Thank goodness for charitable organizations that promote the incredible human potential of children and adults with disabilities – organizations that believe the right opportunities can effect real change in people and their circumstances, whose staff and volunteers believe in possibilities more than limitations. 

Thank goodness for Reins of Life.

ROL logo
A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Reins of Life (ROL) is a NARHA/PATH International premier-accredited facility with the mission to improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy.

Incorporated as a non-profit in 1978, Reins provided 32 hours of therapeutic riding lessons for 16 riders that first year – primarily in friends’ backyards!  Today, however, thanks to more than four decades of volunteers, advocates, and donors, ROL serves more than 500 riders annually with thousands of hours of equine-assisted services from two picturesque locations in South Bend and Michigan City, Indiana! 

The charitable vision of Reins is three-fold:

  • To promote the mental, physical, emotional, and social growth of all involved in the program. 
  • To educate the community regarding the benefits of riding as therapy, and the abilities of children and adults with disabilities. 
  • To improve the attitudes of society toward persons with disabilities.[2]

In addition to a specific series of classes and activities, riders are also responsible for grooming their horses and getting them ready for the session.  While you may be wondering how this is possible considering the many, varied types of disabilities clients of Reins may be challenged with, ROL goes to great lengths to accommodate them with special equipment, coaching, and a scientific approach known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – a brain-based design framework which, when incorporated into the ROL programming, helps riders become more effective learners.[1]  This scientific approach is no surprise as ROL’s Executive Director, Dorota Janik, holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry.  Dorota came to Reins as a volunteer in 2007, with a desire to use her free time helping others.  Her passion for the Reins mission and incredible work ethic led her to serve on their board of directors, where she was named Board President in 2011 and, in 2012, appointed to her current position, where she directly oversees management, operations, and fundraising for both of their Indiana facilities.

The therapeutic horseback riding program at Reins are designed to help riders grow in confidence and independence –while learning new skills with the assistance of their equine “BFFs” (for those of us older than the acronym itself, that would be “Best Friends Forever.”). Riders set realistic personal goals and measure their own progress, as they receive the support they need to achieve their goals.  Specialized equipment and individual coaching are available to ensure that each student can experience success at their own level, in the program that best fits their specific needs. 

In addition to therapeutic riding programs, ROL also offers therapeutic carriage driving and interactive vaulting classes, as well as special programs for Veterans and organizations such as schools, libraries, church groups, schools, hospitals, and assisted living facilities.  Incredibly, they even have a partnership with LPA Counseling to provide Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy.

Tina Patton, CSOP™, CISM®, Vice President, Director of Nonprofit & Foundation Engagement states, “Indiana Trust is honored to highlight the extensive programming at Reins of Life which is geared toward improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities through horseback riding therapy – and to be able to share this information with others.”  Dorota Janik, PhD, Executive Director at Reins of Life, adds, “I am not sure what I can say that will adequately express the gratitude that you understand our mission, complexity, and importance of Reins of Life services.” 

Congratulations to Reins of Life, the Indiana Trust Nonprofit Spotlight award recipient for July 2022! 

Indiana Trust Wealth Management group photo with Dorota Janik, Executive Director, at Reins of Life in South Bend, Indiana
Pictured above, left to right, at the Reins of Life location in South Bend, Indiana
Kasi Nicole (Indiana Trust family member and volunteer); Indiana Trust employees Naomi C. Hall, QKA, Vice President, Director of Retirement Plan Services; Mary Klute, Administrative Associate; Jessica K. Burbrink, CFP®, CTFA™, Vice President, Investment Advisor; Tammera Wine, Client & Community Relations Coordinator; Susan L. Cybulski, CTFA™, CRC®, Certified Senior Advisor®, Vice President, Wealth Advisor; Tina M. Patton, CSOP™, CISM®, Vice President, Director of Nonprofit & Foundation Engagement; and Jill M. Hammes-Marra, Administrative Associate. From Reins of Life, “Sully,” a distinguished Percheron/Dutch Harness Horse gelding with experience in riding, driving, and interactive vaulting; and Dorota Janik, Executive Director.  Also from Indiana Trust, Amy D. Jordan, CTFA™, AWMA®, Client Service Specialist, Wealth Advisor; and Deborah L. Klosowski, CTFA™, Wealth Advisor.

Learn more about Reins of Life



About the Indiana Trust Nonprofit Spotlight Program

Indiana Trust Wealth Management launched the Indiana Trust Nonprofit Spotlight program initiative in January 2021, which consists of recognizing, rewarding, and promoting a nonprofit organization in one or more of the company’s footprint areas on a monthly basis, as a way to highlight various nonprofit organizations throughout the year and bring attention to the good work being done in the communities they serve. Under the Nonprofit Spotlight initiative, the nonprofit organization will receive a $1,000 corporate donation and be eligible for employee gift-matching throughout the year. David R. Kibbe, JD, President & CEO, states, “As a majority employee-owned company, matching our employees’ contributions is an opportunity for Indiana Trust to support those nonprofits whose missions connect with our employees."

About Indiana Trust Wealth Management

Chartered in 1988 as the first independent trust company in the state of Indiana, and now with more than $2 billion in assets under management, Indiana Trust is deeply committed to the communities they serve.  Advising clients and their families nationwide, Indiana Trust is dedicated to increasing financial security by providing superior, ethical, and unbiased wealth management and advisory solutions – delivering legacies built on trust.

Indiana Trust offers comprehensive wealth management strategies for individual and family wealth, business retirement plans, charitable organizations, foundations, and endowments – delivered with the fiduciary standard of care, a multigenerational commitment, and excellence in stewardship. The company is majority employee-owned with offices in Mishawaka, Elkhart, and Muncie.

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