Citizen of the Week: Alicia Kershaw
Greetings! My name is Nafeesa and I am a summer intern in your City Councilmember Brad Lander’s office. Every week this summer I’ll be doing a blog post honoring a “Citizen of the Week,” someone doing great things for the community. I hope to provide you all with information about people who will inspire you as much as they inspire us to get out there and “do good”. If you have any suggestions on who should be honored, please do not hesitate to recommend that person by e-mailing me (nafeesa [dot] islam372 [at] gmail [dot] com).
We’ve all heard of acupuncture, psychotherapy, even physical therapy, but what about therapeutic horseback riding? This week, the spotlight is on Alicia Kershaw, whose non-profit program GALLOPNYC provides horseback riding lessons to people with learning, cognitive and processing disabilities including ADHD and autism; pervasive developmental disorders; global development delay; physical disabilities including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and hearing and visual impairment; and emotional disabilities. Gallop NYC aims to provide physical, psychological, cognitive and educational therapies and allows students to have fun in a safe, supportive and dignified manner based on good horsemanship and respect for both people and animals. Therapeutic horseback riding and the care of horses helps students gain important physical, mental and social skills, and provides a wide range of physical, psychological, cognitive and educational benefits.
On June 20, Brad was fortunate to attend GALLOPNYC’s Ride With Pride event in Prospect Park where students had an opportunity to showcase their riding skills. Spectators were also able to meet a horse or pony and enjoy crafts and fun family activities. The riders included people with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and emotional and learning disabilities. Brad enjoyed handing out ribbons at the ribbon ceremony and watching the parade. He felt moved by the students’ happiness and sensed that they were proud of their accomplishments.
Alicia and her fellow organizers founded Gallop NYC in 2005. They were inspired by “the power of horses” and their ability to heal. Alicia wants to reach as many people as possible and wants to spread the joy of therapeutic horseback riding. This week we honor Alicia Kershaw as Citizen of the Week for her outstanding contribution to our community’s disabled people through therapeutic horseback riding and for providing them with fun and hope.
I should note that not only is Alicia Kershaw our District 39er of the week, she is also New York 1’s New Yorker of the Week! Check out this inspiring GALLOPNYC video that NY1 posted on their website and read more about Alicia’s work! For more information about GALLOPNYC, visit the website at: http://www.gallopnyc.org/
Check out Gallop NYC on YouTube :