Friday, July 30, 2010

Good bye yellow brick road

Well, this concludes my tour of Coffee and Community. Thank you for going along on the ride with me. I hope you all and HandsOn Northeast Georgia continues to do great things! With one closing door, there is always an opening window. Our new social media intern will be taking over the blog and you should be hearing some very interesting things from her very soon.

Thanks again for your time and thanks to all the agencies that participated!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coffee and Community session 3

Welcome to our third and last installment of Coffee and Community. I set down with Michelle Rabold at Jittery Joe's to discuss what True Love Canine Rescue is up to.

True Love Canine Rescue (TLCR) started in 2008 with Michelle and her husband taking in dogs that were abandoned or abused. As they started to take in more dogs, it began to get expensive to feed, shelter, and provide medical visits for the dogs. Soon after taking on a lot of dogs, TLCR joined the Nonprofit Development Alliance at Community Connections, where they were sponsored by Community Connections under their 501( c)3. A 501 (c )3 are the legal papers that establish a nonprofit. As TLCR has become more developed and established, the organization became our partner for TeamServe, an opportunity for businesses and groups to serve together.

So, what does TLCR do? Exactly what you think they would do. TLCR takes in dogs that have been in shelters for extensive periods or abandoned dogs. The TLCR organization trains special dogs to increase their adoptability and in the long run, ensure a permanent loving home. How do they do this, you may ask? Through a positive reinforcement training of basic skills like creating better reactions to a leash; then, eventually, walking on a leash will increase the social skills and adoptability of these particular dogs.

What the organization really needs, are sponsors. TLCR foots the bill (including a crate and supplies) for the well-being of the dog, but while that special dog is undergoing training he or she needs the comfort of a warm home. Sponsors have to fill out an application and go through a home check to make sure they are the right fit. Additionally, sponsors can help with behavior problems by reinforcing good behavior taught by the trainers.

It has been a busy summer for TLCR as they are going through the process of filing their own 501 (c) 3 –trust me it is no easy task! The TLCR is also having a garage sale on July 24 and all of the proceeds fund the rescue organizations. Donations for things to be sold are still under way and everything that is left over from the yard sale will be donated to the Potter house. This fall the TLCR is adopting a class at Clarke Middle School. The class will develop teamwork around a spay and neuter program. Additionally, Michelle’s next dream is to develop a therapy dog to take to hospitals. Not to mention the annual Pedal for Paws 5k, a doggone good time (I had to do it). TLCR is taking sponsors for the race and individuals can sponsor particular dogs, contact Michelle at or visit the TLCR website at

Ah, the audience participation portion of the evening– well afternoon. We need your help in developing our blog! What are your thoughts of the Coffee and Community sessions? Are there questions unanswered? Perhaps, an over looked organization? Post your answers and one winner will be chosen at random for a surprise gift!

Again, the food featured in the blog can be found on my website ( and the coffee featured is still the Honeysuckle Latte (If it is not broke; don’t fix it).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Coffee and Community session 2

This particular session of coffee and community took place at Butterfly Dreams Farm with Cat Thompson. The farm is the most visually stimulating, prettiest piece of land I have ever seen. The trail leading to the farm itself is decorated with beautiful painted butterflies with names of campers on it. Right away I was moved, I may be a complete sap, but I was very much moved.

Butterfly Dreams farm is a therapeutic ridding and Hippotherapy clinic for children and adolescents with severe physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Hippotherapy is a medical model that assists with teaching children 2 and older how to hold their head up, walking, and other basic life skills, while therapeutic ridding can provide more social skills and basic riding lessons.

I personally feel like this is such a fun agency because, as a volunteer, there are so many opportunities. You can do practically anything from working with kids to caring for the grounds. We did a family serve at Butterfly Dreams by clearing paths and removing branches. However, there is so much more to do than that. For every Hippotherapy session, the farm needs three volunteers to help the therapists: two to help support the child and one to lead the horse. In therapeutic riding, they need volunteers every time children go out in the ring to ride. It really is so varied what you can do as a volunteer. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer the next volunteer training session is September 10th.

The farm currently has seven horses in use for therapy and riding sessions with one more on the way. Butterfly dreams gets most of its horses on loan and a couple were donated. They get tons of offers for horses, which completely surprised me. However, these horses have to be completely gentle and not scared of anything so they only take 1 out of every 20 they get offered. Cat once had a tree fall right next to a riding ring with a child on a horse. The horse did not even blink -pretty amazing right? “It’s not because the farm is picky”, Cat said “It is because these horses have to deal with kids who will scream, stand behind the horse, and do everything a kid is not supposed to do around a horse.” The farm also tries all of these things when a horse is up for a job at Butterfly Dreams. They scream and have a therapist imitate a seizure to see if the horse can handle it around a child who might actually have a seizure. America’s Next Top Model has nothing on this job application!

So, what is new for Butterfly Dreams? A horse show! The Athens Area Hunters and Jumpers Association is another horse nonprofit and are hosting a horse show where all the proceeds provide scholarships for children who don’t have insurance or whose insurance will not cover the farm's treatments. The show will feature some of Butterfly Dreams own riders. Admission is free and there will be a raffle during the show. Some of the organization’s long term goals are to increase the amount of kids they can have at one time and to get a covered arena. “That is something that we would just love to have. So many of our kids are medically fragile and cannot ride in the extreme weather or rain. We lose so many sessions that way”, stated Cat.

The Horse show is July 10th at the Four Seasons Farm at 1350 Plantation Road in Madison, GA at 9 am. If you would like to inquire about receiving services at the farm please call 706-310-1600. Butterfly Dreams farm can also be found on the HandsOn Northeast Georgia website.

The coffee featured in this session was Jittery Joe's Honeysuckle Latte and any food feature on the blog can be found at my personal site: