March 24, 2006 -- The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) recently announced the funding distributions made from the NARHA Gulf Coast Hurricane Assistance Fund.
In an effort to mitigate the impact of last fall's hurricane damage, the NARHA Board of Trustees voted to establish the NARHA Hurricane Katrina Assistance fund to assist NARHA Centers which were affected by Hurricane Katrina. As Hurricanes Rita and Wilma joined Katrina in ravaging the southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida, the fund was renamed and expanded to include centers affected by those hurricanes.
NARHA's 2005 Annual Meeting and Conference, originally scheduled to be held in New Orleans, La., was held in Houston, Texas, and proceeds of the Annual Silent Auction held in conjunction with this conference were collected for the NARHA Gulf Coast Hurricane Assistance Fund. In addition, the fund was strengthened by donations collected prior to and during the conference, including a collection at a conference luncheon.
From the applications received prior to December 29, 2005, distributions were made less than two weeks later on January 13, 2006. Distributions were made in the full amounts requested to seven NARHA centers meeting the requirements approved by the NARHA Board of Trustees.
The following centers were awarded assistance according to the amounts requested on their applications totaling $52,031:
- Flying Free Equitherapy, Inc. in Santa Fe, Texas
- Happy Trails Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, Inc. in Franklinton, La.
- Pointe Celeste TRC in Belle Chasse, La.
- New Heights Therapy Center, Inc. in Folsom, La.
- Greater New Orleans TRC in New Orleans, La.
- Gaits to Success Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, Inc. in Kiln, Miss.
- Bit by Bit, Inc. in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
NARHA has received much positive feedback from these centers that will report on use of their grant funds by July 2006. Program director Sue Cheveallier wrote, "New Heights has operated in St. Tammany Parish of Louisiana for over seven years, making a vital difference in the lives of our riders and their families. Your gift has come at a very crucial time of New Heights. Thank you for helping us make a difference through our therapeutic riding program."
NARHA was formed in 1969 to promote equine assisted activities for individuals with special needs. At over 700 member centers, a total of 36,000 children and adults find a sense of independence through involvement with horses. Visit www.narha.org for more information.