Youth outreach program has grown to 40 students
Dozens of Cocopah students on Tuesday learned how to ride tall in the saddle at Saddles of Joy Ranch.
Forty students who are participating in the Cocopah Tribal Police Department’s Cadet program also learned about nature and ranch life at the event.
“This is a great opportunity for our kids to have fun, learn about animals and develop new life skills,” says Cocopah Police Officer Justin Keeling, who heads up the department’s Cadet program.
The program provides learning opportunities and family-oriented fun activities for Cocopah children. Since it started in June, the Cadet program has more than tripled in size, from 11 students participating to 40.
In addition to horseback riding at the ranch, students also had the chance to interact with other animals including baby goats, miniature horses, cats, and a pig named “Honey.”
“We are proud to partner with the Cocopah Indian Tribe in providing a happy, healthy and safe environment for children to learn and grow,” says Saddles of Joy Founder/Executive Director Barbara Tomlinson.
While Saddles of Joy’s primary mission is to provide therapeutic riding for special needs children, the non-profit group also provides learning and volunteer opportunities for schools, faith-based groups, civic organizations and other area non-profit groups.
Tuesday’s event marked the second time Cocopah Cadets visited the ranch.
Saddles of Joy is located at County 14th and Avenue B.