Friday, June 26, 2020

Riding To The Top celebrates volunteers at curbside event

Riding To The Top volunteer Stacie Hamilton feeds Luke, an
RTT horse, a treat. SUBMITTED PHOTO

COVID-19 did not stop Riding To The Top from celebrating the contributions of its mighty volunteer team.

Originally, RTT planned to hold a large barbeque on the shores of Sebago Lake, but this year’s celebration was configured into a smaller “curbside” event at the farm. On Tuesday, June 23, RTT staffers gathered (physically distanced of course!), decorated and rallied to show appreciation for the Center’s 160-plus volunteers.
In 2019 alone, volunteers at Riding To The Top contributed more than 11,000 hours in service valued at over $254,320.
Volunteers at RTT work in the barn, in lessons with clients, exercise horses, repair and maintain the facilities and help with trail improvements. Volunteers also serve on the Board of Directors, on committees and work at fundraising events.
Executive Director, Sarah Bronson said that “RTT volunteers have been an integral part of the organization since it was founded by volunteers in 1993 and they continue to be the heart of the organization.”
She said that volunteers save the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
“While we missed gathering for our larger celebration this year, we were glad to have been able to thank and recognize the people who did so much for RTT last year,” said Volunteer Coordinator Nick Doria.
This year, 27 RTT volunteers received The President’s Volunteer Service Award:

Bronze Level Awardees (Adults 100 to 249 hours/Young Adults 100 to 174 hours): Christine Blackadar, Jo Blinick, Early Bonney, Gradeigh Cameron, Janis Childs, Susan Courson, Cindy Elder, Barbara Foster, Trish Friant, Stacie Hamilton Waldron, Margi Huber, Cathy Kelso, Fran Maxwell, Nancy Robinson and Laura Rochette.
Silver Level Awardees (Adults 250 to 499 hours/Young Adults 175 to 249 hours):
Mark Fuller, Julia Hamilton, Sarah Miller, Jodi Peasley, Clayton Peters, Ashley Reed, Bryony Urquhart and Liz Wood.

Gold Level Awardees (Adults 500 or more hours/Young Adults 250 or more hours): Lina Jordan, Dan Morabito, Pat Niboli and Patty Shaw.

In addition, special recognition of outstanding service to RTT included: Stacie Hamilton Waldron (Volunteer of the Year); Ashley Reed and Lilly Towle (Youth/Young Adult Volunteers of the Year); Melissa and Eric Prime (Administrative Volunteers of the Year); Susan Layton (Lesson Rookie of the Year Award); Jack DiPaola (Barn Rookie of the Year Award); Trina Bellavance (Volunteer Schooler Award) and Maureen Mathieu (Barn Volunteer of the Year).

RTT also recognized the following for outstanding contributions:
  • Under The Covers Band: (Volunteer Group of the Year )
  • Windham Knights of Columbus: (Volunteer Civic Group of the Year)
  • Headlight Audio-Visual: (Corporate Partner of the Year)
Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center was founded in 1993 and its mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine assisted activities and therapies. Located in Windham, RTT is the state’s only year-round PATH International Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.

More than 250 clients visit annually, assisted by certified instructors, a herd of 16 horses and over 160 volunteers, all specially trained to assist with therapeutic riding, equine assisted learning, carriage driving and hippotherapy. Riding To The Top is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides financial aid to more than 60 percent of its clients. 

For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit us at or call 207-892-2813. <

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