2011 BARBARA THOMPSON GIFT NATIONAL RECIPIENT
Patti Adams has enjoyed 45 years of marriage to Dr. Delos C. Adams, a dentist. She is the mother of seven daughters, grandmother of 24, and great-grandmother of six. She was nominated by Weber County to be the 2010 Utah Mother of the Year because of her outstanding qualities as a mother and for her service to her community.
Patti says, “A child will become what they think you think they are. All of the ‘I love yous’ in the world won’t mean much to a child if at other times they hear negative labels or dismissive comments. Every word spoken is internalized and affects self worth.”
As the Director of Freedom Riders, Patti uses this same philosophy as she works with children with physical disabilities. She has been involved with the program for 23 years. She received the Humanitarian of the Year Award in 1993 and Citizen of the Year Award in 1995 from Utah Governor Mike Leavitt for her service in Freedom Riders.
In 2003, Freedom Riders lost support from the McKay-Dee Hospital Foundation. Patti stepped up and established a whole new 501 (c)(3) organization, including writing the Articles of Incorporation, by-laws, rules of order and establishing a Board of Directors.. She gave speeches to many government agencies, Hill Air Force Base, and other local businesses to solicit support to keep this program going. During this time she became Director of Freedom Riders.
Once a week during the summer months, these special children, ages 3 to 18 years, arrive at the Golden Spike Events Center arena in Ogden, Utah to ride horses and get a taste of freedom. Patti spends all year preparing for these weeks in the summer. She recruits volunteers, secures permission from the County Commissioners to use the Golden Spike Events Center at no charge, and checks to be sure all equipment is safe for the children.
“Even though they [the children] arrive in wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers, when they are on a horse, they are like you and me. They triumph over their limitations and have an experience they remember for the rest of their lives. Horseback riding for these children is great physical, social, and emotional therapy. It makes the spirit soar far beyond the limits of the body.”
This is an equine hippotherapy program that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse as rehabilitation for children with physical disabilities. It is an all volunteer program. Freedom Riders serves mostly children with cerebral palsy. The horses are provided by volunteers who also help the children by walking by them to help them as needed while they ride.
Equipment must be replaced frequently to be sure it remains safe. Some of the costs include:
- Colored reins to help the children know which ones to hold
- Game supplies to help the children with the skills
Patti Adams, Director of Volunteers and Students, wrote the following:
Children with disabilities, such as cerebal palsey, rarely have the chance to experience new and different things in their lives. The volunteers that make up Freedom Riders are helping to change all that. They’re giving disabled children a chance to enjoy a special moment on horseback.
Once a week during the summer months, these special children come to the arena at the Golden Spike Event Center in Ogden, Utah to ride horses and get a taste of freedom. Through this wonderful program, the physically challenged can triumph over their limitations and have an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Visit the website at: http://www.freedomridersutah.com/
The Barbara Thompson Gift is awarded to a person or organization who is dedicated to service. The $1,000 gift is provided by Judge Ralph Thompson (Oklahoma) in honor of his wife Barbara Thompson, 1995 National Mother of the Year. The gift is made to the non-profit organization in the name of the honoree.