Ever since Oakhurst resident Lori Prentice and her family give free pony rides on Christmas Day to kids experiencing hardship-- she's found it's like magic. Children open up and are able to connect on a deep level with the pony.
"I worked at many at-risk schools where there were real traumas happening left and right," she said. "A lot of these kids didn't eat unless it was at school, they slept several to a bed and came to school with their clothes smelling of urine. We had several times in class where we had to lock doors due to gunshots. These kids often couldn't connect with adults, but they could connect with animals. I would take my horse into my classroom with a tarp and some shavings and saw some kids just whisper away their worries to them."
It's not just for kids in need. They also have a wide range of adults who come who are dealing with big life issues.
"They are estranged, their kid went to juvenile hall and they can't bring themselves to see their family, or they just moved and they feel like they don't have anyone to be with."
To get in touch with Lori, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 559-641-2211. And learn more about their homeless outreach at http://www.thebestdinnerineverate.com/.