Harry Swimmer has been nominated as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2016; a program which honors “people who have made a difference by daring to help others.” He is an inspiration to us all. Read more of Harry’s story here and don’t forget to vote for him now through December 6, 2016. You can vote up to 10 times a day via email, Facebook and Twitter. The CNN Hero that receives the most votes by the December 6 deadline will receive $100,000.
A long time supporter, volunteer and endower of Maccabi USA, Harry made a decision more than 20 years ago that would change his life forever. After retiring from the insurance industry, Harry and his wife Marilyn turned their Saddlebred Showing and Breeding facility, Misty Meadows Farm, Inc. into a place of opportunity for children with special needs.
Harry is a PATH Intl. certified instructor, and with the help of Marilyn and longtime family friend, Joy Simon, they launched Misty Meadows Mitey Riders; a program that offers equine-assisted therapy to children with special needs. The Misty Meadows Farm “hosts 60 Mitey Riders each week and is home to 18 therapy horses, five PATH-certified instructors and over 200 volunteers.” The difference between Misty Meadows Mitey Riders and other programs is the ability for all riders to participate with no cost to their families.
“I recently spoke with a reporter who asked me if I was excited about the prospect of being nominated a CNN Hero,” Harry recalled. “I told her absolutely, and if I am able to get the most votes I will use the prize money to endow our program so that we are able to provide our program to children in perpetuity.”
The riders range in age from 5 to 18, with a variety of conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, Down syndrome, post-brain tumor removal, autism, learning disabilities, and more. Although many are in wheelchairs and walk with assistance, the Mitey Riders program allows them to have the chance to see the world at a different height, from the back of a horse. The Misty Meadows Mitey Riders program has provided more than 800 children with free equine-assisted therapy.
Please remember to vote daily to help ensure that future Mitey Riders receive this free equine-assisted therapy. You can vote up to 10 times a day on each voting platform.