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Not Just Horsing Around 

Community: Hope Grows Community Farm

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Maybe it's their size. Maybe it's their grace and beauty. Whatever the cause, horses hold special appeal for children. Hope Grows Community Farm Program is plugging into that powerful connection with after school programs that pair rescued horses with kids who might also need a helping hand. Hope Grows is located on a 350-acre farm, a former Hyde Park dairy operation owned by Carolyn and Raymond Chauvin. The facility was refitted as a 10-stall horse farm with trails and an outdoor arena. Tracy Goldfine runs the nonprofit program that teaches empathy and confidence building through farm chores and time with the animals. She says it works. "To have this huge animal following you around ... I think it's very empowering," she says. "It's a positive light in these kids' lives." The horses come from Vermont's Heartsong Equine Rescue Operation, which saves horses destined for slaughter. The kids are local to the Hyde Park area: Goldfine launched Hope Grows with students from Peoples Academy High School in Morrisville this winter. Working with the rescued animals builds compassion in the kids, and Goldfine says feedback from the school indicates that students participating in Hope Grows were better behaved and more focused and had better grades. Hope Grows finds kids through community outreach and is looking for community support through donations and volunteers.

Hope Grows Community Farm: Info, hopegrows.blogspot.com.

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