Girls surrounded by daily violence find solace at Taking the Reins

Taking the Reins is focused on getting inner-city girls involved with horses and urban farm life, knowing the multi-faceted benefits it provides to young girls. Therefore – in order to grow the number of girls who utilize their services – community outreach is a large priority. Taking the Reins makes connections in all parts of the Los Angeles community, ensuring that they reach as many girls in need as possible.

os Angeles Police Department’s Officer Plata has become a good friend of TTR. One of her most important jobs as an officer is keeping the girls of Ramona Gardens Housing Project safe. Oftentimes, the best way to do that is to take them out of their Boyle Heights neighborhood. To keep “her kids” safe she takes them to Taking the Reins. She is a present figure in these girls’ lives. Some of them come from very violent and tragic backgrounds, living in neighborhoods where it is unsafe to walk to school without law enforcement escorting them. They need reprieve. They find it with Taking the Reins.

I can see the excitement on their faces when we are on our way to Taking the Reins,” Officer Plata shared about the 12 girls who come to TTR at a time. “They feel comfortable here. It is a safe place where I can show them other options besides the ones they see in their day-to-day life. These girls will never forget Taking the Reins.

Officer Plata says that the girls love being able to interact with the farm animals in a variety of ways. Because of most of their living situations, there is not space or means to have a pet. She reflected on how much they enjoy feeding and grooming the mini ponies. In addition, she appreciates the time they spend in the garden and learning to cook healthy meals. There are positive sociological and emotional results to the time spent with animals at Taking the Reins.

It is good for them to learn about the impact they have on the animals,” she shared. “There are also real benefits to us all breaking bread together.

Girls go from being too hesitant to touch and be near the horses, to comfortably navigating their skills. Seeing how their behaviors and actions influence the animals’ reactions also helps the girls develop a deeper understanding of empathy and emotions.

Taking the Reins staff and board know the positive implications of their program. Over 25 years, they have expanded and grown to meet their community’s needs. A main goal of the program is to provide girls a safe place to be kids and explore.

Many of these girls have lives that are hard to imagine,” Officer Plata shared in context of the gang life and violence that riddles their communities. “I treat these kids like they are mine. It is my mission to make sure they get home safe.

Officer Plata’s statements and endorsements speak to executive director Jane Haven in a multitude of ways.

As we know through our girls and the girls like the ones who Officer Plata brings to us, kids in Los Angeles are dealing with tough, complex issues at a young age,” Haven shared. “I know from my background in psychology that kids need places where they can let loose. One of my greatest joys at Taking the Reins Is watching girls learn to let down and have fun, knowing they are safe and protected here.

Taking the Reins is always looking for ways to engage groups like they do with the one from Ramona Gardens Housing Project. The facility is built to be enjoyed and shared with others.

These connections are not possible without the support of others. Please consider donating to Taking the Reins this holiday season so that more girls can experience the magic of TTR. ​​​​​​​DONATE NOW.