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Bobcats STH and Employees Enhance Shining Hope Farms

Sean Phaler

August 13, 2011

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Five years ago, seven-year-old Connor Adams was diagnosed with Global Dyspraxia and told that he would never ride a bike, drive or have any sense of balance. Connor decided to go to Shining Hope Farms. Now, after five years of rehabilitation, twelve-year-old Connor is riding horses, riding a bike and driving his family tractor all on his own.

Shining Hope Farms helps the needs of many young children just like Connor using Therapeutic Horseback Riding. Their programs are structured to best serve individuals with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Downís Syndrome, Developmental Disabilities, Brain Injuries, Hypotomia and a large array other disabilities.

Enter the Charlotte Bobcats. Through the Cats Care initiative, the Bobcats continuously strive to get more involved in the Charlotte community and Shining Hope Farms was the perfect candidate.

With the Bobcats season ticket holders wanting to get more involved in the community, Bobcats Senior Advisor of Community Relations Carl Scheer knew it was the right fit.

"We heard from polling our season ticket holders that this is what they wanted to do," he said. "They want to get to meet our staff and they want to do good things with us. They heard about what the Bobcats have done over the last few years in the community and they want to be part of it. So I donít think thereís a better way to communicate then to work toward a common goal for something thatís important to the city."

As a season ticket holder, Jack Hill appreciates the opportunity the Bobcats are giving him.

"I know from my other volunteer work that more and more efforts are needed in things like this," he said. "Itís really great that the Bobcats can help organize and support this. We got a great turnout today and weíre getting a lot of work done."

Mij Adams, Connorís mother, could see the benefits first hand on how positively it will affect her son along with the other children that come to Shining Hope Farms.

"I think the fact that everyone has come out here to help today is amazing," she glowed. "It takes a lot of work to run a farm like this and makes it possible for kids like Connor to come to shining hope farms."

Executive Director of Shining Hope Farms, Milinda Kirkpatrick, truly appreciates all the help that Bobcats have given to the farm and knows how valuable the help is for them.

"About 94 percent of our participants are Medicaid recipients, so we donít charge an additional fee for use of the horse for the therapy service which means they can access the program free of charge but the only way we are able to do that and not charge a fee is to have groups like this come out and help us with the labor and the special projects," she explained. "This keeps our maintenance and manual labor costs down. We just thank the Bobcats immensely for coming in and selecting us to come to this day and we are grateful and appreciative."

Whatís next for the Charlotte Bobcats? Carl Sheer states, "...from Michael Jordan on down, we want to get involved, be part of this community, get out of the building, be relevant in good deeds, and as we go forward I think we will see more of it."