By Alisa Pierce
Blog Content Contributor
I’ve been volunteering a lot these past few weeks, and I’ve found that there are a lot of Texas State students who wish to help out their community but don’t know where to go. It can be hard figuring out where to volunteer in San Marcos, especially when there are so many graduating seniors looking to fill their resumes. Even those who try to volunteer regularly can have trouble finding organizations that aren’t swamped with eager college students. This is why I was so happy when I found A.W.A.R.E, Inc.
A.W.A.R.E. (Always Wanted A Riding Experience) is a non-profit established in 1986 that helps children and adults with physical, mental and/or emotional disabilities through therapeutic horseback riding. Their goal, as listed on their website, is “to improve their [the rider] quality of life by offering opportunities for therapy, exercise, recreation, competition, and improvements in self-esteem.” Through this, A.W.A.R.E. has helped countless individuals in the San Marcos area and beyond receive the therapy they need while working with beautiful animals.
On Oct. 1 of this year, I volunteered at A.W.A.R.E. with my sorority. I was pretty excited about volunteering there because I’m sort of a horse nut, and helping people while getting to work with horses sounded great. I had never volunteered there before, so once I arrived at A.W.A.R.E., I went through an orientation where veteran volunteers taught new helpers how to properly care for the horses and the riders. It was a very hands-on orientation, so I was able to really interact with the horses while learning how to work with those who would benefit from the therapy.
While I went through orientation with the new volunteers, members of my sorority went to work by cleaning the area around the horses and painting the gate that opened into the arena. This work was great for those that weren’t crazy about horses but still wanted to help in some way.
I really enjoyed my experience at A.W.A.R.E., and would definitely volunteer there weekly if my schedule wasn’t so busy. However, A.W.A.R.E. is always looking for volunteers. If you’re interested, feel free to browse their website for more information.