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Clarkston Chamber Clarkston Volunteer Clearing House


O.A.T.S. was founded in Clarkston in 1997 and although we moved to Ortonville in 2017, we still think of Clarkston as our home.  O.A.T.S. which stands for Offering Alternative Therapy with Smiles is a non-profit, therapeutic horseback riding center.  More than 100 riders benefit from the program each week.  O.A.T.S. therapeutic riding programs are tailored to the needs of each rider, with the overall goal of developing as much independence as possible.  O.A.T.S. equine related activities help participants develop important life skills including responsibility, companionship, and caring while our ground activities teach proper grooming, feeding, tacking, brushing and currying techniques that aid in range of motion and balance.

In addition to the riders that benefit from O.A.T.S., our program provides numerous volunteer and community service opportunities that benefit the youth of our community. Each week 50 to 150 volunteers participate in our programs.  O.A.T.S. relies on volunteers, as our riders could not ride without them.  Many of our volunteers are students from Clarkston schools and other high schools in Oakland County.  Helping others within their community is a valuable life skill for our youth and one that they will take with them, as they become responsible young adults.  Being a volunteer allows them to learn important skills they can use in their future careers, like time management and people skills. Volunteering at O.A.T.S. helps our teens develop skills to become more mature and responsible adults by providing a service to meet the needs of others and sacrificing their own time.

The benefits of therapeutic horseback riding are well documented.  Our riders experience physical, cognitive and emotional benefits from their weekly riding sessions.  The O.A.T.S. motto, “Changing Lives One Ride at a Time” is more than just words.  For some of our riders, especially those who live in group homes, the time they spend at O.A.T.S. is the highlight of their week.  Our riders and volunteers are passionate about O.A.T.S. because of the wonderful things that happen here. 

O.A.T.S. is intimately involved with Clarkston area residents, schools, organizations, churches and businesses. Children from the Clarkston schools have learned about the value of giving back to the community through fund raising activities that have benefitted O.A.T.S.  These funds came directly back to special needs children from the Clarkston schools through their field trip to O.A.T.S last June. In addition O.A.T.S. assisted the Junior High in their quest to become a Green School.  Many of our special needs riders and volunteers come from the Clarkston area.  O.A.T.S. also has mutually beneficial relationships with the Clarkston Rotary and Lions.  O.A.T.S. is a member of the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce and we are the beneficiaries of the generosity of many businesses in the area, who in turn enhance their standing in the community through the positive public recognition they receive.  O.A.T.S. has also benefitted from many hours of volunteer labor from members of the Clarkston Community Church during Impact Weekend. 

Upcoming events:

June 2 & 3: O.A.T.S Day at Wojo’s Greenhouse in Ortonville (10% of sales to O.A.T.S.)

June 8: Rum & Tequila Festival at Eastern Market ( for more info)

June 22: Concert in Depot Park; O.A.T.S. concession stand

June 24: 1st Responders Appreciation Day at O.A.T.S.

July 2 – 6 and 9 – 13: Horse Camp at O.A.T.S.

July 16 – 20 and 23 – 27: Special Needs Camp at O.A.T.S.