Our January 2020 Volunteer of the Month is Wendy G, who wrote a lovely piece about her experience at Giant Steps.

“I first became aware of Giant Steps years ago when I joined my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop at an informational meeting at the barn. I was very impressed with the program, but was unable to volunteer due to time constraints. Now that my children are grown and I have more time on my hands, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a Giant Steps volunteer!

One of the things I enjoy the most about being out at the barn is that each week I can challenge myself to learn something new in a safe and fun environment. When I started volunteering in January of last year everything was a bit scary to me. The only real experience I had with horses was taking riding lessons as a young teenager, and as an occasional trail rider, but I had no experience grooming or tacking horses. During the first day of training I was given the task of picking Mr. Fizz’s hooves and it terrified me; I thought for sure that I was going to be kicked or hurt in some way. But, the training I received was fantastic, and before I knew it I was actually volunteering to groom and tack Mr. Fizz whenever given a chance.

I was also a bit nervous about working with the Giant Steps clients as I had no experience in this realm. Again, the training that was provided during the volunteer orientation was thorough and it gave me the confidence I needed to begin my work in becoming a helpful individual during lessons. And, the instructors continue to help me become a better volunteer with each class. It’s really all about giving the clients the best experience possible during their time at Giant Steps, so I am appreciative when the instructors share their wisdom.

Not only do I enjoy being near the magnificent, smart, and beautiful horses at the barn, I love being surrounded by all of the kind, thoughtful, patient, and knowledgeable staff members. They create a friendly, welcoming, nonjudgemental environment for both the volunteers and the clients, which makes it a joyous place to volunteer. I feel very privileged to be able to work with the amazing, kind-hearted and courageous clients! They have taught me to be a more patient, open-minded, and strong individual, and I look forward to spending time with them each week.

I learn something new about myself, the clients, and working with horses with each visit to Giant Steps. It’s always a fulfilling, rewarding and inspirational experience for me, and one that I always look forward to.”

Wendy, thank you for your dedication and service!