Group effort helps Stone Mountain woman fulfill riding dream

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Shelley Mann at 770-963-9205 ext. 1305 or shelley.mann@gwinnettdailypost.com.

A Duluth nonprofit was one of a group that helped a local disabled woman fulfill a longtime dream of trotting her horse around an arena.

Heather Brooks, 25, of Stone Mountain was born with cerebral palsy. For more than a year, she's been working with Driving Magic in Duluth, a nonprofit group that uses horses as a form of therapy. Driving Magic instructor Matt Lindskoog helped Brooks learn to drive her horse, Hank, using specially designed moccasins.

But it was an invention from South Carolina man John Ingram that enabled Brooks to drive her horse from a carriage. The foot-control device allows Brooks to control her horse with smaller movements and to rest her feet in stirrups.

Brooks and her mother, Janice Strang, traveled to the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers in June to try it out. Lindskoog and several family friends joined Brooks at the arena. A lift raised Brooks and her 350-pound chair onto the carriage, and Brooks was able to walk and then trot her horse around the arena, controlling him with her feet. Brooks drove for more than an hour, and then again the next morning. The young rider said she hopes to compete in horse shows this fall.

A local freelance writer, Betty Wilson Beamguard, was so inspired by Brooks' story that she's writing a book, tentatively titled "How Many Angels Does It Take," about the many people who worked together to make it possible for Heather to drive her horse. For more information on Driving Magic, e-mail drivingmagicinc@aol.com.

Golf tournament will raise money for Dream House

The third annual Bard Golf Classic, scheduled for July 25 at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort, will benefit the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children.

Registration for the scramble-format tournament starts at 8 a.m. at the Woodlands Course at Chateau Elan, located off Interstate 85 at exit 126 in Braselton. Golfers are encouraged to preregister at www.dreamhouse.golfreg.com. Medical technology developer C.R. Bard Inc. is the title sponsor of the event, but other sponsorships are available.

The Lilburn-based Dream House was founded in 2001 to provide care for children under the age of 19 who are dependent on life-sustaining medications because of an accident, illness, congenital disorder, abuse or neglect. The group provides educational programs for families and caregivers, helps equip homes and increases community awareness. For more information, visit www.dreamhouse.com.

Yard sale will raise money for victims of domestic abuse

A multi-family yard sale Saturday will benefit Fresh Start for Women, a nonprofit group that helps women who have been the victims of domestic abuse.

The yard sale will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 283 Simonton Road in Lawrenceville. Food and drinks will be sold, and all proceeds will benefit Fresh Start.

Fresh Start offers retreats where women are given the tools needed to begin the healing process and focus on the future, said founder Janice Pettigrew. For more information, visit www.freshstartforwomen.org. If you're interested in donating items for the yard sale, call 404-543-1017.