Join Us at the Brandywine Valley Roubaix to Benefit Quest

On Sunday, April 9th, we invite you to join us at the second annual Brandywine Valley Roubaix. This Gravel Grinder/Gran Fondo will take riders through the scenic country-side and rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley, some of the most unspoiled and historic countryside of the Mid-Atlantic. The full ride is 58 miles (and 4,000 feet of climbing) with over 40% consisting of gravel / mixed surface roads including the famed 1 mile long Hill Top Road climb (10% grade in some sections) and several newly added gravel sections. The course is suited for both road bikes (25 mm tires best) and cyclocross bikes, and will have a road bypass option.

The Brandywine Valley Roubaix has generously invited Quest families to register and participate for free. If you would like to participate, register HERE. We are so grateful to the Brandywine Valley Roubaix for their support!

New Executive Director Announcement

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The Quest Therapeutic Services Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Newcomb as Executive Director effective immediately. Prior to appointment, Lisa served as the National Director, Executive Director and Event Coordinator for the Melanoma International Foundation. The Board has the fullest confidence that Lisa will use her years of non-profit experience in fundraising, team building and leadership to foster the growth of Sandy McCloskey’s vision for Quest Therapeutic Services in the years to come.

Board Chair, Rob Fenza commented, “Losing a gifted therapist and visionary like Sandy McCloskey, who saw and acted upon what hippotherapy could do for children, was devastating to the organization. The Board of Directors is extremely grateful for the incredible effort put forth by Interim Director, Karen Chamberlain, and the entire staff at Quest as we searched for the right successor. We are very excited to have found someone with Lisa’s professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge of the non-profit world to now take Quest forward.”

“Succeeding the founder of Quest is a great honor and I look forward to building upon the legacy set forth by Sandy McClosky. I am very excited to begin working with the staff, Board, volunteers, families and most importantly, the children at Quest Therapeutic Services.” 

Lisa’s career spans over two decades as a leader in a variety of management, fundraising, design and strategic planning roles. Early in her career, Lisa served as the Resource Coordinator for The Family & Workplace Connection where she assisted families in securing quality child and elderly care as a corporate benefit. She also gained experience in the coordination, logistics and planning of all fundraising events as well as managing fundraising campaigns and the stewardship of donors.

After ten years at the Family & Workplace Connection, Lisa spent ten years at the Melanoma International Foundation where she served as National Director, Executive Director and Event Coordinator. Lisa successfully managed daily operational activities including HR protocols, a volunteer management program and fundraising efforts, which led to an increased total annual income. 

Lisa holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Messiah College. She also remains active in the community through her volunteer work at Make-A-Wish America and Downingtown STEM Academy. Lisa resides in West Bradford Township with her husband and three children.

Please join us in welcoming Lisa to the Quest family!

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT 2: MINNIE KIRWIN

Volunteer since: March of 2005

I have volunteered at Quest on Thursdays for almost 12 years. I started a few months after

Quest moved to the current facility, which was a very exciting time.  Before that Quest did not have its own facility, almost all sessions took place outdoors and horses were borrowed from the hosting farm. 

What led you to Quest?

My children went off to college and I wanted to get involved with another charity.  I found Quest online and it was the perfect fit because I’ve ridden horses my whole life and love working with children.  After I began volunteering I found that I actually knew a number of the people involved with Quest, which made it even more fun. 

Why do you volunteer at Quest?

I’m a horse person, so I love that aspect of it. It’s also an amazing community. The therapists are the most wonderful, caring people. The children and their parents are so impressive and have taught me a lot about meeting and overcoming challenges.  The volunteers can range in age from 14 to 75, but become fast friends from their shared mission. 

Parents whose children are in sessions at the same time often become very close and share their wisdom and advice with one another.   Quest makes everyone feel comfortable and welcome.  The parents and siblings have a very inviting indoor viewing area where they can relax and watch the sessions. 

It’s fun to see the kids develop. In many cases you see impressive results and the children blossom with the therapies and attention.  They are the V.I.P. of their session as they look down upon the volunteers from their perch upon a horse. 

What do you want people to know about Quest?

For those who aren’t familiar with hippotherapy, it is therapy on horseback, not teaching handicapped children to ride.  Some things done in therapy (riding backwards, sideways, on your knees, throwing a ball, etc.) would be a bit daunting for someone who rides in a conventional manner.  But the children catch on quickly and feel secure with a therapist on one side and a volunteer on the other.  Children gain strength and confidence in addition to befriending horses, therapists, and volunteers.  Very few sessions end without some singing, lots of smiling, and a belly laugh or two.   It is a special place!

New Year, New Volunteer Spotlights

We're ringing in the New Year with a new volunteer spotlight series that will profile a few of our dedicated volunteers.

We begin the series with one of our newer volunteers, Alexis.  Read about why Alexis started volunteering at Quest and what keeps her coming back each week below!


QUEST VOLUNTEER PROFILE: ALEXIS

Volunteer since: November of 2015

What led you to Quest?

I was always interested in horses. At this stage in my life, I knew I wouldn’t own a horse myself so this was the perfect volunteer opportunity. As time went on, the kids became as much fun, or as much of a draw, as the horses. I fell in love with the kids and seeing their progress.

Why do you volunteer at Quest?

I really like this one little girl. She’s adorable and has a good sense of humor. She’s made so much progress in the year that I started with her. She’s really built up her strength.

There are also a lot of nice people here. Everybody seems to be on the same page and everybody seems to enjoy the work here.


Without our volunteers, our programs could not exist. We are so grateful for our weekly volunteers like Alexis! Thank you for all of the time you dedicate to Quest! 

And we are always looking for new volunteers so if you are interested in volunteering in 2017 please click here for more information! 

A FOND FAREWELL TO SANDY MIELE

Sandy and Tobin

Sandy and Tobin

After eight years of dedicated service to Quest Therapeutic Services, we bid a fond farewell to our Barn Manager and friend, Sandy Miele. Although Sandy has assumed many roles during her time at Quest, we can credit a lot of the systems and organization in the barn to her, as well as her tender care of our horses. When asked about a few of her fondest memories during her time at Quest, Sandy shared the following stories.

“Most of my memories are around Sandy [McCloskey]. Many years ago, I wanted to take our fjord pony Tobin out on a paper chase, but Sandy said no for two reasons. The first was because Tobin had been in the habit of bucking off strange riders on trail and the one-day Sandy decided to ride him out, he bucked her off too. And the second was because I’d never been on a paper chase before. To resolve this reason, I went on a paper chase with a friend and rode a horse I hadn’t known. After that, I then asked Sandy again if we could go. She said okay, so she rode her horse Rick and I rode Tobin. We had a really great time. We were even cantering which we normally wouldn’t do when we were trail riding together.”

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“A few years ago, I had this one child that loved tractors. I told Sandy about his love of tractors and she suggested that I give him a ride on our John Deere tractor the next time he came for therapy. And with his parent’s enthusiastic permission, I did just that. It was a special moment when we did anything extra like that. I love it when special things happen in the moment like that.”

“Just a couple weeks ago, I was bringing the golf cart from the back of the barn to the front. There was a therapist with her child at the back of the barn finishing up her session by doing a barn task and I asked if she would like to take a ride down the aisle on the golf cart. Sure enough the she and her therapist and climbed in and I gave them a ride to the front of the barn. Her face lit up the whole time, so I knew it was a special moment for her. Her therapist was also tickled by the experience, and her family was happy she got a ride in the golf cart too”

And finally, Sandy said, “I used to do a lot of riding in the early days. Since my husband’s health declined, I took a step back from training and riding. I continued to focus on the sessions, horse care and barn work. I missed the riding, but I did a few trail rides last week. I hope to come back and do one last trail ride with my favorite pony, Tobin!”

Thank you for being such an integral part of the Quest family, Sandy. We will miss you more than you know, but you’re more than welcome to come back to ride Tobin whenever you’d like! 

"Jack" Retiring from Quest Therapy Program

Jack will be returning to his owner next week to continue his dressage training.  Jack joined the Quest team in 2011 and has been an integral part of our hippotherapy program.  Jack, a very sweet and fancy New Dales pony was generously loaned to us.  He was a favorite of many of the volunteers and kids. Jack will be missed, but we wish him and Kathy all the best and we expect to see many blue ribbons in his future!

Quest Therapist in the News

Congratulations to one of our therapists, Ellen Erdman, PT, DPT, HPCS.  Ellen has just been published in the AHA, Hippotherapy Journal, Fall 2016 for her article:  The Path to Publication.   Ellen's article discusses the journey from interesting client experience and on to publication.  Research in hippotherapy is limited, so by following Ellen's path from the client - conversation - platform - published -  therapists can begin to develop new reasearch regarding hippotherapy.     
Kuddos to Dr. Erdman for her attention to detail and her path to helping others have their research or case studies published and to get the word out on how important hippotherapy is for the children. 

Hippotherapy Level I Training Course 11/10 - 11/13

Quest is offering a four-day American Hippotherapy Association Level I training course November 10th through November 13th, 2016.

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This four day course is an overview of the principles of hippotherapy, designed for therapists (PT, OT, SLP, PTA, COTA, SLPA) interested in utilizing hippotherapy in their practice.

For more information on the course, fees and pre-requisites, click on this link: http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org/…/level-i-t…/
Adaptive riding instructors, horse handlers, administrators and others interested in
hippotherapy treatment principles are welcome to attend, teamed with their therapist. Graduate
occupational, physical and speech therapy students must be in their last semester of graduate
school to be eligible to attend this course for credit.

Contact Quest at info@questtherapeutic.com to register.  Spaces are limited.

Child Chooses Quest Instead of Birthday Presents!

Thank you to our friend Ari! For her 9th birthday, Ari a 4th grader at Beaumont Elementary school decided she wanted to donate to Quest instead of getting birthday presents from her friends. Ari said "It feels good to help Quest and all the kids and horses. I think other kids should do this too. It's easy and fun! My mom volunteers for Quest."

Thank you Ari for your cash gift to Quest and the Utz Snacks! The horses thank you too!
Any other kids out there want to take Ari's BIRTHDAY PRESENT CHALLENGE? Let's see how many kids will participate!

Quest Polo Day - August 7, 2016

QUEST POLO DAY!  
Sunday, August 7th
Friends of Quest are invited for an afternoon of polo and fun at the Brandywine Polo Club Pavilion
Gates open at 1:30 pm - Game starts at 3:00 pm

****Special Learn to Watch Polo lesson at 2:00-2:45
Wine and Beer Bar – Finger Foods – Silent Auction
Bring your chair and sunscreen!  Polo attire and fancy hats are optional.  General admission $10.00 at gate to polo field (under 12 or over 75 free!) 
A fine way to spend the afternoon!  Check out their website www.BrandywinePolo.com for directions
 ***If you would like to bring snacks, or help to sponsor the event, let us know so we can coordinate!   Thanks!
Call us at 610-692-6362 or email jkriesel@questtherapeutic.com for more information

Favorite "McQuest" Pony to receive Carrot Cake after Election!

Do you have a favorite pony at Quest?  To raise money for our Quest Horse and Pony fund, we are having a contest to see which McQuest Pony will get the most votes from now - until St. Patrick's Day.  Votes are only $2.00 each and $5.00 for three votes.  Drop us a check or hit the donate button and vote for your favorite pony.  All funds will help to support the many needs of our ponies, such as supplements, equipment, treats, hay, bedding and more.  
 
 

The pony with the MOST votes will receive a carrot cake to share with the barn and have an entire Facebook post dedicated to them.  
 
Vote now for McChloe, McCooper, McMocha, McCappy, McYogi, McJack, McTobin, McRick or McTeddy.  

Quest Physical Therapist in the News!

Ellen Erdman, PT, DPT, HPCS and research partner Samuel R Pierce, PT PhD, NCS have been published in the journal of Pediatric Physical Therapy, in the Spring – 2016 issue.  
 
The article is a research paper on:  Use of Hippotherapy With a Boy After Traumatic Brain Injury:  A Case Study. 
 
This is very exciting news for Ellen (and Quest) and helps us continue to get the word out about hippotherapy.  Congratulations Ellen!   Dr. Erdman has been a physical therapist at Quest since 2003 and splits her time between Quest and teaching at Widener University.  
 
This is a photo of Ellen in action and you can see the powerful connection she has with her kiddos!  We are very fortunate to have Ellen at Quest.  With additional funding from our donors, Quest could be continuing to perform research - Let us know if you would like to help fund some very important research projects!

Pony and Horse Donations

Quest is always open to hearing about pony and horse donations (if they are sound, free of medical issues and they love children).  We have limited space at Quest, so we may or may not have any openings when you call, but we would love to hear from you anyway! 
 
Our therapists seek to match a specific type of horse to each client, based on height, width, contour, and movement.  We are seeking a variety of horse sizes - 15.1 is our maximum at this time.
 
Other requirements:  

  • 13.1 - 15.1 hands
  • Anatomically desirable:  contour of horse's back which will not predispose client to a poor alignment or provide too narrow of a base of support
  • sound, flexible, balanced, with symmetrical and VARIABLE movement (which can be varied by a leader vs a rider)
  • forward walk, be able to trot in hand
  • able to respond to a leader when confusing things are happening on its back
  • able to tolerate therapy equipment (walkers, Wheelchairs, bubbles, balls, noisy toys/velcro, bouncing of "clothesline" in arena)
  • able to tolerate sudden movements or unexpected noises from a child on thier back or mounting or dismounting
  • friendly, not nippy
  • healthy (not high maintenance or expensive medications)
  • able to get along with other horses
  • not girthy
  • a been there done that attitude

There is a full list of questions that we would be happy to go over with potential donors.  We have limited time for evaluations because of our therapy schedule.  If your horse or pony fits our criteria, our therapists will ask that the donor bring the horse to our facility for the initial evaluations at a designated time.

Important:  We need the ability to return horse if it does not work for us due to lack of space and funding.  Thank you for your understanding.
Please contact us for more information.

Sandy McCloskey Memorial Fund

A legacy to be proud of and a legacy that will stand up for children with disabilities for years to come. 

It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Sandra N. McCloskey, our Founder and President. 

In the past 19 years, volunteers, supporters and the community have helped Quest become a world-class Outpatient Therapy Clinic where children’s live are changed, families are strengthened and children receive the therapy and building blocks they need for success in life and school.  From a mere six children receiving therapy in a rented horse pasture, to the indoor arena and facility that we have today, it is because the community, friends, families and donors have always stood behind Quest.

What started as a dream for Sandy, has become a wonderful legacy for the future.  Starting with only one therapist, to now having fulltime therapists and 15 contracted therapists – we now serve the entire Delaware Valley.  Our staff provides early intervention in the home and community as well – we are touching so many lives!

Children are at the heart of all that we do.  It is an honor to support and provide services for our children as we improve their lives, build on their strengths, and help them benefit from the healing power of a horse.

First steps, first words, first smiles.  These are all the things we witness every day.  The future continues to look bright for every child at Quest! 

The Quest mission has brought together the community, donors, corporations, universities, service groups and numerous volunteers (age 12 to 86) that we could not survive without.  Please join the team at Quest, as we continue to build on the dream and pave the way for the long term success of our programs and organization.

Quest will continue to build each child’s potential, help children gain skills and lifetime rewards – One therapy visit at a time!

Karen Chamberlain, one of our long-term therapists has been serving as Interim Director, and will continue to do so until a replacement is found.

Please visit the link below for more information and to post memories and photos of Sandy for her family.  http://donohuefuneralhome.tributes.com/obituary/show/Sandra-McCloskey-nee-Newman--103218010.  

Sincerely,
The Quest Staff, Board of Directors and our Therapy Horses