Cowgirl uses horses to motivate at-risk kids
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CNN News
Posted: May 17th, 2015
"It's tough growing up here," said Wright of his low-income neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut. "I was walking around with a lot on my shoulders," he said. "I couldn't handle it. I didn't care about life anymore." But all that started to change when Wright met Patricia Kelly. A former U.S. Marine and an equestrian, [she] took Wright under her wing and helped him find hope in an unlikely place: on a horse. For the last 30 years, Kelly has helped children in Hartford stay on the right track through her nonprofit, Ebony Horsewomen. The program offers horseback riding lessons and teaches animal science to more than 300 young people a year. "We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing," said Kelly, 66. Connecticut ... has one of the nation's largest income gaps between rich and poor. Kelly ... witnessed the effects of that inequality. "It is a divided city; the children in the poorer neighborhoods have less resources," Kelly said. "When you teach a child to ride a horse, they learn they are the center of their environment," said Kelly, whose program reaches children from age 5 to 19. "Once they make that connection, they can change what happens in school, at home and in the community." In the case of young men like Wright, the nonprofit has been a critical part of their development. "I can't tell you where I would be without this program. It changed my life. It's helped me set goals for myself," said Wright, who has dreams of becoming an equine blacksmith and dentist.
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