This I Believe

irini - watsonville, California
Entered on March 26, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

I believe in giving. I believe in giving your time, knowledge, expertise, energy, and love to those who need it most and to your community. I believe in this because I have seen the positive, joyful, and appreciative reaction from people who have received my time, knowledge, expertise, energy, and love through horses.

Every Saturday for the last four years, I have volunteered at Monterey Bay Horsemanship and Therapeutic Center. There, I get to help special needs people of all ages with various aspects of horse back riding. After the children ride, sometimes I just play with them, or sometimes we share lunch or go on a tractor ride together. The time we spend together is very special to them because their parents often tell me how happy the child looks and how much they look forward to their riding lesson each week. The parents tell me that they ask for me; when they are dropped off, the child runs happily into my arms. I look forward to the time I spend with these children sharing my knowledge I have collected over the years about horses and the passion I have for them. I love to see their faces light up when they learn something new that I have taught them or showed them. Sometimes, I help children tack up a horse, walk along side them, or slide in behind them if they are unbalanced so that I can support them.

There is one special child I have been working with for about six months whose name is Dante. Dante is five years old and has autism. When Dante first started coming out to the barn, he was very shy and not very talkative. Now, when Dante arrives at the barn he runs into my arms and we just have the best day together. He has a lot of energy, so we run up and down the arena a lot. He also rides two different horses that he loves. Another thing Dante has grown to use are his words. Even though they are not clear, he has begun to tell me when he wants to have lunch or play. Dante’s father tells me how much I mean to his son and how happy he is to see his son ride horses and spend the day outdoors playing interacting with me and other children. This is why I believe in giving. I see Dante and other children’s reactions when they come out to the barn and I also see the improvement they have made.

Through volunteering I have been able to give many kids my time, knowledge, expertise, energy, and love for horses to several children including Dante. From my part, these have been little things. But I see how they make a huge difference in the lives of others. Giving, this I believe in.