CAMBY, Ind. – A horse therapy program in Camby is in danger of closing. The nonprofit, Horseshoes of Hope, needs to secure funding to buy the property it runs on.
For nearly 10 years, the program has been helping kids and adults who have physical or mental disabilities. It helps about 40 families every week. The oldest person who comes to the facility is in his 80s.
In order to continue running, John Lambert, the executive director, said they are trying to raise $100,000 by July 1. Without it, their future is uncertain.
Since its beginning, Parker Eaton has been coming to the horse barn for lessons. She always looks forward to riding her horse named Toby.
"She comes home and sometimes she is almost like a different person," said her dad, Skip Eaton.
Parker has autism and her dad said these lessons keep her calm. Before she started riding, Skip said Parker had a lot of behavior issues.
"It’s something about a horse," he said. "That’s why we still keep coming back. It’s something about that horse."
He can see what 40 minutes on this horse can do for his daughter. Volunteers see it too, especially with a younger rider named Cole who has a chromosomal deficiency. A year ago, Cole was not able to control his arms or neck.
"Just to watch the progress Cole has made, it’s made a big difference," said a volunteer named Amy.
That's what made this week's lesson a little harder to watch. Families are not sure if they will get to come back because the program could be shutting down.
"It would be a loss for the community. It would be a loss for us," said Skip.
The nonprofit needs a mortgage to purchase the land. They have less than a week to raise the funds. Lambert said he will do whatever he can to find other options if they do not get the money in time.
"To not be able to take this program to its full potential would be so heartbreaking," Lambert said.
If you want to learn more about this organization and how they are trying to stay open, click here.