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Grass Valley ranch pairs at-risk kids with rescue horses for mutual healing

Taylor Young connects with Mariner, a rescue horse, at Redemption Youth Ranch, where children can participate in one-on-one mentorship programs and spend time with animals.
Submitted to The Union |

KNOw & Go

What: Redemption Youth Ranch hoedown fundraiser

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 9

Where: Redemption Youth Ranch, 25089 Troy Road, Grass valley

Information: redemptionyouthranch.com.

As a child, Roxanne Young fantasized about one day operating a facility that would combine an orphanage with an animal shelter, so that children and animals could find refuge together. Her experiences with childhood abuse and her love of animals, she said, were the basis for her early ambition.

Today, Young operates the Redemption Youth Ranch in Grass Valley, which provides mentorship to local at-risk youth on a ranch-style setting. The ranch also rescues and trains horses, and the animals serve as a therapeutic tool for the children, Young said.

During her adult life, Young said, she didn’t think she would ever follow through on her childhood dream. But during a period of uncertainty in her life, she revisited the idea. Young is devoted to Christian faith, and said she prayed to God asking for direction. She said her prayers were answered by the idea of a ranch that could help kids heal from traumas in their lives.



Redemption Ranch operates on the Grass Valley property where Young grew up. She said she never expected to move back home — the place which had been the source of her childhood trauma. But she said the program is her way of healing from the hardships she faced growing up, and it has given her the opportunity to make a difference for kids who are going through struggles of their own.

“I come from an abusive home,” Young said. “I’ve always had a heart and an empathy for foster kids and kids that have endured trauma.”




Volunteer mentors at Redemption Ranch work one-on-one with at-risk children, who schedule a session once per week. Sessions often involve activities such as horseback riding, archery and painting. Mentors play with the children and listen to their stories, offering advice from their own experiences. The program is free for children.

Young said the ranch activities can really help children heal.

“When you live in fear every day of your life — in crisis mode, or in trauma — you don’t know what normal is,” Young said. “To have a place for kids going through that, where they can come and paint, or work with horses and have fun, that’s amazing in itself. But we also put them with a mentor who has gone through hard times in their life and can empathize with what those kids are going through. Not only does it make them not feel alone, but there’s help that things will be okay.”

Redemption Ranch has been operating as a nonprofit since 2014, and Young said it’s in the process of growing. The ranch is searching for new volunteers and mentors to help expand the program and welcome more kids. The program is non-denominational, Young said, but staff members are all Christian and the organization is “faith-based.”

The ranch is scheduled to host a “hoedown” fundraiser party on Sept. 9 featuring live music, food and dancing. The free event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. at Redemption Youth Ranch, 25089 Troy Road, Grass Valley.

Young said the “hoedown” will serve as an outreach event.

“Our goal is to let our community know we’re a resource, and we’re here for families and kids,” she said.

For more information on Redemption Youth Ranch and to RSVP for the “hoedown,” visit redemptionyouthranch.com.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.


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