Straightening Reins partners with AJCC to create youth job opportunities

Roxie Bradford,11, right, grooms rescued horses Jax, left, and Mia at SRD Straightening Reins' new facility in Agua Dulce on Wednesday, October 32, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

SRD~Straightening Reins, an equine therapy ranch, has partnered with the Goodwill American Job Center of California to create paid work experience opportunities for youth.

“This came to fruition because SRD works with foster kids to provide counseling services and a safe, supervised place at the ranch,” said Deborah Rocha, executive director of Straightening Reins. “The more we worked with foster children, we realized that a lot are aging out of the system and trying to figure out what they are going to do in adult world.”

Rocha hopes these jobs can help local youth learn social skills, time management and job skills at the ranch while being a mentor to the kids and getting paid for it.

Each teen will be screened through the AJCC before they’re referred to SRD staff for placement, according to Rocha.

They will also provide teens with instructional workshops, including resume building, interview preparation and the necessary tools to holding a job, according to Rocha.

Although they will already have a total of four teens in the program by the summer, Rocha’s goal is to continue to grow the opportunity and expand the program, she said.

“The big picture is that these kids realize they matter and can see that there’s an active group of people wanting to help them,” Rocha said. “It gives the kids another opportunity to be in the community, help out at the ranch and see how to conduct themselves professionally.”

This will not only help the kids, but also allow Straightening Reins to expand their youth groups with the extra help, Rocha said.

For more information, email ​[email protected].

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