SALINE, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – With the help of some horses, a local nonprofit in Metro Detroit is teaching kids valuable life lessons.
"Horses can be really powerful in the lives of individuals," said David Silver.
In 2015, Silver founded "Detroit Horse Power," a nonprofit that teaches kids valuable life lessons through riding and taking care of horses.
It's a free, weeklong summer program only for Detroit kids in middle school and high school.
"We average around 100 students per summer and we do that by bringing students pretty far outside Detroit to generous partner barns like here at Renaissance Equestrian Center in Saline that open up their doors and make their space and their horses available for us," said Silver.
It's a hands-on program that sets kids up for future success. How? Simple.
"We really focus on how horses shape us as people through the five social-emotional skills we call the 'perks' traits. It stands for perseverance, empathy, responsible risk-taking, confidence and self-control," Silver stated.
"It's an opportunity to get out of the city and try new things," said Itzel Flores, a Detroit student involved in the program.
Flores has been part of Detroit Horse Power for seven years.
"So, a lot of people ask me how do you learn from a horse because people usually think it's just riding horses and it's like a sport…but when you're on a horse you have to go through obstacles and patterns, and you have to ride and trot. So, it's just like life. Life has obstacles and different pathways," she said.
"You're testing your skills with another living being that you have to resolve conflict with nonviolently and be able to overcome adversity, take risks responsibly. These are all life lessons that we can apply to our everyday experiences," said Silver.
It's an eye-opening opportunity that prepares kids for their future.
"We've seen tremendous change over the years. When students start off, they're often nervous or afraid of the horses. By the end of our introductory week-long summer camp, they're riding confidently, they're handling the horses, they're building valuable life lessons," said Silver.
Detroit Horse Power plans to open up an urban equestrian center in northwest Detroit. The organization says its goal is to break ground in 2024, with the hopes of officially opening in 2025.
The nonprofit is always looking for donations to help expand its programs for kids.
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