Tag Archives: volunteer

Family Days

Spring always means Family Day! for each of Riley’s amazing programs.

We are so grateful for organizations who make our lives fuller and give Riley so much love.

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!

Loggerhead Tracks

Happy 4th of July!

Our family has been earning our own Independence, one day at a time.

Our Riders Are Our Superheroes

Naples Equestrian Challenge

13th Annual Horse Show

April 6th and 7th, 2013

My Superhero is Riley!



Thrill the World


Zombies are invading Naples and they’re going to dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller!
The location will be in Naples. Venue to be announced. Anyone wanting to dance is welcome. You don’t have to be a “dancer”, no experience is necessary. You must dress like a zombie (your version ), learn the dance and sign the waiver. Rehearsals will be announced soon. If you have a clubhouse or know of a place to practice, let us know or get a group together and learn the dance. The date for the dance is October 28, 7pm Greenwich mean time. There will be a small donation collected to dance with the monies going to dance scholarships and arts programs.
We need videographers, sound people, check in people for those that don’t to dance. 🙂 All are welcome! The more zombies the better. 🙂 Spread the word.

Our Wheels

Our wheels, our car, our transportation… should not define us.  They should not and do not, yet that great big piece of equipment over time becomes a huge part of our lives gets into our psyche and is often our outer shell society sees.  (The mustang was photographed by fellow Brooks student John Purcell in the hills above Santa Barbara, CA.)

Riley enjoying a walk along the Corkscrew Swamp boardwalk.

1st Annual 2-Mile Walk to Support Head & Neck Cancer Patients

1st Annual 2-Mile Walk to Support Head & Neck Cancer Patients

April 6, 2013

Lakes Regional Park

Fort Myers, FL

10:00 am

Registration and Sponsorship Information

All funds raised will be used in Southwest Florida to support
Head & Neck cancer patients

Registration Form
Head & Neck Cancer Walk
Lakes Regional Park
Fort Myers, FL
April 6, 2013

Register on-line at: www.21stcenturycare.org


NEC May 2012 Spotlight: John Buck

Despite his protests, John’s own Program Committee, Naples Equestrian Challenge, selected him for the May 2012 Volunteer Spotlight. 
After dragging his feet for some weeks, he finally started to fill out the Volunteer Spotlight bio guide.
Here is the result:

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

NEC’s Volunteer Spotlight

On November 2nd, I received this unexpected email:

You have been selected by the Program Committee as the October 2011 Volunteer Spotlight. 
Your photo and tribute will be displayed throughout the month in the display case outside the Volunteer Hospitality Shed.
On behalf of the staff and volunteers we thank you for your dedication and continued support of Naples Equestrian Challenge. You help out in so many different ways and you truly deserve to be spotlighted.
I am attaching a Volunteer Spotlight bio guide for you to fill out and return tome to help us with your displayed tribute.
Thank you,
Volunteer Spotlight?  Me?

John sits on the Program Committee which elects the Volunteer and the Rider of the Month.  He had mentioned nothing.  I quizzed him later.  What did I learn?  I learned that John abstained from the vote… and that was all.

How could I possibly deserve this honor?  How could I possibly participate enough to earn this recognition?  I wasn’t there this morning when the horses were searching for their grain as the sun rose… I wasn’t there last night when the stalls needed to be cleaned.  I wasn’t there yesterday when the horses were hot and sweaty, waiting patiently for their tack to be removed and cleaned after lessons.  I wasn’t there before the riders arrived to set up the ring…  I wasn’t there as phone calls were made and invitations sent out to prepare for The Bootstrap Boogie fundraiser….  I wasn’t even there when the last dish and chair was safely put away after the fundraiser… 

My husband was there for some of it…. Each member of the Program Committee was there for much of it… I see regular faces when we arrive for Riley’s riding session who are still there each Monday evening as we pull out of our parking space… 

So very much goes into making Naples Equestrian Challenge a success.   My part is so very small.  So how could I possibly be noticed among all those amazing volunteers?  Perhaps that is the key.  All those amazing staff and volunteers do notice.  They notice that I try.  They understand that Riley, just as the many other children in the program, is a handful.  John and I made the decision back when Riley was just three years old that riding would benefit him.  This program deserves to be a success so I participate as I can.  I sidewalk with Riley here and there as needed.  My Chico’s fundraiser was successful but far from the earnings of the Bootstrap Boogie (oh, here are more amazing photo’s of the event by John: http://www.naplesnews.com/photos/galleries/2011/nov/24/naples-equestrian-challenge-bootstrap-boogie-2011/).  In fact, sometimes I’m a little overbearing.  Yeah, I know it.  Perhaps a little acerbic.  I lecture volunteers.  I preach to other parents who are unwilling to participate.  There must be more than one volunteer or parent who issues a little sigh upon my arrival.  

But, after all that, here they are appreciating me.  And I appreciate each one of these amazing people who keep this wonderful place working for our kids.

Thank you Naples Equestrian Challenge!  You bring so much to our life!

We are all special… by Stacie Wiesenbaugh

Later this week I will share the write up I shared for the bulletin board.
Smiley Face

Monday at the Barn:
Ronan makes himself at home in the hospitality shed to get his homework done.
Ms. Deb, volunteer PT, help Riley get a back stretch aboard Pick A Spot.
Reindeer for Stephanie!

To learn more about Naples Equestrian Challenge:
Melissa Saracino
Program & Volunteer Manager
Naples Equestrian Challenge
206 Ridge Drive Naples, Florida 34108
Tel:   + 1 239 596 2988
Fax:  + 1 239 514 2908
“The horses were the reason I started volunteering with NEC,however, the reason I stayed were the riders.”
– NEC Volunteer, Charlotte Newell

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