Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Second Chances Juvenile Program Launches in Ocala, Fla.

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Building on more than 35 years of experience “Saving Horses and Saving Lives” in partnership with Correctional Facilities across the United States, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) has established its first-ever partnership with a Department of Juvenile Justice program. Presented as a live-streaming launch event, the TRF and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice introduced the new equine program, TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala, to a national audience on February 23.

The event featured remarks from the Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and included a tour of the new equine program facility constructed at the Center for Success and Independence (CSI), a juvenile residential commitment program operated by Youth Opportunity Investments in Ocala, Fla. The audience and media in attendance met the TRF retired racehorses and the equine program instructor, learned about the skills-based and therapeutic curriculum and heard examples of the positive outcomes for the youths in the program.

About the Program

The TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala reflects more than three decades of experience with an innovative public-private partnership model. Since opening the first TRF Second Chances Program in 1983, the private, nonprofit Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has provided for the safety and welfare of retired Thoroughbred racehorses through partnership with public partners in state-level correctional facilities across the United States. With the launch of this first-ever juvenile program, the TRF expands the impact of its herd of 500 horses to a new audience of individuals. While the TRF focuses on the welfare of the retired horses, the Department of Juvenile Justice meets an identified need for therapeutic services and vocational training for the youth in the Department’s care. The Department recognizes the value of animal-assisted interventions from a therapeutic perspective. Together, these two organizations have found a new way to accomplish their respective missions.

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Second Chances Juvenile Program
Photo Courtesy Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

“The launch of the Juvenile Program in Ocala represents a meaningful milestone in the long history of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation”, said Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Executive Director Pat Stickney. “The TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala is the first of its kind in the United States, and it represents the beginning of a new chapter for our flagship program. The partnership with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has been the critical catalyst in our long-held dream of placing the retired Thoroughbred racehorses of the TRF in an environment where they can positively influence the lives of young people. This new program will set a new standard for the impact of the TRF horses by changing the trajectory of the lives of young people who are deemed “at risk.”

Founded in 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is a national organization devoted to saving Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete at the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse, and slaughter. As the oldest Thoroughbred rescue in the country, the TRF provides sanctuary to retired Thoroughbreds throughout their lifetime.

TRF cares for 500+ rescued and retired Thoroughbreds at Second Chances prison farms and Sanctuary Farms across the country. The organization is funded entirely by private donations. The TRF is accredited by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and has a Platinum rating with Guide Star. For more information, visit www.trfinc.org.

The TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program is the nationally acclaimed, flagship undertaking of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF). This program, first launched in 1984 at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, N.Y., places retired Thoroughbred racehorses from the TRF herd in the care of the individuals within seven correctional facilities and one juvenile residential commitment program across the U.S. Participating in a skills-oriented vocational training program, incarcerated individuals learn how to care for the aging equine athletes while gaining valuable life-skills that will equip them for success when they return to society.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, a nationally recognized leader in the field of juvenile justice, strives to increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth.

The Center for Success and Independence-Ocala is a juvenile residential commitment program for males between the ages of 15 to 18 years of age. The program serves youth in need of mental health overlay services and/or substance abuse treatment overlay services.

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