Meet Joanne Keim, this week’s Featured Volunteer! Joanne has been volunteering with us since 2012, making this her 5th year with us! She has helped with Special Olympics, therapeutic riding lessons, and special events. Get to know her better by reading her comments below, and join us in saying THANK YOU to Joanne for her valuable time volunteering with the program!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I grew up in Bethlehem, PA were I graduated from Moravian College. After college I worked for a while as a waitress, a florist, and a performer with People’s Theatre. I went back to school for a degree in historic preservation from the University of Vermont and then came to Harrisburg in 1987 for a job as an architectural historian with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. I’m still working part time for a consulting firm, but am looking forward to retirement very soon! I have a husband named Bryan and a cat named Miki.
Q: What brought you to Chasing Rainbows?
A: When I lived in Vermont in the 1980s, I worked for a few years as a teacher’s aide for a middle school special education unit. I was also doing a lot of riding myself and got involved with an equine therapy program in Vermont. I started riding again a couple of years ago and while visiting a local tack shop happened to mention I was looking for a therapy program to volunteer with and the shop owner suggested Chasing Rainbows. Four years ago, I came out to the farm, met Andrea and joined the team.
Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering?
A: I really like seeing the students grow and mature from year to year and appreciate the unique connections we make. The riders and horses are a constant source of funny and amazing moments as they work together, and the students reach new levels of strength and self-assurance. I couldn’t live without my “horse and rider fix.” It’s definitely a highpoint of my week.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time (when you’re NOT with the horses)?
A: I spend time visiting my delightful parents who both turned 91 this year. I’ve always loved music and have been singing with various groups since my college days, most recently as a vocalist for a conductor’s workshop at Messiah College. I enjoy “teaching” tricks to my cat, tending my garden, participating in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count and, of course, riding.