Participants, Partners, Volunteers

Celebrate! 2019

Celebrate! is an opportunity for us to come together as participants and families, volunteers, supporters, and staff to celebrate all that is good about our vibrant community. It is also a time to recognize a few people that have gone above and beyond – either this year or over a longer period of time – and have been nominated by our staff or supporters.

left to right – Kitty Stalsburg, Rachel Butler, Emily Belliveau, and Andrea Daunis

2019 Barn Volunteer of the Year Award

Andrea Daunis

Andrea began volunteering at High Hopes in 2016. Early on, she completed a self-fulfilling internship to gain more in-depth knowledge of horse husbandry. She has since donated more than 840 hours of her time in different capacities such as a feeder and in Program. Her work ethic and positive attitude are contagious. She has the ability to make even the most difficult tasks enjoyable.
Thank you and congratulations, Andrea!

2019 Office Volunteer of the Year Award

Stephen Williams

Stephen came to volunteer at High Hopes this Spring. His goals were to give back to his community, maintain a routine while looking for a new job, and continue to build his skill-set to enhance his career opportunities. He donated more than 50 hours to High Hopes over a six-week period. Far more than that, however, he found every opportunity to help, to smile, to learn  ̶  very quickly and with minimum supervision  ̶  and has done a wonderful job starting to create our digital archive.
Thank you, Stephen, for all your hard work!


left to right – Kitty Stalsburg, Rachel Butler, Emily Belliveau, Kaela, and Donna Mook.Winner of the 2019 Davison Youth Service Award

2019 Davison Youth Service Award

Kaela Mook

This award is only given periodically to an outstanding representative of young volunteers who goes above and beyond in service of the participants, horses, and staff. This volunteer shows excellent leadership skills, contributes many hours, is willing to help in any way, and has longevity with the organization.

Kaela has been a dedicated member of High Hopes’ volunteer corps since 2016. She began as a quiet horse leader helping with summer camp and program. Over the past four years, Kaela has come out of her shell and become a strong horsewoman. While volunteering at High Hopes, Kaela has continued her education as a leader through longliner training and community lessons. She continues to learn while spending all day on Saturdays at High Hopes and never misses a week of summer camp. Within that time she has volunteered 820 hours.
We look forward to watching Kaela continue to grow and hope we have sparked a life-long love of horses and therapeutic riding.



Stephanie Chan – 2019 Nancy Cash Volunteer of the Year Recipient at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding

2019 Nancy Cash Volunteer of the Year Award

Stephanie Chan

Nancy was dedicated and dependable, always willing to “go the extra mile,” and willing to make volunteerism at High Hopes a priority in her life. This award is dedicated to Nancy, honoring another volunteer who shares her positive attitude and her unwavering commitment to helping our riders achieve their personal best. (Established in 2006).

This year’s recipient truly exemplifies these qualities and has consistently demonstrated her dedicated, dependable devotion to High Hopes. Steph gives freely of her time and talent and always with a smile whether feeding the herd, heading for carriage driving, leading or sidewalking in class. Steph has been an active volunteer at High Hopes since the fall of 2010 and has given over 1,300 volunteer hours.

We are truly fortunate to have such a special person within our family. It gives us great pleasure to recognize Steph Chan with this award.
Thanks, Steph, for sharing your positive, generous spirit with all of us!

Peter Kuhn, 2019 Patrick Moreno Sportsmanship Award Winner with his friend and classmate Andrea.

2019 Patrick Moreno Sportsmanship Award

Peter Kuhn

This award was established in memory of Patrick Moreno in 1993 by Sis Gould. When Patrick was no longer able to ride, Sis initiated carriage driving at High Hopes, specifically for Patrick, by importing a carriage from England which could accommodate his wheelchair. This annual award is given to the rider who shows outstanding sportsmanship, consideration of others, and encouragement to his or her fellow riders, exemplifying Patrick’s way of helping others, never giving in to adversity.

Peter started riding at High Hopes in the fall of 2011 at the age of five, as part of the Lyme-Old Lyme Preschool group. From the get-go, this youngster filled the class with smiles. Peter was always eager to tackle any skill and would happily try new things. Over the past nine years, we have watched him grow into a caring, supportive young man who is eager to help his fellow classmates both on and off of the horse. Maturing from class-clown to leading activities, Peter demonstrates his sensitivity and awareness of others during his lesson and in other areas of his life. It is this compassion for other riders that prompted us to acknowledge his sportsmanship and kindness through the Patrick Moreno Sportsmanship Award.
Congratulations, Peter, for your sportsmanship and kindness!

Julia Zambetti receives the 2019 Paul Burkarth Rider of the Year Award at High Hopes

2019 Paul Burkarth Rider of the Year Award

Julia Zambetti

This award was established in memory of Paul Burkarth in 1985. It is presented annually to the rider who has shown the most progress during the past year.

At the start of the semester for the past few years when asked, “what is your goal for the semester?” Julia has responded without hesitation: “To ride by myself.” Through many years of hard work, dedication, and increased focus, Julia has accomplished that goal.

Julia has also been working in the unmounted program. This time on the ground has enhanced her relationship with her horse, Vixen, and has helped give Julia the confidence to believe she can ride by herself. Though there have been bumps in the road, Julia continues to persevere and is looking forward to the next challenge.
Congratulations Julia on your achievements!

left to right – Kitty Stalsburg, Marge Curtis, Holly and Jeff Ridgway

2019 Sally Aubrey Volunteer of the Year Award

Marge Curtis

In 1998 Stever Aubrey established this award in honor of Sally, his wife. In doing so, he donated his artisan’s work of the remarkable bronze sculpture, of a mare and foal, that is displayed in our entranceway. This award is given to someone selected by the board and staff who exemplifies the true spirit of High Hopes through commitment, dedication, and compassion.

Marge has been a presence in the arena and the barn at High Hopes for over 22 years. A life long horsewoman, Marge makes the trip from East Haddam a few times a week to volunteer as a sidewalker, horse handler, or in the barn. She has donated over 2,500 hours of her time to help our participants, always ready with a smile  ̶  Marge just enjoys being at High Hopes. Her strong affinity for the horses translates to a quiet competence with even the most challenging members of our herd. Marge’s consideration for, and dedication to, High Hopes is evident in her steadfast presence through the years. She can often be counted on to sub in the barn when asked and is always present with a willing spirit. Like the namesake of this award, Marge has made volunteering at High Hopes a priority in her life. For this, we are incredibly grateful as her presence makes us a stronger organization.

Lee & Bernadette Olivier, recipients of the 2019 Lytt Gould Leadership Award at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, in Old Lyme, CT.

2019 Lytt Gould Leadership Award

Lee and Bernadette Olivier

The Lytt Gould Leadership Award was established in 2006 by the High Hopes Board of Trustees in recognition of Lytt’s extraordinary and exemplary leadership throughout High Hopes’ history. This award is now given annually to a person, or persons, who have demonstrated leadership, vision, and commitment to the sustainability and future growth of High Hopes. Through their actions, words, and deeds they placed High Hopes at the forefront of their philanthropic organizations.

The couple receiving the award today is the perfect embodiment of this award’s founding principles.  Lee and Bernadette Olivier have been strong and generous supporters of High Hopes for many, many years. Their gifts include supporting our annual giving program, event sponsorship, and scholarship drives. This past year Bernadette lent her warm Irish charm and generous spirit to help make the Big Barn Bash auction such a success. Each year Lee takes time out of his busy schedule as Executive Vice President for Enterprise Energy Strategy at Eversource Energy to meet with High Hopes staff members and discuss the challenges and successes of our ever-changing programs. During those talks he combines his valuable business experience with a clear, unbiased vision of High Hopes, offering invaluable counsel
Together Lee and Bernadette exemplify the best elements of philanthropy – giving from their heart, but with the wisdom of their minds.

Our grateful thanks to The Big Green Pizza Truck, Border Line Genius for the music, Paul & Denise Mineau for the amazing cup-cakes, and Vicki Newton for the delicious desserts.


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