This year, Hamilton County Tourism decided to pause the "holiday crazy" to honor the people for whom giving is not only an act, but a lifestyle in Hamilton County. Learn more about Tourism Gives here.

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Helping hands could hold many different items - including horse reins. Agape Therapeutic Riding Center in Cicero focuses on healing through horseback riding for people with physical, mental and emotional needs. Because Agape works with 22 horses to provide almost 8,000 lessons and various equine programs each year, the center relies on close to 300 volunteers to change lives through interactions with horses.

While all of Agape's volunteers are valuable, Kim Dodson is a horse-handling superstar.

 

Before getting involved with Agape, Kim worked with horses for 20 years and learned the special nature of relationships between humans and horses. Two years ago, Kim started volunteering at Agape when her daughter showed interest in participating in an equestrian competition through the Hamilton County Special Olympics. Kim has given her time and other resources to helping kids bond with horses multiple times each week and loves watching these relationships grow.

"Kim is a special person for Agape and Hamilton County," Agape executive director Amanda Bocik said. "We've been blessed to have gotten to walk alongside her entire family in their experience with Agape."

Maybe you're not as experienced with horses as Kim, but there are plenty of ways to give to Agape:

1. Volunteer. Agape is always looking for individual and group volunteers to help with stable maintenance, property enhancement and side walking. Click here to learn more.
2. Donate. Agape accepts general donations, items listed on their wish list and horse sponsorships at a dollar amount a month. See all giving opportunities here.

While hands at Agape handle horses in Cicero, helping hands at Mama's Cupboard pass out food items and pick up the phone in Sheridan. Mama's Cupboard supports the Sheridan community through a food pantry and legal client advocacy services. The organization often calls mortgage companies and attends court on behalf of clients along with making sure no adult or child in Sheridan goes to bed hungry. Super volunteer Anita Childers' hands also reach out to hug any and every client she meets.

 

At one point in her life, Anita was the recipient of help from Mama's Cupboard. For the last five years, Anita has donated much of her time to volunteering and giving back to the organization that changed her life. Along with her involvement at Mama's Cupboard, Anita is an active member of her church and the Sheridan Main Street Committee.

"Anita always gives hugs and never judgment," executive director Brenda Garrod said. "I hope and pray that every other nonprofit in Hamilton County has a volunteer as wonderful as Anita."

If you'd like to follow Anita's example of a life of giving, visit Mama's Cupboard's Facebook page or email Brenda Garrod at mamascupboard@aol.com to ask how you can be of assistance.

Thank you for your tireless giving to Hamilton County, Kim and Anita!

For long-term support of Hamilton County charitable organizations through the Legacy Fund, click here.

Also, enter to win this week's "get one, give one" prize! Each week there will be give away for a pair of prizes so you can enjoy one prize and give the other away to someone special.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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