Youthdale Riding Program gets $7,000 grant from Bell fund

December 7, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

The Youthdale Riding Program, located in Adjala, has received a $7,000 grant fromBell’s Let’s Talk Community Fund to support the therapeutic riding program for at risk youth in southern Ontario’s LGBTQ2+ community.

The funds will be used to expand the LGBTQ2+ Junior Glow Summer Riding Program for youth ages 12 to 15. Participants are referred to from Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS).

“The support from Bell Let’s Talk is helping us offer our unique program to more LGBTQ2+ youth who are struggling with their mental well being,” said Ellen Downey Director of the Youthdale Riding Program. “Community services which meet the unique mental wellness needs of young people are incredibly important, and we are proud to be able to provide this service in our community.”

Since 2001, Youthdale has offered a therapeutic riding program from September to June for at youth risk across the Toronto, Caledon, Peel, and Dufferin regions. Participants are given the opportunity to learn basic horsemanship and riding skills addressing specific treatment goals, including depression, anger, bullying, substance abuse and more. Interactions with the horses offer a supportive environment, which the participants are able to develop life skills, build confidence, and help overcome their issues and challenges.

“Being able to participate in the group throughout the year, the youth say it’s been life saving,” explained Jennifer Moore, DCAFS’s executive director, on the GLOW program. “It’s a very marginalized group.”

“Bell Let’s Talk is very pleased to support the Youthdale Riding Program,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Having doubled the annual Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to $2 million this year, we are helping some 120 organizations and communities across Canada, that are making such a difference in the lives of those affected by mental health.”

Bell Let’s Talk is an initiative that promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns.

Ms. Moore described the relationship between the horses and participants as symbolic, providing unconditional love. “You’re at one with them when you’re riding.”

She noted for almost all youth, it is the first time riding a horse, and though they might be afraid at the start, by the end of the program they love it. “You can just see them beaming.”


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