99 Hands was created as a pilot program in the summer of 2016. The program was created to provide a vocational training program at Forward Stride for individuals ages 18 and older with the goal of demonstrating the skills to obtain meaningful and regular employment in the community. Target individuals are those who lives may be improved through vocational training in programs involving equine assisted therapies and activities. Participants will utilize Forward Stride’s Equine Facilitated Learning curriculum in conjunction with their assigned work duties. The internships are paid and last for 4 months.
The 99 Hands program started as an idea from a long time volunteer and parent. Tony envisioned a program to utilize the ever abundant manure produced by the herd, by composting it with hay and shavings cleaned out of the stalls. Tony also is an avid gardener and wanted to use his knowledge to teach others about growing different kinds of crops.
Our first intern, Brooks, worked hard both learning about composting and the growing of crops, as well as doing the hard work needed with both. The efforts culminated with the sale of pumpkins, gourds, squash, and bags of compost at the annual Forward Stride Harvest Fair in October. Overall, about $150 was raised for Forward Stride by the 99 Hands participants.
Now, 99 Hands has an intern in the riding program and in the horse care area. We hope to expand the program further, to serve more young adults. This will be made possible through the support of donations, grants, and volunteers.
Help Us Expand Our 99 Hands Program
Your tax-deductible contribution really makes a difference. It allows for personal achievements and greater independence through hard work and determination. It provides opportunities to share, grow, and heal through our unique programs like 99 Hands.