Service widens horizons

By Cheryl Wagstaff
February 13, 2003

Alaina Robinson

Service learning is definitely not one of the reasons why I chose to come to Cabrini. I really did not think that I had the time to spend with someone who needed my help.

This may make me seem selfish, and that is probably true, but the last thing that I wanted to do was work with people who did not know my native language or inner city children.

I grew up in the suburbs knowing nothing of the world outside of my realm. Let’s face it Cabrini; is not much different from my high school. That is except for one thing, the seminar 300-graduation requirement.

My only hope for my service-learning requirement was working for Thorncroft, the largest therapeutic riding program in the country located in Malvern. For those of you who may not know me, I love horses. I have spent a large portion of my life around them. However, due to a terrible back injury that I sustained in high school, I can no longer ride.

Being away from something that you love so much and use as your primary outlet is very depressing. I still go to all of the shows that I can at Devon Horse Park, and last year I even tried my hand at polo over at the Valley Forge Military Academy.

During a trip last September to Dressage at Devon, I noticed a stand with the name Thorncroft on it. My mother and I walked over to it and noticed that it was a program that helped handicapped people learn to ride. With my older sister being a recreational therapist, my mom immediately bought products to support them. That is when my gears started turning; I could use this as my service-learning requirement.

Normally Thorncroft works with Cabrini students for their service-learning requirements. However, this year when I got my packet of options, they were not on the list. I asked my professor if I could work there instead of one of the places in the packet and she told me to call them and see if they would allow it.

They did allow it; in fact they allowed me to bring one of my newsroom counterparts with me to the training so that they could help out there, too. I was not sure if she would like it as much as I knew I would, just to be around the horses. When we left, she was just as excited as I was. She loved the animals, and she knew a lot more about horses and riding than she ever told me.

I have not had the chance to work with my first student, being as I just finished my training, but I am actually looking forward to it. I never thought that I would be excited about having to do my 15 hours of service learning, but I am.

I do not think that I would have been happy tutoring children or teaching people English. I think that it is wonderful that Cabrini gives its students the opportunity to work where they feel comfortable and will take the most out of their experience.

Cheryl Wagstaff

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