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Welcome to Simcoe – Youthdale Riding Program gets support from 100 Women Who Care

February 27, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

The first meeting of 2020 for 100 Women Who Care New Tecumseth took place on Thursday, February 20 at the Gibson Centre for Arts & Culture in Alliston.

At the one-hour meeting, where 100 women gathered – each with a cheque for $100 – three worthy charities presented a case to become the beneficiary of the combined funds.

The first group, Candlelighters Simcoe, a group for parents of children with cancer, came forward seeking support for their care package program (valued at $250+ and containing parking passes and other items for families of sick children), and its emergency fund – for families who require support beyond initial diagnosis. 

Founded in 1990 by Barbara Johnson, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and mother of three children, one of whom is a two-time survivor of childhood cancer, Candlelighters Simcoe is a not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organization that endeavours to lessen the burden carried by families in Simcoe County and surrounding areas who struggle with childhood cancer, letting them know that they are not alone in their fight.

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The second presenter was the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) seeking funding for its unique youth mobile health unit – MOBYSS. This was the second time MOBYSS appealed to 100 Women New Tec for help, as they need to raise $350K per year to offset the $500K cost to run the bus that delivers one-on-one health care and counselling to local youth.

Often found parked at Banting Memorial High School, the Tottenham branch of the New Tecumseth Public Library or the Alliston Rotary Pool, MOBYSS assists people 12–25 and is Ontario’s first mobile health unit. Reducing the burden on the health care system, patients of MOBYSS can receive physical and mental care in a non-judgemental environment by simply walking-in or by appointment. They see 500 youth per year, with 2,500 counselling appointments met.

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The third presenter, Youthdale Riding Program (YRP), is a program looking to make inroads in Simcoe County.

YRP provides equine therapy for youth age 12–20 to teach emotional regulation in a proven approach, by getting participants on the animal – building bonds and trust that expand into unconditional connections that ripple out into their real lives.

“People let them down, but their horses don’t,” said Ellen Downey, Director YRP on the success of the program. 

Riders get ten lessons, averaging 2.5 hours each, in a class of 8–10 riders. Individual sessions are also available based on circumstance.

Already established in Toronto and Dufferin County, YRP is looking to expand into Simcoe County, and will be accepting applications for new riders through local mental health outlets. YRP’s horses – many of which are retired RCMP horses – are stabled in Adjala.

100 Women cast their ballots, with Youthdale Riding Program wining by one vote from the second choice, and the third choice just two votes behind that.

They will receive $5,000.

The next meeting of 100 Women Who Care New Tecumseth will take place at the Gibson Centre on Thursday, May 21, from 7–8 p.m. New members are always welcome with groups of two ($50 each) or four ($25 each) accepted. Payment by e-transfer, cheque or cash – in person or by arrangement. Tax receipts issued.

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