Emily Jones is a volunteer at the Camelot Center in Southington — a nonprofit equine-assisted therapeutic riding program. The goal is to help people of all ages and abilities excel through interaction with horses.
The center is able to accomplish this goal through the tireless work of selfless volunteers like Emily.
“Anything that they need, I take care of and I manage,” she said.
Emily graduated from Southington Schools and now goes to Kent State Trumbull. Despite having a full-time class schedule, she dedicates several hours a day, seven days a week to the Camelot Center.
She does everything from taking care of all the horses to maintaining the grounds. Emily also spends a lot of time with the riders, many of whom are children.
Helping kids is her favorite part.
“I really love the horses but I really love all the kids and getting to see their smiling faces every day,” Emily said.
A lot of the riders at Camelot are people with physical, mental or emotional challenges. Emily said giving them a few hours of joy makes it all worthwhile.
“It’s so important because they don’t get to experience things like this often so me being able to help them with that is just — it’s awesome.”
The 18-year-old has been riding since she was 7 and volunteering since she was 10.
Her boyfriend, Logan Rhodes, also helps out at Camelot and said Emily sets a great example for everyone.
“She’s here every day, you know? Hours and hours. She’s always the first one here and the last one to leave, and takes care of these horses like they’re her own. All the time, hard work. She’s always here. She loves it here and it’s just awesome to have someone like that in my life to take care of these horses, so I know she’s always going to be there for me.”
Emily said all the work put in at Camelot to help people in need is a complete team effort.
“There’s just a lot of volunteers that put in a lot of hard work and that makes a big difference.”