Meet Jill! Jill is an amazing horse leader who can connect with any horse or participant. She is deeply invested in the High Hopes horses and knows the therapeutic benefit they offer to everyone. Her passion for the horses and participants can be heard when she talks about her experiences.
“It is hard to choose what I like most about being a volunteer. The riding instructors are incredibly talented and a great inspiration for the work that they do. The students are amazing; each one I work with bringing a different richness to the barn as an amazing individual. I even had a silly young student that pretends to throw apples at me when she does her warm up and we laugh so hard about it! Seeing the enjoyment of the students on and off the horses and the relationships that are formed in such a wonderful and supportive environment is really rewarding.
One of my favorite memories was when I was working with a participant in the riding program who does not generally talk much. We were saying our ‘hello’s’ in a session right before the holidays and I asked him about exercise. He spoke up and told me he exercises his arms and legs. He went on to ask me if he could exercise less and eat more. For weeks to come he would ask me if he could exercise less and eat more and I would respond with all the reasons why that would not be good. It was very rewarding to find that common ground for discussion, and since then we have found a number of topics that trigger great conversations based on common interests or experiences. I find it so rewarding to make such connections with the High Hopes program participants.
I am always fascinated at the relationship the horses, those amazing horses, have with the students, volunteers and staff. In many ways they are the super heroes of the barn. They give so much and ask for little in return. They magically are able to allow many individuals to do what otherwise would seem impossible. Dare I say the High Hope horses cast somewhat of a therapeutic effect on everyone with which they cross paths. High Hopes is a magical place and while a volunteer is there to ‘give’ their time, every time I leave High Hopes I always feel I get so much more from being part of such a wonderful place than what I could possibly ever give in return.”