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Ride to Pride benefit Friday

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Submitted to the Optic

The Board of Trustees of Ride To Pride will host  its Fifth Annual Benefit Dinner, Auction and Dance starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, at the Night Owl. The evening will feature food, fellowship, laughter and music in celebration of 14 years of services provided to hundreds of youth and families from the communities.

Ride To Pride serves more than 380 youth in San Miguel, Mora and Guadalupe counties, providing a variety of essential counseling and equine-assisted services that have proven to be effective. Ride To Pride also provides community support and case management services for those in need. Transportation, clothing, food and community service connection for our youth and families are the scope of this volunteer portion of the program.

This year’s feature presentation, given by Dan and Mary Flitner, is about “Project Hope,” a “Save a Horse — Save a Kid” colt starting program for teenage boys. The program is in collaboration with the West Las Vegas Family Partnership school and runs Monday through Friday for three hours per day for the course of the school year. The program provides group and individual counseling and life skills services for “hopeless” teens. High school credits, monthly stipends and year end stipends are the incentives for participation.

The boys have the privilege of saving the lives of six young horses, most of which were saved from going to slaughter in Mexico. Over the nine-month program, these young men will train these young horses to become marketable animals that will be sold at auction at the end of the school year.

Half of the proceeds  will go to the boys in stipends and the other half will go back into the program. While the boys are indeed “saving” the lives of these horses, the intent of Ride To Pride is to use the horses to “save” these boys.

Many youths today have lost touch with their heritage and face significant challenges.

The proceeds from this year’s benefit will provide direct support to Project Hope and to many of the other equine-assisted and volunteer services of Ride To Pride.