There is an aphorism ("a pithy saying conveying a general truth") that "The only constant
is change." Therapeion isn't exempt from that! We've had a summer of changes, challenges, and plans. Here's a summary of a few of those.
Changes in horses
Therapeion has had a herd of great horses to work with clients over the 14 years we've been around. Some horses have been added, and others have moved on to other things.
This summer, Paco, Janis, and Hershey have all retired. They have served Therapeion's clients well for many years. However, they have worked hard and deserve some time to simply enjoy themselves. Thanks to arrangements made with new owners, all three horses will stay at Shepard Stables with their old friends. You can even call ahead to come visit them, if you'd like!
The Dude was showing signs of some strain and anxiety with classes. He has spent the summer at Courage Rock Stables in Monticello, where he has had a huge pasture in which to frolic, and made some new friends. Plans are to see how he does coming back into classes for the fall. If he's ready to get back to work, you'll see him in classes. Otherwise, we may need to find him a better home with less stress.
Flashy, Lyle, Tucker, Duke, and Willy are still at work, serving TTRC clients.
Changes in personnel
Therapeion is a non-profit organization, governed by a Board of Directors. We have been seeking to expand the board, to better plan and direct the future of TTRC. Thus, we're pleased to announce that Richelle Peterson, the owner of Richelle in a Handbasket LLC and Just Desserts, has joined out board! (We're still looking for some additional members. If you know some likely prospects -- especially with prior non-profit board experience -- put them in touch with our Board chair at <email@example.com>.)
Meanwhile, after more than two years of working to recruit and train volunteers, and get them scheduled into classes, Volunteer Coordinator Pattie Spafford has stepped down from that role. Pattie will still be serving on the Board and planning committees but someone else will need to fill in those last-minute gaps when someone forgot to mention they were going on vacation.
Changes in classes
We continue to be challenged by both the weather and COVID-19. We weren't able to hold all our classes in the spring or summer sessions as a result of one or both of these factors. One of the change made is to reduce the number of clients in each class session. This may continue into the fall, especially with the current reduction in the number of available horses.
We're cautiously optimistic about the fall classes, starting September 7, but a lot depends on (mostly) COVID-19. We have clients, volunteers, and staff who have underlying medical conditions that mean vaccinations aren't fully effective for them. Some of our clients are too young to get vaccinated. COVID-19 -- especially the delta variant -- is highly contagious, and has sickened or killed young people and people with co-morbidities, even if vaccinated. Therapeion TRC is a place of healing, and we will not take chances with any of our community if the contagion rates are too high.
This is why we continue to have mask and distancing rules. It is also why we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated if they are able to do so -- there is clear evidence that vaccination helps prevent serious disease, and cuts down on the spread of the virus. We know people who have died from COVID-19, and some who have had year-long continuing problems. It's real and serious!
Changes in future
Part of the Board's duties is to look to the future. All these changes plus simply good practice has led the Board to engage in benchmarking and a formal strategic planning exercise. Using a generous gift from the Community Foundation of White County, TTRC hired a firm that specializes in strategic planning for PATH International centers: Transitions Unlimited LLC. The process involved a full-day workshop with the Board, instructors, and volunteers in late June. We are in the process of working through the plan's most pressing items, including expanding the Board (see above), increasing our fundraising (see next section), and planning some structural changes, including hiring an Executive Director.
If you think you'd like to help in fundraising or being part of the future planning (without the commitment of joining the Board), send email to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
We’ll post major updates here for everyone, so stay tuned!
Changes in Funding
Therapeion has always depended on donations and support from the community. However, as part of the benchmarking process we have found that too much of our funding depends on class tuition and a few significant donors. We need to identify other sources, and increase our support from the community at large.
If you're interested in helping us brainstorm and develop new mechanisms, let us know. If you would like to be a donor or sponsor that would be great too!
One easy way for YOU to assist us in an on-going basis is to set up an automatic donation from Amazon and/or Kroger. See this post on how to do that.