A letter from Diane

When I was a kid, I jumped on my bike every day after school and peddled to the local stables. Could not get enough of it. As I grew up life took over and I just lost touch with that wonderful source of joy. As an adult I decided to make the time to volunteer and mentioned it to my sister. She worked at Nike, checked their volunteer site, and called with the “perfect match”. That was 10 years ago and Forward Stride has become a wonderful part of my life, and I hope to be a part of it, for many years to come.

In the beginning I started as a side walker once a week, but it wasn’t long before I started coming earlier and staying later. Over the years I have done a.m. and p.m. horse care, helped with volunteer training and tours, and filled in when I can with side walking, leading, night checks and horse care. I’ve added to my skill set with fence mending, plumbing repair, building saddle holders, washing horse blankets, tree trimming and gardening and working on the barn sale of the decade.

Through all of my experiences at Forward Stride I find a few things that really stand out for me. First is, that every day I see people working hard to be the best people they can be. To be patient and kind and generous and brave. To live the mission.The gift, there for anyone to take, is to work on your humanity in a place where everyone cheers you on.

Another is the on going lessons I get from working with horses. To be safe, and to have a successful interaction, you need to be in the moment. No fretting or day dreaming or you will miss what they are telling you. It has helped me to slow down, breathe, pay attention to right now. It gives me practice being a good listener, and strengthens my confidence in my instincts.

I can’t possibly explain every way in which my life has been impacted by Forward Stride.The wonderful friends, the inspiration of watching people pick themselves up, the sheer open heartedness of the environment they have built.

I’m proud to be a part of something important, to help support the exceptional people at Forward Stride, and the exceptional work they do. For the staff, it is truly a labor of love and everyday I see them walking their talk.

I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring.