DC nonprofit uses horses to teach kids in Southeast

Out in a barn in Accokeek, Maryland, three horses wait patiently for a bus load of girls making their way out of the district.

Spanning six acres of land, there’s also plenty of space for yoga and meditation, an unexpected getaway from the streets of Southeast.

The Stand Foundation uses horses as a relief from the stress and anxiety. (Courtesy Selina Brown)

“I just wanted to create a space where I could share what I learned,” says Selina Brown, founder of The Stand Foundation. “It’s very therapeutic and healing and it’s a sport.”

Brown began to realize the importance of giving back while working with kids through the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program.

After she began riding horses in 2015, she noticed a lack of resources for her own son and decided to create space for Black and Brown kids in her community. It’s not only a relief from the stress and anxiety of life and violence experienced in the community, Brown said it’s an opportunity to explore a possible career and build sisterhoods.

“Two girls have been accepted into the Washington International Horse Show Junior Committee. It’s just a good time being had when the kids are out at the barn because they’re able to be free,” she stressed.

Brown is now hoping to recruit men to serve as mentors and volunteers so she can expand the program to young men. Volunteers, donors and parents are also welcome to come out ride or just experience the barn.

“It is amazing bonding time,” Brown added.

You can learn more about The Stand Foundation online.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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