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Carousel Ranch Receives $10,000 Grant from Choices in Learning National Foundation

Posted: April 23, 2016 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 23, 2016 2:00 a.m.
Denise Redmond, Executive Director of Carousel Ranch, receives check from Rawleigh Smith, president of Choices in Learning National Foundation. Courtesy photo Denise Redmond, Executive Director of Carousel Ranch, receives check from Rawleigh Smith, president of Choices in Learning National Foundation. Courtesy photo
Denise Redmond, Executive Director of Carousel Ranch, receives check from Rawleigh Smith, president of Choices in Learning National Foundation. Courtesy photo
• Five Carousel Ranch students who participate at different levels, from volunteering an hour or two per week, to two who are on the ranch’s weekly payroll. Courtesy photo • Five Carousel Ranch students who participate at different levels, from volunteering an hour or two per week, to two who are on the ranch’s weekly payroll. Courtesy photo
• Five Carousel Ranch students who participate at different levels, from volunteering an hour or two per week, to two who are on the ranch’s weekly payroll. Courtesy photo
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Carousel Ranch is pleased to announce it has received a $10,000 grant from Choices in Learning National Foundation. These funds will support the official launch of Ready to Work!, an innovative employment readiness and training program for young adults with special needs.

The new two-component program will include an eight-week individualized training curriculum and on-the-job training at Carousel Ranch’s “Tack Shack,” a social enterprise selling refurbished tack, snacks and branded merchandise.

Over the last three years, the ranch has been informally integrating vocational training – or being “Ready to Work” – into our curriculum with some of our older students. Because so many of our “kids” have been here at the ranch for 10-plus years, we have literally seen them grow up before our eyes. As it has always been our mission to individualize each child’s program, having some of the older kids transition into helping on the ranch was a natural fit. Today, we have five students who participate at different levels, from volunteering an hour or two per week, to two who are on our payroll each week. With more and more parents asking for this type of program, we simply did not have the staffing or ability to oversee it…until now.

Last summer we were awarded an incredible donation from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich to officially create a new formalized vocational training program and the Tack Shack. This donation has paid for all of the “hard costs” to actually implement such a program, from renovations to curriculum, computers, classroom supplies, and so much more.

“While the finishing touches are being put on all of that…the next challenge became finding the funds to actually operate the program, providing money for staffing, scholarships for participants, and every day practical expenses associated with running it. That is where Choices For Learning stepped in and their gift will literally now enable us to get the program started, with our first two groups beginning in late June.

Rawleigh Smith, the foundation board president, shared, “The Choices in Learning Foundation really wanted to help Carousel Ranch expand its mission, and the Ready for Work! program was the perfect fit to do so.”

Choices in Learning National Foundation is dedicated to supporting education, including assistance to organizations that provide individuals with educational and life learning experiences. “The foundation’s mission and that of Carousel Ranch and Ready to Work! are so perfectly aligned. It is a partnership that we know will bring great things, making a difference in the lives of many in the years to come,” said Marianne Cederlind, Carousel Ranch Board
President.

Carousel Ranch is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing equestrian therapy for disabled children, creating an individualized program to meet each child’s specific needs and goals. We strive to create an atmosphere where every child can and will succeed…a place where therapy is disguised as fun. Carousel Ranch is located at 34289 Rocking Horse Rd. in Santa Clarita, and can be reached at (661) 268-8010, http://www.carouselranch.org/.

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