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Kopper Top Life Learning Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic services and recreational therapy through the use of animals. The mission of Kopper Top is to strive to empower and enable individuals with special needs by providing recreational therapy through horseback riding and other animal therapy, and offer educational experiences designed to increase self-confidence and improve quality of life.
Kopper Top Life Learning Center, Inc. ("Kopper Top") was founded in Guilford County in 1990 by Deborah E. Meridith, LRT/CTRS, the organization's Executive Director. The program grew out of Deborah's desire to serve individuals with special needs and varying circumstances through the use of, and her love for, her animals. Kopper Top began as a small organization with only a few special needs riders utilizing the therapeutic benefits of caring for and riding the horses in Kopper Top's Healing HOOVES program (Helping Out Our Valued Equestrian Students). These riders very much enjoyed the therapeutic benefits derived from the care and riding, which the horses offered. Through program outreach, Deborah expanded into other animal-related therapeutic programs by taking trained animals into retirement homes to do animal-assisted therapy, appropriately named Healing PAAWS (People and Animals We're Serving). This therapeutic model is more than a typical dog or cat petting session with facility residents. The Healing PAAWS program amplifies compassion and empathy by allowing residents to interact with a variety of trained animals, including a miniature horse, dogs, cats, and bunnies -- providing an opportunity for residents to interact with animals that more closely match their own preference and temperament.
- Deborah Meridith
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