Almanac

Viewpoint - June 15, 2011

Letter: Riley's Place a big hit with homeless kids

After reading the article on Riley's Place (June 1) I thought I would share what Riley's Place has done for us.

I am assistant children's coordinator at First Step for Families of Shelter Network. We are a nonprofit shelter that serves homeless families. We have 39 families and over 80 kids at our site.

These kids are going through a traumatic transition with becoming homeless. Many times these kids are not experiencing a childhood due to being part of the homeless cycle. My job is to provide a field trip for the kids here.

I had heard about Riley's Place from Haven Family House, another Shelter Network facility. I contacted Wendy from Riley's Place and right away she was very welcoming and helpful in getting the field trip ready for us. On our first trip we brought six children. None of them had ever been on a farm, let alone around animals like goats, mini-horses, and bunnies.

Wendy and volunteers interacted with the children and made them feel very comfortable. The kids truly enjoyed interacting with and learning about the animals.

The amazing thing about Riley's Place is how much of an impact the animals have on kids. They not only get to be kids and smile and have fun, but they get to have a childhood.

Riley's Place has done so much for First Step for Families of Shelter Network and the kids here. We now go on monthly field trips to Riley's Place. We really appreciate everything Riley's Place, the volunteers, and Wendy has done for us and the community.

Yasmin Loza, First Step for Families

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