Friends for Tomorrow
 

FFT STAFF

Diane B. Lesneski Auger
Founder and Executive Director

I am lucky to have found direction and a passion for my work at an age that has allowed me to experience both the challenge and fulfillment of pursuing a dream.Diane B. Lesneski Auger  Founder and Executive Director; Friends For Tomorrow, Inc.

A childhood love of horses, exposure to many wonderful and consistent mentors, and the support of family and friends has fueled the energy and love that Friends For Tomorrow has come to represent to me. I was fortunate to meet remarkable and inspirational students during my first exposure to therapeutic horseback riding as a volunteer during my high school years. Sharing the experience with a family as they watched their 13 year old son speak his first word, to a horse, is an experience that is as bright in my heart and memory as the day we all celebrated the moment a family thought they might never experience. In 1994, FFT became a reality for me, and a place to let children facing physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges experience the freedom and friendship riding a horse has to offer.

My educational background encompasses non-profit business management, a paralegal degree, and more than 25 years of ongoing training as an instructor of students with and without special needs. In addition, I am blessed with a wonderful husband and four loving children. As the founder of FFT, I have cherished every stage of development, from our initial enrollment of two students a week to our current schedule which supports a full lesson load 5 days a week.  Building towards our future, I am indebted to our staff and our board, the extraordinary group of individuals who ensure our program continues to seek excellence in our work.

I am especially grateful to the students and their families, who inspire each of us with their courage and dedication. Friends For Tomorrow holds the promise of potential and success for every person involved with the program. The incredible support we receive from our host farm, our donors and volunteers, and the foundations that help to fund FFT enable us to make a palatable difference in the lives of children and young adults whose future we hold in our hearts and hands.


LUCY CORNISH – Head Instructor & Program Director
Hi! I’m Lucy and I live in Carlisle with my husband, two children, two dogs, one pony and one donkey. I have my masters from the Simmons School of Social Work as well as my therapeutic teaching license. I have been working at Friends For Tomorrow since 2002.

Working at Friends For Tomorrow has been a wonderful opportunity for me. What I find unique about therapeutic riding is that it is a rigorous individual sport involving many muscle groups, balance, coordination and sensory integration, but it is also a team sport. The rider needs to form a bond with a large responsive animal and learn to work together, whether it is cleaning out his feet and saddling up or steering him through a series of obstacles. As a result, learning occurs physically, emotionally and intellectually. Furthermore, the skills learned around the horse and on his back are not isolated to the time spent at Friends For Tomorrow. Our students feel empowered as they carry their new accomplishments into their everyday life.


ALLIE DINGMAN – Associate Director and Instructor
Hi! My name is Allie and I am so excited to be part of the wonderful team here at FFT. I have known Diane since I was in middle school, back in the days at Arrowhead Farm. I volunteered with FFT through high school, always cherishing my time with theALLIE DINGMAN – Associate Director and Instructor children here. I went off to Bates College in Maine, where I continued my riding on the Equestrian team. Through college and during summers I taught lessons and worked in barns. At Bates, I completed an interdisciplinary major, including education, psychology and sociology. I spent my senior year working on my thesis about the effects of therapeutic riding on children with autism. I created my own miniature therapeutic riding program and worked with 4 children, recording different measurements of their progress. Part of the thesis was focused on profiling successful therapeutic riding programs in New England, including a chapter on Friends For Tomorrow. I am proud to say that I was asked to write an article about my research to be included in a book about children and the outdoors which will be published in the beginning of next year.

I am now living in Cambridge with my puppy and spending my time riding my horse in Lancaster, and playing with the children and ponies here at Berryfield farm. I am so pleased to be working with such a fantastic program here!


EMILY MOTT – Instructor
Spending most of my childhood as a Brooklyn girl, I didn’t get much early exposure to real horses. I tried to make up for it with horsey posters, models, books, and stories of my grandmother’s wild childhood horseback adventures in Shanghai. Mine is a family of professional musicians—violinists, cellists, pianists, singers. Through hikes with EMILY MOTT - Instructormom, pastoral settings at college and a dance camp, I fell in love with the outdoors. I studied sociology, education, and music at Swarthmore and after graduation was a Special Educator at Lincoln Elementary. Since then I’ve done research and curriculum development and now run a fully-enrolled piano and voice instruction studio called Songiver.

In the spring of 2000, already a volunteer at Ironstone Therapeutic Riding program, I met Diane and leapt at the chance to meet the horses and kids at Friends For Tomorrow. With loving mentorship and instruction from staff at Berryfield and the honorable Palomino quarter horse Miss Jazzy, I progressed further with my own riding and developing horse care knowledge. A few years of formal training and several exams later, I became a licensed and NARHA certified instructor for Friends For Tomorrow!

I love Friends For Tomorrow for its intimate nature. Mostly one-on-one individualized instruction lets us support and celebrate the kids for who they are. I know that I thrive in this relaxed but professional and very creative atmosphere. Time in the woods with the sweetest, fuzziest herd of Icelandics you’ve ever met is a dream. I must say that I am truly grateful for the time spent at Friends For Tomorrow experiencing and facilitating the magic of the horse-human relationship.


JANICE GILMAN - Administration and Marketing Manager
After graduating from Northeastern University with a BSBA with a major in Marketing, Janice spent many years in the hardware and software industry in Marketing and Sales. Affected by the economic downturn in 2008, Janice decided to spend some of that free time volunteering at Friends For Tomorrow.

What started as a volunteering opportunity soon grew into a part-time job with FFT. In July of 2009, Janice joined the FFT team full-time as the Administration and Marketing Manager. Welcome aboard Janice!

”Becoming a part of this fantastic team of women is a privilege. Every day I see the impact they have on the lives of so many children – I had to be a part it! While most of my time is spent in the office juggling administrative and marketing responsibilities, I do get to the farm at least a couple of times a week so I can relish in the positive energy and smiling faces that surround the barn. Some say what we do is so wonderful for the children, what many don’t realize is that we get back 10-fold of what we give. This is an incredibly rewarding job!”

Janice lives in Billerica and spends her free time on the beach in York Harbor and dabbling in her hobby, photography.