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Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023

Cool It, Cowboy


The GREAT Program offers therapeutic horseback riding lessons.

Wine, Dine and Equine to benefit the Arc

The Arc Caddo-Bossier will hold its Wine, Dine and Equine fundraiser this year on Friday, Oct. 27, at Red River Brew Pub at the Garage from 6-10 p.m.

According to The Arc’s representative, Alex Wallace, this year’s event is called “Cool It, Cowboy,” and will offer food, drink, music, and live and silent auctions. She said tickets and even sponsorships were still available to help with The Arc’s programs.

The every-other-year event helps raise the money necessary to provide programs like GREAT (Great Results Equine Assisted Therapies), which was started in 1997.

“The GREAT program provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons among other equine activities. We provide those for kids and adults with disabilities. We provide private and group class sessions. Adaptive physical therapy classes for Caddo and DeSoto parishes, so kids that have motor deficits and things of that nature will come out for their PE classes to our facility and adaptive physical education on the horses,” Wallace explained.

“Our newest program is called EAL, Equine Assisted Living, it ties in more of the mental health aspect. It’s a learning approach that promotes development of life skills for educational, personal and professional goals. It does things like help develop social skills, work ethic, understanding of nonverbal communication, increases self-esteem, confidence, enhances self-awareness.”

Wallace said that The Arc also puts on an inclusive summer camp, “Camp Victory,” so developing children are invited to come with their friends, brothers and sisters and all participate together. We offer two sessions in the first two weeks of June. They come Monday through Friday, and they do horseback riding lessons. They do outdoor activities. They’ll have someone come and teach them yoga, or they’ll do arts and crafts. Someone from one of the local parks will teach them about nature.

The Arc puts on Camp Victory in the summer.

“It’s a week full of learning and trying new things for the kids. It promotes growth for the kids because they want to keep up with their peers.”

According to The Arc website, the interaction between the participants and the horses helps develop mutual trust, respect, affection, unconditional acceptance and self-control. The GREAT horses are donated, leased or rescued; each therapy horse undergoes extensive training.

Riding lessons are scheduled in 12-week spring and fall sessions and a four-week summer session. Parents can also schedule their children for group lessons. GREAT provides four six-week sessions (two in spring and two in fall) for Caddo Parish Schools’ Adaptive Physical Education Program. Students attend with their adaptive physical education teacher and licensed therapist, who assist them in accomplishing set goals.

According to Wallace, The Arc will soon open a second center on Olive Street, The Arc Caddo-Bossler’s Goldman School at The Highland Center.

The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s Frost Industries and The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s Conly Day Program offer workforce development/employment opportunities, job and skills training, and community engagement activities for adults with disabilities.

She stressed that The Arc receives no federal funding assistance, so donations and fundraisers are important for keeping their services available. Generally, 90-100 individuals are being assisted through various programs, like community living, individualized care, independent living and work-related training.

“We are always looking for volunteers for those camps,” Wallace said. “We have spring and fall sessions for the EAL Program. It does take a lot, and we only have a few people employed; we are very largely volunteer based.”

For more information about their programs or ticket and sponsor information about “Cool It, Cowboy,” go to https://thearccaddobossier.org/.

“If you go to WHAT WE DO and click on GREAT, there is more information,” Wallace added.

A variety of items are up for grabs at the live and silent auctions.


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