JNF and Shatner Fund Therapeutic Riding in Israel
Contact: Sherri Morr • JNF Western Zone Director • 415-677-9600 •email@example.com
February 13, 2008 -- Jewish National Fund (JNF) is pleased to announce the first round of disbursements from the William and Elizabeth Shatner-JNF Therapeutic Riding Consortium forIsrael. More than $200,000 was distributed among 15riding centers across Israelthat will go to:
All participating riding centers had to have non-profit status inIsraelmeet the board’s criteria, and file project proposals. The consortium is overseen by a board of trustees that evaluates expenditures and provides hands-on guidance for the programs.
“It is gratifying to see the first of what I hope will be many projects funded by this consortium,” said Shatner. “For every project funded, a child is being helped and that is what this is all about.”
Long involved with a few of the therapeutic riding centers that exist in Israel, JNF of America together with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, wanted to do more than just fund one or two centers. The William and Elizabeth Shatner-Jewish National Fund Therapeutic Riding Consortium for Israel aims to provide scholarships for children of all religious and ethnic backgrounds and from all walks of life so that no one who would benefit from a therapeutic riding center is denied that opportunity because of the cost. It is an ideal way to facilitate cooperation between Israelis of all backgrounds, Jordanians and Palestinians.
The benefits of riding for those with disabilities have been recognized for over 3,000 years, since the time of Hippocrates. Therapeutic riding has been widely used since the early 1950s as a tool for improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Individuals with almost any cognitive, physical and/or emotional disability can benefit from therapeutic riding, driving, vaulting, competition or other purposeful, safe and supervised interaction with horses. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in verbalization, flexibility, balance, muscle tone, strength, posture, coordination,motor development and emotional well being. For individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, the unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. The sense of independence and acceptance found through these activities with the horse benefits all.
“When you see a child being treated at a therapeutic riding center it is like seeing a fantasy become reality,” said Shatner. “The smile on the child’s face when she/he gets on the horse, the ability they have to communicate with the horse, to sit straight and have control of the horse, gives the child a new kind of confidence! We hope that raising money for these riding centers inIsraelthrough Jewish National Fund will allow more people to benefit from this therapy and open the door for new dialogue.
“In addition to healing the minds and bodies of the people in the therapeutic riding program, we also seek in a small, tiny way, to heal the nations of the area,” he said. "We need help from every corner, from Israeland the world, especially America—that’s what we’re about. I learned these words here: 'Sussim osim nissim -- horses do miracles.'"
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
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