At its recent year-end party, Horses & Horizons Therapeutic Learning Center, Inc. recognized two area residents as outstanding volunteers for 2012.

Mario Cesare of Lehighton was named the organization's Volunteer of the Year, and Laura DeHart of New Ringgold was "Volunteen" of the Year.

Cesare has been a volunteer for the therapeutic horseback riding program for more than five years. This year, he volunteered for all three sessions of riding lessons, alternately serving as both horse leader and side aid. He was more than willing to substitute for volunteers who were unable to fulfill their lesson obligations, and he helped with the non-profit's fundraisers and special events.

Cesare is a supervisor at Shaffer Industries.

This was DeHart's first official year as a volunteer at Horses & Horizons. Last year, prior to reaching the required minimum age for lesson volunteers, she helped with various odd jobs during lessons. This year, DeHart served in both roles of horse leader and side aid. In addition to her scheduled volunteer lessons, she could be relied on to fill in for volunteers who were unable to help in other lessons. She also assisted with exercising the program's lesson horses.

DeHart is a member of the National Junior Honor Society at Tamaqua Middle School where she is in the eighth grade. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her two horses.

The purpose of Horses & Horizons' annual year end event is to show appreciation of its volunteers, and to recognize the achievements of its riders. It was held on November 4 at the Zion's Stone Church hall near the town of Snyders. Executive Director, Harvey Smith, presented certificates of appreciation to its more than fifty volunteers and certificates of achievement to its riders.

Horses & Horizons is a registered non-profit organization, which is staffed entirely by volunteers.

It operates from Harvey and Elaine Smith's Helping Horse Farm, located between Tamaqua and New Ringgold. The center serves children and adults with a wide variety of disabilities.

Horses & Horizons holds riding lessons from May through October. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or enrolling a rider can visit the website at or call Harvey or Elaine Smith at (570) 386-5679.