Dear Friends of PALS,
Let me introduce you to my daughter, Kaylee. She is a caring and intelligent 22-year-old, who is typical in so many ways. She enjoys, fashion, shopping, boy bands, crafting and has an honest love for animals. What is not so typical about my daughter is that she has cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination. Kaylee gets frustrated from time-to-time because she doesn’t see that she has a problem. She gets discouraged when her hands don’t work the way she wants them to, and walking has been a big challenge in her life. Speech has also been a hurdle, which has affected her socially. As her mother, I want the best for Kaylee, and the program at PALS is improving her quality of life in so many ways.
Among the horses, staff, and volunteers, Kaylee finds happiness. The moment Kaylee came home from her first horsemanship session, we knew PALS was the perfect fit. She was glowing as she enthusiastically told me everything that happened, what she learned, and who she worked with. As shared by her instructor, Lizzie, Kaylee has developed the confidence to groom her horse from her chair, and stand out of her chair to reach their backs. She now leads her horses independently, and also has the strength to tack and untack horses on her own. Not only does the program bring Kaylee happiness, but it has improved a number of her skills. Her strength & balance have improved, her speech has developed greatly, and everyone has noticed her increased confidence in walking.
Kaylee used to have panic attacks about her ability to walk because she was afraid of falling. Since participating at PALS, the attacks have stopped. She’s not so fearful. At home, Kaylee’s caretaker, Anna, has also noticed remarkable changes in her daily life. Kaylee’s more confident when she gets out of her chair and more independent because her muscles are stronger. For example, now she can get out of her chair and reach into the microwave. Steps like this make a big difference, especially while Kaylee makes her own animal treats from scratch which she branded Paw Lickin’ Treats! She researches recipes, prepares all the ingredients, bags them up, decorates them with ribbons, and brings them to the PALS therapy horses
Though daily life presents what many of us would see as insurmountable challenges, Kaylee is a happy person who meets those challenges. Her disability doesn’t define her or keep her from becoming known as “The Horse Whisperer” at the PALS barn. This year was momentous for our family. At the Fun Show, Kaylee was named the “Client of the Year.” In this moment, I, of course, cried, because I was overwhelmed by how excited and proud she was. I witnessed my daughter living out her dream. We were all very emotional. Our experiences with this organization have been amazing all around.
For Kaylee and our family, the horsemanship program has brought great joy. It is so satisfying as a parent to see that my daughter is reaching her goals and living her dream. I ask that you please consider giving to PALS this holiday season, so that people like my daughter, Kaylee, can continue to afford their programs. Thank you for reading our story and for your support of this wonderful place.
Daniele & The Clark Family
This year, at the 2016 PALS Fun Show, myself along with four other girls in my Event Planning class had the privilege of working behind the scenes with the PALS staff in preparation of this exciting event. We worked closely with Cynthia, the Outreach Coordinator of the organization. Siena, Emily, Meghan, Carly, and I were able to assist in planning the event by doing things like coming up with ideas for the Fun Zone, planning decorations, public relations and marketing, themes and layout. We were all super excited about helping out with the Fun Show and could not wait for the day of the event to arrive. When the day finally came and we started setting up, we couldn’t stop talking about how excited we were for people to start showing up and for the event to be under way.
Although the five of us were busy with our assigned duties during the show, we all made it a point to make it into the arena to simply take in the beauty of the event and witness the fun that the clients were having. “My favorite part of the Fun Show was seeing the clients ride their horses,” said Siena Patty who was busy at the check-in station throughout the day. “Seeing their smiling faces as they rode and received their trophies was incredible. Their hard word and dedication clearly paid off and I’m so glad that I got a chance to help out this amazing organization.” All of us left the event with a new found love for an organization that many of us had barely even heard of before. Just being able to attend the event that everyone involved with PALS looks forward to every single year made it such an amazing experience for us and we look forward to hopefully helping out with PALS again in the future.
IU Event Planning Student
Bruce has been a dedicated volunteer since April of 2013. He has done amazing work as a side walker and horse leader. Bruce always brings laughter to his volunteer shifts, playfully joking with his fellow volunteers, staff and clients. He has a great attitude and time-after-time ready to help at the drop of a hat, with coffee in hand, of course. We appreciate Bruce so much and know we can always count on him. We can’t thank Bruce enough for his time, effort, and dedication to programs!
Angie has been a part of the PALS program since June of 2015. After just one year of having Angie around, we don’t know how we’d get along without her! Angie has been one of the most hardworking and dedicated volunteers this organization has ever seen. Angie has volunteered in multiple capacities: horse leading, sidewalking, summer camp, special events, and keeping the facility looking clean! Angie is such a gentle and caring person. She brightens up our days and the days of everyone she volunteers with at PALS. Angie’s the definition of an all-star volunteer that can be counted on for anything and everything. We’re so grateful to have her as part of the PALS family.
Kaylee is truly an example of what makes PALS great. She started out riding horses as a child and was the inspiration behind PALS Horsemanship Program. As a part of the horsemanship program, Kaylee is encouraged to learn equine care and handling skills, anatomy, and training horses for the PALS program. Kaylee is well known around PALS as “The Horse Whisperer.” She is able to work with any horse and put them into a calm trance with her energy and touch. Her instructor encourages Kaylee to be as independent as possible and rarely needs to assist her in any activity. She has the confidence to groom her horse from her chair, and stand out of her chair to reach their backs. She now leads her horses independently and also has the strength to tack and untack horses. Her instructor, Lizzie, is so proud of the accomplishments she has achieved and the strength and confidence she has gained. There is always a crowd of volunteers around Kaylee when she comes to the barn as everyone wants to share in the joy she brings
Kaylee’s hard work and passion for her lessons epitomizes the spirit of a PALS rider and we’re excited to honor her as our 2016 Client of the Year.