The Provo Police, participants in the Police Explorers program and some horses spent their Christmas party helping children with special needs.
The Provo Police Explorers program is a group of teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14-21 who volunteer their time to learn about law enforcement and how to serve their community. Working with Provo police officers, the explorers program has been running for 15 years. Officer Cody Harris of the Provo Police Department has been the Explorers lead officer for the past year.
“As a group we knew we were going to do a service project,” Harris said. “This one looked like it would be a lot of fun for us and the kids.”
Hoofbeats for Healing is a therapy program helping children with special needs to be able to ride horses, something they could not do on their own. Tamera Tanner, owner and operator of Hoofbeats for Healing, said horseback riding is an incredible tool for children with special needs.
“This is such a blessing for the children and their parents to be able to come here and be able to do something that they could not do on their own,” Tanner said. “The horses that we use are a special breed that can literally help cure autism.”
The Explorers program helped first by cleaning up the street where Hoofbeats for Healing is located. Following the cleanup, the group did volunteer work by helping special needs children ride the horses.
“We couldn’t do it without the volunteers,” Tanner said. “They are the reason that we can keep this nonprofit organization running.”
Michael Besendorfer, 16, a Provo Police Explorer for nearly two years, said he enjoys working with the police department and the services they provide.
“I love the service we do,” Besendorfer said. “I love being involved with the other people and being able to help them.”
Harris said these service projects and other activities is to help the volunteers be prepared in their life.
“We cover everything from CPR to self defense,” Harris said. “But these service projects help teach them what life is all about.”