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02 Rotary 4 12 2016x600Paulding Rotary Club president Brian Stover called the meeting to order, then opened by addressing current community projects with the club members. As soon as schedules and questions were addressed, Mr. Stover introduced our guest speaker, Jessica Moore the Executive Director from McKenna Farms. Mr. Stover also added his personal experience at McKenna Farms has been remarkably emotionally uplifting.
Ms. Moore begin by thanking the Rotary Club for the invitation to speak, once again, on behalf of McKenna Farms. Starting with the overview, McKenna Farms is a nonprofit organization that provides therapy services to those with special needs individuals. For reasons of funding the maximum age limit for those receiving therapy at this facility is 21 years of age. McKenna Farms provides physical, learning and speech therapy. McKenna Farms began in 2001 and is now in its 15th year. 536 children receive therapy weekly basis. That is up from the 300+ from last year. About 50% of these children come from Paulding County and 40% coming from Cobb County with another 10% from various other locations. McKenna Farms does accept Medicaid which is one reason that they are in such high demand as many places do not.
Therapy with horses has been extremely successful in providing both physical therapy as well as emotional and occupational therapy. How this works is that one volunteer and one therapist are present as the therapy recipient is guided through the horse ride. This helps to stimulate the muscles in the core of the body in a way that simulates the natural walking gait. Therapeutic Riding is also beneficial to many disabilities; cognitive, physical, sensory, or just self esteem. What many people do not understand until they have experienced it firsthand is how much the volunteers receive from the experience. The children who receive therapy are greatly benefited. However many agree that being a part of the experience is a tremendous gift to those volunteers.
McKenna Farms does rely heavily on volunteers and donations have approximately 60 volunteers in a weekly basis. Recently they have received a donation of mobile classrooms from the Paulding County Board of Education. This has allowed to Farms to expand beyond the Civil War era farmhouse that is now currently being used. In addition to an indoor equestrian facility which was previously donated has been able to provide more services regularly to the special needs children they serve. In the future they have to open an aquatic therapy facility. This will allow for more patients to receive quality therapy here in Paulding County. For more information please visit their website, www.mckennafarms.org or to find out more about how you can contribute to the wonderful work that is being accomplished.