GallopNYC, a non-profit that offers therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with disabilities and with veterans, just landed $500,000 from Borough President Eric Adams to improve the group’s stable area in Prospect Park – which representatives from the organization said would prove to be a major boost for the group that serves hundreds of riders each week.
“The generous allocation by Borough President Eric Adams will help GallopNYC build a permanent, dedicated therapeutic horsemanship facility where we can help hundreds of Brooklynites with disabilities walk, talk, connect, focus, behave and learn, inspiring each one to live life as fully, productively and independently as possible,” Alicia Kersaw of Gallop NYC, said in a press release issued by the borough president’s office. “Our project still requires several levels of community and city review and approvals and we look forward to working with the (Prospect Park) Alliance, Parks and the borough president to bring it to life.”
Adams announced the help for GallopNYC as part of a larger unveiling of the parks funding component of his capital budget plan, which he presented at a press conference at Bushwick’s Hecksher Playground on Tuesday. Totaling about $5.2 million for the fiscal year 2015 budget, the funding represents a nearly 10 percent proportional increase to parks funding from Brooklyn Borough Hall over last year, Adams’ office said.
“I made the conscious decision to invest more in our parks because our parks are for every Brooklynite,” Adams said in his press release. “It does not matter if you are young or old, if you are rich or poor—our parks bring together Brooklynites of every age, race and income level. I will continue to use my capital budget to ensure that improvements to our parks and our open space are made across the borough in an equitable fashion—from Cobble Hill to Canarsie and from Bay Ridge to Brownsville.”
Alongside GallopNYC and Hecksher Playground, the millions of dollars in funding will go towards such spaces as Prospect Park (for a project to restore its perimeter along Flatbush Avenue), Brooklyn Bridge Park, and McGolrick Playground in Greenpoint.
In addition to the exciting funding news, neighbor Maya Jordan, who works for GallopNYC, told us that the non-profit is now recruiting volunteers and has volunteer orientations running through September 7. The group operates out of a number of spots throughout the city, including Bowling Green in Prospect Park and Jamaica Bay Riding Academy in Bergen Beach.
“No experience with horses or people with disabilities is necessary,” Maya wrote to us. “We fully train all of our volunteers.”
The minimum age for a volunteer is 16 (though they do make exceptions for accomplished equestrians and occasionally high school groups). The time commitment is a minimum of two hours a week per semester, which runs from September through early December.
“We are looking for people who want to give back to their community and who are interested in helping children and adults with disabilities and veterans,” Maya wrote. “We are also looking for people who love animals. All of our volunteering takes place outdoors in the parks and occasionally in stables (at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy & Lynne’s Riding School), so volunteers should be prepared to be outdoors.”
Photos via GallopNYC.