Situated on 35 picturesque acres, Charis Youth Ranch serves as a sanctuary for both children and horses in need of respite and healing. The all-volunteer effort currently cares for 28 rescued horses, many saved from slaughter or removed from neglectful or abusive homes.
Once the horses are sufficiently rehabilitated, they find new purpose at Charis, helping at-risk children through individual and group interactive sessions. Even horses no longer able to be ridden have value at Charis. Their unique story of loss or neglect may connect with a child in a way no therapist can.
The ranch offers three youth-focused efforts, including a 12-week program run in partnership with a local residential treatment facility that serves youth with mental, behavior and substance abuse issues. Through working with the horses, these program participants learn patience, love and respect. They gain self-confidence and begin to make positive behavior changes.
For the youth who come to Charis, the horses provide a shoulder to cry on, a place to learn to trust, a friend to love and so much more. As the Ranch explains on its website: “Horses have a way of breaking down barriers and bringing out the individual where traditional therapy and counseling failed.”