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!