“The horses at Shepherd Youth Ranch have taught me that forgiveness can lead to trust…and like them, I too can learn to trust again.”
— Participant, 16 years old
“I attended Shepherd Youth Ranch for five years, first in equine assisted learning activities and then in the riding and volunteer programs. The staff members at SYR are amazing, never give up on you and stick by your side no matter what! They are very honest with you and help you become ALL God desires you to be.”
— Participant, 20 years old
“My child suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of her biological parents. We had the privilege of adopting her at three and later brought her to the Ranch to help her work through the trauma she suffered. I can see a huge change in my daughter since completing the equine assisted psychotherapy program; she is now able to label and verbalized her feelings and even identify what specifics are causing her negative feelings and thought patterns. It’s given me great hope to be able to have these conversations with her now.”
— Parent of Participant
“The Trail to Success program had a huge impact on my life. The staff and the horses helped me understand my problems and get my mind focused on the right track to succeed in life. I’m so grateful I had the chance to go there. They set high expectations for me because they knew I had great potential to succeed in life and school. The fact is, I did and I couldn’t have done it without their help. I’m glad they helped me through my toughest times.”
— Participant, 15 years old
“My past wasn’t all that good, so I had to attend the Shepherd Youth Ranch. At first I didn’t know what to expect or how it would turn out, but after a couple days I liked being there. I felt safe and comfortable. They were really nice to me. Things were complicated at first because I didn’t know anyone but after a while of being there my life started changing for the better. I started making new friends, my grades improved and I learned how to be who I am and not who I think I should be. Honestly their advice helped me a lot in life. They showed me who I could be and what I can do once I set my mind too. I really liked the horses they had. I remember the first day I saw a horse I liked very much. He was the biggest, but sometimes bit so no one else liked him but me. He had a huge impact on my life. Shepherd Youth Ranch changed my life. It helped me get my mind on the right track to succeed in life. I’m so grateful I had the chance to go there. They changed my life so much that I didn’t want to leave. The counselors set high expectations because they knew I could do it, and I did!! I couldn’t have without their help. I’m glad they helped me through my roughest times. Thank y’all so much.”
— Participant, 15 years old
“Some teenagers turn to drugs or alcohol to escape their problems. While, I didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol, I did try to run away from my problems and ended up running into something worse. As a young teenager so many emotions can be confusing; feeling alone even when people say they love you, or wondering why God doesn’t answer you when in reality He is all around you. I thank God for getting me through those times with the help of Shepherd Youth Ranch.
My most treasured memory from the program was when I was asked to catch a wild mustang! This particular horse did not like to be caught, in fact he was fearful of people. Knowing this was an impossible task, I began praying for the Lord’s help. The next thing I knew, the horse that was so determined to leave me was now standing right behind me! Amazingly, I was able to pet him and put the halter on. A few moments later the unbelievable happened, he fell asleep standing beside me! For me this was a pivotal moment in my life. I realized that no matter what challenges life brings, God is right there with me waiting and desiring for me to reach out to him in prayer for the answer.
I am truly grateful to Shepherd Youth Ranch for all they have done for me and for other young people like myself. The staff at Shepherd Youth Ranch is so caring and they take a special interest in helping us recognize our own potential in Christ’s strength. I can truly say that without the Trail to Success program the Lord only knows where I would be.”
— Participant, teenager