The words of Dionne Warwick’s song rang true for Quantum Leap Farm on March 5 for Stirrup Hope 2016 as our friends generously contributed over $300,000 to support Quantum’s equine-assisted therapy programs. Sponsors, including the Advocare Foundation, Ltd., Cornelia Corbett, and TECO Energy with many others, underwrote the costs for the event allowing 100% of funds raised that evening to go directly towards Quantum programs.
In the second year of Stirrup Hope, guests attended in their best western wear to eat, drink, dance the night away and come together to benefit Quantum’s equine-assisted therapy programs. Over 350 guests nestled under Quantum’s 17,000 sq. ft. riding arena with the backdrop of a glowing Florida sunset and a herd of four-legged farm friends.
Appetizers and hors d’hoeuvres were served by Metro Chefs Catering and complimentary cocktails by Spunky Spirits during the opening cocktail hour. Guests also had an opportunity to take photos with the infamous Clydesale, Johnny Cash and tour the barn full of other gentle therapy horses.
Dinner and the program followed shortly afterward, emcee’d by the Voice of the Rays, Dewayne Staats. The program began with a special surprise for Sue Levitt, retired Director of Development for the Farm. Stirrup Hope, Levitt’s brain child, recently won the WEDU “Be More Entertaining Award” and the staff wanted to publicly recognize her for her efforts in helping the Farm achieve success even after retirement.
Later, three impactful stories of Quantum Leap Farm participants were told through a 10 minute video produced by Phil Celli at ProFocus Video. In the video were wounded Vietnam Veteran, Jay Connley (At EASE Program), Michael Wood (Hippotherapy Program) and Ruby Sage (Therapeutic Riding Program), along with Quantum Leap Farm staff, Jenna Miller, Carla Staats, Alexis Lopez and Lisa Lendoiro. Guests dabbed their wet cheeks with tissue as the film explained the growth and healing of these participants through engaging with horses.
Rob Villavisanis, Mental Health Counselor from Mental Health Intensive Case Management followed the video with an in-person testimonial describing the 8-year relationship between Quantum’s and Bay Pines’ wounded military veterans. Last, but not least, Patricia Douglas of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay delivered a compelling ask for support.
The evening concluded with dancing and live music by the Ocean Road Band.