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Volunteer of the Year

August 25, 2014

Give Where You Live would like to congratulate Genni Briese from Riding for the Disabled for wining Kardinia Rotary Volunteer of the Year. Give Where You Live nominated Genni for her passion, commitment and leadership across 14 years changing the lives of many in our region.

For 14 years, Genni has been the Secretary of Riding for the Disabled (Barwon).  This organisation provides equine therapy sessions for young people with disabilities ( Cerebral Palsy, Autism) or special needs (behavioural issues, disengagement).

Genni’s passion and commitment has seen this service expand from a modest program to now partner with many Geelong schools, specialists and specialist services.  In her time, participation has quadrupled.

With no government funding, Genni has strongly and successfully advocated to organisations including Give Where You Live for funding.  As a result of Genni’s tenacious sourcing of funds, the children attending RDA Barwon are able to overcome financial hurdles, which is significant as many of the participant families are socio-economic disadvantage.  Recruiting and retaining volunteers is also a hurdle for organisations, however Genni’s passion has seen a loyal team of 40 committed volunteers give freely of their time to conduct the sessions.

The outcomes resulting from Genni’s energy and passion are incredible. Barwon Kids with cerebral palsy, confined to wheelchairs suddenly find posture sitting on a horse.  Kids with behavioural issues very quickly learn to respect a horse.  Children, with the isolation of Autism, smile and engage during their sessions.

Genni’s leadership has achieved great outcomes over the last 14 years and has changed lives, adding quality and experiences to the lives of hundreds of young people across Geelong.