Giving Back Profiles: Nonprofit of the Year, Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
Mission: To help children and adults with disabilities find accomplishment through equine-assisted therapies
Since 1991, Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding has grown from one instructor to 10, two students to 140, four horses to 13, and six volunteers to 100. As the nation’s oldest accredited therapeutic riding center, it serves individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative diseases. Through interaction with horses, the patients see their symptoms ease. The program’s environment is conducive to developing cognitive and social-emotional skills as well; the riding lessons have given non-verbal children the motivation to say their first words and have provided struggling veterans with the confidence they need to face daily challenges. Because inability to pay is never a consideration when evaluating a potential student, the organization relies heavily on fundraisers, grants, private donations, and volunteers. www.catr.org