Thomas honored for volunteerism

BROOKINGS –The Helpline Center recently announced that Larry Thomas has been named the February 2019 Volunteer of the Month, an area-wide award program sponsored by the Helpline Center. 

Thomas was an instrumental leader in the founding of the STARS (Special Training and Riding Skills) Program in 1994. The STARS Program serves as a therapeutic and recreational horsemanship program for people with disabilities. 

Thomas has been involved in everything from recruiting and grooming the horses, the upkeep and purchase of the equipment, training volunteers, assisting riders, fundraising, grant writing and motivating and recruiting both participants and volunteers. 

Over the past 25 years, Thomas has been an active participate in growing STARS from a volunteer run program to a program that has two paid part time staff, SDSU interns and many volunteers. Today, the STARS Program still runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and in 2018 served 47 riders with at least one month of rides and several with multiple months. 

Thomas has never sought any recognition or thanks for all he has done. He just wants the best for the people he worked with at Advance and saw a need.

The STARS Program has provided both recreation and a chance for to people with disabilities to build confidence and muscle strength. Through STARS participants and volunteers gain skills in interacting with both people and horses, as well as, having fun.  

For information on volunteer opportunities or the Volunteer of the Month program, contact Sarah Lippert at [email protected] or call 211 for more information.

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