On May 16, 2017, a group of 18 Commonwealth employees (most of whom are part of the Project Management Office) headed off to Windrush Farm for a volunteer day. Windrush is an equestrian center and farm located in North Andover, and is one of the first therapeutic riding centers in the United States. The mission of the organization is to “expand and enrich the personal, emotional and physical abilities of all those we serve by partnering with our horses and the environment.”
The facility features indoor and outdoor riding tracks, a barn and main house, as well as miles of trails, all located on 38 acres and surrounded by an additional 160 acres of conservation land. While having a facility this size allows Windrush to provide necessary support and services, it also means there is much to do in order to be able to keep everything running smoothly. While trainers and staff members are committed to providing high quality care to clients (and horses), it does not leave much additional time for the upkeep and maintenance that are needed.
Wilston Johnston had worked with Windrush in the past and brought this cause to our attention. Many were happy to help volunteer their time—and tools—and together we were able to accomplish a number of tasks at the farm, including:
- Weeding and mulching various garden beds around the property
- Clearing and cutting up fallen trees
- Prepping and painting window frames and trim on the main house
- Fixing barn doors to provide more stability and ensure they would stay closed
- Repairing and replacing dividing walls in the stables and installing additional shelving in the arena
A big thanks to Commonwealth Cares for helping make this possible by supporting the VTO program and for donating materials to the project, Wilston Johnston for helping to organize this event, Kim Nguyen, who kept everyone fed throughout the day, and to all of the members of the Commonwealth team who were able to come out and lend their time to this cause. Their attitude and combined efforts helped make the day such a great success!
At the end of our time there, Janet Nittman, CEO of Windrush, said she had once received advice that “charity organizations should not look needy but, rather, worthy.” It’s our hope that our efforts helped them achieve this goal.
Group photo, from left: Naren Durgampudi, Tracy Zendzian, Monica Baires, Kim Nguyen, Meaghan Sugden, Shawn McCarthy, Kevin Muti, Jonathan Aibel, Steve Mahlebjian, Matthew Daiute, Joe Maduri Sr., Lenny Vernovsky, Pete Smith, Wilston Johnston, Betsy Leclair, Matt Surette, Chris Sieverts, and Paul Monayer.