Name: Tracy Cookman
About: Founder/Executive Director/President
Having been raised on the back of a horse in Washington, it was no secret to Tracy what spending time with horses can do for a kid. From an early age, she had a heart for orphans and at-risk youth, so it was natural to combine her desire to help them with rescuing horses. Her dream of a youth ranch where kids could come and heal with horses was born a couple of decades ago and only in 2009 did the plan begin to come together. Five years later, by the grace of God, Charis Youth Ranch has become a reality and each year more kids and horses are rescued and helped to heal. Tracy's career as a Real Estate Broker pays the bills and affords her additional opportunities to help people. She lives in Fort Collins and is mom to 5 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 1 granddog.
Name: Abby Hernandez
Name: Alice Harsha
I started volunteering in November 2019. I live close to the Fort Collins location and jumped at the chance to volunteer when I found out about Charis. The values of this organization are wonderful and I couldn't be happier to be a part of it. The opportunity came at a rough time in my life and working with these horses has brought much needed joy and happiness to my heart. Not only are the horses amazing but the people are all so kind and wonderful. Charis saves horses, helps people, and healed me.
Favorite horse: Red (but I love all of them dearly)
Name: Amaya Jensen
Name: Anavah Thibodeau
Name: Andrea Saul
Name: Anna Damico
I chose to volunteer at Charis Youth Ranch because I love horses and I have never actually done too much with horses before so I wanted to try this out. I love doing it. Just being around these guys just makes my day that much better. I started in August 2019. I love that they rescue horses. That is mostly why I chose to volunteer here.
Favorite horse: McCool, Jett, Atlas
Name: Anna Moore
I have been volunteering at Charis since the summer of 2016. I love having the opportunity to help both kids and horses! For me, it is such a joy to see the kids transform as they create connections with the horses. Over the years, Charis has always been a place that brings me peace and I am so blessed to have such a special bond with DBD. I have been able to learn more than I could have ever imagined! This place holds a very special place in my heart!
Favorite horse: DBD
Name: Annie Carlson
Name: Arden Cunningham
I began volunteering at Charis Youth Ranch when I moved to Fort Collins in 2018. I have a passion for veterinary medicine and have enjoyed learning about the different nutritional and health requirements that all of our horses need. My favorite thing about the ranch is seeing what happy and fulfilling lives these amazing animals get to live thanks to all of our wonderful and dedicated volunteers!
Favorite horse: All of them! Especially Mort
Name: Ashley Ross
Name: Aubrey Allen
Name: Bailey Barry
Name: Bethany Cominsky
Name: Brook Weaver
Name: Cathy Nelson
I have always loved horses and had taken lessons for 12 years before I moved to Fort Collins in 2018. I wanted to continue to be involved with horses in some capacity. I found Charis through their website and started volunteering in September 2018. I love being around all of the horses, the feeling of peace I have while on the ranch and the mission of Charis in healing children and horses. The volunteers are like family and I found my place in my new town.
Favorite horse: Sven
Name: Cheri Scimeca
Name: Elise Fens
Name: Francesca Carrillo
Name: Grace Litts
Name: Hanna Spencer
When I started at Charis in August of my freshmen year, I was looking to gain equine experience while dedicating myself to volunteering for a ranch in need. The first day I pulled up to the Laporte property, I fell in love with the horses and the values that Charis stood by. Maintaining a property with a large number of rescue horses is not an easy task. It takes a dedicated, caring team to keep everything in order and that’s exactly what I see in the family I’ve built at Charis. Charis rescues a wide range of horses, each having a unique personality that draws you in. I’ve spent a good amount of time and fallen in love with each and every one of the horses.
Favorite horse: Molly
Name: Herb Nelson
About: Webmaster/Facility/ Feeder
I have been feeding Thursdays with Cath since February of 2019. During this time I have morphed from someone who just didn't even like to touch horses into someone who has a philosophical understanding and respect for equines. The nice thing about the morning shift is watching the sun rise and seeing how different the mountains look each day. It's exhilarating to say the least.
Favorite horse: Mort
Name: Janell Lambert
Name: Janine Corsetti
Name: Jeff Bauer
We started in October of 2019 as we became aware of Charis's mission, facilities, and people through a rescue experience with our new horse London.. Although we are new, my wife and I anticipate making the Trilby location, all the horses, and the building relationships among all volunteers a primary goal moving forward. I love the ranch period. It’s really a slice of heaven. The facilities are amazing, the horses are so personable especially when they know you have treats in your pocket! To me the solitude of serving in such a beautiful place, with barn cats, great horned owls, and rescue horses with amazing personalities, is perfect!
Favorite horse: Too hard to choose!
Name: Jennifer Bauer
I’m passionate about rescuing animals especially horses. I recently rescued an off the track thoroughbred and heard about Charis from a friend. I visited and fell in love with the mission and the people. I am so blessed to be a part of this incredible organization. I LOVE the people. The volunteers are incredible. Everyone is so sweet and I love the feel of family. We all work together and love what we do. I also love the horses. They are obviously so grateful to have jobs and people to love on them.
Favorite horse: Too hard to choose just one!
Name: Jennifer Starkel
Name: Josie Baldwin
I started volunteering in September 2017. I was new to the area and I wanted to find somewhere that I could get experience working with animals, while also making a positive impact on their lives. I’ve always loved the energy at the ranch and everything it stands for. My favorite thing about the ranch is, of course, all of the horses. I also love how it can be a totally different experience each time you’re there. I’m always learning new things about the horses and myself.
Favorite horse: Jett and Angel
Name: Julie French
Name: Kaitlin Cochran
Charis Ranch is such a gift to me. I work as a first responder in Fort Collins and am also in the process of applying to graduate school to become a physician assistant. I realized this past winter (2019) I needed to focus on volunteer experience for my applications. Often PA school candidates choose to work in health-care environments, homeless shelters, or low-income clinics. However, I pour so much energy into my job working on the ambulance- I knew I had to be wise about how I was going to spend my volunteer time. That’s when I found Charis. I had always loved horses, and the sense of tranquility I felt from being around them. The kids, volunteers, and horses truly recharge me. I love that I can contribute to the mission at Charis while also healing from the trauma of my day-job. The ranch has become a sanctuary for me. I’m even known to stop by for some horse hugs after a rough 14-hour shift.
Favorite horse: Gosh-I have 14.
Name: Karen Rameriz
Name: Kate Fens
Name: Krista Miller
I started volunteering at Charis in the summer of 2017...maybe it was 2016 but I can't really remember! My grandparents, who lived in Arizona, always had horses, so growing up in Ft. Collins, I was around horses just enough to be scared of them. I always loved them from a far, but they terrified me! They are these giant, beautiful, beasts that know your fears! My uncle would tell me that they knew I was scared, so I was scaring them, which made me even more scared because I felt like they were reading my mind! I started volunteering because I wanted to learn to be around them up close and personal and how to care for them. I never imagined that I would, one day, be able to communicate to a horse and they would listen. That I could tell them with my own body language and energy to back up, turn, stop. The communication that goes on between humans and horses is so intriguing to me because they do feel your feelings and, I swear, they do totally read your mind... let alone when they want to tell YOU what to do (Babe!).
Favorite horse: I can't choose - I love them all!
Name: Kylee Goldsmith
Name: Lindsay Daley
Name: Lisa Sarussi
Name: Liz Berry
Name: Lucy Mertens
I started volunteering in March 2020. I’m a student at CSU studying Equine Science and I moved from Minnesota about two years ago. I miss my horse Tango everyday, who lives back at home, and I wanted an opportunity to be around horses and give back to an organization that always needs helping hands! My favorite way to start the day is waking up and talking to the horses, so I’m super grateful I found Charis Youth Ranch and am able to volunteer feed!
Favorite horse: Padah.... I’m a sucker for a pony
Name: Lucia Ginten
About: Fundraising/Admin/ Feeder
I had just moved here from Germany and was missing my old work, which was pretty similar to what we do at the ranch. Working with kids and horses. My husband saw that volunteers were needed and I applied right away, in June 2014. I love that I can work with all types of horses, do ranch work and be outside because it brings me peace and I love the smiles that those horses put on all those kids faces during the summer, because I know they can feel that peace too (even if it's just for a little while). I love how much happiness these horses put into those little hearts.
Favorite horse: Sterling
Name: Makela Riorden
Ultimately I chose to volunteer at Charis because I need non-profit volunteer hours for a scholarship I received. I chose Charis because I own two horses back home and thought it would be a good way to get my horse fix in. I love horses and what better way to spend time with horses than feeding and rehabilitating rescued horses. I love the whole reason the ranch began and the fact that it is run completely by volunteers and is a non-profit organization. I love the ranch mostly because its gives me the opportunity to get away from reality and spend a peaceful morning or afternoon for free. Honestly, it really puts you in a good mood!
Favorite horse: Padah (I call her Shorty!)
Name: Megan Aalto
Name: Mel Bobi
Name: Melissa Sobczak
It all started because of my daughter (Anna Moore) and her passion for horses and kids. Several years ago, she started as a junior volunteer at Charis Youth Ranch and it quickly transformed into so much more for both her and I. She immediately had a connection with a sweet, but feisty mare, named DBD. Since that first summer they have been inseparable and have an undeniable connection. The ranch offers so much to us, especially peace and tranquility. We love being able to support and provide love and care for these beautiful creatures. God has certainly blessed us with the opportunity to be part of Charis.
Favorite horse: DBD
Name: Michelle Cornwall
I started in August 2016 and decided to join because I was coming to college and missed my horses back home and wanted a way to connect with horses in college. I love how much of a safe environment it is and how I can go and lay in a pasture to think and relax as well as making a bunch of friendships with people and horses alike.
Favorite horse: Red
Name: Nicole Johnson
I started volunteering in August 2020 with my daughter (Addi). We are in our journey of teaching her that her desire to own a horse will require so much love but also responsibility, so I prayed for a place where my daughter could learn this hands-on and work with horses directly. After our first feeding shift, we both fell in love with all of the horses and the wonderful volunteers. This provides us with what we are looking for in our journey to horse ownership and much more. I started volunteering because of my daughter's interest, but I feel blessed to be a part of it as well. A lot of work and love goes into caring for the horses and the ranch, but the horses give us so much joy and love right back!
Favorite horse: Chevy (but I love them all!)
Name: Nicole Oleski
Favorite horse: Cleo
Name: Olivia Bowman
I started volunteering at the ranch in May 2020 because I had lost my job to COVID-19. Instead of sitting at home, I decided it would be more advantageous to spend my time doing something I love, so I applied to volunteer at Charis Youth Ranch! The ranch has taught me so many things despite my lack of horse experience. I've especially appreciated the time I've been able to spend with the horses and the other volunteers.
Favorite horse: Red
Name: Rachel Fousek
I've been at the ranch for 6 years now. Initially I joined as a way to get some volunteer hours and get my horse fix, but over the years I've fallen in love with this place. Even though I already had a fair amount of horse experience prior to joining, the ranch has taught me so much and helped me grow both as a horse person and as an individual. It's really awesome to witness how it helps other people (and horses!) grow and heal as well. My favorite horse would probably have to be McCool, with his goofy puppy dog personality, and Randy and Romeo, though no longer with us, will always have a special place in my heart.
Favorite horse: McCool
Name: Sami Smith
I chose to volunteer here because I have had no experience with horses and have always wanted to be around them. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such peaceful animals. They truly make me so happy. I love how the ranch allows anyone to be around their horses. Experience or no experience! The other volunteers are so nice and willing to help in any way they can.
Favorite horse: Cooper
Name: Sandi Sears
Name: Sarah Gayle
About: Volunteer Coordinator/ Feeder / Admin / Facility
I started at Charis in October of 2017 after finding a listing on a volunteer site. I grew up around horses and missed being in a barn and I thought it was a great way for me to be able to give back to the community as well as helping myself. I love how just being there feels so healing and I love seeing the positive growth in the horses and the kids who come to us feeling broken.
Favorite horse: I love all the horses!
Name: Shannon Hefferman
Name: Sharon Muelken
At the end of July in 2018, I was chatting with Jesus saying, “I miss horses so much, can you please put them back into my life?” Within a month, I was introduced to Tracy. The moment she shared the ministry Jesus had given her, I fell in love with Charis, and joined the Charis Family. Spending time with horses is like chocolate to my heart and soul! All the ranch smells and chores are my choice of aromatherapy and playtime.
Favorite horse: I love them all!
Name: Stephanie Lenger
Name: Tammy Neal
Name: Tiffini Harris
Volunteering at Charis Ranch has been a wonderful growing experience for our family. Being a volunteer at the ranch since November 2018 has given us more than what we could ever give in return. Many life lessons can be learned out in the beautiful mountainous pasture in Laporte. Volunteering at the ranch has taught us that all living things deserve their own place in this world, resilience, patience, determination, grit and responsibility to other living things besides ourselves. Within the serenity of the property, We have also learned self reliance and creativity and to take a moment and appreciate just being alive and the beauty of the moment. A lot to place on volunteering but it’s true: it’s better to give than receive!
Favorite horse: Angel
Name: Wayne Oleski
My family and I chose to volunteer at Charis ranch because we have always loved all types of animals. We started in the summer of 2016. I feel like I'm out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life when I'm at the ranch. It's like a getaway that is right around the corner.
Favorite horse: Red
Name: Will Driscoll
Name: Zoe Sterns
Name: Addisyn (Addi) Johnson
About: I started volunteering in August 2020. I LOVE horses and all types of animals. I love how the ranch brings people together like family. I appreciate how all of us volunteers help give all of these amazing horses a second chance. It has always been a dream of mine to work with horses and the ranch has provided me that opportunity.
Favorite Horse: Chevy
Name: Alyssa Berg
About: I came to the ranch in August 2019 because I was always interested in horses and I love animals. I love how the ranch brings people together, and how they use horses to help people. I love that we are able to give horses second chances.
Favorite Horse: Red, Rajah & Rumor (I love them all!)
Name: Anna Oleski
About: I started in the spring of 2020 because my sister is a volunteer and I fell in love with horses and gained a huge bond with them. I love the ranch because I love how Tracy saves all of these horses and I love how it's like a retirement for them!
Favorite Horse: Padah
Name: Emma Cookman
About: 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. When they say “Broken horses healing broken children” they really mean it!!! Being around these gentle giants is such a privilege, I am so grateful for every horse at the ranch. They each have unique personalities and quirks, and it’s been great to get to know each horse on such a deep level.
Favorite horse: Monny
Name: Hope Harris
About: 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! When I was a little girl I wanted a horse and when I joined the Charis ranch youth program in November 2018 I was able to make my dream come true! I’ve been able to learn so many things about horses and how to take care of them! Charis ranch has made my dreams come true and has been a huge learning experience for me! Thank you for everything Charis!
Favorite horse: Babe
Name: Autumn Jones
About: I joined the ranch in September 2019 because I was excited to start a new "career path" with horses. I wanted to ride horses but was never allowed to so I thought a "work to ride" trade would work well. After a while, I ended up making friends and getting a great bond with the horses and now I'm here!
Favorite horse: Molly
Name: Hope Oleski
About: I started in 2016. One of the Junior Volunteer’s moms recommended the ranch to me and now I love it. What I love about the ranch is the people and how loving and supportive everyone is.
Favorite horse: Cisco
Name: Sydney Zuieback
About: I started at Charis in December 2019. I have been riding horses for almost 8 years. They are my pride and joy. I have met so many new life-long friends at Charis and can't wait to meet more. Cleo is my favorite horse because every time I ride her she always challenges me and makes me work my hardest.
Favorite horse: Cleo