of fun, Nicky’s family has seen many positive changes in other areas of his life. His ability to focus and take instructions have improved and he's learned how to take turns. As a seasoned dance expert, Nicky has become a leader in his class - Bravo! #FEELYOURIMPACT

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