Special needs children ride ponies at SW Miami-Dade farm

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - An inspiring group of South Florida children spent the day outdoors in the saddle, and it was all thanks to a local organization.

Some of the more than 60 young guests at a farm in Southwest Miami-Dade, Sunday, got the chance to interact with farm animals for the very first time, in a comforting and therapeutic way.

Making it all possible was Miguel Sanchez and the volunteers of Miami Power Team Foundation. “Since 1995, the Miami Power Team is changing the lives of children with disabilities and terminal illnesses,” said Sanchez.

7News cameras cameras captured the children carefully being helped onto ponies, being introduced to some of the farm’s smaller, noisier residents, and even receiving balloon animals from a clown. It was all part of a day volunteers described as a labor of love.

Miguel Sanchez
Miguel Sanchez

For many children and their families, this experience is so much more than just a day at the farm. “We have children who have never had a friend before, and they come here, and when they see other children and play with them, suddenly it’s another language,” said Sanchez. “In the houses, they told us that [some of them] have never spoken with the parents, and now, suddenly they change. Their attitude is different.”

Time with the animals surely made a difference for 8-year-old Zoe Rodriguez. “Zoe, she was just a regular kid. At the age of 3 years old, she hit her face and she had a stroke, three strokes, actually,” said her stepmother. “She got a brain blood clot, and we took her to surgery. She got three strokes after that, and now she’s paralyzed from the right side of her brain.”

Zoe’s stepmother said the child is having the time of her life. “She feels welcome. As soon as she sees people, she’s like ‘hola, hola, hola,’ all the time.”

As if on cue, Zoe said, “Hola, hola.”

“So she’s happy always,” said her stepmother.

And when Zoe gets on her pony, she can’t stop saying, “Dale, pony. Dale, caballo.” (“Let’s go, horse!”)

Sanchez has a simple explanation for why everyone works to make this happen. “People touching each other, humanity,” he said. “Everybody has something to share. Everybody has something to give.”

The founders and director of Miami Power Team Foundation said the organization is powered by volunteers and generous donors. For more information, click here.

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