When Tammy Hazelwood realized that she didn’t have any vacation options to accommodate her child with Down syndrome she decided that she wanted to make a change for families with handicapped members.
This is what led to Joshua’s Angel Center, a 501c nonprofit organization that serves as a recreational riding facility that offers a free escape for these families.
“People with disabled kids don’t take a lot of vacations because there’s too much sensory overload, so we created this to give these families somewhere to go,” Hazelwood said. “This is not a therapeutic riding, it’s recreational riding.”
Joshua’s Angel Center is currently completing its final preparations by building a ramp to accommodate visitors with a wheelchair.
“This ramp alone is $2,700, and I don’t think the center knew it would be that much,” Anna Kidd, the center’s treasurer, said.
The center will house three horses for disabled children and adults and their families to visit with, ride and care for in a safe and calm setting.
“We’re ready and able to start,” Hazelwood said. “We just need some more funding that will help to pay for the ramp. We are also looking for volunteers.”
Hazelwood said that organization has already received tremendous support from many different businesses and organizations. Carolina Carports donated two structures that serve as a barn and tack room for the horses. Other businesses and an anonymous donor helped pay to enclose those structures.
All of the horses that will be available for the families were also donated and Kidd is providing training services for the youngest horse. Kidd felt a special attachment to this project because she has an autistic child.
“We’re going to be looking for these children’s abilities instead of at their disabilities,” Kidd said. “We’ll have kids without disabilities as well and we think that’s just going to help everybody. Our kids can’t go where the regular kids go so we’re going to bring the regular kids to them.”
The United States Submarine Veterans Winston-Salem/Greensboro branch is currently working at the center to build the handicap ramp.
“One of our projects or programs is called Caps for Kids,” Branch Commander Jim Myers said. “It started out to be giving out caps, certificates and pictures to terminally ill children in hospitals. We’ve expanded it and we now go to children’s homes and we’re associated with the Victory Junction Gang.”
Myers said that one of his branch members had heard about Joshua’s Angel Center through Hazelwood’s sister-in-law and encouraged his fellow branch members to help out with the cause.
“We are a complete sponsor of the center,” Myers said. “We are helping with building the ramp, purchasing hay for the animals and we’ve given donations. When the center has its grand opening we will have an actual World War II torpedo on display with a miniature submarine.”
Myers said that the veterans also plan to be in attendance when there a groups of kids at the center and will bring them toys, hats, certificates and pictures.
Joshua’s Angel Center plans to host a fundraising event that will also serve as a sort of grand opening for the center on June 23 starting at 9:30 a.m. The event will take place at The Feed Saks in Dobson and is hosted by the Wings of Glory, a Christian Biker organization.
The fundraiser will be a motorcycle ride and will feature food and craft vendors and live music. Brooke’s Attic of Yadkinville will also be raffling off a Wizard of Oz quilt and all donations will go towards the center.
Registration fees for the motorcycle ride will be $15 for single riders or $20 for double riders.
Anyone interested in donating to the center can do so by mailing them to Joshua’s Angel Center of the Carolinas, P.O. Box 816, Boonville, NC, 27011 or by visiting the nearest Southern Community Bank and making a deposit into the Joshua’s Angel Center of the Carolinas account.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.