Growing up on a ranch surrounded by horses, STRC founder Chim Williams Welborn knew the powerful connection between horses and humans. This inspired her to create a nonprofit therapeutic riding center with horsemanship for people with disabilities at its core. The mission? To improve the mental wellness, physical ability, behavior, and cognitive skills of people living with disabilities in partnership with the horse.
And with that, STRC—short for Starlight Therapeutic Riding Center—was born.
In April 2019, STRC became a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service. The STRC Board of Directors hired a team of instructors to develop a small pilot program. Working hand-in-hand with other therapeutic riding centers, STRC could better understand the needs of the students being served.
In 2020, we launched our therapeutic horsemanship program, partnering with other organizations, including the Midland Polo Club, to serve those in need. Despite the nation's health pandemic, the request for services doubled from our pilot program. To meet the demand, yet abide by social-distancing guidelines, instructors hosted weekend grooming lessons. Other youth volunteered to help with barn chores, feeding horses, painting fences, and more. And later, in partnership with the Girl Scouts, STRC helped girls in our community earn their animal badge.
We've come to understand that persons with disabilities across the globe face new and complex challenges, and we believe it's our responsibility to do more. So, we challenged ourselves to redefine a greater tomorrow, and here's what we came up with: A brighter tomorrow is one where all people shine.
To us, that means no matter who you are or what challenges you face, your body, mind, and spirit flourish. In partnership with the horse, we believe in a brighter future. To support our vision of a blooming community, we offer individual lessons and outreach programs designed to create awareness and understanding of equine-related activities and learning. Instructors provide group sessions throughout the year, covering various topics relevant to families, educators, and organizations that provide services to individuals living with disabilities. By integrating our resources into existing programs, like those supporting health, education, and community development we are poised for future growth and sustainability.