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.”
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• 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