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Christian riding academy gives girls resources to excel in school during pandemic

Posted September 4, 2020 6:54 p.m. EDT
Updated September 5, 2020 8:13 a.m. EDT

— When virtual learning began and parents went back to work, a Triangle nonprofit saw the immediate need to help girls who were not succeeding academically in their community.

CORRAL, a Christian nonprofit that pairs rescued horses with girls, and started helping teenage girls virtually during the pandemic with their school work. 

During the pandemic is when Joy Currey, executive director of CORRAL, said that children started to be involved in more "high-risk activities."

"That’s when we started to see the kids engage in high-risk activities. Running away from home, risky activity online, even online porn and human trafficking,” Currey said.

Most of the girls that the farm helps are referred to them by the court system or human services.

"We are holding them accountable for their online school work," Currey said. "We’re providing them the technology they need, and we have two certified educators that are overseeing their education and supporting them in that work."

At CORRAL, they also learn valuable skills they can take with them outside the classroom walls. The girls are at the farm from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., four days a week.

"The girls go back to the garden, they help make lunch together, and when school is over, they have a group therapy session where they learn communication skills,” Currey said.

CORRAL is not your regular classroom. It’s an equestrian farm where girls can also heal, giving them, a "leg-up" in life.

"They’re actually receiving better grades than they’ve ever had before because they have someone to support them," Currey said.

Currey said their horses are their "special sauce" because they also come from abuse and neglect. Currey said it's one thing that has really resonated with the girls.

"These girls come and they see me and think, 'You don’t understand me or my life,' but they see the horses and learn the horses' stories, and right away, they understand there may be someone here that understands what they’ve experienced," Currey said.

CORRAL has two locations, one in Cary and one in Raleigh. Currey said the pandemic has increased demand for resources to keep helping these young girls.

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