Published on September 2, 2021

LoveWay in need of volunteers to support students with special needs in the arena

With the start of classes just a few weeks away, LoveWay is in need of volunteers!

More than 150 students with special needs will enter LoveWay’s arena this upcoming school year and each one of those students will need the assistance of a volunteer. LoveWay’s students require the support from a volunteer whether it’s physically, emotionally, mentally and/or cognitively-all to ensure an effective and safe experience.

Students come to LoveWay to bond with horses and learn horsemanship and/or riding skills but they also form relationships with the volunteers who bless them with their time and support.

Jennifer Kumm is a longtime volunteer at LoveWay and returns each year because of the joy it brings her, especially after difficult days at work as a 911 dispatcher.

“Many days my job can be stressful and heartbreaking,” Jennifer said. “But spending time volunteering at LoveWay is refreshing, encouraging, and rewarding to both myself and the riders.”

Jennifer has been returning to LoveWay for more than a decade now. Although she enjoys spending time with the horses, it is the relationship with the students that keeps her coming back.

“It is amazing to watch the kids’ progress from the first day to the last day and it is always different from child to child,” she said. “For some children, success is measured by getting them to communicate with you or the horse even a little bit. For others, it may be getting them to balance on their own. For many, it is getting them to show responsibility, respect for others and teamwork.”

Volunteers who help in classes are asked to spend at least one hour per week for the full 8-week session with their assigned class(es) and student(s) but for those who have a varying schedule each week, there’s a sub list for that! So either way, there’s an option for everyone! LoveWay’s first session of the year begins on Sept. 27 and runs through Nov. 20 with classes scheduled on weekdays, weeknights and Saturdays.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age and must be able to walk and jog on uneven ground as well as pass other safety requirements. All volunteers must also pass a background check and be willing to learn as you go. No prior experience is needed as LoveWay will provide training!

For more information, contact volunteer coordinator Arica Freshour at 574-825-5666 or email [email protected]. An application can be found here.

LoveWay is a PATH Intl (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Premiere Accredited Therapeutic Riding center and has been serving Elkhart County & surrounding counties since 1973.