Monthly Archives: April 2015

Maddie Shines with True Strides Hippotherapy

“What a little super star and only four years old,” commented a True Strides volunteer. “Miss Maddie has been a poster child for riding therapy from the first day we met her,” said Shari Mangas, Director of True Strides. “She always tries her very best at everything and with a smile.” She is bit strong-willed and perseveres at whatever she is up against. This has come in handy as her first few months of life required her to be a fighter.

Maddie True Strides

Maddie’s Health Struggles

According to Melissa Hadfield, Maddie’s mom, Maddie was born with a complex heart anomaly. With this cardiac anomaly, they were told it would require multiple open heart surgeries to repair. After five open heart surgeries and almost her entire first year spent in the hospital, Maddie was very weak. They began PT, OT and speech therapy through early childhood educational services and then started clinical versions of these therapies when she was two years old.

Discovering Hippotherapy

After a year of therapy, Maddie’s family was looking for something more to strengthen her core and attention span. They were introduced to the benefits of hippotherapy and began sessions in June of 2014. Hippotherapy is occupational or physical therapy that utilizes a horse in the treatment. Since Maddie started, there has been vast improvement in her core strength, improvement in lowering her apprehensiveness in social situations and increased hand/eye coordination. “The True Strides program has been such a great tool to aid in building confidence and strength. The team has been excellent to [...]

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National Volunteer Week

April 12-18 is National Volunteers Week! We would like to recognize and thank our many amazing volunteers for their effort and devotion to camp! In 2014, True Friends welcomed 1,526 amazing volunteers into over six different volunteer categories. Click here for a graphic summary of our 2014 volunteers!

Main Graphic As part of this amazing week, we would like to share some ways to get involved with True Friends.

RespiteGrab a friend and sign up TODAY! This is a great chance to earn service hours for class, NHS, Varsity Letter, graduation, etc. Apply online today.

True StridesWhether you’re an experienced rider or have no experience with horses, there is a volunteer opportunity for you! Apply online today. Sign up for the training session here.

MaintenanceTalk to your co-workers, church groups, school clubs, Boy/Girl/Eagle scout troops, athletic teams, etc. about helping around camp… Or get your group involved with some off-site projects, host a fundraiser/drive, or use your talents to engage campers in a program during camp! Apply online today.

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Vote for Camp Eden Wood!

Vote for ‘Camp Eden Wood’ here:

Read the article from the Eden Prairie News about camp here!

The Event

The Eden Prairie Community Foundation and Eden Prairie News are sponsoring a celebration of the city and its generosity during the upcoming EP Gives Week (April 19-25). During the special week of activities, the newspaper will highlight charitable giving and community service in Eden Prairie with a series of newspaper articles. The winner of the EP Givers Award will receive $2,000 in free advertising from the Eden Prairie News.

The Nominator

Residents and community members were encouraged to nominate a nonprofit or service club for recognition during the week. True Friends’ Twin Cities program center Camp Eden Wood is located in Eden Prairie, and we were greatly honored to be nominated by a wonderful volunteer. Elaine Taggatz, whose brother has attended programs at Camp Eden Wood, planned a significant volunteer project with Thrivent, her employer, to provide program supplies. Now she has nominated us to receive community recognition! We are so grateful to an already wonderful supporter for this new opportunity. And we’re very proud of the tribute she gave us in her nomination letter. Here are some excerpts:

The Nomination

Dear Eden Prairie Community Foundation Board,

I would like to nominate for the 2015 EP Givers Award, Camp Eden Wood, a part of the non-profit organization True Friends, whose mission is providing life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities. Camp Eden Wood is located in beautiful Eden Prairie and offers many different camp and respite programs throughout the year to children and adults with physical, developmental and learning disabilities. Camp Eden Wood has been in operation for 20 [...]

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