Katelyn Elian: Healing Others Through God & Horses

Katelyn Elian: Healing Others Through God & Horses

Abby Scutch, Editor in Chief

Tucked away in Lowell stands a special, safe ranch where kids who have been abused, neglected, or have had difficult times of oppression and hardships in the past can go.  Here, kids can explore to find happiness and peace through the faith of God and through horses.  This place can help many lives for the better and put many broken hearts back into place.  This special place is called Roanoke Ranch, and the girl making a contribution to all this is Sophomore Katelyn Elian.

Katelyn has been volunteering at Roanoke Ranch for the past four years.  Here, Katelyn spends quality time with kids who have been neglected and abused and helps them heal spiritually through God as well as with the comfort of horses.

Download$photo 1-20160529-1211281 “I discovered [Roanoke Ranch] when I went to the Ada Kids Fair with my siblings,” Katelyn said.  “I got some information and looked on their website and I fell in love with the message and purpose of the of the Ranch.”

She continued to explain that the kids arrive at the Ranch at approximately 10 a.m.  The group of kids and leaders also share a prayer and are also given a word card.  This word card holds an inspiring term that is worked, taught, and battled with throughout a week at Roanoke Ranch.

In contribution to those activities, the kids who come to Roanoke Ranch spend time outdoors weeding, caring for the horses, and doing barn chores.  After lunch, the campers spend time writing in their journals as well as crafting.  

“The purpose of [Roanoke Ranch] is to teach kids who have been abused or neglected in the past about God,” Katelyn said.  “[I] also work with them through horses, as the kids and horses form an unbreakable bond.”

Before contributing her time at Roanoke Ranch, Katelyn dedicated herself to fine tuning her own riding skills.  She began riding at her aunt’s farm and then at Double C Ranch.  Soon after, she began riding at a privately own farm, and now rides the horses at Roanoke Ranch free of charge.

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Katelyn explained that she can use her riding experience from the past and use that towards teaching others about horses while she volunteers at Roanoke Ranch.

“Horses can have an amazing sense of a person’s inner being,” Katelyn explained.  “They do not care about your past [and] the horses build up the confidence of the kids.”

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One particular horse named Bailey has had more of an impact than others at Roanoke Ranch.  When Bailey was a young filly at a different farm, she was often picked on by other horses.  At one point, a pasture gate swung open and was pushed off of its hinges.  Bailey, unfortunately, injured her shoulder severely after being pushed into the broken gate.  She was then given three-thousand stitches, which now leave a “huge, unsightly” scar.  

“Her story with a visible scar as well as her inner scars from being bullied allow many kids to instantly relate to her,” Katelyn said.  “Bailey shows kids how to learn to overcome their own scarred pasts. [This horse] is a ranch superstar when it comes to connecting with kids and developing confidence and inner strength.”

Continuing to explain the story of Bailey, Katelyn acknowledges that the kids who spend time at the camp can relate to horses who have been injured in the past.  When caring and riding these particular horses, kids who have had hard lives and pasts as well can see beauty both up close and in life.

Because of how enjoyed and valued Katelyn’s time at Roanoke Ranch is, she plans on volunteering there for many more years to come, as it is a place that makes her “truly happy” whenever she is there.  IMG_3334

“It makes my day to see the kids smile because I know they have been hurt in the past,” Katelyn said.  “Knowing that I have helped them smile is a feeling that I cannot describe.”

However, when summer and camp ends, Katelyn explains that she has a difficult time saying goodbye to the kids, considering many of them have been in the program for years.

“[Roanoke Ranch] has impacted me in ways I never expected,” Katelyn said.  “It is really hard to put into words how thankful I am to get an experience with such wonderful kids.  The Ranch has shaped me into the person I am today.”