Women of Distinction Awards 2014
Six women to be honored at Women of Distinction Luncheon
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Woman of Distinction
The start of a horseback riding career for her two children 10 years ago sparked Jenny Schwartz’s curiosity and passion for teaching equestrian sports that has wowed the community and changed the lives of hundreds of youth who have prospered under her unique riding programs.
Jenny, an equestrian athlete and medal winner, is the former development director for the New Canaan Mounted Troop (NCMT) who successfully planned and launched the Therapeutic Riding program in the fall of 2012. NCMT started in 1939 to help youth build confidence and leadership skills through sound horsemanship and is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
The Therapeutic Riding Program offers horseback riding and equine care instruction to children with special needs. Working around horses helps children to develop physical skills such as balance and gait, as well as mental skills to listen, communicate and follow instructions. There is also a ground program where adults with special needs come to the NCMT barn to interact with and care for the horses.
As a result of her hard work, the therapeutic riding programs have seen 100% enrollment rates one year after its inception. Jenny partnered with local groups to find members, and her dedication has led to increased volunteer participation and additional opportunities for adults to interact with high-school aged troopers. NCMT recently began Troops for Troops to help disabled veterans learn equine care.
“Jenny’s legacy at NCMT is immeasurable, and the benefits to the volunteers, therapeutic riding and ground program participants and their families cannot be overstated. She is the embodiment of NCMT’s mission and commitment to contribute to the local community, to build leadership through sound horsemanship, and to enrich the lives of all it touches, says Joan M. Burnett, an NCMT volunteer.
With a professional background in public finance, Jenny also served as volunteer Chairman of the Darien Housing Authority (DHA) for four years, overseeing the $30 million redevelopment of the deteriorated Allan O’Neill Moderate Income Family Homes into The Heights at Darien—106 affordable housing units that will be completed on time in June.
“Jenny was able to combine her business and finance acumen, developed during a successful career in fixed-income finance, with her leadership skills, knowledge, understanding of her community and relentless energy to address every aspect of this important development,” says John H. McClutchy, Jr., president of JHM Group of Stamford, which built the units.