As 2022 comes to an end, Forward Stride’s Executive Director, Amber Varner, reflects on the year behind as she looks forward to the year ahead. Amber and her family have been laying trails for a bright future at Forward Stride since its inception, read her letter to the community below.

Hello, Forward Stride Community,

As 2022 comes to a close, I wish you a Happy 2023 filled with time for you and time for those you care about. Mother Nature seems to be asking us to rest, recharge, and nurture ourselves and those around us with her myriad of storms that are forcing us to slow down. This time for reflection reminds me that we have so very much to be thankful for at Forward Stride and it is due to all of you reading this.

We have a great facility that provides excellent shelter for our horses and beautiful spaces for programming. All of our pastures have mud free areas, even with our recent deluges, due to the generous donations we received last year and many hours of staff and volunteer time installing the drainage, gravel, mats, and sand. Our barn is full of 3 types of sweet hay. Our horses are healthy and happy due to the care they receive from clients, volunteers, and staff and thanks to amazing financial support from the broader community. Our staff is a dedicated bunch, striving to learn and grow to better fulfill the needs of our almost 200 clients per week. We have an involved, conscientious Board of Directors who care deeply about our mission and the people we serve. And our clients and volunteers are the best people around! They strive to meet tough goals, laugh with one another, care deeply for each other, both inside and outside of the barn, and welcome new community members with gusto.

2023 will inevitably bring with it change, new blessings, and new challenges. Knowing that we have a sturdy tripod of great people, a great group of horses, and a great facility to alternately lean or build on means we can rest assured that Forward Stride will continue to thrive.

Over the past two months, we have been able to share personal stories with you about some of the ways Forward Stride changed and improved lives in 2022. Thank you for being a part of our success. Bring it on, 2023, we are ready for all that you have to offer!

With Gratitude,