Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau50 Years

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Caught in the Act

Shauna Wells 

Volunteer with Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society 

by Fringina Mukaga, Communications

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Finding herself with spare time Shauna Wells sought out a meaningful activity, so when a friend suggested that she volunteer at Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (P.A.R.D.S) she jumped at the chance because “it sounded like a fun idea.”  Right away she could see that the organization really cared about the horses:

“I was impressed with the way the staff treated their horses with individual care and catered to their needs,” says Shauna. After witnessing the staff’s demeanor and the positive atmosphere, Shauna committed herself to volunteering with P.A.R.D.S and even enrolled her own horse into the program.“Enrolling my former horse Molson in the lesson program was very rewarding for both of us, and seeing his success is unbeatable!” says Shauna. 

 

Her first volunteer experience was with sidewalk lessons; this requires the volunteers to assist the rider mount the horse and walk alongside the rider to ensure the rider maintains good stability and balance throughout the lesson. She describes being nervous when first introduced to this position but quickly fell in love with it as it allowed her to interact with the students. As she became more comfortable with the volunteer role Shauna began to take on more positions becoming one of the most flexible volunteers within the organization. Aside from side-walking “Shauna volunteers in the barn, cleaning stalls and training with horses. She also shares her photography skills with P.A.R.D.S and takes photos when needed,” says P.A.R.D.S Volunteer Coordinator Robyn adding she is “a great model and mentor for other volunteers just starting on our team. She is friendly and helpful to new volunteers.”

Having been a new volunteer herself, Shauna understands the challenges of balancing personal and volunteer schedules. She admits that the fast pace of the lessons can also be a deterrent for potential volunteers, but she finds the benefits of volunteering with P.A.R.D.S to be worthwhile: “It’s always something I look forward to all week, it always brings me a feeling of purpose,” says Shauna.

Her passion for the organization has only multiplied with exposure to the amazing students. “I think people are becoming more capable of seeing the disabled as fellow citizens now more than ever. Awareness of mental health campaigns helps people understand the cause more,” Shauna explains. She sees the move to a new facility as an opportunity for both the organization and the clients as it will offer limitless possibilities for growth. Shauna hopes that with the move others will join the cause and become volunteers: “P.A.R.D.S needs help in many aspects, not just in lessons, so there are ways for those terrified of horses to comfortably get involved through fundraising and the like.”

For Shauna, P.A.R.D.S has become an integral part of her life, so much so that she claims “volunteering [with P.A.R.D.S] has shaped who I am now.”  Her commitment over the past few years has allowed her to create a second home within the organization so that she finds herself spending all her extra time at P.A.R.D.S riding her own horse Moonbeam, or offering assistance where needed. She encourages all potential volunteers to “go for it” claiming that “it’s incredibly fulfilling. There’s nothing like it!”

 

Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society 

Organization Profile

 

Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (PARDS) is a not-for-profit therapeutic riding centre offering equine assisted therapy to children and adults living with cognitive, physical, behavioral and emotional challenges.

Therapeutic Riding Programs provide clients with the opportunity to increase social interaction, improve self-esteem and build confidence while experiencing physical benefits such as improved balance, posture, flexibility, sensory awareness and endurance.

For more information:

www.pards.ca

Tel: 780.538.3211

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Address: 8202 84 Street Grande Prairie, AB T8X 0L6

 

 

 

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