Who We Are:
Founded in 1998, Taking the Reins is a community-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization serving adolescent girls, ages 8-18, in Los Angeles. We strive to help girls excel and achieve their fullest potential in a safe and diverse community. The mission of TTR is to transform the lives of teenage girls facing the challenges of adolescence in high-risk environments. At our unique 2-acre urban farm located along the River in Atwater Village, young women become confident leaders. Working together with horses, farm animals, and in the garden, girls learn the value of teamwork and responsibility.
What We Do:
Equestrian Program offers teens the experience of learning complete horsemanship: riding, barn procedures and safety, equine science, and horse care including nutrition and health care. All the components of the program promote responsibility, the importance of working together, and leadership.
Urban Farm Program: in partnership with Enrich LA, students participate in our signature seed-to-skillet experience. This includes organic gardening and cooking classes. In Collaboration with Theodore Payne Foundation participants learn about horticulture, stewardship of the land, and appreciation for the natural environment. Girls track what they learn and develop their ability to express themselves through journaling, art and photography. For girls, 8-10, TTR offers Cowgirls Corner where they learn about gardening and farm animals.
Programs are offered on weekdays and weekends. In addition, TTR offers workshops that explore a broad range of areas of interest including the arts, personal development and life skills, college preparation, and career opportunities.
The Girls We Serve:
Our programs attract girls from all over Los Angeles, coming from different backgrounds, schools, neighborhoods, and other areas in Los Angeles County. This diversity allows girls living in highly stratified city to encounter, engage, and befriend girls from other neighborhoods, which exposes them to new ideas and a larger sense of civic participation.
TTR partners with other nonprofits including those providing services to homeless youth, Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Police Activities Leagues, and other institutions interested in our unique services.
Why Girls Need TTR:
→TTR is a positive centering force, for girls that put them in positions of leadership and gives them the chance to feel success in a non-academic environment. Riding a horse requires confidence and discipline; riders must have faith in themselves and trust their horse, and go forward without an exact guarantee of the outcome. The success girls achieve in learning to ride coupled with the leadership skills they gain from handling a horse translates to success in school.
→Teenage years are a critical time for girls a crossroad where the paths they choose impact the rest of their lives. Often it is during this vulnerable time that societal messages about femininity sneak in, leading girls to strive for some “ideal” body shape or to feel as if they aren’t good enough or deserving of their dreams. Taking the Reins counters this by encouraging girls to develop a positive sense of self, valuing their physical strength, working cooperatively with others and the horses, and learning to recognize and positively use their own power and leadership skills.
→We want girls to know they are entitled to success. Often, girls are selected to participate in our program by school counselors or organization staff that feel a specific girl will benefit from our programs. Some of the girls are survivors of violence or abuse for whom the experience of learning to trust a horse is especially healing. TTR provides a safe, unconditional emotional outlet that allows girls to open-up and engage in self-discovery of their dreams, goals, and values. Our program reinforces this self-discovery by encouraging students to trust their creative expressions and believe that their personal stories have value in the world.
360 girls, ages 8-18, served annually, with a total of over 28,000 contact hours; 52% Latina; 9% African American; 8% Asian American; 25% Caucasian; & 6% Multi-racial
Partnering schools report TTR teens have higher in-class participation & school attendance. Over 80% of TTR students show increased self-confidence
Foundations & Grants: 43% Corporations: 10%
Program Fees: 4%
Individual Contributions: 21% Other: 22%
Annual Operating Budget: $402,000
* Annual programs cost per girl: $1,100
* Annual average cost per horse and instructors used in the Riding Program: