Kathy Merrill

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ONEIDA COUNTY VOLUNTEER WEEK: UPSTATE CEREBRAL PALSY

By Cindy McNicholl

Thursday's featured volunteer organization is Upstate Cerebral Palsy.

Today's featured volunteer is a woman who shows us that "horsing around" can be a good thing.

Kathy Merrill volunteers at Upstate Cerebral Palsy. For the past 17 years, she has brought the kids she cares for to Windy J Stables in Sauquoit.

She knows that riding horses puts the fun back in discovering the fundamentals. A horse
will provide more than a sturdy back to ride on. It will also teach the children from United Cerebral Palsy life lessons.

She says, “Even if it is just a pony ride experience, they still learn and get to feel the horses and get a different exposure to a different environment. “

Even grooming the horses helps the kids. It teaches compassion and responsibility, giving them accomplishments in life and on the medal stand.

“We had some of our riders compete in Special Olympics and it was just really rewarding for them. It really builds their confidence and gives them exposure to things they wouldn't ordinarily have.”

Kathy sums her volunteer experience up simply. “You just really see them grow.”

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