Raleigh Teen Mentors and Befriends At-Risk Girls
When 17-year-old Mary-Copeland Cain of Raleigh volunteers at CORRAL, a nonprofit group dedicated to bettering the lives of troubled teenage girls and rescued horses, she tends to the horses, but focuses more on the teenage girls who visit CORRAL's farm twice a week.
"At CORRAL I act as a mentor for the girls. On the weekdays I try to go after school and help as a tutor," says Cain, a junior at St. Mary's School in Raleigh. "I work to create relationships with these girls to hopefully show them that you can have a social life in high school - or middle school - without drugs, alcohol, excessive boy activity, etc. These relationships carry over into the real world, and especially on Facebook."
During their first weekly visit, CORRAL's girls work with a mentor, like Cain, in one-on-one riding lessons and private tutoring. During the weekends, they complete barn chores such as haying, feeding and caring for the horses. Then they participate in drill team practices, trail rides, games on horseback, showmanship, bareback riding and other activities with the horses.
Cain, who has ridden horses most of her life, learned about CORRAL when it was being developed at its original location, Raleigh's MacNair Country Acres. (The organization doesn't publish its current address for privacy purposes.) Cain's horse, Oberon, lives at CORRAL's new location.
"I would see the girls on Saturdays around the farm and asked Joy [Currey, founder and president] what kind of program she was starting," Cain says. "I became particularly close with one of the girls because she liked to ride my old horse, Junebug. Although this girl is no longer in the program, I still keep up with her and I have been able to act as someone who is always there for her no matter where she lives."
Cain says the time she spends volunteering at CORRAL has taught her a lot about herself. "In teaching these girls to respect themselves and to look at the bigger picture in life, it makes me do the same," she says. "CORRAL has completely changed my view of others, the way I view myself as a young woman and the way I view horses. Horses are so much more than a sport to me now," she says.
Cain says her work with CORRAL has influenced her college studies and career choices, while also serving as a break from school. "Overall this program has touched my heart in a way that I have never felt before, " she says. "I have a love for these girls and the program that is unlike anything else. I am completely emotionally attached. Although that crazy thing called school sometimes takes up all of my time, CORRAL is also a haven away from the real world for me."
Learn more about CORRAL at http://corralriding.org.?