Jenna Kaplan a Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Jenna Kaplan
Brimmer and May Class of 2007
University of Miami, B.A. in Criminology, 2012
What are you doing currently for a profession?
I am a Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Program Associate at the BINA Farm Center (BFC). BFC brings together those with and without special needs by offering a variety of inclusive enrichment programs including Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies, a Life Skills & Vocational Training Program, and Creative & Complementary Therapies for children and adults with physical, developmental and emotional challenges. As a Therapeutic Riding Instructor, I teach horseback riding to individuals with a wide range of special needs. While learning to ride a horse, my students experience many benefits including improved coordination, self-confidence, and communication skills. 
As a Program Associate, I assist with the planning of special group programs, as well as the day-to-day programming at BFC. I also plan and run our volunteer orientations, schedule volunteers in our daily lessons, and help coordinate school groups and other organizations that perform community service at our various locations.
How did Brimmer and May prepare you for your career?
Brimmer and May’s emphasis on diversity really gave me the foundation that led me to where I am now. The School taught me that everyone has the ability to succeed; some people just take a different road to get to their destination due to obstacles and roadblocks they may face along the way. It was also at Brimmer and May that I learned the many skills that helped me in college and continue to help me every day at work, including how to work both independently and as part of a team, time management, and organizational skills.
What led you to attend Brimmer and May?
My sister was already attending Brimmer and May when I started, which is initially what led me to the School. I was also drawn to Brimmer and May because of the small class sizes and the individualized, one-on-one attention that teachers provide to students.
What are you stand-out memories of your time at Brimmer and May?
I have a lot of great memories from my time at Brimmer and May, but my favorite memories are from the two Winterim trips that I went on.  I traveled to Belize in 10th grade and Nicaragua in 12th grade, both of which were unforgettable experiences. In Nicaragua, we did a service project at a local school where the students only spoke Spanish. I was not able to communicate verbally with the children since I spoke English and French, but we found alternative ways to communicate. The trip to Nicaragua taught me that just because someone may communicate in a different way than I do, does not mean that we cannot communicate. This is a lesson that has been especially useful in my work at BFC because many of the students I teach are not able to communicate verbally and have alternative ways of communicating. The Winterim trips also allowed me to see parts of the world that I otherwise may not have had the opportunity to visit.
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