“I knew [Project R.I.D.E.] meant a lot to my daughter and she always looked forward to it but when I just plain forgot to take her to her lesson last Friday, I really understood the impact of her not going. She was so upset when I missed that day and she gave the school office grief, her teacher grief, it was just crazy. After I explained to her what happened, I asked her why she was still so upset.
She said, ‘Mommy, that’s really important and when I go there, no one makes fun of me for being slow or forgetting what I’m supposed to do, and I just like it over there with the horses and Ms. Marissa and Ms. Emily and all of the volunteers are really nice too’. I talked with her a little more and assured her that we would not miss any remaining lessons.
She went on to stand in front of the class and say a speech—-A SPEECH!! The teacher said that she did great and that she might get to read her speech at her 6th grade Promotion. She’s always so shy when it came to things like that. The teacher said he’s never seen her so confident. I am really so very proud of [my daughter] and I just hope we can give back as much as you have given us.
Just thank you so much, you really do make a difference!
Excerpt from Shelbi’s Graduation Speech
I get to ride horses now at a place called Project Ride. I learn about them, how to take care of them, how to make them walk the way I want. I’m in control of them. Moonie and Samantha are beautiful like me and Bubba and Benny are the biggest and handsome too. I look forward to riding them each Friday. I have way more confidence now. I know I can do anything. When I grow up I want to be a singer, or a doctor, or a veterinarian, or a teacher like Ms. Emily. Ms. Emily teaches kids with disabilities like me to not be afraid and be confident and strong when we ride and take care of the horses. It made me brave enough to say my speech in front of the whole class and all of you.