Skylight’s Emily Garrett has worked with urban city students and has seen first-hand the positive experiences that riding and caring for horses can bring to Cleveland’s vulnerable youth in improving their social skills, learning important lessons about responsibility and discipline to the sheer joy of connecting with a horse.
In a bid to see more youths benefit from this experience, Emily, who is a financial planner at Skylight’s Cleveland office, has over the last year been involved with Leg Up for Cleveland’s Kids (LUCK) and is part of the Planning Committee for their first major fundraising event which is taking place on November 4. The event, in partnership with Cleveland’s Mounted Unit (CMU), promises an afternoon of equestrian excitement with pony rides, horse-drawn wagon rides, a tour of the CMU stables and training demo by the CMU officers, an opportunity to meet the LUCK participants, good food and a silent auction.
LUCK, is a relatively new organization (running for 2 years) based on similar urban equestrian programs which run in other US cities. The program takes inner city youth in our community off the streets and gives them an opportunity to care for and ride horses. They are immersed in the riding experience and learn all the general care that goes into riding and owning a horse – from grooming to cleaning stables.
“I’ve been riding horses pretty much all my life and I know how amazing it is. Sharing this experience with kids, who may not otherwise get this opportunity, is totally awesome. For the last few years, I’ve been volunteering and teaching them how to brush and lead the horse around and they really enjoy it. Despite being the “cool” high school kids, they are initially quite intimidated by the horses and don’t know how to behave around them but within a few hours you see a real difference. The kids start relaxing and then the magic starts to happen as they begin to enjoy and understand the power of horses!” said Emily.
“We’ve seen participants from the program acquire valuable job-training and social-emotional skills which sets them for up for future success in their lives and we want to be able to extend what we do and see our program grow over the next few years. Our fundraising event will be fun but it is also crucial for funding next year’s program and helping more kids.”
The benefit for LUCK and CMU will take place on November 4 at Historic Kirtland Park in Cleveland from 2-6pm.