Happy Trails in Your Retirement Wendy!

Woman with horse

We are pleased to honour Wendy, our Co-Founder and Executive Director, as she transitions into retirement. For these last 20 years Wendy has been the heart and soul of our organization and we want to honour Wendy and her outstanding contribution to Urban Stable and the youth in our community. 
Wendy MacDonald co-founded Urban Stable in 2001 and she has been the Executive Director for these last 20 years. Urban Stable grew from Wendy’s desire to provide much needed support and programming for middle years students in Winnipeg, MB and the surrounding area. Working with Winnipeg youth in social services, Wendy witnessed a lack of programming available for these youth and also came upon the opportunity to experience the incredible positive impact being around horses had on one of the clients she supported. 

This experience made Wendy determined to help more youth make this connection with horses to help them build confidence, self-esteem, problem solving skills, leadership, communication, teamwork, and a sense of belonging that comes naturally from interacting with horses. 

Building a program from the ground up is no small task, but Wendy’s dream became a reality in Urban Stable, which has grown and flourished. Twenty years later, through Wendy’s hard work and passion, Urban Stable has impacted the lives of over 700 youths and their families in our School and Alumni Programs! In addition, Urban Stable has touched at least triple that number of youths through summer programs, year-end and annual activities, and celebrations. At these events participants’ friends and families, along with Urban Stable’s board members and staff, with their friends and families, have also been positively impacted. 

Urban Stable has gone through many periods of growth and change over the years and through Wendy’s tenacity has grown from two students to serve over 70 students annually. Wendy has been the leader and visionary in expanding Urban Stable’s partnerships and supporters, growing its programs along with the staff to support these programs, and through it all continuing to learn, dream, and build for the future of the organization and the community it serves. 

Wendy’s incredible service and dedication to helping youth unbridle their potential through Urban Stable has been recognized with a number of awards throughout the years. Wendy was awarded the RBC Financial Group Local Hero Award in 2009; the Rotary Club of Winnipeg – Charleswood, Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2016, in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world; and most recently she was honoured provincially when she was named a Manitoba Hero in 2017. Wendy has also been featured as Urban Stable’s Co-Founder and Executive Director on numerous occasions in local media. 
The undying passion, commitment, and belief Wendy has for connecting youth with horses to promote positive change in youth lives is inspiring and has changed the lives of countless youths, their families, and their communities. 
Co-founding and directing Urban Stable has been Wendy’s focus for many years and her service in the organization has known no bounds. Wendy has participated in all aspects of the program from transporting students to and from the stable, volunteering as a horse handler and youth assistant, organizing and planning programs, connecting with supporters and partners, securing funding, steering the organization forward, and so much more. 
The need for supportive, creative programming to help youth unbridle their potential that initiated the start of Urban Stable has not diminished. Wendy’s vision, determination, and support has brought Urban Stable to where it is today and continues to build and create better opportunities for youth now and for years to come. 
Wendy is very deserving of her retirement and this small tribute doesn’t do justice to the impact she has made in so many lives. Wendy’s incredible dedication to youth, her community, and the building of such an impactful organization is a daily inspiration. We will miss Wendy immensely, but her passion and enthusiasm for helping others has left an indelible mark on Urban Stable and we know that mark of determination and kindness will continue to serve Wendy in her well deserved retirement.