Friday June 18, 2010

Community

Riding For Ability

PRDA helps kids for 25-years

Craig Hill/Voice

 

acific Riding For Developing Abilities (PRDA) started in 1983 and since then have helped over 100 kids with disabilities learn about horses and riding them. The program compliments treatment of physically, mentally or emotionally impaired children.

 

The program recognizes that kids with disabilities often can't participate in                                                                                     Craig Hill/Voice photos

normal sports activities and have          PRDA volunteer Pat Daws at Prospera Centre's Community

tailored the program to develop           Awareness Day Open House last Saturday.

balance, coordination, muscle

 strengthening and sensory integration. Riding lessons and mentors nurture communication, responsibility, independence and self-confidence.

There are five-sessions daily with thirty-three kids and draws from a pool of about forty-volunteer instructors who customize the program to fit each child.

Long-time PRDA volunteer, Pat Daws, was at Prospera Centre for the Community Awareness Day, said she loves to work with the kids.

"You get one-hundred-percent back, the kids are wonderful," she said. "My husband (Ray) works with 5-different boys that all fight over him so they alternate each week."

Daws said that some of the kids the Association helps have cerebral palsy while others have Downs Syndrome.

"This child comes in a wheelchair," she said pointing to one of the photos in the album on the table.

At Christmas, the PRDA inserts each child's photo into a horseshoe which gives families a special keepsake that they can hang on the wall.

                                                         Pat Daws shows an album of some of the children they help.

The Association is totally volunteer-driven and are always looking for new people who love working with children.

"We're always looking for volunteers like Sidewalkers and Horsehandlers," said Daws. "Sidewalkers walk beside the children on the horses."

Daws is busy also doing volunteer work at White Dove Stables which hosts the Horse Whisperers Grief Camp for kids.

The PRDA is self-funded and doesn't receive regular government grants so they rely heavily on the support of individuals, groups, foundations and corporations in the community. There is a small surcharge for families who can afford it, otherwise the fees are waived.

The riding centre is closed for the summer now. When it reopens in the fall, sessions are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you'd like to have some fun volunteering or can donate or would like to sponsor a horse ($4800) or rider ($150) call Daphne at: 604-858-2149 or Pat at: 604-858-6201 You can also drop in to the stables; Elkview Equestrian Academy, 49815 Chilliwack Central Road (near Annis Rd.) For more information you can visit their website: www.prda.com

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More photos below