Stanford student and Cleveland native Calah Hanson has received the school’s Haas Summer Fellowship.
This is the first time the center has had someone work on a paid fellowship, according to program director Denise Wright.
During her time, at the center Hanson is developing a sensory trail. The trail will provide an alternative site for therapeutic riding besides the arena, Wright said.
“It actually makes it more fun for the students. Way more fun for the volunteers,” Wright said. “For example, going up and down hills even that little change in the horse is actually really big for one of our kids with autism.”
Wright said the students really enjoy trail rides but the center has not had a really good place to do it before. Wright said the center has wanted to do a sensory trail for about two years.
“Most of our kids don’t hike. They don’t know what its like to be out in the woods,” Wright said.
Even some of the volunteers have not been in the woods, Hanson said.
Obstacles and stations of the trail will incorporate the five senses. Hanson said some items that will be included are a mailbox, wind chimes, colorful pool noodles and flower boxes.
The flower boxes will be hanging from the trees. Students will water the plants as they ride by.
The noodles will hang down around the students as they ride under them, allowing them to touch and see them.
Wright said the trail will also have a basketball hoop that students have to stretch to put the ball into. The trail will also be enjoyable just to walk through
The trail will be short to accommodate the 45-minute class time Wright has. Areas where the path splits will allow the center to have more choices with each class.
Wright said she might also decorate the trail for Halloween. Even after Hanson leaves, the trail will be an ongoing project.
Research on what would be good for a sensory trail was the first part of the project. Hanson has also coordinated groups to come in and help.
Two Student Life groups in other areas have come to work on the trail. Volunteers have also contributed ideas to the trail.
Wright said she was contacted by Hanson on doing the fellowshipin November.
Hanson said she knew she wanted to do something with children for her community service oriented fellowship.
The junior human biology major said she had volunteered with Reinbow Riders years ago. She enjoyed the experience, and decided she wanted to come back.