She said it was a great working with the staff at Hope Haven.
“It’s exciting to see the application put to use,” Sandberg said. “We’re going to be able to help so many people. These projects will give the staff data so they can measure their success.”
Menke said the projects offering the farm the data has helped them to decide to focus on research.
“We’ll be looking for grants to help us do more research,” she said. “We know what we see, but have not had the technology in the field to measure the riders. This gives us actual data.”
The partnership between Hope Haven and Rose-Hulman came about through one of the families that attends therapy sessions. Mark and Debbi Christy have been bringing their son, Drew Christy, out to Hope Haven for nearly a year.
In 2008, when Drew was a sophomore at Rose-Hulman, he had a car accident while driving hear his Fillmore home. He sustained a massive closed head injury and chest injuries in the crash. He officially suffered a “diffuse axonal injury” or a traumatic brain injury.
“Drew was a biomedical student,” Debbi said. “That’s how I knew about the senior project program at Rose-Hulman. I waited until all the kids who were in school with Drew were done, then I approached the school to do some projects with Hope Haven.
“In spite of his injury, Drew wants to help others.”
Drew came out to show off how the projects worked. Therapeutic rider Will Crane and his father, Bill, were also on-hand to help demonstrate the projects. They live in Plainfield.
“We come out to ride for the Special Olympics program,” Bill said. “We’ve been coming out for four years and he’s gotten pretty good. That wasn’t the case the first time we came out.”