Alumna Kimberly Giron returns to TTR with guests and a purpose.

Alumna Kimberly Giron was so moved by her experience at Taking the Reins as a young girl that she recently brought students from a local school, Sonia Sotomayor Arts & Sciences Magnet, where she works. Along with wanting her students to learn farm skills and gardening techniques, she reflected on the lifelong friendships she made with girls she met in the program.

“It was my ticket away from where I never wanted to be,” Giron said about what TTR did for her as a young girl. “Coming to Taking the Reins meant I was away from things like drugs and gangs.”

For the inaugural after-school session, Giron gathered a group of five girls who she felt would benefit from the offerings at Taking the Reins. Both parties hope to grow the relationship, allowing more girls from the school to experience the benefits of being at the farm, in the garden, and with the animals. Giron arranged for her middle school girls to come because she feels that the younger you can intersect with these girls the better chance you have at changing their futures. Sotomayor has an emphasis on agriscience, so the skills that their students learn at Taking the Reins are directly transferable to their time at school, and possibly in their future careers.

Taking the Reins is proud to offer its programs to schools and organizations located in urban underserved communities, knowing that it provides a unique service as a working farm in the midst of Los Angeles.

“Taking the Reins is a good bubble for them to be in,” Giron said. “Being there gets them away from the unsafe communities where many of them live. It puts them in the moment.”

Giron is currently serving a leadership role at Sotomayor, but the earlier years of her career were spent as a teacher. She credited Taking the Reins as being the place where she learned her love of teaching. Giron talked about leading groups of girls through different classes and projects while at Taking the Reins and said these were her first experiences teaching others.

Her story is a testament to the claim that the experiences these girls have at Taking the Reins are integral to the person they become. Giron and many other alumni have powerful stories about their time at Taking the Reins, ultimately leading them to come back to the organization in some way.