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Did you know that more than 15 % of our population is considered disabled? Think what it would mean to live with the boundaries of your life defined by a wheelchair. Imagine the challenges faced by parents raising a child with special needs. Consider the loneliness of a life lived indoors, shut off from the healing power of nature.

These underserved members of our community need and deserve outdoor recreation, open space access, as well as therapeutic and educational opportunities relating to nature. Please help to support our mission, enriching the lives of people with disabilities and other underserved members of our community. Your sponsorship, donation, or participation as a volunteer will enable Access Adventure to sustain and expand the needed services that we provide in our community.

Your support is vital to our success. With your help, we can continue our exciting and inspirational work, staffed entirely by volunteers. Your donation could enable people with disabilities to attend an Access Adventure wilderness camping experience, fund travel for Access Adventure programs throughout the San Francisco Bay area and beyond, provide free Equine Facilitated Therapy to people with disabilities and fund our horses’ basic needs including feed, farrier, training and veterinary services.

Please make your tax-deductible donation to: ACCESS ADVENTURE, P. O. Box 2852, Fairfield, CA 94533-0285

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A LEGACY OF GIVING by Michael Muir

 

My great-grandfather is America’s visionary conservationist, John Muir. “The Father of our National Parks” left a lasting legacy for our modern world, and for the ages. The legacy he left his family is less well-known.

John Muir was raised by a religious fanatic father, parsimonious and brutally strict. As the oldest boy in the family, John bore the brunt of an austere upbringing. Despite leaving school at the age of eleven to work long days for his father to develop a farm from Wisconsin wilderness, John remained a curious and thoughtful boy. His amazing inventions, whittled from wood and created solely from his fertile imagination included working clocks and barometers. His “alarm-clock bed” hurled him upright at the appointed hour. His “lazy student’s desk” rotated books at the appropriate time, opening to the page last read.

These inventions brought John Muir to the attention of the University of Wisconsin and to employment in a factory. His clever inventions brought increased productivity and swift advancement, but an industrial accident blinded him. He recovered his sight after a period of convalescence, but his promising future in business was over. John Muir swore “I will never turn my eyes away from the glories of nature” and the stage was set for his remarkable and unusual life.

John Muir took an untrodden path. The world is richer for that, and so are his descendants. John Muir raised his daughters with a gentle and loving hand. My grandmother and her sister were encouraged to find their own way in the world. The formal education of my grandmother Annie Wanda consisted of just nine months at the Anna Head School, yet she won a place at the University of California at Berkeley where she met and married my grandfather. She also honed the family legacy of doing work that needs to be done, helping people that need a hand.

My grandmother bore five sons and one daughter, but she also adopted and fostered any child that needed a place at the table. Annie Wanda was nursing my newborn Uncle John when her cousin grew gravely ill after giving birth to a weak and delicate pair of twins. My grandmother took these two babies to her breast, in addition to Uncle John. He grew up to be the smallest of the five brothers and claimed, “I was raised on short rations!”

My grandparents had a hired man on the farm in Martinez. He was an immigrant from Portugal, leaving behind a wife and young son. When his wife died, he sent for his motherless child. While the eight year old boy was on a ship from the Old World, his father died suddenly in Martinez. My grandmother met the ship in San Francisco and took the orphaned boy home. He became a part of the family, and my “Uncle Joe”.

Joe became a successful farmer in the Alhambra Valley. He had neighbors who were also farmers, Americans of Japanese descent. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, Japanese Americans were taken and held in internment camps, many losing their homes and property. Uncle Joe told his neighbors not to worry. He share-cropped their properties, looking after their farms as if they were his own. He split the profits and banked them. When the war was over, his neighbors returned home to thriving crops in the field and money in the bank. Uncle Joe did well in life, but he also did good.

My grandmother is not remembered like her famous father, but she also left a lasting legacy. Over the course of her life, she worked tirelessly to see that every county in the state of California had a hospital that would serve the needs of indigent women and children.

I was never discouraged from my great love of horses. I wasn’t nudged toward more conventional employment. My life has been made richer by all my experiences around the world, with my horses. Horse business can be a decadent and ego-driven enterprise, but it can also be magical. With Access Adventure, I have found my way to give something back. With an extraordinary and devoted team of volunteers, we harness our affection for the noble horse and bring joy to shattered lives.

Sometimes what we do is merely fun, but for some people fun is in short supply. Sometimes what we do is miraculous and life-changing. We don’t charge for what we do because our work is priceless.

Please join me in supporting Access Adventure.

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