Tag Archives: recognition

Coast Causes

Gathering Riley up from school Monday for OT earlier this week, the woman at the front desk handed me a page from newspaper.  She had spotted Riley in The News-Press of Fort Myers, April 18th, 2016 Causes: Toast of the Coast page 3D.

I just love the little gestures!

My Honor: NECs December Volunteer Spotlight

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.  

Stacie Wiesenbaugh
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.
MYother comment:
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

My Regular Life: Who? ME?

My Regular Life: Who? ME?: “So… someone DOES read my meanderings! Woot! This is exciting stuff, as it is my first award. Thank you so much Ciao Mama , of Mommy Bag…”

NEC Horse Show


Naples Equestrian Challenge Horse Show, Friday June 30, 2011.
Ronan receives an award with the help of Nick, also Riley’s favorite horse to ride.
NEC staff and volunteers have given the typically developing siblings an amazing opportunity to participate in the program and to understand the importance of the program.

Sunday Snapshot

Happy Home and School for the Blind by Dilip Bhatia

My friend Dilip Bhatia has just been announced Photographer of the Year 2011 Professional Category Overall by the PX3 Prix Paris (Europe’s top most photography award)!  

Entry Title: Happy Home & School For The Blind
, India
Category: Professional, Fine Art

Entry Description:

A book from daily life for a NGO of visually impaired children designed to create awareness and generate funds for the school.

About the Artist:

Operates from Mumbai,India

End of the School Year

To each of you who sent me reminders to not be so tough on myself, the “Non-Optimist.”  Thank you so much for your support.

Ronan is now a fully appreciated youth by Optimist International.  Above he poses with his much loved Kindergarten teacher back in class after the ceremony.

Riley decided to rest during his End of the Year Ceremony.  Mrs. K awards Riley a certificate pictured above.  She put together a lovely celebration including a slide presentation that made the audience tear up.  The presentation actually showed the class really enjoying themselves throughout the year.  I was most pleased to see the great turn-out for each of the seven classmates.

My boys have been very fortunate this year to have dedicated and loving teachers and staff supporting them!

Tomorrow… Kindergarten Graduation!  We will see an answer to the question “Can John handle knowing his youngest child is…. A FIRST GRADER!


My sons, The Optimist Awardees

How do I explain this confusion I feel today?  Ronan has been selected to receive an outstanding student award this afternoon from Optimist International.  I am about to leave for the Optimist International Youth Appreciation Ceremony at Bonita Springs Preparatory andFitness Academy.

I am so proud of Ronan for being selected among his peers for this recognition.
This also causes some sadness.
Last year at this time Riley received the same award at Rayma C. Page.  How did Riley merit this award.   Am I not giving him the recognition he deserves?  I felt very disturbed last year at this same time when Riley received the same letter.  What kind of mother is not overjoyed when her child is recognized for his perseverance and attitude.  I did not celebrate this award.  I did not pat Riley on the back and talk to him about how great he did.  I did not give him a gift or special treat for his efforts.  How could I when he never noticed he was singled out in this manner.
Now I go to a special ceremony to celebrate Ronan in a manner I was incapable of celebrating Riley.
I have tears in my eyes now and I must pull myself together and go be the supportive mom I am supposed to be.  But at the moment I dislike myself intensely.
How do I rectify these two awards to two very different children?
How do I really appreciate the achievements of both my sons?  I appreciate them, unfortunately when it comes to Riley I still have a long journey to make.  Not having to make that same emotional journey for Ronan certainly leaves me with some disappointment in myself.
Not now, heading to a ceremony and it is time to not revel in my own life disappointments.  Remember Mommy, be fully present and appreciative of the special needs child and the typical child.  I am Mommy and it is not fair for me to be wallowing.  Time to be fully present for my children.
Clearly this award would not apply to this Mommy…

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself …
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Optimist Mission
By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.

Optimist Vision
Optimist International will be recognized worldwide as the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them develop to their full potential.

We are all special… Stacie

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