Volunteer News – April

We may be Physically Distanced but let's stay

Socially Connected

We promised you an update before April 6, and of course, like everyone else, we have no news of when we will be able to resume our services. We are following the guidance of the CDC and the Connecticut Governor’s office and will remain closed until it is safe for our participants, volunteers, staff, and of course our horses to resume. We will be sure to let you know as soon as we have news on that front.

In the meantime, welcome to a new format April Volunteer News – we have a lot to tell you, and we thought that this may be a better format than a huge long email. You can read straight through – or dip in and out as you please.

Let us know if you like it – and whether this is something we should continue, or whether you prefer the email version.

Email the High Hopes volunteer team

welcome to a new format

in this edition ...


time for April's

Volunteer Spotlight

Mother and daughter team Hilary and Olivia Adams have been volunteering at High Hopes since 2016. They volunteer together on Tuesdays. Olivia is a horse handler, while Hilary volunteers in the barn.


Favorite food: Anything my mom cooks
Best day ever: Is spent with my horse
The best part of volunteering: The connections I have made with the staff, other volunteers, the participants, and the horses
My favorite thing about High Hopes: watching the progress of the riders I work with over the years


Favorite food: A salad of mixed greens, berries, goat cheese and walnuts
Best day ever: Being outdoors as much as possible and having time to cook.
The best part of volunteering: The lasting friendships made over the years.
Favorite thing about High Hopes: High Hopes is extremely well organized and it’s such a supportive and welcoming place for everyone!

Happy April Birthdays

Barbara Willkens
Joan Nichols
Mary Robbenhaar-Fretz
Nate Harris
Haley Potesak
Cheryl Colangelo
Tom Ziobron
Siobhan McAndrews
Janine Palmer
Andrea Daunis
Kendra Price

Mya Yetso
Deb Heminway
Grace Hightower
Kendra Thompson
Christine Delaney
Bobbi Jo Ramsey
Josh Leslie
Michaella Pontacoloni
Finnegan Byrne
Pauline Knoll
Jeff Ridgway

Linda Ferraro
Danielle Olsen
Kira McCusker
Sky Todd
Nancy Watkinson
Kendall Burdette
Maddie DiFilippo
Margaret Stracuzzi
Kaitlyn Ward
Judith Cohen
Erin Trevallion

we just want to say

Thank you!

we know that many of you have made donations to our Spring Appeal – even more important now our operations have come to a standstill. If you can donate, and you want to, click the link below – we would be very grateful!

Donate Here

news from the herd

Vixen says "Hi"

While we are all at home keeping a safe distance, for the time being, the horses are enjoying some downtime. The barn staff is still at the farm every day, as usual, to feed and groom the horses as well as keep the paddocks and sheds clean! The horses are happy and healthy, and the nice early spring weather has them napping often and nibbling at the bits of grass that are coming up in the paddocks. The farm is alive with wildlife who are coming back after winter and the grass is really greening up. All is well here.

I can’t wait to have you all back soon!


Follow us on facebook for more updates from Holly

Just for volunteers

Facebook Volunteer Group

We have set up a Facebook Group for our Volunteers. If you would like to join it please click and below are some other ways to stay connected for volunteers, participants, families, and caregivers. All welcome!


Let's Get Together!

April 7, 2020, 10:00am

Volunteer & Participant Virtual Chat.

It’s coffee time! And the team will be grabbing their favorite mugs for a cup of Joe! Join us for a Zoom get together for volunteers, participants, families, and caregivers. An informal time to get together and enjoy a little High Hopes camaraderie.

You can download the Zoom app on your phone, or click this link to download to your computer and zoom from home.

If you need a password to join use: 572572

Join the fun!

April 8, 2020, 1:30pm

Volunteer & Participant Virtual Chat.

Bring a late lunch, an early afternoon tea, or just a great cup of coffee, and join us for a Zoom get together for volunteers, participants, families, and caregivers. An informal time to get together and enjoy a little High Hopes camaraderie.

If you email Emily to say you would like to join us, she will send you an invite for your calendar. Otherwise, you can click here and join at that time.

If you need a password to join use: 638952

Click to Zoom with us!

April 9, 2020, 5:00pm

Volunteer & Participant Virtual After Hours

Grab a coffee, a cup of tea, or your favorite cocktail (it’s five o’clock somewhere) and join us for a Zoom get together for volunteers, participants, families, and caregivers. An informal time to get together and enjoy a little High Hopes camaraderie.

If you want a Zoom meeting at another time to see how your favorite horse is doing – email Emily and she will arrange it for you with Holly.

If you need a password to join use: 146915

Click to join the chat

exciting times ahead

Rachel says "goodbye"

Rachel wanted to let each of you know that she has made the difficult decision to leave her position at High Hopes at the end of May. Unfortunately, our suspension of activities has meant that she has been unable to do that in person.

An incredible opportunity has presented itself in upstate New York, where Rachel is originally from. She is excited to return home to her mini donkey, Otis, but will miss her High Hopes family very much – she intends to keep in touch!  Rachel has enjoyed her time as Volunteer Coordinator and will always remember how much High Hopes has taught her.

It is Rachel’s dream to someday build a Therapeutic Riding Center where she grew up – so that is where her sights are set.

Let us all wish Rachel good luck for the future and bid her a happy farewell!

how to avoid

Cancellation Chaos

Did you know that the volunteer team receives an average of 60 volunteer cancellations a week? This includes both advance and last-minute cancellations – finding substitutes and filling permanent volunteer spots is a significant part of our weekly workload. Of course, we know that sometimes cancellations cannot be avoided-pesky car won’t start, family emergency, doctor’s appointment that you waited three months to get scheduled, flight to a Caribbean Island (we’re jealous about this one, but won’t hold it against you) and we completely understand.

However, we ask that you help us cut down on the number of last-minute cancellations by letting us know about any vacations, appointments, etc. as far in advance as you can – even if you think there’s a possibility it could change.  If you wake up feeling “blah”, we encourage you to call early in the day so we have ample time to find a substitute – and if you make a miraculous recovery, and still want to come, please do – we’ll find something for you to do 🙂

Advance cancellations (at least 48hrs in advance) are a big help so that we can schedule substitutes ahead of time.

We already have a volunteer who has put in a cancellation for October 2020 – round of applause for Dawn!

Read on for information on making advanced cancellations.  It will only take a minute out of your day!



Amy's Travels

Coping with COVID-19 in Beijing

As many of you know, Emily’s predecessor, Amy Tripson, left her position as Volunteer Manager at High Hopes to become Program Director at HOPE Beijing – a Therapeutic Riding Center. Amy has produced this webinar describing the steps that they took to handle this world-wide pandemic, including repatriating staff between the USA and China.


we are often asked

why do I need to log my volunteer hours?

Logging volunteer hours is a very important piece of your time at High Hopes!

We use this information in a number of ways – to confirm volunteer hours for students, complete our annual report, provide volunteer awards, and write grants to secure funding for our program. It is the primary mechanism to quantify our volunteers’ contribution to the organization (which as you can imagine is otherwise very difficult to define).

You would not believe the number of people who come to us several years later and ask how many hours they volunteered!

We appreciate the time you take to report your hours and know that sometimes the system seems wonky.

click for some accurate reporting tips

Friends helping friends

and something for our volunteers

Erica Tannen and our friends at the-e-list have been avid supporters of High Hopes for many years. The-e-list store has had to close temporarily, but Erica is offering her online merchandise at 30% off with the code SPRING30

Shop the-e-list shop with 30% off and free shipping

Wow! If you are here ...

just one more thing!

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