Dream Riders Hope to Rein in Donations During Midlands Gives

It’s that time of year again when you can make a difference in the Midlands.

The 5th annual Midlands Gives kicks off at midnight. The event allows residents to be a philanthropist by donating to nearly 400 non-profits.

The non-profit, Dream Riders uses horses as therapy for people with special needs. Like many of the featured non-profits apart of Midlands Gives they say this is their largest fundraiser of the year.

“Everything revolves around making sure these riders have a safe and good experience,”  head riding instructor and program director, Jennifer Stoudemire said.

Stoudemire and her family turned their farm into a Dream Riders escape.

“We put people on horses that have special needs and we teach them an actual riding skill,” Stoudemire said.

The Therapeutic lessons have been changing lives of kids in the Midlands one gallop at a time.

“We’ve had a lot of autistic riders that come out of their shell a little more socially here, and get a little more confidence in it,” Stoudemire said. “It’s not that we concentrate on but the whole scene just sets it up. We have some of the most carrying volunteers that just have conversations with them and care about what they’re going through.”

Children starting at the age of four grow up learning how to handle horses, which gives them physical, emotional and mental strengths.  Michelle Hunt is a volunteer and parent of a Dream Rider.

“I’ve had a love for horses all my life,” Hunt said. “I never realized that love for horses would transfer over into a therapy that one of my children would so desperately need. So many kids with autism, spina bifida, down syndrome, all different kinds of disabilities here. Just to see what it does to those kids faces and to see them afterwards and to talk to them, it’s incredible.”>

Stoudemire says money donated through Midlands Gives goes directly into the program.

“Midlands Gives has taken a huge load off of us where we can focus on the program and not worry about where are we going to get the funds and actually take care of everything else,” Stoudemire said.

To help keep the Dream Riders dream alive, and other non-profits in the Midlands you can start making a donation through the 24 hour online giving challenge.

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