Learning to STRIDE

There are a lot of ways here on campus at Bryan College to get involved. One of the things I love about Bryan is how they encourage the students to do things outside of class, and to get involved with the community. One of the things done is they don’t hold church services on campus on Sundays because they want students to join a local church. Another thing they do is called Practical Christian Involvement or PCI ministries.

When I first got to campus awhile back one of the first things I noticed were these bright green posters hanging everywhere. Being the fact that they were florescent green it caught my attention. Come to find out it was a flyer for a PCI ministry called STRIDE, and it had something to do with horses. I decided to go to the interest meeting, and it turns out it is a group that goes to and volunteers at a therapeutic riding barn. Over on the Bryan website STRIDE is described as,

“Striving To Reach Individuals with Disabilities Effectively (STRIDE) assists in a therapeutic horseback riding program for children affected by disability. Students facilitate children’s riding lessons that have been proven to reduce riders’ anxiety, encourage social interaction, and offer a haven where riders feel a sense of empowerment.”

I liked the fact that it was a smaller commitment, only every other Saturday, so I decided to try it out and see what it is.

This week was the first time that I went with the STRIDE team out to the barn. And let me tell you, it was really cool. Horses are an amazing outreach. The people that come to this place to ride all have some kind of disability. And to them the time spent riding is the highlight or best part of their week. You could just see the joy on their faces as they rode around the ring or fed their lesson horse a peppermint at the end.

A lot of the work the volunteers do there is just barn chores. But little things like this are what keeps the place running. And I know the administrators of the barn appreciate what the volunteers do a lot. I was impressed by how everything ran smoothly there. The people working did a great job at keeping things organized.

I was there to volunteer to help make these people’s lives a little better, but I think the barn is just as much therapy to the people volunteering there as to the actual clients. I know that by just being there in made an impact on my life. I’ve only been out to the barn once so far, but I already feel like I’ve learned a lot.

I really enjoyed my time, and I look forward to learning more about this ministry that is a part of Bryan College.

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