Patty Prauner (Program Director, SMILE, Inc.) recently visited Mrs. Baker’s first grade classroom at Grant Elementary. She shared a video and talked to the students about SMILE, the program she started in 1992, that provides recreational therapy on horseback for children and adults with a physical, mental, or speech challenge.
According to Patty, equine activities can develop self awareness, build self-confidence and improve concentration and self-discipline. Horseback riding improves posture, balance, coordination, strength and flexibility. The idea that “the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person” carries over in all aspects of her program.
Throughout the year, first graders in Mrs. Baker’s class supported Patty’s efforts by donating change in a “smiley bank”. They then presented her with a check in an amount large enough to provide a scholarship for someone unable to afford the program. This put a big SMILE on Patty’s face, as well as theirs!