For Immediate Release
For Further Information Contact: Susan Shulman
860 434-1974 ext. 128 sshulman@highhopestrc.org

Old Lyme, CT, October, 2012 — It was a beautiful fall Sunday when volunteers, former and current board members, riders, family and friends gathered in the arena at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center for the 38th Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration. High Hopes is one of the country’s premier therapeutic riding centers, serving riders and their families throughout Southeastern Connecticut from its 120 acre facility in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

In addition to its business review, High Hopes’ Annual Meeting provides an opportunity to recognize the many people whose time and effort enable the organization to provide horsemanship lessons to children and adults with disabilities. During the 2011/2012 fiscal year, 615 volunteers devoted 34,600 hours of service in such diverse capacities as horse leaders, barn buddies, special events planning, board membership, office duties and facility maintenance.

Cheryl Heffernan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, opened the meeting by welcoming the audience, followed by a salute to outgoing board members Jane Davison of Lyme, Elizabeth David of Old Saybrook, and Anthony Thurston of Lyme. Four new candidates were introduced and officially voted by the membership into office as trustees:

Roger Roche has lived in Lyme since 1998. He is a founding partner at Ironwood Capital Holdings in Avon. Roger also held senior positions at several other east coast firms. His prior board service includes Brian House in East Haddam and Ronald McDonald House Children Charities in New Haven. He received a BS in Business Management at Babson College. He has been serving on High Hopes Development Committee.

Susan Tyler is a resident of Lyme. She has an extensive background in finance and budget management and spent 10 years in senior financial management with the State of New York in Albany. Her board experience includes a variety of healthcare organizations, and she is involved with several non-profits and commissions. Susan has a BA from St. Lawrence University and a masters in Public Administration from SUNY at Albany. She currently serves on High Hopes’ Finance Committee.

Debbie Welles has been an Old Lyme resident for 35 years. She returns to the High Hopes board after serving from 2002-2011, during which time she was treasurer for 7 years. She will again serve as co-chair of the Hoedown and Holiday Market. Debbie has been very involved for many years with the Pony Club at the local and regional level. She has a BS in Education from Northeastern University, and is a practicing CPA with her own accounting firm in Old Lyme.

Barbara Willkens has lived in Old Lyme for almost 20 years. She has worked at the Milestone Power Station since 1990, where she has had several management positions and is currently Manager of Special Projects within the Nuclear Business Unit. Barbara has a BA in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. Her previous board experience was with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She has been serving on the High Hopes Development Committee.

During the meeting, Kitty Stalsburg, Executive Director, presented a review of the year’s activities. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a demonstration by High Hopes riders Lindsay Lewchik of Old Lyme and Judith Rothenberg of Branford. Both were subsequently honored as recipients of annual awards that were presented at the meeting.

The following Annual Awards were presented:

Paul Burkarth Rider of the Year Award – Lindsay Lewchik of Old Lyme
Patrick Moreno Sportsmanship Award – Judith Rothenberg of Northford
Lytt Gould Leadership Award – Holly and Jeff Ridgway of Chester
Sally H. Aubrey Award – Sandy and Tony Thurston of Lyme

Horse of the Year is traditionally selected by ballots submitted by riders and volunteers with the name of the winner a closely guarded secret until the announcement at the meeting. This year’s award went to Buddy, a Percheron gelding who, at 1600 pounds, is the largest horse in our herd.

Volunteer of the Year Award winners were also recognized in several categories. The 2012 award recipients are:

Barn Volunteer of the Year – Nora Dixon of Madison
Office Volunteer of the Year – Nancy Cusack of East Hampton
Nancy Cash Program Volunteer of the Year Award – Daryl Hornby of Old Lyme
Janie Davison Youth Service Award – Jennifer Dill of Lyme

High Hopes is one of the oldest and largest therapeutic riding centers in the United States, operating since 1974 and accredited by PATH Intl. since 1979. High Hopes primarily serves the citizens of Southeastern Connecticut, delivering 7,891 horsemanship lessons per year to children and adults with disabilities. Assisted by 615 volunteers and a herd of 26 horses specifically trained for therapeutic riding, High Hopes is committed to providing the highest quality of services to the community. Of the more than 800 programs that are members of PATH Int., High Hopes is one of only six centers in the United States approved by PATH Int. to provide their training courses in therapeutic riding instruction and has trained over 200 instructors from all over the world. High Hopes is located at 36 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, CT.

Press and members of the community are always welcome at High Hopes. Please contact Susan Shulman 860-434-1974, Ext. 128, for more information or see our website www.highhopestr.org.