|Things are going so well. It warms my heart so see Jade showing so much emotion. Thanks so much!!!!!!! I hope everyone at SMART knows how special they are and how they change our lives!!!!
Andrea and Dominik
| SMART has been such a blessing for my daughter Gillian. She attends
lessons with Sam. She formed a very close bond with Sam. Sam is always so
accommodating and understanding. She is really able to perceive Gillian's
needs and sensitivity. If Gillian is having a difficult day, she is able
to adapt the lesson accordingly. Gillian always feels Sam's warmth and
friendship. She is always given the opportunity to express herself,
her feelings, and her needs. Sam always creates an environment that is
non-threatening, non-judgmental, and safe. Where others might lose
patience if Gillian is having a temper tantrum; Sam allows for her to
work through it. Gillian enjoys riding in the golf cart, helping out with
the chores, care and feeding of the horses as much as she does riding and
driving. Most of all, Gillian enjoys Sam's gentle nature and friendship.
We really treasure SMART, Sam, Diana and Evie! Words could never express
the difference you all have made in the life of a little spirit who is
struggling to find her way in the world. My sincerest thanks and gratitude
to all of you at SMART!
Marnie Flood, mom of Gillian
|Every child needs a weekend activity, a passion, a hobby and source of pride that makes them feel special. SMART fills these needs for our children. Jacob was lost on Saturdays and demanded that we produce structured activities. Jacob has austism. Having a weekly schedule is important to him. Jacob is no longer lost on Saturdays. He looks forward to his lesson. Jacob is at his best behavior and
attention during his lessons. He normally does not follow verbal instructions very well. SUPPORT SMART! The special folks of Manatee County need SMART.
|SMART is a great program that brings together physical, occupational and speech therapy while allowing riders ample opportunity to experience friendship, responsibility, hard work, and most importantly, lots of FUN. Ella looks forward to her riding lesson every week.
|Since my daughter, Kaitlyn, has participated in the SMART program I have seen marked improvements in her behavior, attitude, balance, coordination, and her attention span. She loves being at the farm. SMART has become a part of our family and we enjoy the time we spend with them. Saturday has become our “SMART’ day not just our lesson hour. It gives her a safe environment to commune with nature, the SMART horses, and the volunteers who make her feel proud of her accomplishments and herself. I cannot put into a few words what SMART means and the impact they have had on our lives.
A lot of attention is given to children with disabilities. What we find so wonderful about SMART is that as a young adult (24), our daughter Nicki is equally as welcome and given the chance to be all she can be. Nicki very much looks forward to riding, learning and interacting with the horses and the terrific staff members and volunteers.
|When my daughter, Mallory, started at SMART she was bent over in her wheelchair with poor eye contact, soft spoken and her “canned” answer was “I don’t care.” Now, she sits up straight, speaks louder instead of mumbling, looks people in the face. All I can say is, you should see her now. It’s magic!
| Cyle has autism and loves coming out to SMART every week---and so do I! He has been riding now for six years and he has developed more self confidence and social skills. He has learned responsibility and developed a true interest in horses. Now he is in middle school and certain therapies are discontinued. Riding a horse is such great therapy. It’s physical therapy and developing balance---but he is just having fun riding a horse!
LeAnnette Pigott, mom of Cyle
|The program at SMART is outstanding. All of the volunteers are professional, knowledgeable and kind. It is the highlight of Ben's week to go to his riding lesson. Since he began at SMART a year ago, Ben has progressed not only in his riding skills but in his confidence. He becomes more independent every day and I believe strongly that SMART has had a lot to do with it. Thank you SMART and all of your generous supporters!
Marie Meckman, mom of Benjamin, 6 with Down Syndrome
| I absolutely LOVE being a part of the SMART team. The staff & volunteers have the biggest hearts that I have ever known, and everything is SO organized there that it makes it such a pleasure to be apart of what SMART gives to so many.
Lorraine Bird, Parent of Robert and Volunteer