By Heather Grummett
(from Business Venture newspaper ( April-May 2009 edition)

Sunrise Therapeutic & Learning Centre has been providing therapeutic and recreation programs for children and youth with a wide range of disabilities in the Guelph area and throughout Wellington County.

The programs use Canadian Therapeutic Riding (CanTRA) certified instructors and well-trained horses as facilitators. Sunrise relies heavily on donations and fundraising and receives no government funding. The current economic situation has hit them hard and they are in danger of having to close down.

Sunrise continues to receive a high number of referrals from doctors for their early intervention therapy programs for 3-4 year olds. The demand for Sunrise is increasing, however many new participants can’t be enrolled due to a lack of staff and lack of money.

With the cut back of paid hours, the dedicated staff has stepped up, working harder and taking on more rolls. The part-time certified instructors have previously been paid staff on Tuesday evenings and Sundays. For now the instructors are volunteering their time on Tuesday evenings and are providing not only the lessons on Sundays but also have taken on all the chores, feeding and clean-up for Sundays without being paid.

The organization has a positive impact on hundreds of young people each year. Sunrise means so much to local youth that a 19 year old boy with Downs syndrome recently asked family and friends not to give him gifts for his birthday but instead give him money to donate to Sunrise. He raised $1800 at his birthday party for the charity. Another young girl of 8, who participates in Summer Camp as a youth without disabilities, did the same at her birthday and raised $350 for Sunrise.

Sunrise’s Summer Camp will run through July and August. Instead of hiring new counselors to assist with the large numbers of children that enroll in the camp, this year several trained staff are assuming the roles of counselors for this season.

To donated to Sunrise online visit. and click on Save Our Sunrise., a totally secure website processes credit card payments for charities. Tax receipts will be immediately accessible.

Sunrise is looking for volunteers with skills in drywalling, taping and mudding who are willing to volunteer their time to help finish some projects that have been started which they cannot afford to finish.

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