HHYF Receives Donation In Honor of Chris Wittstruck
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation recently received a significant donation honoring one of the industry’s hardest working good guys, Chris Wittstruck, an SOA of NY director, pension trustee and USHWAN. The celebration aptly took place at Goshen Historic Track in New York who has served as host and supported HHYF activities for the past two decades.
“Our industry is filled with acronyms, maybe the most important of which is HHYF. You can walk into a sporting goods store and buy baseball bats, soccer balls, footballs, basketballs; hockey sticks and possibly a riding crop. Our sport is different; with ever-dwindling media coverage, youth introduction and exposure to harness racing can only be achieved through passionate mentoring. By teaching the next generation care and respect of the Standardbred, dispelling the mystery of our equipment and sharing the sheer joy of race competition the Harness Horse Youth Foundation ensures the continued existence of our game. It is because of the inimitable role HHYF plays that I am so very pleased and touched that my client, Far Out Farm, a prominent agricultural operation in Saratoga County, New York, has made today’s substantial contribution in my honor”, an exuberant Wittstruck expounded.
This is not the first time Chris’s goodness has benefited HHYF. In 2016, upon receiving the prestigious Stan Bergstein Writing Award, he immediately donated the cash prize to HHYF and was subsequently selected as the year’s Service To Youth Award recipient. Chris’s support over the years has not only provided financial sustainability but his enthusiasm for the HHYF mission is inspiring to others. His association with Far Out Farm, LLC is another example of that pay-it-forward type of philanthropy.
HHYF is deeply grateful for the timely and generous gift that has arrived during this pivotal expansion phase for HHYF. As HHYF explores new options for better fulfillment of the mission, the following are already in progress:
- retrofitting the activity box to enhance its suitability for agriculture education classrooms, complete with engaging and ready-to-roll hands-on activities meticulously coded to meet both Common Core State Standards and National Council for Agriculture Education Standard.
- Establishment of an online learning module; and
- A collaborative effort to develop a dynamic hands-on internship program. HHYF recognizes that the valuable knowledge imparted during the hands-on camps should include continuous augmentation for the benefit of its young participants.
Executive Director Ellen Taylor further explained:
“Over the past four decades, our programs have been renowned for their excellence in providing real life horse experiences and educational value. We take immense pride in the transformations they have ignited in the lives of countless individuals. As we embark on this new chapter, we are keenly aware of the shifts in young people’s evolving interactions with learning. However, there remains one steadfast constant: the unyielding interest young people possess for horses. Once harnessed into our industry, this passion becomes the life’s blood and the very future of the industry we cherish. In the spirit of Far Out Farm’s generosity, HHYF extends an invitation to all who share fervor for the sport’s future to join in these endeavors. We call upon those who are impassioned and inspired by the prospect of making a difference to consider volunteering as speakers or assistant drivers at our camps, by supporting the camps directly through donations of bedding, hay, grain, fuel, or with monetary contributions which will play a vital role in sustaining and expanding our mission.”
Taylor concluded “HHYF understands that it truly takes a village to nurture and empower the next generation. We treasure our unwavering supporters and recognize that together, we are creating a brighter future for both these aspiring young minds and the industry we enjoy.”
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people’s lives since 1976; its programs include interactive learning experiences with racehorses as well as offering scholarships and creating and distributing educational materials relating to harness racing.
Harness Horse Youth Foundation
Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk