Photo Credit: Pal-O-Mine Equestrian
Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc. (www.pal-o-mine.org, Islandia, NY), a private, not for profit organization providing a comprehensive therapeutic equine program using horses to facilitate growth, learning and healing for children and adults with disabilities, is proud to announce that its CEO and founder Lisa Gatti was honored with the Kevin Harney Courage Award. The award, which is presented to someone who “selflessly demonstrates strength, courage and determination to overcome and support the insurmountable challenges while going above and beyond the normal caring for a sick or injured child,” was presented to Lisa on June 21st at the Pal-O-Mine facilities.
Kevin Harney was the founder of Contractors for Kids and the award is presented in his memory to an individual who emulates the organization’s mission. To be nominated for the award, an individual must have shown to go above and beyond the normal caring for a Long Island child. The award recipient is selected by members of the Kevin Harney Courage Award committee.
According to the nomination essay sent regarding Lisa Gatti, in 1996, Lisa began a therapeutic riding program for children with disabilities. She started with one client and one horse. Today, Pal-O-Mine helps over 300 children and adults every month and has 22 therapeutic horses on its 13-acre farm in Islandia, New York. The program has grown to include not only a riding program, but an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program, an Equine Assisted Learning Program, a Vocational program, a Support program for first responders and those in the medical profession who have worked through the most horrific, unprecedented pandemic, a Grief program, and a program for “troubled” youth who came to Pal-O-Mine through the court system. Pal-O-Mine also has a Wellness program for military veterans and their families. In addition, the organization offers Speech and Occupational Therapy. Pal-O-Mine’s therapy animals include miniature donkeys, chickens, miniature horses as well as regular horses, sheep, and a dog. Sometimes a child who has had language difficulties will speak for the very first time to one of Pal-O-Mine’s animals.
When the pandemic was at its peak and Pal-O-Mine was forced to shut down for months and its younger students were suffering at home like many others, missing their time with their peers and their favorite animal partner, Lisa implemented several programs that offered online session for the students enabling them to interact with their human friends and see how their animal friends were doing. Lisa received feedback from parents who overwhelmingly apricated the help she provided to their children who were struggling emotionally during this period. Lisa also added the “old school” pen-pal program where, monthly, our horses would write to their “humans” with stamps and ask them to write back. This program too was a huge success. Due to Lisa’s foresight and swift response in establishing these online programs, parents reported that their children who were struggling with feelings of aloneness were then adjusting to post-pandemic life more easily than many of their friends who were not in Pal-O-Mine programs.
The application on behalf of Lisa Gatti for the Kevin Harney Courage Award ended with the following: “Lisa Gatti is a compassionate, passionate, creative woman dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults. She has been a Guardian Angel to so many children over the past 26 years and has changed their lives both physically and emotionally in ways that are immeasurable.”
Pictured here during the Kevin Harney Courage Award presentation to Lisa Gatti, CEO and founder of Pal-O-Mine, is Lisa Gatti (5th from left) along with members of the Contractors for Kids team.
Founded in 1995 by Lisa Gatti, Pal-O-Mine is a private, not for profit organization providing a comprehensive therapeutic equine program using horses to facilitate growth, learning and healing for children and adults with disabilities, as well as those who have been abused or neglected, veterans and the economically compromised. Pal-O-Mine offers a broad range of programs many of which involve the organization’s herd of therapy horses and livestock. Pal-O-Mine relies on grants and contributions from private citizens, foundations and businesses to help raise funds. For more information on Pal-O-Mine, visit:www.pal-o-mine.org or call: 631-348-1389.
About Contractors for Kids
Contractors for Kids (CFK) is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 2005 by Kevin Harney and Alan Nahmids, principals of Stalco Construction. They founded CFK for the purpose of providing assistance to families in their communities. Their goal was and remains to assist children and their families overcome obstacles that have unfortunately changed or impacted their lives due to the sickness or injury or death of a child. CFK is committed to this course and giving hope and reassurance for their families. CFK helps address a family’s financial hardships brought on by a sick child’s illness, helping to pay household bills such as phone bills or mortgage payments and medical bills. For more information, visit. www. https://www.contractorsforkids.org/