Forward . . . by Amy, Founder & President of WHY Ranch
I have had the privilege of watching a shy and withdrawn young girl become a strong, proactive young woman with perseverance, great character and compassion….
Allow me to introduce you to Lauren Sokolowski ~ WHY Ranch's first "Diamond in the Rough" . . . read more about Lauren through the heart of her mom, Brenda.
My favorite and little known scripture that best represents Lauren’s strength and determination is Romans 5:4 from the New Living Translation.
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"Message" . . . by Lauren's mom, Brenda
My daughter Lauren came into this world facing the challenges of being born prematurely... as a result, she had issues with her Eustachian tubes, leaving her partially deaf. I held her tiny hand as Lauren endured multiple surgeries to regain her hearing, ultimately, however, this left her with speech and language acquisition issues.
Being an advocate for children with learning challenges and disabilities, we worked with talented and compassionate specialists who helped Lauren with these issues. In the 4th grade, I was completely heartbroken to find out that Lauren had been experiencing significant bullying which led her to become anxious and caused her to lose the self-esteem that she worked so hard to develop.
(Lauren & her sister, Lindsey)
It was around this time that I was introduced to White Horse Youth Ranch (WHY Ranch) a nonprofit organization that focused on reaching out to socially-challenged children while utilizing interaction with horses to create confidence. Lauren became one of their first "Diamonds in the Rough" students.
White Horse Youth Ranch not only gave Lauren the inner strength and compassion to overcome her own fears, but she immediately fell in love with the horses. It was this experience along with watching the Olympics at a young age that fueled her passion to ride professionally while hoping one day to represent her country in Dressage riding.
(Lauren with Amy)
Lauren also learned the joy and power of giving back... her selfless dedication to mentoring other children challenged with low self-esteem has helped several other "Diamonds in the Rough" work through their challenges. Lauren became the "Peer Mentor" to a young girl named Sara who had literally just come to WHY Ranch,... and who today has surpassed all expectations of growth and courage.
(Lauren, Sara & Amy)
Despite having experienced many adversities in her life, Lauren now has the courage to speak in front of large groups of people, and is focused on her dream of one day becoming a champion equestrian!
Thank you for letting me share a small picture of my daughter's incredible and evolving life with you. I believe in WHY Ranch.... I've seen the love, understanding and compassion they have given to my family as we've gone through life. It is my hope that your heart will lead you to donate to WHY Ranch as God leads you. Your help allows other children like my daughter realize their confidence to achieve their dreams!
Board Member & WHY Ranch supporter