“Tell Your Story” Facebook Contest: Debra McIntyre-Dodd at Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy employees care for our Michigan communities. Debra McIntyre-Dodd, a senior public information director in Howell, Mich., enjoys volunteering at Therapeutic Riding Incorporated. Check out her volunteer story:

Debra and her daughter volunteering at Therapeutic Riding Inc.
Debra and another volunteer assist at Therapeutic Riding Inc.

“I proudly volunteer for Therapeutic Riding Inc. (TRI) in Ann Arbor, which gives children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities (challenges) the opportunity to ride horses. While this may sound simple, there’s much more involved. These riders have a variety of diagnoses—autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, traumatic brain injury and many others. Riders come from seven different counties.

My daughter was the first to volunteer at TRI, and I never thought I would be capable emotionally of doing so. I felt sorry for the riders because it took so much effort for many of them to ride. Now, having volunteered for more than four years, I can honestly say I’m not sure who helps who. I love serving as a side walker to my riders, and look forward to working with them each week. I see the progress riders make in terms of:

  • Strengthening muscles
  • Improving balance
  • Improving social and communication skills as they continue to ride

And I know how much they look forward to that hour of riding and bonding with their horse. Their smiles are all the proof needed. I can also share that a personal bad day is always quickly put into perspective when you witness the mental and physical effort it takes for these kids (and their parents/guardians) to get to class and ride. They truly set an example of perseverance and dedication.”

Vote for your favorite “Tell Your Story” contestant on Consumers Energy’s Facebook page. The winner will be determined by the highest amount of likes, comments and shares on each volunteer’s video. Voting ends Nov. 21 at noon.

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