Alamance County, NC -- An graduating Elon University student is leaving a lasting legacy on part of the Triad community.
Jana Murdock has volunteered with Kopper Top Life Learning Center, a non-profit therapeutic center in Liberty, since her freshman year. As she's about to graduate, she wanted to do something to help Kopper Top, even after she stops volunteering there. So in January, she started a fundraising project to start an endowment for Kopper Top. What started as a letter-writing campaign resulted in $10,800.79. "I couldn't think of a better way to say thank you for everything that I've gotten and I just wanted to make sure there was some relief, some financial relief, for Deborah."
Deborah Meridith is the executive director at Kopper Top. Meredith said she had no idea Murdock was working on such an extensive project. "I couldn't believe it... that a... college student could raise so much money in so short of a time."
Murdock said her experiences and the people she's met at Kopper Top have left a lasting impression on her heart. "He's quadriplegic and seeing the progress that he's made when he started having lessons here: He's wheelchair bound, he was not communicating, all his other therapists kind of had given up on I'm and Deborah didn't. And I came out for one of his lessons and he was walking. He took a few steps from his wheelchair to the van and he was forming words and starting to talk and just seeing that having that experience was amazing. It was just -- lifted my heart you know to see the difference that can be made with this kind of work."
Meridith said Kopper Top is about more than just people with disabilities riding horses. "We ride the horses, and we take animals to nursing facilities, and we have an inclusive day camp for people with and without disabilities, and then we have farm tours for people with and without disabilities, and then we have horticulture therapy around the farm -- so we have a lot of different therapies."
Because they offer so many therapies, Meridith said thats part of the reason she struggled with fundraising in the past. "It's time consuming, its difficult to try to handle the therapy itself, AND taking animals to the facilities, AND trying to raise money." She said the new endowment will be a huge help. "We'll use the interest off of it to be able keep kids and adults that are unable to pay to continue to come to use those funds, helps maintain the horses, the other animals that we use here on the farm."
But Meridith said helping clients is her first priority. "Its the smiles on their faces, its the joy they can do something without their wheelchair, without their crutches or you know not having to think about their disability at the time but the enjoyment that they gain but in turn they also recieve the therapy."
Kopper Top Life Learning Center is in Liberty and opened in 1990. They use animal and plant therapy to help individuals with and without disabilities. To see their wish list and testimonials, visit their website by clicking here.
WFMY News 2