Girls have good days at the ranch |

Girls have good days at the ranch

In August of 2003, a group of concerned professionals working in higher education, secondary education, social services, and the department of labor wanted to generate ideas to fill the gaps for services for girls in Colorado. They recognized there was very little programming of this type for girls.This group formed Ranch Good Days, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization endorsed by the Colorado Department of Education, the Southern Ute Nation Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Department of Rural Affairs, Partners Against Violence Network and Mesa Verde National Park. Ranch Good Days is the only therapeutic center using horses exclusively for girls in Colorado, and offers two distinct programs. The first program serves young women in Garfield County, and the second program is specifically for young women of indigenous culture.The ranch provides equine-assisted therapy to preadjudicated youth to help them to gain confidence, self-reliance and the ability to avoid high-risk behaviors involving alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sex and violence. Research shows an 85 percent success rate of non-repeat offenders of participants in equine-assisted therapy. For many girls, RGD is the only safety net when their families and other systems fail. The organization maintains a commitment to achieving specific outcomes, enabling students to avoid high-risk behaviors and successfully transition into schools, workplaces and communities.Recently, RGD partnered with Pleasant Valley Ranch, of Missouri Heights, and occupies two facilities for a classroom, offices and limited lodging. The current phase of development includes the purchase of 35 acres and the building of a transitional home for girls in the state’s foster care system who need a child-friendly home until family situations improve or they can be placed with an appropriate foster family. Ranch Good Days needs help in building the transitional foster care home. For more information, call Dr. Donna Otabachian at (720) 980-5410, or visit the organization’s Web site at Vasilakis’ Nonprofit Spotlight column appears every other Wednesday. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. Contact her at 945-8515, ext. 513, or e-mail her at

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