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Dustys Riders

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Children & Youth, Human Services, Youth Centers & Clubs, Youth Development Programs

Mission: We provide at-risk children interactions with horses, taking them out of their present environment, exposing them to opportunities for personal growth building self-esteem and self-awareness.

Results: We currently work with four Boys & Girls clubs (Burbank, Variety (in East LA), West San Gabriel Valley and Watts-Willowbrook) The Dream Center, Helpline Youth Counseling and Dubnoff Center Valley Group Home. We have up to 40 kids visit us per month.

Geographic areas served: Greater Los Angeles Area

Programs: Take at-risk children on horse outings

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Catherine91

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dusty's Riders is an incredible non-profit working with at-risk youth, unparalleled in its dedication of providing otherwise unattainable experiences for a wide ranging group of youths. As a regular volunteer, I have first hand knowledge of how horses heal and nurture and how the kids learn to get past fears. Most common quote heard each outing: "This was one of the best days of my life." Just recently, a teen conveyed how she felt she had 'found herself again.' It's outcomes like these that make Dusty's Riders such an amazing organization. Cowboy/Cowgirl up! Hee-Haw!

Michelle386

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Lets help Sarah, Dusty and Luke continue to nurture the children from youth groups across the greater LA area. In a controlled and safe environment, the students learn and practice various skills, having hands on experience with beautiful horses. Confidence is built with knowledge, teamwork, positive reinforcement and lots of encouragement. It is a fun, adventures day filled with laughter and life changing experiences. Did I mention there is pizza at the end of the day? As a volunteer, I am so thankful to be part of this human/equine magic.

Thank you,
Michelle J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the best time in my life riding with dusty riders. They were extremely professional and taught us a lot about horses and how to ride properly. All of the kids riding with us had a blast and it was definitely an unforgettable trip for all of us!! I would do it again!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit is amazing. I have been volunteering with them for years and I will definitely be continuing with them for many more. Sarah is fantastic and really great with the kids. I love when I go back and see some of the children again or hear about how much they love this program. Everyone that I have introduced to this program enjoy it as well.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering with Dusty's Riders. It is such a great organization and Sarah is amazing. Her dedication to the children is inspirational. Spending time with the children and horses really make my Saturday mornings. Plus the pizza is delicious

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3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Dusty's Riders for 4 years now, and am now on the board of directors. DR is a wonderful organization with the kids at the center; everything we do is with them in mind. We are always looking for ways we can improve the program and activities to make it even better for them, but the truth is, almost every kid that comes says it was the best day of their lives and they want to come back. It is truly heartwarming to watch them arrive at the ranch, quiet and nervous, and by the end of the day, be smiling and loving all of their experiences. I love DR!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about Dusty's Riders a few years ago through a mutual friend of mine and Sarah's, and finally was able to start volunteering this summer. I was amazed by Sarah's energy and ability to involve every kid and make each one feel special. It is such fun to watch the kids evolve throughout the day, and see the glow in their faces after the ride. Horses have such power, and I truly believe that meeting Dusty changes the lives of these kids for the better.

1 Debra28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have enjoyed all my experiences with Dusty's Riders. I started as an active volunteer for several years and then served in the board for a bit of time as well. I can' t express enough how this non profit has benefited not only the at risk children it serves but the people who volunteer and support it as well. In seeing the enthusiastic faces of the children and and the fearful ones as well, I found a sense of pride and happiness when seeing them walk away from the whole day and experience changed. And all for the better! They are more confident in their abilities to try new things after they cowboy or cowgirl up for the first time! And that new found courage and confidence surely sets them up to tackle other challenges that will arise throughout their lifetime when they arise!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoy every minute of the hours I put in for Dusty's Riders. Just to see the looks of pure joy on the kids faces as they ride a horse for the fist or second time is priceless. Dusty is amazing with them and the kids just love him. Hats off to Sarah Williams and Dusty!

1 Katy B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with Dusty's Riders a few times, and it has always been an absolute pleasure to spend the day doing so! Learning about the horses in the morning and then getting to ride in the afternoon is extremely valuable for the kids and I can't speak highly enough of the program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dusty's Riders is an amazing organization that takes introduces at-risk kids to horses and takes them on horseback rides through Griffith Park. I always have a great time when I volunteer. It is fun hanging out with Dusty the horse and getting to know the kids and seeing them interact with horses, sometimes for the first time. Dusty's Riders opens up a whole new world to at-risk kids and teens and gives them a huge boost of confidence.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sarah and Dusty have a great thing going! It is nearly ridiculous to call it volunteering when really you get the wonderful opportunity to hang out with a group of excited kids, go horseback riding and spend time out in the beautiful outdoors of Southern California. Dusty's Riders meets each child on their level (an apprehensive child who isn't quite sure about this whole horseback riding thing) and then gently nudges them to take a risk and believe in themselves. By the end of the day - the kids are all laughing and surprised that they ever even considered not getting up on the horse. It is just fantastic to see kids who often have very little control over their day to day circumstances take ahold of the reins and recognize that their confidence is important. This is really just a one in a million organization that I love to volunteer with as often as I can.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Fantastic Organization. All children need to be exposed to horses - to understand what it is like to care for and treat an animal with the respect and reverence they deserve. At-risk children are no different. I am please to have have volunteered for such a wonderful program and look forward to participating again in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dustys riders is a wonderful nonprofit organization. I very much enjoy volunteering for them. When the the kids first arrive the majority of them are scared, apprehensive and afraid to even get close to a horse. As the day goes on; you see their confidence build and you see them interacting, relaxing and just enjoying the experience. It is valuable life lessons that they learn and will take them through life on their journey.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first experience was great!!! I had the opportunity to take my daughter along with other kids from our organization and she had a blast. It was all she could talk about for the rest of the day. She now wishes to be a professional rider and to become a teacher to help other children learn to love and get over their fear of riding a horse. Her Grandma is a real cowgirl and she was so excited to tell grandma that she rode a horse!! Sarah and the other guides were amazing, patient, caring and fun!!! This program really teaches you the meaning of patience. WE LOVE DUSTY!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization. Sarah Williams, the founder of Dusty's Riders is selfless and is so passionate about changing the lives of youth in a positive way. What better way to do that for kids than with horses? I have such a blast volunteering with Dusty's Riders, and I have first hand seen kids face their fears and conquer them through riding horses, and this experience will crossover to the rest of their lives. Not only is this a great organization for the kids but for the volunteers too! It's so much much to be around Sarah, the kids, and the atmosphere of riding horses in Griffith Park is one of a kind. Thank you Dusty's Riders for an amazing opportunity for both youth and volunteers! :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a blast volunteering one Saturday afternoon for Dusty's Riders. It was obvious the kids really enjoyed learning about horses - they got to feed Dusty carrots, brush, and walk him. Even the kids who were nervous at first were able to face their fear when they pet Dusty and got up close to him. I was lucky enough to grow up around horses, and this experience reminded me how awe-inspiring and awesome it is to interact with an animal foreign to you for the first time. Sarah (and Dusty) could not have been sweeter or more patient!

As if the morning at the ranch wasn't fun enough, we then got to go on a trail ride together - it truly is life-changing for kids to get them out of their everyday environments, explore new surroundings and experiences, and ride a horse for the first time. I'm sure they will remember our awesome ride (well, slow walk) through Griffith Park for a long time.

Oh, and THEN, the kids get to go to Shakey's for a pizza lunch! Seriously, what a perfect day all around. Major kudos to Sarah for her organization, creativity, and passion for this initiative!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is one of the most powerful influncences I have seen on children. It shows them something that they might not have the opportunity to experience in their current situation. It is done with love, kindness and respect on many levels. I would recommend this group to anyone wanting to make a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This afternoon I saw a 8 year old girl go from asking me when the ride would be over because she was scared to not wanting to leave. It was a wonderful transformation to see and be a part of. I found out about Dusty's Riders at the Pomona horse expo and had been looking for a volunteer opportunity where I can share my love of horses with children. This program really fits the bill. The kids usually have never seen a horse let alone though of letting one eat out of their hand or getting on top of one of these great animals. The kids not only get to ride a horse but learn about them while learning about themselves. Sarah does a wonderful job running the program and gives it her all.

Kim E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sarah is an amazing woman and is always working so hard to help the children in her program! My daughter has volunteered at several of her events and I have donated to this charity also! We are so happy when the children come out with huge smiling faces & so excited! It's a great program & Sarah you are doing an awesome job! We are proud of you!

Ronda G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is a pleasure to be able to say I volunteered at Dustys. Sarah is a lovely woman who gives her all to the children who come to her. She has special gift and she shares it with each child she meets. She makes her volunteers feel like they haved helped even when they them selves are beginners with horses. As long as they are great with the kids and every one is having a great time she is happy. I wish Dustys many happy years to come because of all the smiles those years will bring to the children!Ronda Gurrea

Kathy K

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To partake in Dusty's program is heartwarming and touching in many ways. My most memorable experience is the day I watched a child so fearful of being near a horse for the fist time that he refused to walk inside the coral with his friends to greet Dusty. As his friends embraced the experience of feeding, brushing and leading Dusty themselves, his desire to experience the same fun and connection with Dusty slowly developed, enough that he trusted his friends who encouraged him to join them. Not one of them teased or pushed him to do so. These young children proved to have a level of maturity and understanding that one sees little of nowadays at such an age. Throughout the day his self confidence and trust grew. He cautiously walked in the coral with Sarah and experienced volunteer, T, by his side. That day we all shared in our hearts the hope that he would overcome his fear. With Sarah, T and Dusty's patience, the change unfolded gradually before our eyes. By the days end, he had fed, brushed and ridden on horseback for an hour on the trail and expressed that he wanted to return again for another outing. The transition in this young boy's level of self confidence was magical to witness and an enlightening experience that everyone shared. After every outing I have worked I am grateful for the expressions of appreciation and thanks from the children that are shared with Sarah and us all. Their gratitude is truly sincere. What ever troubles the children face in life are forgotten during their time with Dusty. The memory of the experience goes home in their hearts to cherish and lift their spirits. Thank you Sarah and Dusty, for the touching and confidence-building experiences you create for children. ...Happy Trails, and tales, indeed! - Kathy

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best experience a kid (and adult) can have. Not only do they learn about confidence, but team work as well. It's a great program that send a positive message.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Dusty's Riders for over two years. The kids are wonderful to work with and Sarah's program is such a great hands-on learning experience for them. They learn about horse behavior, care and handling, but most of all, they learn about themselves. The experience helps kids-at-risk grow and come to understand that they can do so much more than they ever dreamed possible. It has been a difficult year for non-profits, but somehow, Sarah has managed to keep the program going. Unfortunately, two of our Rancho Oso outings in Santa Barbara were canceled this fall due to lack of funding. On these all-day trips, we pass by the ocean on our way to the ranch. Many of the children have never seen the ocean before and have never been outside of the LA area. Experiencing new things like this lifts the spirits of these children and gives hope where there was none. At the ranch, the kids learn to rope a cow, watch real working cowboys and a cattle dog herd cattle and watch how bulls are trained to perform in rodeos. They get to ride horses along a beautiful trail in the mountains, play games on horseback, eat at a chuck wagon and make Native American dream catchers. It's a day filled with learning, fun and confidence-building. Each new experience helps these children learn how to "cowboy up" when the going gets tough.