The very special guest speaker at the Paramus Rotary Club Meeting Thursday, June 16, 2016 was Dana Spett the Executive Director for Pony Power Therapies at Three Sisters Farm in Mahwah, New Jersey. Pony Power is an organization that has been supported in the past by the Paramus Rotary Club…but this is Dana’s first in-person presentation at one of our meetings.
 
 

Pony Power Therapies is a non-profit organization giving special needs and at-risk children and adults a unique opportunity to ride, care for and interact with horses. Their riding and non-riding activities enhance individuals’ physical, social and emotional well-being in a safe, nurturing farm environment.

Pony Power Therapies was founded in 2000 (in Paramus) to provide horse-assisted activities to children and adults with a broad spectrum of developmental, physical and emotional disabilities. A lifelong equestrian, Founder and Executive Director Dana Spett discovered therapeutic horseback riding while researching alternative therapies for one of her daughters with mild special needs.

In 2005, Pony Power transitioned to a 501(c)3 organization to meet the increasing needs of the community, and now serves as Bergen County’s only facility providing horse-assisted activities for special needs populations.

Since 2000, they have provided horse-assisted activities to children and adults with a broad spectrum of developmental and physical disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, visual impairments and traumatic brain injury.

They also serve individuals, families and groups facing a range of life challenges, such as those dealing with trauma and loss, substance abuse and recovery, eating disorders, anxiety and depression, relationship and social issues, parenting challenges and more. 

They currently serve 190 children and adults per week with a staff of 12 and about 150 volunteers. Their clients range from the youngest 2 ½ year old to their oldest at age 88.

Pony Power is home to 18 seasoned therapy horses and ponies. All of their horses and ponies have been donated or rescued…and each exhibits an understanding of the significance of the new responsibility with which they have been entrusted.

 
  

On a physical level, the riding helps participants strengthen and develop muscles and hone balance and motor control. Emotionally, riders develop a sense of responsibility and respect for an animal, learn problem-solving skills and develop an increased ability to focus. The unique relationships riders develop with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem, as well as foster feelings of independence and pride.

During each 30-minute session, riders are paired with one Pony Power Instructor, and two trained volunteers. Each session focuses on one of six key life skills, including safety, communication, setting boundaries, critical thinking, social skills and responsibility. 

 

To find out more about Pony Power Therapies please visit www.ponypowernj.org

They are always looking for more volunteers and donations.

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It was also GREAT to have MaryAnn Siniscalchi back at our meetings and having her as this week’s greeter!

 
 
 
PLEASE JOIN US THIS JULY 4TH AND PARTICIPATE WITH YOUR FELLOW PARAMUS ROTARY CLUB MEMBERS IN THE PARAMUS INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE
 
Please contact us and say “yes I’ll be there” as part of the Paramus Rotary Club’s July 4th Parade contingency. Email committee chair Fred Rohdieck at fredroh@aol.com OR sign up next few weeks at our Thursday afternoon meeting.
 
 
 
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