Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (PARDS)

“At PARDS, everyone belongs,” notes Jennifer Douglas, Executive Director. “We welcome self referrals, family/friend referrals, and referrals from other agencies, doctors and schools.”

Programs at PARDS Therapeutic Riding Centre, located just south of Grande Prairie near Evergreen Park, serve clients of all abilities from ages three and up with the eldest client currently 73. Certain programs are tailored specifically for those with a clinical diagnosis while others are fully inclusive and accessible to all.

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“The positive impacts are as varied as our riders,” says Douglas. “Success looks different for everyone and we are proud to offer tailored programs to support the goals of each individual who comes through our doors.”

 “All PARDS programs build self-confidence, empathy as well as self and spatial awareness focusing on enhancing coping, cooperative and relationship building skills,” says Douglas.

For client Paige, taking part in both the Therapeutic Riding and the Youth Leadership programs has made a world of difference.

“I did have anxiety issues, I still do, but whenever I come here they almost don’t seem to surface because I feel so comfortable and safe around the riders, the instructors and the horses,” she says.

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Paige has continued to build her confidence through developing her horsemanship skills and further engaging with the PARDS community by volunteering in the barn, in lessons and at events.

“Funding is always a challenge to secure and we appreciate that the Community Foundation, in managing its many different funds, is able to provide funding opportunities focusing on a number of different priorities in our region,” she says, adding, “The Community Foundation also offers another avenue for our story to be told.”

While funding is key, Douglas notes, PARDS has also found great value in the Community Foundation by accessing data from the Vital Signs report to help determine where the organization could best develop programming to meet the changing needs of the community.

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The Community Foundation’s focus is to build stronger, heathier and more inclusive communities and through the Opdahl Michaud Family Fund we were able to support PARDS in 2018 as part of our annual Community Impact Grants.

You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. Whether you’re contributing to a fund in your name, supporting a legacy that you connect with or simply wanting to make an impact on community – a donation to your Community Foundation helps to build Smart & Caring communities throughout our region. Donations can be made online here –https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/5797 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.  Earnings from your gift are distributed to student awards or through community impact grants to numerous innovative charitable projects, large and small.  

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