September 26, 2018

Today we talk with Kristen Moreland from Beyond Limits Therapeutic Riding, a nonprofit in Cartersville, Georgia.  Later in the show, Bruce Gale brings us our Kid Hero Katie Stagliano.

For differently abled and special needs children, interacting with animals can provide countless benefits towards rehabilitation and general well-being. Advocates of animal assisted therapy report that special needs children who bond with an animal develop a sense of responsibility, show motivation to reach rehabilitation goals, and generally express greater happiness and increased functionality.

As it turns out, horses are particularly good for children, and have exceptional benefits for children with emotional or behavioral issues.  The healing emotional bond between humans and horses has been recognized for thousands of years.

Winston Churchill was famously quoted as saying, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.”

Children with a range of special needs and disabilities have used hippotherapy, just one of the types of horse therapy, for therapeutic purposes. Many of these children have disabilities and neurological disorders including cerebral palsy, autism, behavioral disorders, psychiatric disorders, traumatic brain injuries, spine injuries, and more.

The child is usually mounted on a bareback pad instead of a saddle to be sure they get the full benefit of the motion and feel of the horse.  The movement of the horse’s pelvis at a walk is remarkably similar to a human’s. That’s exceptionally good news for someone who needs help learning how the all parts of the body work together to sit, stand, walk, throw a ball, or play on the playground. Through hippotherapy, the horse serves as a living, breathing template.

And this brings us to today's charity, Beyond Limits Therapeutic Riding...

Located in Cartersville, Georgia, Beyond Limits Therapeutic Riding is a nonprofit that provides therapeutic horseback riding, hippotherapy and other services that promote and enrich kids’ physical, developmental, psychological, and social well-being to encourage them to reach beyond limits. @beyond.limits.3152

Beyond Limits is a member center of PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding) and their therapeutic riding lessons are taught by a professional PATH certified riding instructor.

Beyond Limits riders compete in levels Beginner through Advanced at the Special Olympics Annual State Horse Show and almost always come home draped in medals. Special Olympics is a great opportunity for riders to compete in a safe environment.

It is their goal at Beyond Limits that the world become all inclusive, no matter what challenges you may live with. By pushing their riders to compete locally, against the able-bodied population, it has helped bridge the gap in the community. When able-bodied riders see how amazing and talented the Beyond Limits team is, they start to see that anything is possible and grow in friendship and understanding of each other. 

Bev had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Kristen Moreland, a Certified PATH Instructor at Beyond Limits.

Katie’s Krops was founded in 2010 by Katie Stagliano, who in 2008 at the tender age of 9 grew a 40-pound cabbage in her backyard from a tiny cabbage seedling she brought home from school as part of the Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program.  She donated it to a soup kitchen where it helped feed 275 people. 

Moved by the experience of seeing how many people could benefit from the donation of fresh produce to soup kitchens, Katie decided to start vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to help feed people in need.  Katie’s Krops growers are a part of a non-profit organization empowering youth ages 9 – 16 all across the country to grow gardens and donate their fresh harvest to those in need.  The organization currently has over 100 youth-run gardens in 31 states. The ultimate goal is to plant 500 gardens and reach all 50 states.

Their mission is to empower youth to start and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes, donate the harvest to help feed people in need, and assist and inspire others to do the same.

In today’s Kid Hero segment, Bruce Gale talks with Katie about her efforts to feed the hungry.