Friday, April 22, 2011

Sunnyvale "Youth and Horses" Group Graduates!

On Tuesday, April 12 the first session of "Youth & Horses" concluded. Eight high school students showed their horsemanship skills both on the ground and in the saddle as family, friends, public safety officers and school administrators watched with big smiles.

Each week, the students and their mentors were transported from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale to DreamPower Horsemanship in Gilroy for a 90-minute lesson. The drive time was used to inspire the students to think about their future with a variety of presentations and workshops. During the nine-week program, students learned life skills such as responsibility, patience, work ethic, teamwork and communication while learning to handle and ride horses. They worked with both full sized horses, miniature horses and a miniature donkey.

After the horsemanship demonstrations, Officer Jim Davis served everyone a delicious meal of hotdogs, burgers, chips, watermelon and lemonade. Chef Cecelia Garza of Wild Tastes Catering provided delicious gourmet cupcakes to top off the celebration. Each student was honored with an award highlighting their strengths and each was given a framed photograph taken during the program.

Nine DreamPower volunteers made this program possible. Special thanks to the volunteers and mentors who came every afternoon for nine weeks to work with these students! Thanks to Chester, Rocky, Classy and Red, for teaching the students how to ride! And thanks to Choco, Patches, Trigger and Zachary, for helping the students to learn about working with horses on the ground.
Dori Fontaine of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety and Rob Schulze of the Reach Potential Movement coordinated the eight students and eight mentors who participated in the program.

Riding lessons were taught by NARHA Instructors-In-Training Lisa Renae Nelson and Dori Fontaine, under the supervision of NARHA Registered Instructor Martha McNiel. Horsemanship lessons with the mini's were led by NARHA Registered Instructor Melissa Abbey.

The program, part of the Sunnyvale Youth Mentoring Initiative, was co-coordinated by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety and Reach Potential Movement and was made possible through contributions from several generous sponsors: Cintas Document Management, Sonitrol Security Systems, Royal Coaches, Sports Basement, Wells Fargo Advisors, St. Luke Lutheran, Century Graphics, Royal Coaches Tours, Summit Riders Horseman's Association, Norm and Donna Betts, and Brad Frederickson.  Thank you for your support!

Monday, April 11, 2011

DreamPower Park: Bring Your Picnic Basket!

DreamPower moved to California Stables on February 1, 2007. Those of you who were around then may remember the enormous pile of manure, brush and junk that occupied the area in front of the wash rack barn, under the big oak tree, on the way to the DreamPower barn. Over the past several years that area has gradually been cleaned up. Children's Camp has met under the oak tree for Arts and Crafts and the Horses for Heroes with Heart folks met under that tree for lunch. That lunch prompted Garry Stauber to make it his project to turn that area into a nice meeting and eating area. Don van Straaten went to the San Martin Lions Club and asked if they would give DreamPower some used picnic tables from the Lions Hall. The Lions said "no." Rather than giving DreamPower used picnic tables, they said they would buy six new picnic tables and give them to DreamPower!

Ramon helps to spread the sand.
Garry levels the sand around the picnic area.
So - this past week-end - the project came together. Ramon Juarez was recruited to help Garry get the site ready.  They loaded all the remaining junk on the tractor and hauled it away. They drug the area and levelled the ground. They placed landscaping cloth, spread the wood chips, added landscaping touches and brought in sand. Garry dug a fire pit for bar-b-ques and put bricks around it. Flowers were planted around the oak tree. By Saturday night, the entire site was beautiful and ready for the picnic tables to come the following day.

Bricks are laid, flowers are planted, ready for the tables!

Garry and Ramon pat each other on the back for a job well done!

On Sunday, Don and Dirk van Straaten pulled up in their van with six state-of-the-art picnic tables packed inside.
Don and Dirk start assembling picnic tables.

Power drills in hand, they started assembling the tables, donated by the San Martin Lions Club.
These guys know how to build tables!

One, two, three, four, five, six tables!

This is how you build a picnic table.

The end result is a beautiful picnic area where we can have groups, meetings, camps, lunch, and just enjoy the beauty of nature under a spreading oak tree!
Garry, Dirk and Don celebrate a completed project!

The next time you see Garry, Ramon, Don, Dirk, or any of the San Martin Lions, please tell them all thank you for giving us all a beautiful new space to enjoy!

And here is "DreamPower Park!"  Bring your picnic basket!