At Charis Youth Ranch, all the programs we offer have a simple purpose - to connect kids and young adults from all walks of life with our horses. While the connection is simple, it causes dynamic change and personal growth in each individual. Our horses are our greatest tool in working with kids. For the kids, our horses are shoulders to cry on, trust builders, wise teachers, mirrors, and inspiring. Often, a horse has a way of breaking down barriers and bringing out the individual where traditional therapy and counseling has failed. Each of our horses is unique and has a story, just like the kids we serve. Our rescued and rehabilitated horses connect with at-risk kids and families in individual and group equine interactive sessions. We love that in sharing each horse’s rescue journey, the children identify with their stories. As they compare their own passages through trials, trauma, abuse or neglect, a kinship is born. As horse and child mirror one another in brokenness, healing begins.
The Junior Volunteer Program provides hands on opportunities for kids ages 9-18 to get to know our horses. By volunteering once per week, Junior Volunteers (JVs) are taught how to feed, groom and care for our rescued horses. It is a place to belong and find a safe haven from the storms of life.
Paired with an Adult Volunteer or Parent/Guardian, JVs not only learn best practices for caring for equines, but they also learn responsibility, stewardship and volunteerism.
The main requirement is to have a heart of service to care for the needs of the horses. One must learn proper communication and maintain healthy boundaries to interact respectfully and appropriately with the horses. We believe that learning to work and connect with the horses fosters confidence, courage, and self-esteem which equips the youth in our programs to create healthy and successful interpersonal relationships.
As an added benefit to becoming a Junior Volunteer, we offer riding lessons on one of our School Masters at a discounted rate at our barn in Wellington. Space is limited and a commitment of at least one feeding shift per week is required.
Testimonials from a few of our valued JVs:
Hope O - "What I love about the ranch is the people and how loving and supportive everyone is. The ranch has helped me with my anxiety by showing me that I am loud enough and assertive enough to make people listen to me. The horses have contributed to that by yielding to me and listening to my instruction which makes me feel capable, reliable and ready to lead my horse every step of the way."
Rileigh - "Before I joined Charis, I was bullied a lot and my mental health got really bad. But being around the horses has truly brought me a lot of peace in mind and are definitely the reason I am here today with the people and animals that I love. They have made me a completely different person with my mentality and I couldn't thank them enough."
Emma - "I love the ranch because of the horses (of course) and because of the incredible friendships and relationships I’ve been able to forge through the programs. Since I started working with the horses, I’ve had decreases in my anxiety, it gives me something to get my mind off of things. Being around these gentle giants is such a privilege, I am so grateful for every horse at the ranch."
Hope H - "Charis ranch means so much to me, it helps me open up to not only horses but all kinds of situations and relationships that I had no idea existed. I have made so many friends and amazing people just through the ranch!"
Our Volunteer Program is open to adults who can successfully pass a background check and would like to work with kids and/or horses.
We have various opportunities for Volunteers who wish to come alongside and support our mission.
Charis Youth Ranch is a sanctuary for kids and horses. We provide a safe haven for horses rescued from all walks of life as well as a place for kids to come and escape the storms of life and spend time with our amazing equines!
It is also a great escape for our Volunteers wishing to find a respite from the demands of everyday life. Caring for the horses in a peaceful, outdoor atmosphere is healing to the soul. Connecting with our horses is soothing and research shows that it relaxes the nervous system.
Volunteers feed and care for our horses. Some volunteers complete multiple shifts per week just to be at the barn with the horses. Volunteers for this position must be able to lift 50 lbs and be able to withstand physical labor for 1 to 2 hours. Each feeding shift usually takes about 1 hour to complete, but this is dependent on the speed of the feeders. Throwing hay, moving bags of grain, carrying buckets of soaked feed, and cleaning stalls/runs are the basic needs in each shift. In inclement weather, there is also blanketing and unblanketing of the horses to be done. Must be able to halter and unhalter a horse as well as tie and turn out to and bring in from pasture. Must be willing to feed in all types of weather and commit to a weekly feeding shift.
Other opportunities include retrieving and holding horses for farrier visits and possibly vet visits. This is dependent upon horse experience.
Volunteer wishing to write grants for the ranch. Requires internet access, ability to work independently, writing skills and willingness to research grants that suit our needs. A volunteer grant writer composes the grant application and submits the grant application after approval from management.
Fundraiser and Event Planner:
Volunteer wishing to plan monthly, quarterly and yearly fundraisers either online or in person. This person has experience with Event Planning and a heart of service in order share who Charis Youth Ranch is with the community and raise funds for our mission to provide a sanctuary for kids and horses. This person will work independently or with a team of volunteers.
Kids ages 5-12 join us for a 3 day camp! Horses, games, crafts, a nutritious snack, and bible story daily on a real ranch. This is like no day camp you have encountered before!
Stay tuned for 2024 dates and registration details!
We offer opportunities for youth and adults to complete community service hours on the ranch. For safety reasons we will not schedule community service hours during our youth programs, but we will make every attempt to accommodate your schedule. Please contact us.