All of the staff at Xenophon would like to thank our donors, who made the purchase of a tractor a possibility for us. After a lot of searching, and many phone calls by our board member, Bryan Goldwyn, the center was able to find a gently used tractor with a front loader, that perfectly fit our needs. Xenophon implemented a sophisticated composting system for our manure. We recently were able to connect with a landscaping company that is using the compost. Until now, we did not have a way to load the compost into the trucks and emptying the bins often meant backbreaking shoveling work. We can now meet the demands of the landscape company, get our bins emptied in a timely manner and perform a number of other maintenance type jobs that in the past required hiring a contractor. We are so grateful to have this new useful piece of equipment.
On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, a wonderful group of 9 students from the Woodside Elementary School in Concord made a field trip to Xenophon. Throughout the morning, they learned what it takes to run a working ranch, focusing on horse husbandry. Many of the students were surprised to learn the variety of things that horses like to eat, and while it was pointed out that horses choose healthy foods such as carrots, apples and other fruit, all decided that the peppermints did not fall into the healthy category. Starlight and Go-Go lent a body to help teach the parts of the horse, and were quite happy when all of the chalk was finally groomed off by the eager students. After learning the different tack we use at the center, our Barn Manager was elated when our group cleaned all of the bridles. The day ended with a picnic lunch and games in the arena.
This month, a fantastic crew of 12 people from PG&E’s Tax Department in San Francisco came out to spend the day doing community service work at Xenophon. Donning hats and rain gear in order to brave the intermittent downpours, the group repainted all of our stalls, spread bark and spruced up our sensory trail, repaired a bench, and even did computer research. The improvements were much needed and a big thank you goes out to Mark Caron and his team for all of their efforts.
This year, Xenophon was chosen as one of the featured non-profits for the Lesher Newsmakers Speaker Series. The Lesher Foundation chooses a non-profit to make an appearance at each of the speaker presentations in the series. Working in partnership with KTVU Channel 2, a short video is complied by Channel 2 and shown before the speaker presentation. Xenophon was paired with Jack Hanna, the famous zoo keeper and TV personality. Channel 2 came to the center last fall to film and produced a wonderful video. Our evening included a private reception for staff and board members with Mr. Hanna and some of his “friends”. Those friends included a baby fox, an African porcupine, a baby kangaroo, an owl, and a black and white lemur. The interactions with these amazing animals proved to be an eye-opening, or rather, eye-closing experience. Mr. Hannah was funny and engaging. We are grateful to the Lesher Foundation and Mr. Hanna for this wonderful experience and the great exposure for our center.
All of the staff at Xenophon would like to shout out a big “Thank You” to all who helped make our gala such a successful evening. A special thank you goes our to our sponsors, listed below. We are also grateful to each and every one of you who attended, donated and/or participated in our auctions. Together we raised over $110,000.00, which is half of our operating budget for 2014. That is an incredible accomplishment. We can now confidently fund the 18% of our students on additional financial assistance; we can provide top-notch care for our equine partners; we can provide continuing educational opportunities for our instructors, ensuring their knowledge is the top in our field; we can keep our rates at their current level, offering affordable therapies; and we can actively pursue our ideas for pilot programs and research opportunities which we hope will help Xenophon better serve the needs of the disabled community in our area. Thank you for helping us achieve such a milestone. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful group of supporters, dedicated to enriching the lives of others.
The center has added a new equine team member. With the registered name of “Mr. Hollywood Cash”, Dinero, as he is called, is an 10 year-old Quarter Horse gelding. He is on loan to us from Ann Branagh, who has also graciously allowed us the use of King David. Dinero is a gentle soul who seems to have been made for therapy work. He passed his tests in the shortest amount of time on record and with flying colors. He began working in lessons on February 25th and is fast becoming a favorite mount for all types of riders, who love his flashy palomino paint color and his beautiful blue eye. Our sincere thanks go to Ann Branagh for the use of her special horses and her support of our center.
At the beginning of this season, with the help of Bart Chapman from Forcesmith, Xenophon launched a new on-line sign-up system for our volunteers. Each volunteer has their own link through which they can log onto Xenophon’s calendar system. With the click of a button they can quickly and easily sign up for the days in each session that they would like to work. Emails are automatically sent to remind the volunteers of their committed work days, and a report is available to our Volunteer Coordinators, showing all the people who have signed up for each day. This has made their job much easier. Despite a few launching glitches, the system worked well for Session 1. Current volunteers, please get ready, starting March 24, 2014, to sign up for Session 2! Thank you, Bart for your help in getting us up and running with this great tool.
Lessons began again at the center on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. The center was buzzing with activity as friends greeted each other, new volunteers were oriented and instructors saw to final details for lessons. Students arrived with smiles on their faces, greeted by new and returning volunteers alike. The horses seemed to be enjoying the activity and attention after the 2 month-break, and stepped right back into the job of carrying their special passengers. While many things were going on at the center during the break (cleaning, work days, volunteer training sessions, preparations for the gala), what all of the staff was most looking forward to was the start of lessons. That is what we are all about. The center is not the same without our riders and all they bring to the center. Welcome back to all the members of the Xenophon family. It is going to be a great year.
Our “Run For The Roses” Kentucky Derby gala event is sold out. Thank you to our sponsors and everyone who purchased tickets. It is sure to be a wonderful event and a huge success. If you missed the opportunity to purchase your tickets, but would like to be put on the waiting list, please contact Mari Parino, (925)212-8788.