Cow­boy’s Hotspot

The Covington News - - Business - SABAS­TIAN WEE Spe­cial to The News

In 2003, dur­ing an eques­trian event held by Achiev­ing Skills for Change’s Out­reach Ther­a­peu­tic Coun­sel­ing Ser­vices, founder and CEO An­gela Clark saw the pos­i­tive ef­fect the horses gave to the chil­dren par­tic­i­pat­ing.

An eques­trian en­thu­si­ast, Clark felt she could fuse ther­apy with the calm strength of horses.

“The horses have a ther­a­peu­tic rap­port with the chil­dren,” Clark ex­plained. “They can give the chil­dren the kind of un­con­di­tional love they wouldn’t get with their friends, at school or even their fam­i­lies.”

With this idea in mind, Clark moved to be­gin Cow­boy’s Hotspot, a res­tau­rant event fa­cil­ity that’s an ex­ten­sion to ACFS. Along with the abil­ity to rent and host events, the fa­cil­ity would be able to pro­vide a place for chil­dren and their fam­i­lies to par­tic­i­pate and in­ter­act with each other. The fa­cil­ity open in July 2011; it went fully op­er­a­tional a few months later.

“We don’t just want to work with the chil­dren, who are our first pri­or­ity, but with the fam­ily as well,” Clark said. “Be­cause if you don’t work with the fam­ily, then you don’t re­ally fix the prob­lem with the child.”

Hotspot be­came the per­fect av­enue for the coun­sel­ing cen­ter to ex­pand its com­mu­nity based ser­vices that fo­cuses on chil­dren. And it gave Clark an op­por­tu­nity to merge her love of horses and the con­cern for ne­glected and im­pov­er­ished chil­dren.

Rev­enue from these events is used for the con­struc­tion of the rodeo arena next to the fa­cil­ity. Clark hopes to fin­ish ren­o­va­tion of the full-size rodeo arena in the next cou­ple of months, in time for a spring rodeo event.

“The whole idea is to have a place for these kids to go to so they are not out on the streets,” she said. “Some of these kids don’t even know what it’s like to in­ter­act with horses. They don’t ex­pe­ri­ence that kind of love.”

Clark is cur­rently in the process of ac­quir­ing the nec­es­sary equip­ment, which she hopes will come mostly in the form of com­mu­nity do­na­tions.

“If some­one is get­ting rid of bleach­ers, boots for rid­ing, any­thing — we could use that kind of stuff,” Clark said. “We can’t do this by our­selves. We need the com­mu­nity’s help.”

Clark is cur­rently work­ing to col­lab­o­rate with or­ga­ni­za­tions like 4H to bring more depth to their style of ther­a­peu­tic ser­vices.

“We have to, as a com­mu­nity, open up av­enues for the in­di­gent chil­dren who wouldn’t nor­mally have these kinds of op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she said. “We want to give the fam­i­lies that kind of op­por­tu­nity with­out the con­cern of af­ford­abil­ity.”

The fa­cil­ity also fea­tures a game room where fam­i­lies can en­joy board games and other fam­i­lyre­lated ac­tiv­i­ties. Teen Night, held on Tues­days, is ex­pected to al­low fam­i­lies the op­por­tu­nity to spend that qual­ity time to­gether. Fam­i­lies can or­der a meal and have a choice to sit at a ta­ble to­gether or ven­ture into the game room for other ac­tiv­i­ties while they eat.

Hotspot will be host­ing fam­ily din­ners on Sun­days at noon be­gin­ning April 1. Fam­i­lies can come in and or­der meals at an af­ford­able cost, eat at a ta­ble to­gether or visit the game room.

“Fam­i­lies don’t spend time to­gether like they used to. Kids are in a room, do­ing their own thing, mom and dad are in an­other, do­ing their own thing. Here, we push for fam­i­lies, to have them spend that time that is needed to be a fam­ily.”

The coun­sel­ing cen­ter, which pro­vides ther­apy for in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies, also gives sup­port for mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and re­cov­ery as­sis­tance for drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion. Their pri­mary fo­cus is chil­dren in mid­dle school and high school with men­tal and be­hav­ioral is­sues.

“The plight of our chil- dren con­cerns me,” she said. “We want to pro­vide more than a home for our kids, we want it to be more than just giv­ing clin­i­cal treat­ment to these kids. We want to be able to work with the fam­i­lies holis­ti­cally so our com­mu­nity can heal.”

To do­nate, con­tact

Ad­di­tional info:

• Spe­cial events weekly (*cover charge)

• Wed­nes­days — (square danc­ing com­ing soon)

• Line Danc­ing Lessons $5; 8 p.m.- 10 p.m.

• Thurs­days - Thirsty Thurs­day— Bot­tom­less beer cups and end­less cow chips

• Fri­day and Satur­day 8 p.m.— 2 a.m.—spe­cial Event Sched­ule

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