Photo of two horses

Volunteers With Heart

“Volunesia:  That moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives, because it’s changing yours.”    – anonymous

Welcome to Silver Lining Riding’s first blog!

Deciding on the all-important first topic was not an easy task.  Do I highlight the students?  The horses?  Maybe the staff?  Or the history of the organization?

Having just come through the season of thankfulness, a bright spot in the most challenging year in my lifetime, suddenly it was clear.  I realized what has evoked my deepest gratitude these last 9 months – Silver Lining Riding’s volunteers.

In the best of times, our Equine Pit Crew lesson volunteers are hard-working, steadfast superheroes whose positive attitudes and passion for our mission help Silver Lining Riding change people’s lives.  But 2020 has thrown some devastating punches, and one wouldn’t blame volunteers for falling away, losing hope, giving up.

Instead, when we reopened after our 2-month pandemic closure, the Equine Pit Crew was ready to continue our mission.  They handled revised student schedules and safety protocols like the champs that they are, doing everything they could to help conduct lessons while keeping everyone safe.  Those who leave Arizona for the summer came back at the start of our ride year ready to reconnect with their students and horses.  We are so grateful for this!

Silver Lining Riding had 77 active volunteers as of the end of October.  And the total number of volunteer hours for 2019 was 2,916.  These statistics show the public and potential grant providers that our community believes that Silver Lining Riding is worthwhile and is making a difference.  It is an organization people want to be a part of!

While most of these volunteers are in the Equine Pit Crew, many serve in other areas of Silver Lining Riding.  Our Star Team exercises our horses and monitors their health.  Other volunteers work from home or in the barn office to help our staff with paperwork.  Nearly all the folks on our Grant, Website, and Showcase Committees are volunteers (staff serve on committees as well).  And our Board of Directors volunteers all of their time.  Amazingly we have almost a dozen people who volunteer in 2 or more of these areas!

This amazing group of people allows us to put funding back into our programs, horses, and students.  Without our volunteer workforce, we would not have made it past our first year in operation.  Here we are, approaching our 10th anniversary in February 2021, with a positive future ahead.

For this, I am so thankful.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”    – Aesop