With the new year approaching quickly, it is a good time to reflect on all of the good things that happened in 2017. For Carousel Ranch, it was a year full of changes and growth … something that would not have been possible without the incredible support of this community, filled with those who choose to keep Carousel Ranch in their hearts throughout the year.
In years past, Carousel Ranch was proud to provide equestrian therapy to over 80 children each week. This year, however, the program has seen over 50 percent growth, serving 140 individuals with special needs through both their equestrian and new Ready to Work! vocational training programs.
They say that timing is everything and at Carousel Ranch that statement seems so true. From a tiny little program that started in a backyard—to where they are today, the Ranch has literally come full circle. Today’s programming enables the organization to take a student from childhood all the way through adulthood, meeting their ever changing needs along the way.
In the words of Luc’s mom, Ashley:
Luc has an undiagnosed neurological condition that affects his motor skills and he has difficulty with balance, resulting in frequent falls. While what he experiences is mild, it is so big to Luc and to me. It has been hard for him to not always be able to keep up with other kids or do the same things they can. Carousel Ranch is one of the few places he does not experience limitations. It’s apparent how much they love working with these kids and that makes all the difference. Being a total ham, Luc loves having the undivided attention of three adults while he rides and is always excited to go to the Ranch.
Luc only started riding in July, but his core strength has already improved and the tightness through his hips and hamstrings is starting to loosen. His neurologist was blown away that he’s shown progress so quickly. I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw him be able to raise his knees up while hanging from a bar for the first time, when he had not been able to pick his feet up, hardly at all. I am thrilled that he is starting to be able to almost jump. It’s not much movement, but his feet are getting off the ground together and he is moving forward ever so slightly. Our family
has been blessed by Luc having the opportunity to ride at Carousel Ranch and we look forward to seeing him continue to become stronger and gain more abilities.
In the words of Alexa, who participated in the equestrian program as a small child and then the RTW! program recently as a young adult:
Carousel Ranch has impacted many parts of my life, from helping me become physically stronger in the equestrian therapy program and teaching me valuable life lessons in the volunteer program to helping me learn work skills in the Ready to Work! program, and then giving me my first job as a Carousel Ranch employee. A few months later, Carousel Ranch helped me get my first job interview at Rise & Shine Preschool, and fortunately, I was hired and continue to work as a teacher’s assistant there. I am forever grateful for all that Carousel Ranch has done for me and so many others.
What does the next year hold for Carousel Ranch? The answer is simple and has remained the same for over 20 years — working to make a difference, one child at a time.
For the young adults serving in the RTW! program, that means more working in jobs and volunteering in our great community. For the many children in the equestrian program it means another year of working with each to achieve their very best.
Carousel Ranch is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with special needs. Through both equestrian therapy and vocational training programs, the program strives to create an atmosphere where every student can and will succeed … a place where therapy is disguised as fun.
Santa Day at Carousel Ranch
Last weekend Carousel Ranch held its annual Santa Day, where students and their families could enjoy a holiday celebration in a safe environment that accommodates disabilities. The party is designed to offer hundreds of disabled individuals a chance to socialize and make new acquaintances. It is an action-packed day complete with Santa (a former special education teacher) and Mrs. Santa, petting zoo, crafts, s’mores over the fire, gifts and a Sweet Shop for refreshments. Gifts for students and their siblings were provided by the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Santa Day is sponsored by Pardee Homes and staffed by many of the company’s employees.
Girl Scouts Build River of Hope
Local Girl Scout Troop 6592 dedicated their Silver Award project to children with special needs. Members of the troop built a “River of Hope” at Carousel Ranch, a project finalizing their efforts to earn the highest award possible for Girl Scouts at the Cadette level. The scouts first joined Carousel Ranch students in hand painting rocks including each child’s name, and then created a rock river by placing all of the artwork within the riverbed. The Carousel Ranch River of Hope is a visual representation of each child’s personal progress and growth.
“We were so excited to create a dry river bed, acknowledging hope on a long journey that the Carousel Ranch students have accomplished, enabling them to grow to where they are today,” said Brooke Lackey, one of the scouts who participated.
Girl Scout Troop #6592 is made up of seven girls ranging from 12-14 years of age who are students at Rancho Pico Jr. High School, Rio Norte Jr. High and Legacy Academy. After completion of their Silver Award, the girls will bridge to become Senior Girl Scouts.
Carousel Ranch is located at 34289 Rocking Horse Road in Santa Clarita. For more information, call 661-268-8010 or visit CarouselRanch.org.