UT’s equestrian team held Horses for Humanity last Wednesday, donating all proceeds to the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition.
The team brought four horses to campus and set up an area for students to ride them around the grassy field south of the Memorial Field House, next to the Student Union. Each rider was asked to make a donation of at least $3.
“Everyone had smiles on their faces and loved it, for a lot of people, it was their first time riding a horse,” equestrian team Co-President Nicole Archer said.
She added the team loved introducing students to riding horses, as it’s an everyday thing for them.
This was the second time the team held the event. They first came up with the idea last semester when they wanted to raise money for hurricane victims in Texas, said Andrea Woo, equestrian team co-president.
The event raised $402 last semester, and about $330 last Wednesday to support the Human Trafficking Coalition, Woo said.
“Last semester after it went really well, we thought why not raise money for different causes every semester,” Woo said. “We decided to raise money for victims of human trafficking because it is a huge issue in Toledo.”
Archer also said that the International Justice Mission Chapter on campus was instrumental in linking the team with the Coalition. The team was also happy they could raise money for the cause during April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, she said.
Founded in 2009, the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition’s mission is to, “Unite the community to combat human trafficking,” according to their website.
Sandy Sieben, co-chair of the Coalition, is also a visiting assistant professor of social work at UT.
“We collaborate with a lot of community partners, so we are always appreciative and welcoming to it,” Sieben said. “It was a nice surprise from the team.”
Broken down into five different subcommittees, including education, programs and services, events and Marketing, grants and development, the Coalition does a large range of different things to combat human trafficking and educate the public.
Services they provide include training local EMTs, frontline hospital workers, law enforcement and educators on human trafficking detection and protocol, Sieben said. They also provide grants for victims and those supporting victims.
The Coalition hosts monthly meetings at the Kent Branch Library on the third Wednesday of the month from 9:15-11:00 a.m., which are open to the public.
Both team co-presidents said they plan to continue the event each semester, picking a new cause to support each time. They are not yet sure what they will be fundraising for next semester.
Archer also said getting approval to do the event was much easier than she expected and, “The university was actually very supportive and thought it was a good idea so we really appreciated them.”
For anyone who missed out on the event, there will be another chance to ride horses on campus next fall, supporting another worthy cause.