The Los Angeles-based nonprofit Taking the Reins (TTR) was founded in 1998, which means 2023 marks 25 years of operation. Taking the Reins is dedicated to helping historically underserved girls in Los Angeles learn how to navigate their growth and futures by creating an environment for exploration and learning. The inspiration for founding this organization is still relevant today. Almost 5,000 girls have attended after school and weekend classes over the years. In fact, many alumni are still in routine communication with Executive Director, Jane Haven.
“It is so exciting to celebrate this milestone for Taking the Reins,” Haven shared. “The community we serve relies on Taking the Reins. Many of these girls come to us in need of a safe, sacred place. They all get that and also leave with life skills and relationships that will make them better people. I am so grateful for the founders’ foresight. They created a space that encourages at-risk girls to act boldly, with courage and confidence, through experiences with horses.
Taking the Reins has grown and shifted many times in the last 25 years. So, it is only fitting that a major construction project is wrapping up around the property during the first quarter of such a monumental year. They recently completed the construction of a new barn and are now adding a full-service office for staff.
An organization that started as an equine outreach program has grown substantially over the years. Of course, horses and equine education remain the centerpiece of the programming. Today, there is also a robust seed to skillet gardening programming where girls learn the benefits of fresh vegetables in their diets, animal husbandry programs, enrichment programs, and a college readiness program called Youth Education Services (YES).
Something Taking the Reins staff and supporters learned early on was that the girls were not just needing the emotional and physical benefits of the horses. Located in the middle of Los Angeles, many of these girls were coming from severely underserved parts of the community with public school resources that were not preparing them for success.
“Girls have always wanted to spend a lot of their free time here,” Haven admits. “We want to make their time here as productive as possible. Most of them have no close examples of people who have gone to college, or perhaps even finished high school. As a youth nonprofit in a county that struggles with poverty, homelessness, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and other vices, we feel a responsibility to show these girls the positive lifestyle and experiences within their reach.”
Taking the Reins intends to celebrate this milestone all year long, so there will be more opportunities to share detailed accounts of how this nonprofit has grown over the last 25 years. In order to make it another 25 more, the community needs to stay engaged.
You can donate to Taking the Reins using this link, or by sending a check to 4004 Verdant Street Los Angeles, CA 90039.