WETRA gets over $596,000 to expand programming

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA) will get a chance to expand its programming thanks to funding from the federal government.

Essex MP Jeff Watson announced last Friday that the McGregor-based riding organization has received funding of over $596,000 “to help you meet the growing need of people with disabilities in this community.” Watson made the announcement on behalf of Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley.

“You should be proud of your work,” Watson told assembled staff and volunteers.

The project WETRA received funding for is designed to encourage people with disabilities to participate in therapeutic horseback riding, which in turn, will help them build self-confidence and allow them to socialize with a wider range of people.

“This new funding will allow more people to benefit from this and that is good news,” said Watson.

Watson stated people with disabilities “have so much to offer” and was pleased the project offered by WETRA was being offered in Essex County.

 

Essex MP Jeff Watson (crouching) chats with WETRA executive director Sue Klotzer (left) after Watson announced over $596,000 in federal funding for the McGregor-based organization last Friday morning. Also pictured is Dana Ursu with Bella.

Essex MP Jeff Watson (crouching) chats with WETRA executive director Sue Klotzer (left) after Watson announced over $596,000 in federal funding for the McGregor-based organization last Friday morning. Also pictured is Dana Ursu with Bella.

“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting innovative solutions that help remove barriers to the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities,” said Watson.

“Through our partnership with WETRA, we are improving the participation of people with disabilities in our society. We’re going to be able to take a one-of-a-kind program to the rest of Canada.”

Barb Holland, WETRA board president, said she was “smiling all morning” due to the announcement.

“We are truly blessed,” she said. “I think this is one of the highest moments WETRA has ever had.”

Holland said they were proud to be a pilot project for the government and was pleased Ottawa had the faith in WETRA to give them the funding.

“We’re delighted to partner with them,” she said.

Holland pledged that the money would be used wisely.

“We see great results every day with the clients that come out of here,” said Holland. “It’s real and it’s life changing.”

WETRA has a long waiting list and a small staff, Holland added, with the money finally allowing them to expand services.

“You need the resources but we didn’t have them (before),” said Holland.

WETRA began 40 years ago on a smaller piece of property on Huron Church Road in LaSalle before moving to its expanded location near McGregor a few years ago. Executive director Sue Klotzer said they have achieved tremendous results over the years including seeing people with illnesses be transformed into people that can go on to have successful careers.

“This is just a fabulous amount of money to put to a great use,” said Klotzer. “I’m just a very happy person today.”

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