FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2021
Contact: Mark Langan
Hanson Center Administrator Riding into the Sunset
Burr Ridge, Illinois—Ray Graham Association announced that Cathy LeBeau, the Horsemanship Administrator for the Hanson Center, has decided to retire effective February 12, 2021. Leah Doweidt will assume the principle leadership duties upon Cathy’s retirement.
Cathy has served in this current role for 27 years. Before that, she was a school teacher and volunteered at the therapeutic horsemanship program for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
During Cathy’s tenure leading the program, she played a critical role in growing participation from 35 riders a week to over 160. In the process, she championed the capital campaign to build an indoor riding arena and stables, which opened in 2000. The arena allowed the therapeutic progress for people with disabilities to continue year-round, regardless of the weather.
“Cathy’s dedication to helping people with disabilities reach, grow, and achieve exemplifies our mission at Ray Graham Association,” said President & CEO Kim Zoeller. “By establishing a Special Olympics team, hosting an annual horse show, and streamlining operations, she offered thousands of people with disabilities opportunities to build valuable skill sets and improve their physical wellbeing.”
“I love what I do, and I’m thankful for it every day,” said Cathy. “I adore the people we support, the people I work with, and the animals who help create a special space where people feel eager to learn and safe to try new things. As I prepare to retire, I am looking forward to seeing my children and grandchildren often as well as spending some free time riding my horse.”
The Hanson Center therapeutic horsemanship program uses 20 therapy horses to provide opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to experience the enjoyment and therapeutic benefits of riding horses. Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified instructors lead individual and small group lessons with the assistance of over 100 trained volunteers. “Cathy is always grateful for her volunteers and staff for their help and dedication because, as she always says, ‘Without them, this program would not be able to survive,’” said volunteer of 13 years Janet Schiffman.
Founded in 1950, Ray Graham Association serves nearly 2,000 people with disabilities and employs over 300 people. Ray Graham enriches lives by empowering those we support and those who care for them to reach, grow, and achieve. Through a person-centered approach to care and community, we provide people with disabilities and their families an array of services that cater to their individual needs, strengths, and dreams. Services include residential, life skills, recreation, employment, and family support.
Cathy LeBeau (click for high-resolution)
Hanson Center rider and volunteer, photo by Allison Klein (click for high-resolution)