1st Grade Learns about SMILE

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!