Posts filed under ‘LCC in the Community’

Annual LCC Letter from the Founders

lMay 26, 2015

Dear Friends of Las Campanas Compadres,

I am somewhat late this year in writing our annual letter. As much as I try to take on a bit less, that game plan never seems to work out the way I had planned.

Las Campanas Compadres continues to grow and service the needs of our community. 2014 was an exciting, and also challenging, year for us in many ways, and 2015 looks to be the same.

2014 In Review

We are proud of our achievements. Since inception in May 2007, LCC has underwritten over 7,000 ½-hour private tutorial riding and swimming lessons. Our student numbers continue to grow. We now have 94 registered students (up from 77 last year) on our roster and we continue to receive new applications on a regular basis. We underwrite approximately 1,500 lessons per year.

Our horse situation has changed somewhat. We now have four horses in our program. The difference is that we own them all and new last year is the added expense of LCC underwriting the cost of boarding them in addition to the vet and farrier costs we incur. While The Club at Las Campanas has been incredibly generous in giving us a deeply discounted boarding rate, it still means an added $4,800 expenses per annum.

Bruno, who has been with us since the beginning, is almost now retired. He is old and does not have the stamina he once had. We have been actively looking for a home for him where he can just graze and live out his days, but that has proven to be difficult to find. Our other three horses, Sunny, Bolero and Ghost continue to do a great job for us and Karen has them well trained.

We are immensely appreciative of all our board members who selflessly give their time and energy to our program. They are: Suzanna Becerra, Bob Lehrer (treasurer), Darlene Romero (secretary); Britt Gladu, Susan Sumner, Karen Evans and Dave Caldwell.

Last year’s Annual Awards event took place in the fall and was once again a great success. This year’s event will again be on Columbus Day, October 12th. The children are off from school and it means that a lot more parents and relatives can attend the ceremony. Last year we awarded each student with a handsome trophy inscribed with their name. A total of 42 awards were handed out with over 80% of our students receiving achievement awards for both riding and swimming disciplines. We also want to thank all the parents who brought food and refreshments.

We were once again proud to announce the winners of The Ron Walters Award for 2014.

The Ron Walters Award is presented each year to the Las Campanas Compadres volunteer who in the opinion of the founders, Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra, has demonstrated outstanding enthusiasm for the program. The recipient will have an unparalleled sense of ardor, determination, and compassion, character traits that Ron Walters lived by.

 It is always difficult to single out any one particular volunteer as all of our volunteers are incredibly helpful in so many ways. Suzanna and I always struggle with our decision. That being said, we are delighted to announce that last year there were several recipients, and the choices were easy ones to make.

Bob Lehrer has been awesome. His tireless commitment to LCC is well documented and enormously appreciated. It takes a lot of time and energy to run a program of our size, and Bob has been one of the key people helping us make LCC the success that it is.

Mimi Kingsbury is a well-seasoned vet in our program and is one of our most valued and respected volunteers. Her commitment to the swimming program has been invaluable, and she has a kind and gentle way with our students who love her.

Juliana Walsh is relatively new to our program. The students love her as she always brings compassion and a positive disposition to every lesson she undertakes. Juliana takes on a heavy load of riding lessons, and we are very fortunate to have her in our program.

All of last year’s recipients are the epitome of what the Ron Walters Award stands for and their recognition is richly deserved.

Our 6th Annual Mini Tri was a great success thanks to the hard work and dedication of our board, volunteers, The Club at Las Campanas staff, corporate sponsors, and individual donors. I am pleased to report that we raised $93,884.

We had 185 triathletes, a large increase over the previous year. The atmosphere can only be described as high energy, and we think a good time was had by all. This was the first year we added a young children category and it was immensely successful attracting about 50 participants. We think this portion of the race will grow significantly. We once again used a professional organizer, FIT FUNdamentals, to organize the event and they did a great job. Rey Post was our announcer for the second year running and kept the energy level high all morning by conducting interviews with participants and volunteers alike. Rey has a very successful radio program here in town called “All Things Real Estate” and we encourage you to listen in.

There were 15 special needs teams last year. We hope we can double that number this year. Suzanna and I want to especially thank everyone who captained a special needs team. This is a big deal for our students and can only be accomplished if you have people less concerned about winning and more concerned about giving.

It is impossible to list the names of everyone who helped make this event the success that it was. That being said, it would be remiss of me to fail to mention some members of staff who put in a lot of hours to make our event possible. Special thanks, therefore, go to Britt Gladu for her support and energy around Las Campanas Compadres; Kay Lee, who has a can do attitude and always went the extra mile for us; Pete O’Brien and Deborah Fahie for making the pasta dinner event the success that it was; Todd Shaw and Mike Simpson, who were tremendously helpful in organizing the logistics of the race; David Loan who got behind the project early on and has been a great supporter; and of course all of the dining and spa staff that always did their job with a smile and offered encouragement to all the participants.

Suzanna and I also want to especially thank all of last year’s volunteers. An event of this size is not possible unless a lot of people work together with a singular purpose in mind. They did a tremendous job and were the reason the event went off without a hitch. Many of them started the day at 5:30 AM and their energy and enthusiasm never flagged. We can only hope that they all step up to the plate again next year.

We are grateful to have so many corporate and individual sponsors. A special thanks, in no particular order, go to United Airlines and Glenn Tilton who donated two business class tickets to anywhere in North and South America; United Rentals and Jenne Brittel who donated 400 baseball caps with our logo to be given out to all participants; The Lodge at Chama and Frank Simms who donated a two evening’s stay at his beautiful lodge and two days of trophy trout fishing; Mr. & Mrs. Robert McCloud who underwrote the cost of the tee shirts; Pat and Patti Carter who donated a one week stay at their beautiful home in Idaho ; Early & Early; Sotheby’s/Nancy Lehrer; Jewel Mark; ACC; Roy’s Pest Control; Don Chalmers Ford; The Club at Las Campanas, The Compound, Albertsons, Amazon, Meddleton Equine, Eye Associates of New Mexico, Devon Gilchrist, Cienda Partners, Coronado Paint, The Four Seasons, Corporate Travel Alliance, The Cleanery, Siri Hollander and Arroyo Vino.

In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of two of our students in the past year.

Alfredo Cordoba was 36 when he died. Alfredo had an extremely rare and challenging disease whereby his only sense was the sense of touch. Alfredo was one of our most challenged students and also one of the most challenging to instruct. He had been with the program since its inception. Not surprisingly, Karen and all the volunteers who signed up to work with Alfredo met the challenge with the enthusiasm and dedication that has come to be a hallmark of our program. We know that Alfredo benefited from his riding time. His entire demeanor would change and it would be one of the rare times that Alfredo had some joy in his life. Alfredo will be missed.

Eleri Claire Michaels-Northfield had just turned 6 when she died from the long term effects of shaken baby syndrome. Eleri was adopted by Karen Northfield and Pam Michaels, two of the most courageous and giving people we know. Eleri made them proud. Despite her significant challenges, Eleri had a fierce personality and met her short life head on. She developed an immensely strong bond with Bruno, and to any who doubt the power of horses over special needs people, one need only have witnessed the time when Bruno was brought to her home for one last visit before she died. Bruno’s obvious cognizance of the moment and Eleri’s outpouring of love for Bruno was palpable and powerful and will not soon be forgotten by those who were there. Eleri was loved by everyone in the program and her persona will live on despite the brevity of her time on earth.

2015 In Focus

We do not anticipate that student growth will slow down during 2015. If anything we believe it will increase. Our challenge will be to accommodate this growth as we have capacity constraints both physically and financially. We will continue to accept new students and have instituted a rotation system in order to accommodate our increasing numbers.

Last year the board approved a student support scholarship program called the Helping Hands Fund. Its mission is:

To improve the quality of life for Las Campanas Compadres students by supporting their goals through assistance with the funding of educational and vocational training, the purchase of medical and assistive devices or support services and related technologies.    

It will be annually funded by LCC with $5,000. Suzanna chairs the committee with the help of Susan Sumner, Karen Evans, Dave Caldwell, Susie Fisher and Linda Factor. They have received a number of applications and funding will commence soon. We are excited about the program and anticipate continued growth.

Our volunteer pool is growing but we can always use more volunteers. As our program grows, so do our needs. Beyond volunteers for the actual riding and swimming programs, we can always use pro bono help with legal, accounting, and grant writing services.

Devon Gilchrist has put in a lot of work to improve our website. We encourage people to visit There you can find updates on what’s going on, download volunteer and student application documents, visit a photo library, and even make a donation using PayPal.

We recognize the importance of social media and have made an effort to utilize some of the more popular sites. LCC’s blog page and a Facebook page run by John and Darlene Romero are going strong. You can go to: to go to our blog page to check out what’s going on in our program and to add your own commentary. You can also check out our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at “L_C_Compadres”.


It is the policy of Las Campanas Compadres to be completely transparent regarding finances.

LCC entered 2014 with $111,006 in the bank. We ended the year with $148,765. We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity and our sincere gratitude goes without saying.

Our goal is to assure the perpetuity of the program. A healthy balance sheet is of utmost importance in allowing us to achieve our goals, and while the current snapshot of LCC’s finances shows a vibrant and healthy patient, continued support is required in order to assure continued good health and longevity. It costs us approximately $60 dollars per lesson, $35 of which is the cost of the instructor. In order to achieve our goal of underwriting 1,500 lessons per year, we have to raise $90,000 from private sources.

Our Albertson and Amazon programs are working out well for us, although the Amazon program has been a disappointment in terms of monies raised. The Amazon program can be used by anyone in the USA. If you use Amazon to purchase items, we would ask that you use the Amazon Smile portal, www There you can choose which charities you would like to support. Amazon donates a percentage of your purchase and you can list multiple charities as your recipients. We hope you count Las Campanas Compadres among them.

During 2014 our total operating expenses were $80,430. Expenses are divided into two main categories. The largest expense category is the cost of our instructors and equipment. Last year this accounted for $56,546 of our operating budget. The balance of $23,884 was for office infrastructure and the cost of the Mini Tri fundraising event.

All LCC officers work pro bono. There are no salaried employees. All office infrastructure expenses are funded by the founders.

Our budget for 2015 is $91,825. We have budgeted $63,325 for programs and $28,500 for office infrastructure.

It goes without saying that none of this would be possible without the generosity of a great number of people. Suzanna and I are truly grateful. We believe LCC has a positive impact on the lives of families in our program as well as the community at large.

Suzanna and I want to thank you once again for your support and generosity and we look forward to seeing you all during 2015.

Suzanna & Lawrence Becerra


Bruno and Eleri

Bruno and Eleri


May 26, 2015 at 8:15 AM Leave a comment

Susan Sumner and Las Campanas Compadres

By Lawrence Becerra, Chairman, Las Campanas Compadres

Las Companas CompadresLas Campanas Compadres offers therapeutic riding and swimming lessons to people with special needs at the world class facilities of The Club at Las Campanas. Lessons are free and 100 percent supported by private donations.

The program is made possible through the generous support of volunteers who work with our accredited instructors: Karen Evans, our riding instructor and Dave Caldwell, our swimming instructor. Each lesson is a 1/2 hour private tutorial lesson. Volunteers can be asked to be a side walker, lead walk a horse, help students get prepared for their riding and swimming lesson, and just be helpful in general. No experience is necessary – just a big heart.

The positive therapeutic effects of hippo therapy for people with special needs are substantial.  LCC’s transferring/lifting equipment makes the riding experience safer. While LCC’s volunteer side-walkers help the rider with positioning and balance throughout the lesson, the riding program’s special adaptive saddle is supportive enough to allow riders to sit on the horse without a back rider. The LCC swim program offers students a creative way to simultaneously strengthen and relax their bodies.

Susan Sumner has been a volunteer since the inception of the program in 2007.  She also serves as an LCC board member. Susan’s disposition is engaging and allows her to connect with the students and parents to make the most of their experience.

“I originally volunteered as I grew up riding horses and believed this would get me back to the barn.  It couldn’t have been further from the truth…although I certainly got back to the barn and to the pool, my experiences with the students and their families was truly life altering.  I began the first lesson feeling as if I was giving back, but what I received from the joy we share with the students when they connect to the horses gave me so much more.   My entire perspective changed.  I realized that these special needs students certainly have challenges in their day to day lives, but their abilities, determination and perspective provide lessons for all of us as we approach our own challenges.  John Romero and his parents, without question, are my heroes.  Not a week goes by that I am not thankful for all they and this program have given me.

The great part of this program is that the commitment on the part of the volunteers is really flexible.  You can commit 30 minutes once a month, or one hour each week…it is really based on your availability.  Whether we are part of riding or swimming lessons, we can take a few minutes each week to interact with these students.  It is not only rewarding…it is fun.”

For the past five years Las Campanas Compadres has held a triathlon fund raising event on the grounds of The Club at Las Campanas. This year’s event will feature a sprint tri for adults and a mini tri for juniors. This is the charity’s only fund raising event and its success ensures the continuation of this worthwhile program. This year’s event will be held on Labor Day, September 1. Expectations are for 200 participants.

To learn more about the event, or the program and how you can help, please visit, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing therapeutic riding and swimming instruction to people with special needs.  Las Campanas Compadres is being profiled as part of the All Things Real Estate “Unique Destinations” series.

This article is one of many interesting articles from the All Things Real Estate Newsletter/Blog at:

March 6, 2014 at 5:04 PM Leave a comment

Link to February 2nd Rey Post ATRE Show Featuring LCC

We seem to be having technical difficulties helping you link to the Feb. 2nd show. Let’s try this link:


February 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM Leave a comment

Super Bowl Sunday Radio Broadcast



“All Things Real Estate”

Radio Show on Santa Fe’s Talk 1260 KTRC-AM & KVSF 101.5-FM
The February 2 Show (12-2pm)

Sotheby’s International Realty’s weekly radio show features host Rey Post and a variety of special guests offering the best news, information and commentary regarding every aspect of today’s real estate market.

This Sunday—in the first hour of the show—join show host, Sotheby’s International Realty Associate Broker Rey Post and his guest co-host Steve Riemann, State Training Director with Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, and their guests for a Super Bowl-themed review of real estate issues important to home buyers, sellers and owners. Riemann will also offer an update on title insurance and real estate education matters that impact consumers.

In his weekly “The Real Story” segment, Ron Blessey, Senior Mortgage Banker with Peoples Bank, an equal housing lender, will offer his take on the value of teamwork when offering mortgage counsel to any consumer involved in a home buying transaction.

Well-regarded architect Christopher Purvis, Principal at A. Christopher Purvis Architects, speaks to life lessons that are offered as a by-product of the competition demonstrated through the Super Bowl.

The show presents a special interview segment via the program’s ongoing “Unique Destinations” series, featuring people, places and events important to our economy, culture and real estate market. Darlene and John Romero, Board Members of Las Campanas Compadres, offer observations on their organization’s Mini-Triathlon staged on Labor Day at The Club at Las Campanas and the positive life lessons the event provides.

In the first hour’s “Open House of the Week” segment, Rey interviews his real estate broker colleague David Dodge regarding the attributes of 3 La Tusa Street, a fabulous 3-bedroom home offering a beautiful outdoor patio and located just minutes south of the Santa Fe Plaza.

In the second hour of the program, well-known interior designer Lisa Samuel, owner of The Samuel Design Group, and her guests will offer timely commentary on a variety of interior design and general real estate issues impacting home buyers, sellers and owners in 2014.

As always, Rey welcomes listener email questions and comments during the broadcast.

Join in the conversation by calling Rey with your own questions or comments at 505-989-8900 (or you can email Rey at:  Check out the radio show and tune in via the Internet: Go to, and click on the “1260 KTRC Live Streaming Audio” button.

2011 Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award Nominee

© 2014

January 31, 2014 at 5:20 PM Leave a comment

“Muchas Gracias Award” Bestowed

Santa Fe City Hall was buzzing with a full house of City Council attendees on the evening of December 11, 2013.

After preliminary city council roll call, the pledges to the national and state flags, and before the expected lengthy two-session meeting, presentations were made by Mayor David Coss to honor Santa Fe citizens for their outstanding contributions to the  Santa Fe community.

Among those listed on the agenda as “Muchas Gracias Award” recipients were the founders of Las Campanas Compadres, Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra.  Jack and Carole Berger were in supportive attendance representing the volunteers of LCC and the generous Las Campanas community participants who keep the  program’s therapeutic riding and swimming programs going strong.

Before the Mayor read the words on the parchment certificates, Darlene Romero gave a short summary of the mission of Las Campanas Compadres for the benefit of the audience, and also related how Lawrence and Suzanna epitomize the meaning of  “Compadres” as they lead their organization as “protectors, benefactors and friends”.

With heartfelt appreciation for Lawrence and Suzanna, John M. Romero, one of  LCC’s sixty  students, thanked them for enriching his life and giving him their friendship.

The “Muchas Gracias Award” is a singular symbol of  immense appreciation  for the Becerras’ generosity and hard work to start and maintain an organization that benefits disabled students and their families in meaningful and multifaceted ways.

December 11 Muchas Gracias Awards Recipients

December 11 Muchas Gracias Awards Recipients

December 12, 2013 at 7:51 AM Leave a comment

What’s Behind the Las Campanas Compadres Annual Labor Day Fundraising Event?

The culmination of aVisionary great deal of effort results in each Las Campanas Compadres Mini-Tri Day.  It takes an immense quantity of time and an army of people organizing, donating, and volunteering to make LCC’s annual charity event happen. A myriad of to-do’s are divided between many dedicated people to create and host a successful fundraising event.

Planning meetings begin early in the year. Las Campanas graciously agrees to host the events. Posters, letters, flyers are designed. Andie Talmadge takes on the job to be the organizing agent of the Mini-Tri.  As summer approaches, communication erupts, and the public starts to hear about the LCC Labor Day event.  World-class auction items are generously donated by sponsors.  T-shirts and goody bags are ordered. The pasta dinner is arranged at the Club at Las Campanas. The LCC home page, blog, and Facebook sites are updated. Word gets out via e-mail, online, newsletters, newspaper articles, mailings, radio, community outreach, and by word of mouth.

Once a year, people are asked to financially support LCC programs to keep therapeutic riding and swimming programs free to the disabled students who benefit from the lessons year-round.  The LCC website at has an easy “Donate via Paypal” link, and the address at Las Campanas Compadres, Inc., 15 Buckskin Circle, Santa Fe, NM 87505, is the destination for mailed-in donations.

An exciting new fundraising facet entered the scene for this, the 5th annual Las Campanas Compadres Mini-Triathlon.  Las Campanas Compadres founders, Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra, introduced a new and easy avenue for LCC supporters and fundraisers to reach out to family, friends, and business associates.  They tapped into a creditable and proven online fundraising site called “CrowdRise” and created a Mini-Tri fundraising site at: .

For the first time this year, using CrowdRise, LCC fundraisers (Mini-Tri teams, LCC families, local businesses, and Las Campanas personnel) set up their individual area on the Becerra’s LCC Mini-Tri site. They raise funds for LCC programs by directing their family and friends to the website so donors can easily make monetary contributions to the online Las Campanas Mini-Tri Fundraiser CrowdRise site.

The Las Campanas Compadres Mini-Tri weekend is about people coming together to support a positive and worthwhile 501-C3 organization.  An excited and enthusiastic crowd of people gather early on Labor Day to watch and cheer for the marathoners who arduously swim, bicycle or run for an excellent cause.  The people who assemble at the Club at Las Campanas by 8 a.m. on Labor Day are there to race, to volunteer to help the morning run smoothly, and to enthusiastically cheer each competitor on.

The enormous team effort and work behind the annual Mini-Triathlon assures that Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra’s vision of “People Helping People Reach New Heights” continues to be a reality. In essence, their vision becomes a reality each and every time Dave and Karen teach a therapeutic swimming or riding lesson and volunteers help a disabled student succeed to reach their goals and have fun in a beautiful setting.

The spirit of the annual LCC Mini-Tri is the satisfying essence of celebration, community, and good will. Those who have donated time, energy, and financial resources care about the goals of Las Campanas Compadres. Their fine, combined efforts benefit each disabled participant and the families of LCC.

Cheers to all who have given of themselves and have already made the 2013 LCC Mini-Triathlon fundraiser a success!

September 1, 2013 at 8:38 AM Leave a comment

LCC’s Mini-Tri Charity Fundraiser is only One Month Away!

Time to Sign Up! Volunteer! Place your Bids!

The LCC Mini-Tri is on Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2013,

We Need Your Help to Make this Annual Event a Success

The Las Campanas Compadres website ( has all the information you need to:

  • Register to participate as a runner, bicyclist, swimmer (form a team or do all three events yourself! Note: Registration Deadline is August 30th
  • Volunteer to help the organizers of the event with traffic control, manning a booth, directing participants to their starting points. Call 505-820-2707 to volunteer.
  • Place your bid on the amazing auction items on the website.

August 2, 2013 at 8:37 PM Leave a comment

Please Save the Date: September 2nd— 2013 LCC Mini-Triathlon!



 September 2nd (Labor Day) is the Las Campanas Compadres annual Mini-Triathlon fund raising event.


to make this a fun day for all participants.

Please contact  SUZANNA BECERRA for further information and to volunteer.


PHONE 505-820-2707,


To sign up to participate in the  LCC Mini-Triathlon, go to the home page of the Las Campanas Compadres  Website:

Morning of the 2012 Mini-triathlonand click on the green SIGN UP button

June 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

“All Things Real Estate”— Newsletter Article about LCC

By Rey Post, Managing Editor and Associate Broker, Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s no secret that The Club at Las Campanas membership opens their checkbooks to philanthropic concerns in the wider community. What many don’t know is that The Club at Las Campanas also opens up its world-class equestrian center and swimming facilities to Las Campanas Compadres, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing therapeutic riding and swimming instruction to people with special needs. Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra started Las Campanas Compadres in October of
2006. The couple approached The Club with a proposal to give individuals with physical, emotional, and learning disabilities a horseback riding and swimming therapy program. Under the guidance of qualified instructors,this program would give the individuals more confidence, help them discover a deeper sense of belonging in society, and allow their
guardians the opportunity to watch their loved ones interacting with others in an enjoyable atmosphere.

“The Club didn’t hesitate to help and LCC has grown beyond our wildest expectations,” said Suzanna Becerra. “Since its inception in May 2007, the program has underwritten over 4,000 private tutorial riding and swimming lessons. The program has 60 students and is on course to provide 1,500 lessons this year alone. The Club at Las Campanas hasn’t said ‘no’ to anything. They’ve been amazing to us…We couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

For the past four years Las Campanas Compadres has held a mini tri fund-raising event on the grounds of The Club at Las
Campanas. This year’s event will be held on Labor Day, September 2nd. Expectations are for 200 participants.

“The mini tri is not only an incredible community-wide event, but it provides a wonderful team building opportunity for
our staff,” commented Club General Manager/COO David Loan. “At last year’s tri, we had six of our senior staff participate with students in the Compadres program. To see the joy on the faces of the students while they competed in this event was as rewarding for our staff as I’m sure it was for the Las Campanas Compadres participants. The staff and members of The Club at Las Campanas are thrilled to be associated with the Las Campanas Compadres program.”

T o learn more about the event, or the program and how you can help, please visit

This is the first in a four-part series of articles about this local and worthy charity which offers therapeutic horseback riding and swimming lessons to people with special needs.

June 2, 2013 at 8:23 PM Leave a comment

Radio Show Today! Tune in at 12:18 p.m.

Spring DoingsLawrence Becerra, founder of Las Campanas Compadres, will be discussing our program this Sunday at 12:18. You can tune into 1260 KTRC-AM & KVSF 101.5 FM to the “All Things Real Estate” show to listen. He can also be heard via the internet by going to, and clicking on the “1260 KTRC Live Streaming Audio” button.


Las Campanas Compadres wishes  mothers out there a  very Happy Mother’s Day. May the day conjure the best memories of times past and bring you the sweetness of making new, loving  memories today!

May 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM Leave a comment

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Las Campanas Compadres Awards Day

Awards at the Equestrian CenterOctober 14, 2013
Columbus Day---LCC Awards Day! Each student receives a participation award.

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