Storybook Farm helping from home

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By Wil Crews
Opelika Observer

Storybook Farm is a non-profit organization started in 2002 that aims to “bridge the gap between hope and hardship.”

Storybook Farm empowers children from age two to young adulthood who face obstacles including but not limited to autism, cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, sensory integration issues and bereavement situations.

Through canine companionship, exploration of nature and horse riding (instructor-assisted) activities, children at Storybook can develop their social skills, learn to better articulate their emotions and experience numerous physical benefits associated with horseback riding.

However, ever since social distancing guidelines were imposed on the state, the farm’s doors have been closed.

Still, Storybook refuses to crumble under COVID-19. Instead, they’re changing with it.

Through their website hopeonhorseback.org/, Storybook is working hard to engage with the community by providing virtual programming that is interactive, instructional and fun.

With scavenger hunts, reading challenges, word search puzzles, coloring pages, snack recipes and more, there is an enjoyable activity for everyone in the family.

“I think we’ve stretched our creative capacities and have been able to make the most out of a challenging situation,” said Executive Director and founder of Storybook Farm, Dena Little.

Little says they have traversed the entire farm videoing with their iPhones so that kids can talk to Flat Stanley, Corduroy or Professor Henry Higgins — three of the popular four-legged friends at the farm.

The 51-acre farm houses three indoor learning labs, a secret garden, playground, 16 “equine volunteers,” nine dogs, seven cats, two goats, one miniature horse named “Tinker Bell” and more.

About Storybook Farm:

Storybook Farm is a non-profit organization that relies on volunteers and generous donation from the public. While they eagerly anticipate the day when they can re-open, they still need the funds to supply for the animals and maintain the landscape.

Their biggest fundraiser of the year, “Kentucky Derby Day,” the largest Kentucky Derby party in the state of Alabama which funds about half of the operating expenses in the park, has been postponed until Sept. 5 to coincide with the postponement of the Derby itself.

Storybook is well aware of the damaging effects that COVID-19 has had on businesses and people everywhere, but donations would be greatly appreciated and can be made at hopeonhorseback.org/donate/.

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