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Volunteers give big help to Agua Dulce therapy ranch

Local church honors MLK Day through service at Carousel Ranch

Posted: January 20, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 20, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Ashley Munoz, a volunteer with the Santa Clarita Church of Christ, pauses in her volunteer work efforts Sunday to interact with Annabelle, one of the horses at Carousel Ranch. Photo by Jim Holt.

 

More than 250 volunteers put Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of civic responsibility into action Sunday when they spruced up Carousel Ranch, ultimately helping the kids treated there.

Volunteers from the Santa Clarita Church of Christ turned out in force to paint, landscape, build and otherwise work on the ranch.

Denise Redmond, one of the ranch’s founders and its executive director, said she was overwhelmed with Sunday’s turnout at the facility, which offers horseback therapy for disabled children.

“This was the biggest volunteer group we ever had out here,” Redmond said.

“This group, honestly, is so organized. They worked on this for months, they planned every project,” she said. “They paid for all the supplies.

“We couldn’t do these projects on our own. We just simply couldn’t afford to.”

Every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, parishioners of the Church of Christ across America pick a volunteer project to pursue.

For at least the past six years, the Santa Clarita Church of Christ has chosen Carousel Ranch to be its project.
“We came out to do different projects at the Carousel Ranch,” said the Rev. Ron Hammer. “From construction, to clean up and painting and general beautification, we do it because Carousel Ranch does such a great job serving the community.”

“If you get 250 volunteers out there, that’s a thousand man-hours,” Hammer said. “You can accomplish a lot in one day with a big group.”

One of those who helped out was 11-year-old Oceonna Luceso, who attends the ranch daily. She did some raking, some painting, some landscaping and, when asked if the organizers fed her, she said: “I also helped serving pizza.”
Both Luceso and her proud mother, Donna Trejo, are members of the Santa Clarita Church of Christ and turned out Sunday to do what they could.

“She came up to me after her work and said, ‘This was fun and I’m not even tired,’” Trejo said of her daughter.

Carousel Ranch, according to its mission statement posted online, is dedicated to providing equestrian therapy for disabled children, creating a unique and individualized program to meet each child’s specific needs and goals.

“Utilizing a combination of vaulting (gymnastics on a moving horse) and therapeutic riding (both English and Western), we strive to create an atmosphere where every child can and will succeed... a place where therapy is disguised as fun,” the statement reads.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter
@jamesarthurholt

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