Horses chang­ing young lives at the Hope Ris­ing Farm

Hamilton Metro News - - COMMUNITY -

Hope Ris­ing Char­i­ta­ble Farm, based in Ngaru­awahia, pro­vides pro­grammes aimed at youth from Ngaru­awahia to Huntly.

Their pro­grammes es­tab­lish healthy con­nec­tions be­tween chil­dren and horses, they say.

There are a range of so­cial chal­lenges in Ngaru­awahi­aHuntly for youth, which in­clude al­co­hol, drugs, bore­dom, steal­ing, vi­o­lence, tru­ancy and tag­ging.

A gang cul­ture ex­ists in some pock­ets of this com­mu­nity, and poverty is a very real con­cern, with many chil­dren lack­ing the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties of food and shel­ter. Youth in this area be­tween the ages of eight and 13 of­ten roam the streets, with a lack of or­gan­ised ac­tiv­i­ties for them to en­gage in. (Source: Ngaru­awahi­aHuntly Col­lab­o­ra­tive Youth Strat­egy, June 2016)

Rachel Ralph, Founder and CEO says that Hope Ris­ing Farm pro­vides an em­pow­er­ing jour­ney for chil­dren to de­velop many life skills.

“Our stu­dents are likely to leave school early, make poor choices about friends, life­style, health, free time and ed­u­ca­tion and of­ten have poor lit­er­acy skills.

“At Hope Ris­ing Farm they learn to es­tab­lish trust with the horses and con­fi­dence in them­selves and oth­ers, and then re­alise that in chang­ing them­selves, they have the power to in­flu­ence their world,” says Rachel.

A cur­rent pro­gramme, Time out with Horses, part­ners one or two chil­dren with a pony or don­key.

This is con­cen­trated time for growth, learn­ing, farm skill ex­pe­ri­ence, con­fi­dence build­ing, and hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence.

Top­ics ex­plored in­clude: Trust, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Life’s Chal­lenges, Friend­ships and Re­spon­si­bil­ity, Peer Pres­sure and more.

Hope Ris­ing Farm is cur­rently fundrais­ing to send three peo­ple to the UK in 2018 to train as in­struc­tors for a life-chang­ing, unique pro­gramme de­vel­oped es­pe­cially for the spe­cific emo­tional and men­tal needs of vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren.

The pro­gramme has been run­ning for about four years with some of the most dis­en­gaged, hard to reach and in some cases trau­ma­tised chil­dren in their care, re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cant changes.

“Our big vi­sion is to run a spe­cialised cen­tre here and ad­min­is­ter the NZ li­cense for this ex­cit­ing pro­gramme,” says Rachel.

In­ter­na­tional re­search con­firms that these pro­grammes have a pos­i­tive im­pact.

“Youth who learnt horse­man­ship skills showed bet­ter de­ci­sion-mak­ing, thinking, com­mu­ni­cat­ing, goal-set­ting and prob­lem solv­ing. Work­ing with horses helped them de­velop pos­i­tive val­ues and life skills that are trans­ferred to a young per­son’s daily life.” (Source: Amer­i­can Youth Horse Coun­cil).

Longer term goals for Hope Ris­ing Farm in­clude mov­ing to a per­ma­nent home of at least 12ha and build­ing a cov­ered arena so that pro­grammes can be run year­round.

“We have a big vi­sion for Hope Ris­ing Farm, and are ex­cited about how our next stage of growth will im­pact and em­power chil­dren that come to us,” says Rachel.

To part­ner with Hope Ris­ing Farm, con­tact Rachel at hoperis­ing@xtra.co.nz, or www.face­book.com/Ben­ji­bon/ or visit their Givealit­tle page givealit­tle.co.nz/org/hoperis­ing

Photo / Supplied

One of the Hope Ris­ing Farm stu­dents with Huey the friendly don­key.

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