I first became involved with We Can Ride when a colleague/friend asked me to help host a charity golf tournament for a non-profit organization she volunteered with; that was in 1998. At the time I hadn't heard of We Can Ride and I didn't grow up with horses so I wasn't our typical volunteer. However, I had family members with physical and cognitive disabilities and the benefits of We Can Ride sounded so unique and beneficial that I wanted to learn more. One thing led to another and I was asked if I'd be interested in joining the Board of Directors. Having not been on a board before, I wasn't sure what value I could bring but was interested in additonal ways I could help. I attended a board meeiing in August 1999 and was voted onto the board. In January 2002, I was elected as the Board Chair and remain in that role through 2011. During my tenure on the Board of Directors, our role has evolved and become even more of a "working board". We continue to explore new and different ways to help We Can Ride including strategic planning, financial management and site planning.
My involvement with We Can Ride has been primarily on the Board of Directors and helping with the various fundraisers we have. My husband Marv has also been an active helper with our fundraisers including the Chefs' Dinner, the Harvest Horse Show, Canterbury Downs and more. I have assisted in classes a couple times as a side walker, but I hope to do more class volunteering at some point in the future. Since getting involved with We Can Ride I am amazed how many people I meet that have had their lives so positively touched by our programs - our friends, families of friends and people I happen to meet. It warms my heart ot be able to contribute to that kind of impact while "working" with so many big hearted people.
I initially heard about We Can Ride and have been a volunteer in the program since 2005 when my employer circulated a list of volunteer opportunities in the local community. In the fall of 2009, I was invited to stand for and subsequently elected to the Board of Directors, assuming the role of Treasurer in January 2010.
There are a whole host of medical studies which examine why the therapeutic benefit and mental stimulation which horseback riding and carriage driving provide cannot be duplicated in a clinic or classroom environment. I can literally see the physical improvement on a week to week basis and the mental stimulation and growth in confidence over the course of each program offered. This coupled with the occasional parent who breaks down in tears of gratitude because the program has changed the entire outlook/life of their child makes my involvement incredibly rewarding.
I am a British citizen orginally from London and have been living in Minnesota since 1999. I have spent my entire career in banking, trading and financial markets, orginally working in London for both a British and then American bank. The last nine years of my UK career were spent in a proprietary financial trading business. In 1999, I relocated to Minnesota to be part of a new team established to trade the then recently deregulated US power market. In 2002, I transferred to the alternative asset management business where I am currently employed as Senior Managing Director of Finance and Liquidity for an international company headquartered here in Minnesota.
Chairman of the Board
My initial involvement with We Can Ride began in 1999 when my wife, Patti, and daughter, Jenni, started volunteering. Over most of those years, I offered my support by cheering them on and by making monetary donations. In 2006, my son, Tommy, and I started volunteering and then I began to really understand what We Can Ride is all about. It had a great impact on me and I wanted to make more of a contribution, so I joined the Board of Directors and also started volunteering in the office to help with the computer systems. I am currently Vice-Chair of the board, lead the Program Committee and also co-chair the Make the Impact Committee. It has been a great journey so far and I really look forward to all of the exciting things that are going to happen over the next couple of years.
Judi began worked for WCR in 1984. As an certified riding instructor, she taught equine assisted therapeutic riding and driving classes in CO. and for WCR. While in CO. she served on the Path Instructor Certification Committee and worked for the International Special Olympics' first equine competition in 1991. After returning to MN in 1997, she returned to WCR as an instructor and then executive director/program director until her retirement in 2009. Judi began her involvement with horses in 1963 when she began showing American Saddlebreds, quarter horses, Morgans and Arabs. She continues to teach riding and offers equitation clinics in MN.
I started looking for volunteer opportunities when I returned to Minneapolis in 2001. I happened upon a request from WCR in the monthly General Mills Volunteer Connection. I was not exposed to many horses in my hometown of South Holland, IL, a suburb of Chicago, but have always appreciated them and was intrigued. Since I began with We Can Ride, I have volunteered as a sidewalker, a leader, a mentor and am now a TA. I believe this organization is unique because not only do the clients have a chance to discover their abilities, but all the volunteers (both human and animal) have a chance to learn new skills and how to help people. I was voted to the board in November of 2009 and am excited to continue working with this fantastic program.
My name is Adeline Kohman and I have been on the We Can Ride Board of Directors for six years. My husband Dale was a rider since the year 2000. In 2006, he was admitted to the Hospital in January and was there until he passed away on November 18th. He was very happy riding horses and looked forward to riding every week. He had very excellent volunteers that he enjoyed very much.
I keep busy by being a volunteer at my Church, St. John's Lutheran in Chaska, where I sing in the Choir, am on the Altar Guild, and participate in the Greeter program. I am also a Reader several times a year, and maintain the Alter in our Fellowship Hall, which is part of the history of our Church. I was recently the President of our Ladies Aid for two years and prior to that I was the Treasurer for four years, and at this time I am still an active member. I am one of two organizers at Church for the Oats Dining Out group and also a member of the Chaska Kids Dining Out group. Sometimes I help my daughter Kristine with 3rd grade Sunday school and Outreach activities. I also help, when I can, on other committees and attend Bible Class on Sunday mornings.
I am a life member of the VFW Auxiliary, Legion Auxiliary, and an Auxiliary member of The Military Order of the Purple Heart. I am also a member of the Chaska and the Carver County Historical Societies and I volunteer at the Auburn Home Care facilities.
I enjoy singing, sewing, gardening, cooking, canning, baking, traveling and I work part time doing filing for Rimage Corporation in Edina
Serving as Secretary on the We Can Ride Board of Directors combines most of my major interests in life. I've always loved horses and now that I'm grown up I'm lucky enough to own three of them. In my career as a general pediatrician over the past 40 years, I have gotten to know many children with special needs of all kinds. I've also become close to their families. Sharing the benefits and joys of riding and driving horses with these children seems right in so many ways.
As the mother of three grown children and grandmother of three little ones, I want to help We Can Ride build the physical health and emotional well being that leads to a happy productive life for each child regardless of disability.
I go way back with We Can Ride, as I was part of the committee that formed it in the early 80's. We met at the old Eden Prairie Stables, which is probably a housing development now! I volunteered for a short time but couldn't continue due to the ever-increasing time involvement in my career as a DAPE teacher and Athletic Director for St. Paul Schools. I also showed American Saddlebred horses locally and nationally. My husband and I have a hobby farm in Prior Lake where we had our Friesian, Noah, who got me back to We Can Ride. We needed a place that would give him a job and lots of attention, which he loves, and We Can Ride was just the answer. He has been at We Can Ride for over a year and everyone seems to love him. During that time, I also retired from teaching and had more time to devote to We Can Ride and I was asked to apply for a board position. The board approved my application and I now hope to continue promoting and serving We Can Ride as I did twenty-five years ago!
I am happy and honored to have joined the We Can Ride family in 2002 when my son became a rider with the program. Prior to this, our family explored many options and therapies as we strove to deal with autism. In 1998, our then 10-year-old son began therapeutic horseback riding at a program in Longmont, CO and we became believers in the value of this wonderful type of therapy. While living in Boulder, CO, I served on the Board of Directors of The Association for Community Living, Boulder County's chapter of The Arc of the United States. My professional experience in the disability community includes working as an RN for the past 25 years, including my present employment providing waiver case management and health care coordination for disabled adults. In March of 2004, I joined the We Can Ride Board of Directors. Now that we are again living in our home state of MN, my husband and I enjoy volunteering for We Can Ride, in support of opportunity for disabled children and adults.
I was born and raised in Minnesota with a love of horses from the start. When I was young I got some good advice from my father who told me that if I wanted to have horses I had better go to school so I could afford them. So, I did, earning a Bachelor in Physical Education and later going on to get a Masters in Education. I spent 10 years teaching physical education to youth at the Michael Dowling School.
I have been involved with horses throughout my life, from giving pony rides at Minnehaha falls, to being a trail guide, to training horses and judging horseshows, to owning Westwood farms, a very successful Morgan, Saddlebred, and Hackney Pony training barn west of the Twin Cities area.
I have been a We Can Ride board member for six years now, serving as the vice chair for the past few. I am also involved with WSCA, local 4-H, and the Morgan Youth Group.
Nicole Deters Spader
Nicole brings 20 plus years experience in the nonprofit and public sector and holds a Master of Public Administration with a Bachelor of Science emphasizing Human Development and Psychology. She brings the We Can Ride board knowledge of nonprofit business and development.
Currently, she is the Executive Director at HOPE Adoption and Family Services International. Other previous executive positions include No Barriers USA, Vinland National Center, Genesis II for Families and Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center. Her therapeutic riding experience began at Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs, CO where she developed her long-term desire to work with people and families to live healthier and more active lives.
Currently, she lives in the west suburbs of Minneapolis, MN with her husband and two young children. She enjoys an active lifestyle of hiking, wakeboarding, camping, snowmobiling and snowboarding.