Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Incredible Students: Julia Bourcier

My name is Julia Bourcier, and I am honored to have this opportunity to represent many of the incredible people who have shared their lives with me. It is my hope that in telling my story, I may also honor theirs.

As Windridge's Program Director, I am one member of an incredible team that makes Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center of East Texas, Inc., all it is today. Windridge was founded in 1989 to serve children and adults who have disabilities through therapeutic horsemanship programs. Windridge combines a unique, effective form of therapy with caring staff to provide an environment that challenges everyone and cares for people physically, mentally and emotionally.

Windridge cannot provide perfect healing, but sometimes the impossible does seem to happen. Often, in the rider's success, the people around them also find a measure of hope. The horse's movement helps with processing, communication and interaction because the rhythmic gait helps the body set a tempo for its own systems. Often for riders with disabilities such as ADHD or Autism, these normal systemic rhythms have lost a consistent tempo which interferes with understanding, learning and language.

Riding a horse may encourage riders to speak or accomplish other, seemingly unrelated goals because the interference from misfiring nerves has been reduced. For example, one four-year-old boy said "Mom" to his mother for the very first time this Mother's Day. Since infancy, this child has struggled to interact with others, even his own parents. He babbled, but there had been no discernable language. The first time he had actually attempted to say "Mom" was on the back of his horse just days before. As you might imagine, calling his mother by name was a greater gift than anything money could buy.

Another child walked across Windridge's parking area holding her father's hand. When she was born, doctors offered no assurance that she would be able to walk. It has taken much work and many years for her to reach this goal, but today she walks. The horse has helped her reach this accomplishment because its natural movement stimulates the rider's body in the exact patterns of movement for walking. So, while a person is sitting astride the horse, they are responding with the same muscles, body posture and response against gravity that is required to take those first steps.

Windridge staff has been awed over the years to be a part of many such stories. Seeing changes in people and the hope that a simple possibility can bring has also brightened our lives. Our children and our families have helped us see God in a more perfect light. They have shared with us deep sorrow and great joy. We are honored to have been able to share these journeys. (For more information, look for us online at http://www.windridgetexas.org)

I am also a student of LeTourneau University. I have been amazed at the servant hearts of the dedicated individuals I have met through this program. Through the course of my time in the program, I have seen both students and faculty demonstrate faith in God and a willingness to tackle difficult problems. The experienced faculty and faith based learning at LeTourneau University provide a foundation for education that is challenging and beneficial. I definitely would not have gained the thorough education I have today or the ability to apply this new knowledge without the faith, patience and dedication of the faculty.

I believe that the education I have received at LeTourneau University will provide a framework for future decisions and greater effectiveness as a Windridge employee. An organization is only as great as its people and the people are only as great as their willingness to learn. Windridge and its staff have constantly worked to provide an environment that encourages learning. The LeTourneau evening and online program made it possible for me gain an education that would otherwise have been difficult or impossible while also serving at Windridge. I am thankful for the combined opportunities of serving at a job I love and gaining the education I need to be effective.

No comments:

Post a Comment