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Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center Wins CIO Solutions’ Cloud/IT Giveaway

The Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center has won a three-month-long contest, securing $200,000 worth of free private cloud and IT services from CIO Solutions, one of the Tri-County’s largest IT companies.

“We are thrilled to win CIO Solutions’ Tri-County Private Cloud Giveaway Contest,” Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center Executive Director Kirby Gillispie said. “We were so happy with the support we received from our friends and riders throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties. These IT services will help us enhance our programs and fundraising ability by becoming increasingly more efficient as we move forward.

“We will get to upgrade our computer systems and better manage and protect our donor and client databases using the world’s most up-to-date private cloud technology, which I understand is more stable, reliable and faster than other technology; guards data better; uses less energy; can be tailor-sized to fit our organization’s computing needs; and costs less than other IT solutions. And that is going to enable us to invest even more of our resources in our programs.”

Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center employs “the power of the horse” to enhance the capabilities of children and adults with a broad range of special needs, including but not limited to autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Riding improves mental, emotional and physical abilities in ways that other activities do not,” Gillespie said, “because horses’ bodies move in the same 3-dimensional pattern as humans and they’re living beings with personalities. Riding helps a person to concentrate and teaches social skills, cognitive processing, and problem solving while building core physical strength, stimulating the nervous system, and improving balance.”

Riders come from all over the Tri-Counties to participate in classes, including through many collaborative groups like CALM, the Braille Institute, the Cancer Center, the Alpha Resource Center and Hillside House. The organization is presently gearing up to provide three summer camp opportunities through Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation.

Hearts is recognized by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) as a “premier center” — the highest possible level of accreditation, demonstrating a superior level of adherence to national industry standards. Lessons are individually designed to meet each rider’s particular needs and ability level and to accomplish their predetermined goals, which are established in partnership with their parents, caregivers, physicians and other therapists.

Six non-profits in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties — Family Service Agency, Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center, New Beginnings Counseling Center, PathPoint, People’s Self-Help Housing and Rescue Mission Alliance — made the short list to win the three years of free private cloud and IT support. The nominees and the winner were decided by online community votes, according to CIO Solutions President Eric Egolf. Only residents of Santa Barbara, Ventura or San Luis Obispo counties were allowed to participate.

“CIO Solutions is delighted to provide Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center with this private cloud and IT services gift,” Egolf said. “It was obvious that they really put their hearts and souls into this contest because they received an outpouring of support from the community. That’s not to make the other contestants who worked hard feel badly. That’s simply to show us all that when you put your heart and soul into something your odds of winning increase.”

“This is going to be a huge cost-savings and boost for our organization!” Gillispie said. “I am grateful to everyone who helped us make this dream come true.”

— Jonatha King is a publicist representing CIO Solutions.

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