TAKING THE REINS
May 12, 2010
Taking the Reins has been described as an “urban oasis”—the miracle is that this is really the special sense I get whenever I am there. I love the charmingly funky barn and the new organic garden (enriched by compost from the manure of the horses!) and the always-welcoming classroom space where the girls work on their writing, artwork and digital photography. But most important is the staff and band of supporters (largely but not exclusively female) who are so dedicated to empowering girls—and that dedication really inspires the girls to gain confidence with themselves, to learn discipline in their riding and active care for the horses—in other words to act strong and entertain big dreams for themselves. No wonder that one of the first girls in the startup years of the program a decade ago is the first in her family to not only graduate from high school but now is graduating from UC Berkeley!
Moreover, there's a real social advantage to an “urban oasis”: unlike a summer camp program, it is a far more accessible program of enrichment for underserved urban girls (some of whose parents might be reluctant to send them away to camp even if that were affordable). It offers an intensive, stimulating program for their development that, especially with the informal mentoring provided by all the staff, the girls can, and do!, integrate their new-found sense of strong selves into the rest of their everyday experiences in public school classrooms (often too big), on the street (often intimidating), and in their home environments (which too often place more attention on the future of sons rather than daughters).
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I've followed one young woman from this program finish community college and then enter Berkeley (her first time away from home) I've kept in touch and witnessed how bouts of fear are managed with her formative lessons in confidence from Taking the Reins.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every month
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Board Member & Worked on annual events and fund-raising projects.