Throughout March, ETSU’s Chronic Illness and Disease Awareness Organization (CIDA) has held several fundraisers on behalf of Johnson City’s Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

In April, CIDA will also be assisting Small Miracles with the upcoming Western Derby Dinner and Auction Benefit.

CIDA recently held a bake sale to raise money for Small Miracles
(Photograph contributed / Facebook)

CIDA held an on-campus bake sale to raise proceeds for Small Miracles earlier this month.

Most recently, CIDA and the Honors College Student Council co-sponsored a charity ball at Carnegie Hotel from 7-10 p.m. on March 27. The ETSU faculty and students who attended enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and dancing.

By raising funds for Small Miracles, CIDA hopes to increase public awareness of autism.

“Small Miracles provides equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs and disabilities,” said Sherri Russell from Small Miracles. “We aim to help them throughout their lives so they can reach their God-given potential.”

Currently, Small Miracles provides services for over 300 people throughout the region. The organization offers five main programs.

Available in mounted and unmounted variations, the Therapeutic Horseman Program fosters physical and mental wellbeing in people with special needs. The lessons are crafted to meet the requirements and objectives of individuals.

The Horses Opening Pathways to Engagement (HOPE) Connection Program is more socially-oriented. It helps groups of students improve their academic, relationship and overall social skills. The HOPE program is aimed at people with autism spectrum disorders, pervasive development delay or sensory processing disorder.

The Friends Program helps young people with disabilities develop the social and work-readiness skills needed as they move through their lives.

The Positive Youth Development (PYD) Program fosters positive interactions between horses and youths who have been through traumatic experiences. The program aims to inspire hope and improve the social and leadership skills of students.

Small Miracles has partnered with Johnson City’s James H. Quillen Mountain Home V.A. to provide the Horses Empower Heroes (HEH) Program. Aimed at veterans suffering from PTSD, the program is intended to inspire hope and provide the means for participants to recover.

On April 7 from 5-7 p.m., CIDA will be assisting with the Western Derby Dinner and Auction Benefit. Pratt’s BBQ will be catering. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by contacting Mary Smith at 423-384-0894 or

“At the auction, there will be certificates usable at restaurants and jewelry stores, paintings, jewelry, and more,” Russell said. “In total, there will be 150 items to select from.”

“In addition to their help with events like the bake sale and the charity ball, CIDA has helped procure items for our silent benefit auction, which is huge. We can’t put it into words how much we appreciate the help.”