No horsing around for this young woman's mitzvah project


Amanda Jacobson with Jasper.

Amanda Jacobson, 13-year-old daughter of Jason and Jennifer Jacobson of Ocoee, will be called to the Torah as a bat mitzvah on June 18, 2016, at Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation (SOJC).

A competitive gymnast at Orlando Metro Gymnastics (OMG), Amanda, an A student, is schooled mornings in a Learning Coach/Florida Virtual School class at Gifted University in Winter Garden before heading to OMG for 4 to 5 hours of practice each weekday.

Amanda hoped to find a mitzvah project that reflected one of her passions: animals, especially horses. It was her volunteer work at a veterinary clinic last summer that helped feed that passion. After some research, she discovered Freedom Ride on Lee Road in Winter Park. Freedom Ride is a non-profit, therapy horse organization that helps kids with special needs. Freedom Ride also provides a place for retired or donated horses to enjoy the rest of their life while still remaining in service.

After a recent tour of the facility, Amanda realized how important these horses are to the children who get to ride them. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the special needs children riding horses that morning convinced her that this was what she wanted to do for her project.

Not settling for just asking for cash donations, Amanda researched specific needs of the Freedom Ride facility and came up with a Wish List of supplies. She then arranged with The Tack Boutique in Winter Garden to host a Spirit Day to help with the campaign.

On Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Tack Boutique at 21 South Main Street in Winter Garden, will be displaying a collection of Freedom Ride Wish List items. Customers will be able to purchase items to be donated to Freedom Ride. Amanda will be there Saturday from 1-4 p.m. She is hoping to exceed her goal to raise $1,000 for four months of care for Jasper (as of May 15, $600 has been raised), and also provide the equipment and supplies needed by all the horses at Freedom Ride.

Freedom Rides accepts volunteers 14 and older to work at their stables (so you know what Amanda will be doing this summer when not working on her aerials).

For more information about Freedom Ride:

To donate to Amanda's campaign:


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