The nonprofit Robinson Outreach at Rivercross Ranch, better known as ROARR, relies upon donations to offer free equine therapy to youth and seniors.

ROARR recently received an important $4,500 donation from the Rotary Partners of Calgary at Stampede Park to provide transportation for 30 students to the ranch for an eight-week program.

It's the third time the Rotary partners club has made a contribution to ROARR and believes in its work.

During a visit to the ranch, Denise MacLeod, chair of the club's community service funding committee, recalls how a withdrawn man came out of his shell when enacting with a horse.

"We had one gentleman who wouldn't talk to anyone, he wouldn't answer questions, he wouldn't do anything," she explains. "He went outside, started enacting with the horse, and just started talking and didn't stop until he got back on the bus. It was an automatic reaction to see how it calmed him down. He had a smile on his face, chatted, and you could see the benefit of what's being done."

Rhonda Yaskowith says they vet all recipients of donations and have found the work of ROARR is well regarded.

"We've come out and seen what they've done, and we've had good feedback from other people."

ROAAR is 100 per cent funded by donations, and contributions like this are crucial, explains Rochelle Zemlak, a ROARR director who first volunteered before joining the board.

"It's really two programs with one big heart," she explains. "It's all about finding and meeting the emotional and psychological needs of both youth of seniors in need, and at risk," she explains.

ROAAR will be launching its spring youth program in about six weeks. 

The Rotary partners raised the funds by selling Dream Home tickets for the Stampede and receive their share of the proceeds in December. They made donations to 25 other valued organizations, including Beads of Courage, Homes for Heroes, Brown Baggers, Made by Mama, and the Calgary Fiddlers.

It is formed of spouses or friends of spouses of Rotarians in the Rotary Club of Calgary at Stampede Park.

Last summer marked the return of ROARR's pancake breakfast fundraiser.