SHERIDAN — The Powder River Energy Foundation recently donated $2,500 to Children, Horses and Adults in PartnerShip (CHAPS) Equine Assisted Therapy.

This grant will assist the program as it provides high-quality equine therapies to youth, adults and veterans with physical, mental, social and/or psychological disabilities. According to CHAPS Executive Director Kristen Marcus, equine therapy helps people in many physical and emotional ways.

“The benefits of equine therapy include improved balance, posture, muscle strength, flexibility, cognitive function, fine/gross motor skills, spatial awareness, problem-solving and coping as well as improved communication/relationship skills,” Marcus said. “Decreased symptoms of depression and/or anxiety have also been reported.”

Based in Sheridan, CHAPS provides therapy to hundreds of people. While some are from the Wyoming area, others, mostly veterans, are from across the United States. CHAPS partners with the local Department of Veteran Affairs to serve veterans with opportunities to heal from traumatic events during their service.

The foundation’s donation will pay for scholarships for clients that could not otherwise afford the lessons.

Marcus said the benefits of the therapy should be made available to as many people as possible through scholarships from donors.

“It is our belief that everyone should have access to services, regardless of their ability to pay,” she said.

In 2018, more than 90 percent of the clients utilized scholarships to participate.

The award is made possible in part by the PRECorp members who participate in the Operation RoundUp® program, and/or donate capital credits from the cooperative. When members sign up for Operation RoundUp®, PRECorp rounds up their electric bill to the next dollar and those added pennies are donated to the foundation. When the cooperative board of directors returns profits to members — called capital credits — many PRECorp members also donate those dollars to the foundation.

Along with member donations and contributions, the foundation receives donations from businesses that help sponsor various fundraising events each year, events like the June 1 Durham Ranch Buffalo Stampede, and the annual golf event at Hulett.

Since its inception, the foundation has donated nearly $1 million back to our communities. The foundation’s goal is simple — to provide financial and philanthropic support to organizations and causes that have a direct impact in local communities. The impact of these donations is felt by the consumer-members of PRECorp in northeast Wyoming.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for the people in northeast Wyoming,” Foundation Executive Director Jeff Bumgarner said. “CHAPS helps people become self-reliant through education and training.”