“Well my experience is short and very sweet with the program. I have only been volunteering for about 8 weeks as a side-walker and I have to say it has been an amazing experience for me personally. I have done a lot of volunteer work over the years but never have I been so satisfied, excited and amazed by the work that is done at CTRA. Everyone I have met has been helpful, inclusive and so very kind to everybody. It makes my heart melt to see the participants and their connection with their horse, and how much it helps them physically in just 30 minutes is absolutely amazing. My sessions of volunteering are like a boost of happiness for me every week and I am thankful I can volunteer my time.” (Susan Margetts, volunteer)
"I had been working in middle management at a local Credit Union for about 5 years. We had gone through mergers and restructuring and it had been a difficult time for me making decisions that affected so many other people’s lives. During the 4th re-structure, I found myself as one of the ones that was restructured out of a job. The same day, I came home to a front page picture of Floella on the local newspaper and I thought “Well, now I have time to volunteer” so off I went. It gave me a very positive focus for all the time and energy I had.
That was 9 years ago and I am still volunteering...even with going back to work part time." (Kimberly Taylor, volunteer)
“I volunteer on Saturdays at CTRA. The program has helped me learn new strategies for dealing with Braden [son and CTRA participant] as well as helped me gain more knowledge on both autism and horses. It is just as therapeutic for myself as it is for him.” (Shannon Knight, volunteer and mother of CTRA participant)
“I was working on completing my degree in education when I decided that some extra volunteer work would be an asset to my resume. I saw an ad for CTRA in the newspaper and through it would be fun way to gain experience with special needs children and get a little exercise at the same time; little did I realize that I was about to become involved with an organization that can greatly benefit its volunteers as well as those who it sets out to help.
There are many obvious benefits of volunteering with CTRA, including being outdoors in a beautiful setting, the physical activity, meeting new friends, and working with the gentle therapeutic horses. But seeing the amazing benefits that riders enjoy puts everything aside. I’ve worked with some of the most amazing children who grow and persevere to overcome so many challenges in their life.
Every week I look forward to going down to the farm because seeing these children challenging themselves and overcoming their disabilities is the ultimate reward. They never fail to impress and delight me!” (Karen Robinson, volunteer)
“Even one hour with all of the good people at CTRA sends me back into the hustle and bustle of my life with a little glow of peace nestled in my heart, and helps me to support my family in a more positive head-space. ” (Sue Wells, volunteer and mother of a CTRA participant)
“Everyone is very welcoming. There's a very warm, genuine feel that all the staff and volunteers have about them. They honestly enjoy what they're doing and are happy to help.” (Anonymous, via volunteer survey)
“I get more enjoyment out of it then I thought I would. I always head home smiling. The other staff and volunteers are so inviting, and the riders are always so happy after, that it's impossible not to feel gratified.” (Anonymous, via volunteer survey)
“It's very heartwarming seeing the reaction of participants in the riding program. It makes you feel very good inside knowing that you are helping make these sessions happen - everyone benefits!” (Anonymous, via volunteer survey)
“I had recently moved to the Cowichan Valley and when I saw the ad in the paper looking for volunteers I jumped at the chance. I have always had a love of horses and I have worked with people with disabilities so it seemed an excellent fit. When I mention to acquaintances that I've volunteered with CTRA for about nine years the comment is "Good for you!" and my reply to that is "Yes, it IS good for me and I can't imagine not being a part of CTRA".” (Anonymous, via volunteer survey)
“A valuable lesson every week that reminds me how fortunate I am keeping in touch with reality enjoyment of interaction with horses, riders, other volunteers and staff.” (Anonymous, via volunteer survey)
“CTRA is one of the most fulfilling things I do every week, the staff and other volunteers are always organized, friendly and helpful. Coming to CTRA is a highlight of my week.” (Anonymous, via volunteer survey)