Australia's Pegasus Riding for the Disabled in ACT has received a boost with a $20,000 cash donation from the Eastlake Football Club.
Pegasus is a local not-for-profit community organisation that provides equestrian activities for people with a disability. They offer therapeutic, recreational and sporting programs for their riders and a pathway to Paralympic competition.
The donation will be announced during National Volunteer Week, as Pegasus has chosen to use the money to support its volunteer program.
"We rely on over 100 volunteers a week to deliver our programs", explained Pegasus Volunteer Manager, Anna Sullivan. "Without these volunteers we simply could not operate, so we felt it was appropriate to use this generous donation to manage our volunteers more effectively."
The money will be used to employ a dedicated Volunteer Manager who is responsible for the recruitment, training and retention of these invaluable volunteers.
The quality of Pegasus's volunteer program has been acknowledged many times; the most recent being their recognition through the NAB National Volunteer Awards in 2007, where they were the state winner in the small to medium organisation category.
"Late last year, Eastlake was looking for a local community organisation to support. We were particularly keen to work with a program that assisted young people with a disability. We visited Pegasus, saw their programs in action and witnessed the self-esteem and physical benefits that the kids get from their riding programs and decided very quickly that we wanted to get involved. In reality, it is going to be a two way relationship, with opportunities for both our organisations to work together to develop our community. The fact that Pegasus has chosen to use our donation to further enhance their volunteer program is fantastic and we are delighted to make this announcement during National Volunteer Week", Eastlake Board Member, Ron Maginnes said.
The announcement will take place during the Pegasus Volunteer Celebration dinner to be hosted at Eastlake Football Club today. Guest speaker, Paraequestiran rider Rob Oakley can attest to the difference that the Pegasus volunteers make in the lives of the riders.
"As well as being a rider, I was actually a Pegasus volunteer myself for many years and I'm proud to have the opportunity to thank the volunteers for the great work that they do. Providing support to young people with a disability can make such a difference to their lives as they take on new challenges and test their abilities. I know that my own riding has given me enormous opportunities and self-confidence - something that is often lacking when you have a disability."
Oakley will also be speaking about his current campaign for selection in the Paralympic equestrian team that will be competing in Hong Kong in September.
"It's been a long tough road, but I should hear in mid June whether I've been selected to represent Australia at the Paralympics. That would be a dream come true for me, but perhaps more importantly it will show many other riders with a disability what they are capable of if they set their goals high and work hard to achieve them."