WrittCarmen came up with, fundraised for, and completed this project during the Stay-at-Home order in early Spring, 2020.
I have been volunteering at Madison Fields, a therapeutic riding facility, Since September, 2019. Madison Fields uses equine assisted activities to help people with neurological and physical differences. One thing I have learned from my volunteer work is how important consistent routine is to most of the riders.
The Impact of COVID-19
In late March, 2020, all activities in my area shut down because of COVID-19. The pandemic created great upheaval in the lives of people all over the world. Among the activities I had to stop was volunteering at Madison Fields.
Additionally, many of the riders did not have the privilege of understanding why their routine stopped so abruptly. It made me wonder how the riders and their families would deal with all of the changes COVID-19 would bring to their lives. I wondered if there was some way I could help with the loss of their weekly riding lessons at Madison Fields.
One of the big challenges Madison Fields faced was how to stay connected to their riders. I began to think: what I can I do from my home to help the riders and their families have a way to stay connected to the horses and the people who work and volunteer at Madison Fields?
To help the riders stay connected, I decided to send a postcard from each of the horses. My goal was to reassure riders and their families that we were thinking of them. Everyone missed the riders so much. My experiences taught me that a tangible object would be an effective way to show the riders that the staff and volunteers still cared about them. Postcards with their own lesson horses would add a personal touch!
I asked Taylor Polito, Madison Fields’ Volunteer Coordinator, for insight into the affect of these changes on the riders. She agreed that this time was really stressful for many of the riders and was enthusiastic about my idea. She asked me to go ahead and develop the project on my own.
I named this project Postcards from the Ponies. At the completion of the project, I had created “I miss you” postcards; one from each of the therapy horses to their riders. I also created cards to wish riders a Happy Birthday, Congratulations on their first ride, happy holidays, and even thank you cards to send to supporters, donors, and volunteers!
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