Local student wins $5,000 for Sunrise Therapeutic Riding and Learning Centre

PUSLINCH–  Samantha Hounsome, a Grade 10 Waterdown District High School student, recently won $5,000 for her favourite charity, Sunrise Therapeutic Riding and Learning Centre, through the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI).

While this competition occurs every year as a final project among Grade 10 Civics class students, this year, due to COVID-19, the experience was a bit different.

While students were e-learning, their presentations could not be done in person, so they were given the extra challenge of conveying the importance of their project via electronic presentation.

Eight different classes competed in the competition, but only one presentation could be selected.

Hounsome chose Sunrise for several reasons. She is an avid horseback rider, having been in the saddle since she was 10 years old.

As a result, she knows the benefits that horseback riding can have for physical and mental strength.

Same opportunities

“I firmly believe that people with disabilities should get the same opportunities in life,” said Hounsome.

“Sunrise helps provide equity rather than just equality – the program is individualized for each rider so they can participate in the program no matter their ability. It’s so important.”

Sunrise representatives were pleased to receive the unrestricted funds at such a difficult time.

“All of our regular programs, including our very popular inclusive summer day camps, have been cancelled since March 2020. Only recently have we been able to resume a few therapeutic riding lessons for our more independent riders.” said Lynne O’Brien, Sunrise executive director

“These funds couldn’t have come at a better time, and we are so thankful to Samantha and the YPI program for this gift.”

Therapy horses

Sunrise will be using the funds to sponsor the care and training of one of their therapy horses, Cadbury.

The YPI funding is made possible by the generosity of lead national supporter:  TD Bank Group; as well as national partners: The Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation, The Peter Cundill Foundation; and  Ontario program supporter: The J.P. Bickell Foundation; and community partner, the Hamilton Community Foundation.