Tauranga Riding for the Disabled and their 120-strong team of volunteers took time out to celebrate and recognise all of their hard work with an awards ceremony at its arena in Welcome Bay this week.
RDA offers equine therapy to anyone with disabilities and social challenges.
General manager Elisha Olds says: “We currently have 163 riders a week, and it is volunteer-intensive, with some individuals requiring three volunteers to assist them to ride.
“Our volunteer team are the heart of the organisation. Each one of them provide us with the support to operate at the level we do.
“Recreational Services have sponsored this special week for five years, and we appreciate their ongoing support.”
At the event, the title of Tauranga Riding for the Disabled Volunteer of the Year was handed to Jackie Taylor.
“Jackie is our receptionist extraordinaire,” says Elisha. “She can be found manning our reception desk on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
“Jackie started her volunteering career with us seven years ago, assisting in our therapy programmes before she made the move into our office.
“She is an essential member of our team and everyone who meets Jackie agrees that her warm welcome is the perfect introduction to the Tauranga RDA community.”
The Junior Volunteer of the Year award went to Emilee Akenson, who began volunteering with Tauranga RDA 18 months ago.
“Emilee demonstrates great leadership skills and works well with our holiday programme riders and our horses alike,” says Elisha. “We are very privileged to have such young talent on our team.
“This year we continue to recognise our long serving volunteers, many of whom have been with us for more than 10 years.
“These volunteers are the backbone of our organisation.
“We urge people to visit and see if Tauranga RDA is somewhere they feel they can invest their time.”
No experience is required to become a volunteer at Tauranga Riding for the Disabled, and training is provided. For further information, visit: www.taurangarda.co.nz
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