Lori Voecks and Liz Wolff have both volunteered generously at LifeStriders in the past as Riding Instructors, and now they will be coordinating many of the activities at the new riding center. Please join me in welcoming them to the Staff at LifeStriders. We are lucky to have these two uniquely qualified individuals.
Lori Voecks, NARHA CTRI
Lori has been a volunteer with LifeStriders since 2006. In 2008 she received her NARHA Instructor Certification. Her primary professional experience has been in customer support and project management. During her 25 + years of horse ownership, she has participated in shows and speed events, and raised and trained Quarter Horses. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and her youngest of two children, where she enjoys trail riding. Email
Elizabeth Wolff, CTRS, NAHRA CTRI
Special Programs Coordinator
Liz Wolff graduated from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 2008. She holds a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Military Science and Leadership. She is also a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Therapist and an officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. After she graduated, Liz moved to Wisconsin to be closer to her husband’s family. She first came to LifeStriders as a volunteer in 2009 while working full-time as a Recreation Therapist in sub-acute brain injury rehabilitation. Liz became certified as a NARHA Registered Instructor in the fall of 2009, and has been teaching at LifeStriders since the spring of 2010. Currently, she livesin Oak Creek with her husband and their dog. Email
Thank you Don Koepp
Many many people have donated money, time, assets, expertise, services, and their hearts to LifeStriders, but tonight, after the first day of lessons at the new LifeStriders facility, we want to recognize the inspired efforts and contribution of one individual, without whom, this dream of LifeStriders owning Harmony farm may not have happened.
As a guest of Barb and Tim Abair, Don Koepp came to us for a visit on a fall day with a few members of his family and was touched by what he saw at LifeStriders. After another visit, Don was quick to understand the benefits of therapeutic riding and the community need for its services. As the father of a child with special needs, Don already knows how few activities, and how many fewer therapeutic activities there are for these families in any community, and he quickly shared our vision for expanding LifeStriders facilities and services to many, many more children and adults with special needs than the old location could ever serve.
Shortly after that visit, Don pledged a very significant financial contribution towards the purchase of Harmony Farms and began to work tirelessly to remove all the barriers to the expansion of LifeStriders. He ran an inspired, first class capital campaign in the economic recession of 2009-2010. Along the way he also upped his already significant contribution to help close the gap between funds raised and the purchase price, to allow LifeStriders to purchase Harmony Farm. As a part of his campaign, Don introduced LifeStriders to his friends, family and contacts and opened the door for LifeStriders with many of the community's generous foundations and individuals who also contributed their financial support. Within a year and a half, and in the midst of a recession, his LifeStriders Expansion Campaign has raised over 90% of the funds needed to acquire and improve Harmony farm for LifeStriders. With the volunteer help of Don's legal counsel, the purchase of Harmony farm was completed on January 1st of 2011 and ever since, the plans and programming for LifeStriders have been accelerating towards this opening day, and towards a very bright future for the organization and its participants.
Don has not once asked for, and most likely would not want any public recognition for his efforts and contributions. He may also wish to fly a little more humbly than this tribute would allow him to, but on this magical day for all of us at LifeStriders, we want him to know how thankful we all are for his outstanding efforts and contributions toward making the dream of LifeStriders owning Harmony farm come true.
From everyone at LifeStriders,
Thank you for helping make this dream come true Don
What a beautiful experience today was. I am so happy for everyone who has contributed to make this day happen. For every volunteer, sponsor, parent, staff member, business owner, and generous individual who has made this day possible, I just want to thank you. It was a very, very special day for LifeStriders.
As some of you know, today was the first day of lessons at the new LifeStriders at Harmony Farm. Two and a half months after raising the money to acquire Harmony farm, nine clients were served a number of therapeutic exercises on horseback, under the quiet cover of the Harmony indoor arena on a perfect night in the Town of Delafield. Seeing Natalie, Kristen, Elizabeth, Jessie, Lori, and Liz work with all the new volunteers, old and new clients in this incredible facility that is rapidly coming together, brings so much joy to Veronica and I.
At one point during the first lesson I looked over at Veronica and knew that she was thinking the same thing that I was......we were both wide eyed, smiling and a bit blown away by the experience. "Pinch me"........"It's Sureal"......."It's a dream come true" were some of the words we exchanged. We have all been working so hard to get the new place ready for lessons that I think we actually forgot about how incredible the moment would be when we had the horses, participant families, and volunteers there to actually use the new facility. To meet a few of the new families LifeStriders is serving, to share a high five and smile with a new rider, to see the little horse and rider miracles starting to happen again in this new grand facility, and to look over at the equally elated faces of all the people who have worked so hard to make this moment transpire, was a dream come true today, for all of us.
and this was just day 1....
The horses have a new home today. They spent the night in the Barn last night and they are all adjusting nicely.