Author: Constance Jackson
Story Submitted March, 1999:
Age = 39
City = Peotone, Illinois
Words = Curt, I do not have CP, but I work with quite a few children that do. I am a single mother of two
and I work a full time job in downtown Chicago. In my spare time I train and show horses. I
went to a horse show one day and they had a class for handicap riders. When these riders won
a ribbon, the expression on their faces was priceless. I then watched an Oprah show that was
about the Angel network and she asked viewers to think about what they know how to do and see
if it could help others.
I then came up with the idea of The Carousel Program. (this was May, 98). The Carousel
Program is now a Not-For-Profit organization that offers the joy of riding/driving horses to
handicap / terminally ill individuals for FREE. The program is going strong and we are
beginning to receive donations. A man in St. Paul, MN donated a fantastic draft horse, cart,
and harness to the program. This horse "Chris" is the backbone of the program now and all
the kids love him. The Program is open to any handicap / terminal illness, but most of our
participants have cerebral palsy. We are not a therapeutic program, but a program that is fun
& family oriented. We get the entire family involved and they love it. The kids who cannot
ride on top of the horse, can ride in the horse drawn cart. We purchased an old sleigh and a
grandfather of one of our CP kids, donated all the wood and work to restore it for us. He
also modified for me so that the back seat lifts out, the back wall folds down, and a wheel chair can be put in.
Even though we are not a therapy program, the therapists that work with my special kids, have
noticed improvements in their muscle tone and speech. Many of the therapists now use phases
with these kids such as "sit up straight like you do when you ride Chris" or "put your feet
down flat like Chris does".
We also get the kids involved in horse shows and parades. We award certificates of
achievement and have special parties for them.
If you are interested in learning more about the Carousel Program, please email me at
Carousel598@hotmail.com or phone 708-258-0663 after 7 pm.
Thanks for listening.
Constance Jackson, Founder
The Carousel Program