Naples Equestrian Challenge kindly “spotlighted” me as December’s Volunteer. I am very honored and share the form I turned in for the Spotlight Bulletin Board in the hospitality shed.
Movedto Naples from: LosAngeles, CA Year movedto Naples: 2004
Whydid you move to Naples?:
Ourfirst child, Riley, experience a massive brain hemorrhage in utero. His traumaticbirth caused us to make many changes to our lifestyle which included moving tobe closer to family. We decided uponSWFL where my mother spends the majority of her time.
Presentand/or past occupation, company name, job title & responsibilities:
Afterthe birth of my son, nearly 10 years ago, I gave up my paid occupation todevote time to him and ultimately educating and promoting causes of specialneeds. I LOVE NEC but also devote my time (when not caring for Riley) as anArbonne Independent Consultant, the boys schools, and a personal blog on thejourney of special needs parents. Between caring for Riley and that, my “time clock” is full.
College/University& Degree(s) held including subject area:
GettysburgCollege, English Lit. B.A.
BrooksInstitute of Photography, Media, B.A.
SpecialNeeds Kids, I have my S.N.K. degree (graduated on 8.28.2002 (birth of son)) andstill pursuing.
Family(name of spouse, # children/grandchildren/pets):
Spouse:John Buck (when I claim him) John sits on the Program Committee and is the facebehind the camera at NEC events.
Children:Riley (9) & Ronan (7 this month)
ScubaDiving & Photography
Ibecame a Naples Equestrian Challenge volunteer (month/year):
Ithink that if you have a child with Special Needs, you need to be there forhim/her. When Riley turned 3 fall of2005, we joined NEC. I wanted to bethere for him and give my time to a cause that I truly believe in.
Ibecame a volunteer at NEC because it was the agreement parents and caregiversmade as part of the rider contract. Myother Volunteer activity is volunteering my husband for things! NEC is a “family orientedthing.” I am one of Riley’s regularside-walkers, but not necessarily his favorite. This year I took on another volunteer area as fundraiser. Chico’s, offered an opportunity for ashopping day in The Company Store, a sample sale warehouse, and the proceedswere returned to NEC. The event tookplace in September and I hope to make it a yearly event with even greaterattendance in the future.
Someof my most memorable NEC moments are…
Growingwith NEC. I started when the arena hadno roof (those were some hot days, but fun for the kids). Watching the Volunteers grow (we have photosof young boys and girls who have stayed with the program so long they turnedinto kids with braces into amazing adults).
Iwill always remember our first visit to NEC. At that time, Riley was challenged by motion and car rides wereparticularly miserable. He had cried onthe drive and I was regretting taking him out at all. It was a hot quiet summer day and the placeappeared deserted. I pulled Riley fromhis car seat and as I brought him into the sun a strong breeze struck uscarrying the scent of hay and horses. Riley’s mood immediately turned joyous. He liked it all and we had barely taken a step. It smelled right to him. It felt right. I knew we would be staying.
Asthe years have gone by, NEC has remained a constant in our life. As a special needs family, we don’t goanywhere unnecessarily. As a child andfamily with multiple disabilities sets us apart. Naples Equestrian Challenge is one placewhere we are always welcome and understood. It is also unique in that this is the one therapy we do not need tojustify and can simply be something Riley can participate in and enjoy.
BeingVolunteer of the Month is not expected. Particularlybecause there are SO many people “behind” this organization who arenot out in the arena with the horses/kids who are so deserving… Being a part of NEC is not about being atNEC when the kids ride. It is about thefamilies sharing education/being there for each other; the staff who do thisnot for the money, but the love of what they do; the people who because ofphysical or other challenges cannot side walk, but give their time in countlessother ways. The amazing sponsors wholiterally built a roof over my son’s head when he walks and hung fans to coolhim. There are so many facets to NECthat we can all partake in. I am Blessedto be a part of such an organization.
Otherorganizations & positions held:
Currently,I am an Arbonne Independent Consultant for health and wellness products, ablogger and I also volunteer with Freedom Waters Foundation, Rayma C. PageElementary (Riley’s school) and Bonita Springs Preparatory and Fitness Academy(Riley’s School).
Someof my previous volunteer positions:
Wildlife Waystation,Level II volunteer
Volunteer, The JuniorLeague of Los Angeles, Marketing Committee
Coastal Clean-Up DayBeach Captain for Will Rogers Beach & Steering Committee City of Santa Monica
CaliforniaCoastal Commission recognition 1993 1994, 1995, 1997
tripledturn-out to 500 in my first year as captain, collected 1139 pounds of trash,only 10 pounds shy of the winning site for most trash
Someof my previous employment positions:
US Census Bureau, 2010Census, Ennumerator
Library Foundation ofLos Angeles,
Lead for theCity of Los Angeles Campaign, Liaison for The Council, Library AssociatesMembership
Freeman Hospitals Foundation -Donor Service Management for Hospitals & PCRI (Prostate Cancer ResearchInstitute), Financial tracking, Grant, Events
The Nature Conservancy
Earth Share of California,Campaign Manager