Hometown Hero Saddling Up for a Good Cause Realtor® teaches disabled how to ride a horse.
Every Saturday morning you’ll find Linda Rubin at Harmony Farms in Rockledge, where she serves as a volunteer riding instructor for disabled children and adults. For Rubin, who used to breed and train Appaloosa racehorses, it’s a welcome break from her demanding workweek as a sales associate with ERA Showcase Properties & Investments in Merritt Island. “When you’re busy all week and you go down to the barn and smell the horses and your riders come up and give you a big hug, it’s just great,” says Rubin. “We’re a great group and the riders are fantastic. Everyone has fun. It’s a great place for anyone who wants to come in and learn about horses and helping other people.”
From 9 a.m. until noon, Rubin teaches four group sessions. “We have physically, mentally, emotionally and behaviorally disabled children and adults. My oldest rider is 65 and my youngest is three,” she says, adding that some can ride independently while others need one or two side walkers to steady them. Before each lesson, Rubin leads her students in light exercises to limber them up. Afterward, they have activities and games like musical chairs and an animal safari where volunteers hide various items for the students to find.
“I’ve been there for seven years now,” says Rubin. “It’s very rewarding. I’d always shown and raced, but volunteering at Harmony Farms gives me more pleasure than any horse show or race ever could. I wouldn’t know what to do on Saturdays if I didn’t go to the farm.”
Each student has an effect on Rubin, she says, but every now and then one comes along who leaves an indelible mark. A four-year-old boy she’s currently training is one such student. “He would cry every time he came to the farm,” she says. “He held his hands close to his chest, and you couldn’t touch him and he didn’t want to touch anything.” Through gentle coaxing and making the experience fun, Rubin was able to get through to the boy. “He now smiles, gets up on the horse and gets excited,” she says. “He’s my pride and joy.”
Rubin also donates $100 from each of her real estate closings to Harmony Farms. Although the farm has an annual tack sale (i.e., saddles, bridles, harnesses and other riding gear), she says it’s always in need of funds. “Our lease is up in three or four years, and developers will be building homes where our barn and pastureland now sit. The county has agreed to lease us 110 acres a few miles down the road, and we’ll be holding fundraisers, and horse shows and writing grant letters to drum up funds to build a new 20-stall barn that will cost us about $170,000. We’re looking for donations to help us because we don’t want to close our doors. We have a long waiting list for riders.”
Founded in 1992, Harmony Farms is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for handicapped individuals through interaction with horses. The organization is a member center of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). Want to Get Involved?
For information about Harmony Farms, go to www.harmonyfarmsinc.com
or call (321) 631-9433. It’s a Great Time to Buy
That’s the message several local Realtor® Boards/Associations are getting out to consumers via billboards, television ads, radio spots, print advertisements and even bumper stickers.
The Sarasota Association of Realtors (SAR) in January launched “Time2Buy,” its first major marketing campaign, which includes billboards; airport signage; magazine, television, radio and newspaper advertisements; buttons; bumper stickers; media releases; videos and other activities. As part of the promotion, the 4,200 SAR members are wearing “Time2Buy” buttons.
The Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches Inc. (RAMB) launched a similar campaign this year. And the Pensacola Association of Realtors (PAR) recently kicked off a major marketing campaign, designed around the message, “It’s a good time to buy a home,” to encourage public awareness of homeownership opportunities in the current market.
The Naples Area Board of Realtors and Association of Real Estate Professionals (NABOR) recently conducted a three-month radio ad campaign to increase awareness of Realtors as professionals who adhere to Code of Ethics. NABOR is in the process of developing a major local marketing campaign.
The Marco Island Area Association of Realtors ran a homeownership campaign in both island newspapers each week through Easter. And the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors (OMCAR) launched a billboard and radio campaign in mid-March.
The local multimedia campaigns coincide with phase two of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) “Buy Now” campaign. Two national television and radio commercials encourage buyers and sellers to ignore real estate bubble talk and take advantage of remarkably favorable conditions in many local markets.