Gianni’s Italian Bistro is a small quaint Italian restaurant located in San Ramon. But this little restaurant, with its fabulous food, is huge in the hearts of those at Xenophon. Restaurant owners, Gianni and Melanie Bartoletti, are impacting their community in a big way. Their restaurant is normally closed on Mondays, but several years ago, they began opening their restaurant on that day in order to invite non-profits in for a fundraising event, “Tips for Change”. The non-profit provides the wait staff and invites the guests. They then keep all of the tips, in addition to Gianni and Melanie donating 10% of the evening’s proceeds. What started out as a once-a-month contribution, has now turned into a 2-3 times-a-month philanthropic endeavor.
Xenophon has been fortunate to be one of the lucky participants in “Tips for Change”. On Monday, September 28, 2015, several of our staff and board members donned their Xenophon shirts along with an apron to hone their serving skills. Thankfully, the fabulous Italian fare more than made up for the lack of service! Faithful Xenophon supporters filled the restaurant seats to capacity with bodies and the air with laughter. They once again proved what is already well known: that Xenophon has the best supporters on the planet. We raised over $3,600.00 in tips and with the restaurant donation our total was nearly $4,000.00. What an amazing night. Our Xenophon parents will be happy to know that their children’s instructors have decided to keep their day jobs! Thank you, Gianni and Melanie for this wonderful opportunity. For those of you who were unable to come last Monday to the restaurant, please give Gianni’s Italian Bistro a try. You will not be disappointed.
When Eagle Scout candidate, Chris Anderson, came to Xenophon to see if we had a project he could do for his Eagle Scout badge, little did he know that he would be getting involved in manure manufacturing. With 6 horses on site, the input into Xenophon’s composting bins were outweighing capacity. Chris took on the project of building a fourth compost bin for us. This included pouring a concrete foundation, learning how to mortar cinder blocks and install rebar, as well creating the wood panels for the front. Chris demonstrated a huge capacity for learning and an overall maturity that made this project happen seamlessly. Beside building the bin, Chris put in a huge effort to get donations to cover the cost of the project. Not only did he cover expenses, but through his fundraising efforts a donation was made to the center of over $700.00. Thank you, Chris, for this much needed project. Thanks also to Trax Trax, Inc. for their donation of time, resources and talent to help Chris with this project, as well as to all of Chris’ donors. We can now manage our manure and turn it into fabulous compost!
Xenophon participants were offered the opportunity to participate in a special skate night at the Oakland Ice Center on Friday, August 14, 2015. Six of Xenophon’s students and their families turned out for a fun-filled evening on the ice. All types of unique devices were on hand to help any level of skater. There were plastic seals that skaters could sit on and get pushed over the ice, there were walkers to provide stability while skaters propelled themselves, there were even chairs and buckets to provide easy movement. Balls and parachutes enhanced the fun and scores of volunteers engaged and helped the skaters on the ice. This wonderful opportunity was provided by Denise Christiansen, an autism specialist and the coordinator for the Special Skater Program at the ice center. We hope for future opportunities at the ice rink. Thank you, Denise.
We are very excited to announce that one of our instructors, Heidi Koch, was awarded the PATH International Region 11 Professional of the Year. Heidi is one of our therapeutic riding instructors and teaches on Wednesdays, as well as instructing Bridle Paths to Success, our young adult program on Thursday mornings. Heidi received her therapeutic riding instructor training in Switzerland in 1987, and has been teaching at Xenophon since 2005. Heidi’s dedication to her profession made her the perfect candidate for this award. She approaches each of her lessons with careful consideration for each student’s individual needs. Her gentle manner is calming to both the student and the horse and her compassion for both people and animals is passed on to every student.
In addition to teaching at Xenophon, Heidi also teaches able-bodied riders at Summit Ranch. Her love for her students is deep and she has provided many of Xenophon’s riders, who have aged out of the program, to continue riding under her careful tutelage. Heidi is extremely active in the horse community, serving on the boards of local associations. We are very proud of Heidi, as she was chosen from a distinguished group of candidates from throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii. Heidi will be honored as the regional recipient at the PATH International conference in Cleveland, OH in November. She will also be a candidate for the national Professional of the Year, which will be announced at the conference. Congratulations, Heidi.
This year, Xenophon offered a mounted summer camp during the week of August 3rd – August 6th. Campers arrived the first morning to a tropical paradise, with flamingos and palm trees decorating the center. The week was full of activities, with daily crafts, games, horse husbandry and riding. On Tuesday, gloves were donned and clothes were covered so campers could dive into tie-dying their own T-shirt. On Wednesday, special guests arrived in a horse trailer. Blackie and Derby, two miniature horses from SonRise Equestrian Foundation, came to spend the day at the center. They were the highlight of the week. Thank goodness they were patient visitors, as the their job was to be body painted by their camper partner. The day was full of grooming the minis, walking them through an obstacle course, painting them and then giving them a bath to restore them to their original color. Thursday also brought smiles when the campers were able to create a photo collage poster of all they had done at camp.
The week provided special opportunities for our riders. The extra time gave the opportunity for each to learn to groom and tack their horse. Riding skills progressed quickly as each child spent a portion of the day on their favorite mount.
The Xenophon staff did a fabulous job ensuring the camp experience was memorable. Each and every day our riders went home with a special package, from craft projects to puzzles, to coloring books themed to the days activities. Smiles abounded, by both the campers and the volunteers. The center hopes to make this a yearly opportunity.
The equine assisted therapy community is not a very big one. Centers are few and far between, scattered around the United States. Thus, we tend to be a very tight industry, helping each other where possible. Recently, Xenophon had the opportunity to collaborate with one of our neighboring centers, Giant Steps Therapeutic Riding Center, located in Petaluma, California. One of our volunteers is training to be an instructor at Xenophon. The certification process through PATH International, our governing body, is very involved. Instructors need to teach a minimum of 25 hours of group lessons. Since all of Xenophon’s clients are taught one-on-one, we cannot offer group lesson hours. Our student instructor was able to go over to Giant Steps to teach lessons with multiple riders. In exchange, a group of instructors came to Xenophon for a long-lining clinic. Giant Steps is interested in starting a Hippotherapy program and was looking for instruction on how to choose and train a horse to long line for Hippotherapy. A fun afternoon was spent at our center, learning the process for starting a horse for driving and long lining. It was a winning combination for both centers, and both look forward to other opportunities to share knowledge and resources.
So, what do you do when it is too hot for lessons? The recent heat wave found even Orinda facing 100+ degree temperatures, which made it impossible for man or beast to participate in lessons this past Tuesday and Wednesday. But our amazing and faithful volunteers came to the center anyway on Wednesday and helped prep 1,000 newsletter for mailing. Thanks to these dedicated helpers for a job well done.
After 15 months of rehabbing her injured leg (a torn suspensory ligament) at Summit Ranch, Kiwi is finally back home. Kiwi’s return put a big smile on students, volunteers and staff’s faces. She has settled back in at home reconnecting with her old pasture mates and meeting our new herd members. Kiwi started working in Hippotherapy lessons at the beginning of Session 3 and is acting like she has never left. She still remembers her job and is enjoy being back with her students. She remembered one of her long time riders in particular and gave him a slobbery kiss on her return, Ben was happy to see her too.
A BIG thank you to the volunteers that have helped with Kiwi’s hand-walks and riding during her rehab.
Back by popular demand, Xenophon is off to the A’s game. For those of you who have joined us before, this is a fun evening of great company and great baseball. Mark your calendar for Friday, June 19, 2015 at 5:00pm. You don’t want to miss this game, as the A’s are playing the Angels. Bring the whole family. Tickets are limited, so get your’s early. See flier for purchasing details. More information on possible tailgating to come.
Fireworks Show will follow the game!
You can watch fireworks from the field or from the section we will be seated in.
Tickets are $28 (regularly $30) – checks can be made payable to Xenophon TRC or you can purchase online under the donate tab. Please indicate for the purchase of A’s tickets.
We have 50 seats reserved and it will be on a first come-first serve basis.
Please email Janet Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate how many tickets you would like to purchase by May 27th.