JustWorld International’s newly formed Youth Ambassador Gala Committee is composed of 15 Ambassadors between the ages of 13 and 22, who have set off on a mission to champion their End of Year Fundraising goal of $50,000 for the United States project in Belle Glade, Florida by December 31st. JustWorld supports education and literacy at Pioneer Park Elementary through the program Storybook Treasures.

To date, Youth Ambassador Lucy Rappoport has brought them $7,584 closer to their goal.

Lucy Rappoport isn’t new to the horse world.

The young show jumper has been raised by equine enthusiast parents who own a Quarter horse breeding farm in Brazil. They put her in the saddle at four-years-old, but she eventually strayed from her mother’s western rodeo roots after catching the jumping bug.

Some things are universal though, such as the love of horses across disciplines and the desire to make a difference in the world we live in. As fate would have it, the Rappoport’s discovered a way to live out both passions via the FEI Title Charity Partner, JustWorld International (JWI).

“My mom came across [JustWorld] on Instagram, and she absolutely fell in love with the idea of JustWorld and everything that they were doing. So she showed me and she’s like, ‘I would really like you to be a part of this,’ and I thought it was a great idea,” said Rappoport.

She officially signed on as an Ambassador in August of 2022, and as a new member of the philanthropic family one might assume Rappoport would ease her way into the responsibilities that come with donning the blue and purple emblem.

But Rappoport is a jumper, so that’s not quite her style. Instead, she leapt into the center of the action by stepping up as a Youth Ambassador Gala Committee Member ahead of the End of Year Fundraiser. Her achievements have been significant thus far, raising $7,584 for JWI’s United States educational project in Belle Glade, Florida.

“Anybody who I knew that had a phone number, number, email, Instagram, any type of social media connections, I instantly went to go and ask for donations. Because, well, nothing is going to happen other than a no. You might as well try,” said Rappoport.

Her confidence in such outreaching endeavors rivals that of her elders, so it might come as a surprise to hear that confidence is something she admits struggling with not all that long ago.

“I did go through a really rough patch with riding. I lost my confidence and through that I just really shriveled, socially and everything,” reflected Rappoport. “And I was just like super unsure about everything and that really transferred over into talking to people and being able to socialize and school and whatnot.”

Yet the will to push through those trying times was hardly diminished, and she elected to surround herself with uplifting people (and horses).

“I was able to surround myself with people that would lift me up instead of drag me down…I got the opportunity to ride with Cedric Triolet (FRA). He is an FEI tutor and I was able to travel with him to try out a few horses in September. We finally decided on a horse and imported her in from France,” said Rappoport of Triolet, who is also a longtime supporter of JWI.

Stride by stride, she’s built back her confidence in the tack, stepping up from the 1.00m to the 1.15m under the direction of Alvaro Lozada (VEN). Her riding experiences have continued to color her life outside of the stable, but this time in a better way.

“I definitely had built a lot of courage socially and it actually has really helped me with JustWorld and being able to come up with ideas and present them,” said Rappoport.

One of those ideas came straight from the heart; organizing a blood drive in memory of her best friend Gabriella Tejeda who passed away from Leukemia last year.

“She was one of my elementary school friends, and everyone absolutely loved her. Me and my mom had been thinking about what we could do with JustWorld because her mom was going through a really tough time. We wanted to do something that would help her emotionally, along with my friends and I,” said Rappoport.

On November 25th, Rappoport partnered with One Blood to host Gabriella’s memorial blood drive on site at the 72nd Annual SFHJA Charity Horse Show.

Every drop makes a difference, and her efforts yielded almost 20-bags of blood. Yet Rappoport has hopes to repeat the event with a higher donor attendance.

“As many people that we can get is good, but I’m hoping to do it again. I want to do something again to honor of my friend,” said Rappoport.

The young rider is full of ambition to continue being a champion of positive change with JustWorld, for communities both across the world and close to home like Belle Glade.

“Everything surrounding JustWorld is just amazing to me because I would never really think that something like this could come from riding and getting all of these equestrians in the same community to help out other people,” said Rappoport.

“I really like that because it’s given me an opportunity to get a look on the world outside of my own. It makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger.”

Visit justworldinternational.org if you’d like to support the Youth Ambassador Gala Committee’s End of Year Fundraiser or purchase tickets to the 20th Annual Gala on January 27th.

Photos courtesy of Lucy Rappoport