Renew Treasurer and dedicated Volunteer, Deb VanSchepen, shares a heartfelt message about her experience with two Renew students from the Summer of 2017.
Deb begins, “I volunteered on Thursdays this summer and was blessed to work with Allison (Instructor) and Kelli (Volunteer). We had two students in the afternoon that have been forever woven into the fabric of my heart and life. John and Sam became part of my weekly routine and I looked forward to seeing them every bit as much as they looked forward to riding!
I first met John during our school group last spring. His dad came to observe lessons a couple of times and decided to continue John’s lessons during the summer term. The highlight for me was watching him participate in our Ride-A-Thon event. During the course of the summer John opened my eyes to the fact that while he has difficulty communicating verbally, he is totally taking in and processing
everything that’s being said around him. Once I comprehended how much he was understanding, I was able to step back and encourage him to do for himself. I saw him make tremendous strides in attaining the goals that Allison was setting for him each week. I learned that all too often I underestimated his abilities when I focused in a narrow-minded way on his disability. Through this experience, with my new understanding and John’s success, it was clear to me that we both grew as people on our parallel journey.
Sam is a young rider who has also stolen my heart. Being relatively new to riding, he was a bit anxious at the beginning of our lessons. At times when we worked together I would encourage him to hold his reins or sit up tall and he would look directly at me. I so wish I could have known his thoughts during those moments. I could see him relax throughout the lessons and his mom reports that his sleep patterns have been positively impacted by his riding.
God is at work through his creation. He’s given me a passion for horses that has existed since I was a small child. Now He has opened a door for me to share that passion with others. I’m truly blessed to be part of the Renew family.”
Thank you, Deb for allowing us, as readers, to live vicariously through your amazing experiences with John and Sam. We are thankful to have you as a part of our Renew family!
Please Note: Names of students have been changed for privacy purposes.