Rachel’s interpersonal connections carried a special purity and innocence. She especially loved her classmates and carefully named each of them by making up a descriptive sign language expression for each. One of her favorite friends was Joey.

Joey was one of the few kids in Rachel’s class who was smaller than her — Rachel’s sign for him became “little.” Every time Rachel saw Joey, she would smile and sign, “little.” Joey is now eighteen years old and no longer little, but his family has continued to be extremely supportive of Scatter Sunshine.

Over the years, I consistently encouraged Joey’s mother, Marcy, to introduce Joey to therapeutic horseback riding and told her that when he was ready, Scatter Sunshine would be honored to sponsor him.

In March 2020, when the Covid19 pandemic caused so many changes in our lives, it affected Joey on a whole different level. Joey is diagnosed with Autism, and changes in his routine are difficult. Marcy knew that Joey needed something to connect to that would help him cope with his newly changed schedule.

Joey began riding lessons at Majoda Stables and at first he was reserved and nervous. He now not only gets up on the horse with incredible confidence, he is currently completing a program through his school where he works at the farm, acquiring work experience and taking on new responsibilities.

This year for Christmas, Scatter Sunshine became aware that Joey needed a new riding helmet, so we jumped at the opportunity to purchase it for him. Joey was presented with his new helmet at his lesson today, December 22, 2020. While he doesn’t always show excitement when receiving gifts, he put it on, and wore it proudly today.