Corinna* came to Sunkissed Acres at 16 years old and has remained part of Lori's growing family for 2 years. This gentle soul had been out of the public school system and a home environment for more than 7 years when she arrived on the farm. I don't think I have to explain how difficult institutionalized settings are for young children, especially to have to grow up in, but it is infinitely more difficult for girls. Lori's home and the Sunkissed Acres horses became her refuge when there was no place else for her to go.
Carlo* was very young when he came to Sunkissed Acres, and very small for his age. He was shy, and a child who we would all consider likely to fall through the cracks through no fault of his own. He is one 8 children who with his 6 siblings were placed into the foster care system and different homes when their infant sibling died without cause.
The children who come here to the farm have challenging life circumstances, as well as intellectual, developmental, emotional or physical special needs. These children are often the last to find a loving environment, and it is made more difficult as they move from the early childhood into the teenage years. Danny, like all the others, had special needs that made navigating our challenging world difficult. But as his trust and caring for Paris grew, so did his interest in the other animals, including the horses.
The growth in numbers of at-risk youth is troubling, especially since state budgets for programs to address the many facets that lead to the cause have been shrinking as fast as the numbers have grown. In the decades prior, the military was option and often provided the structure, discipline and family-like bonds that could be so valuable to help change these young lives for the better, that option, however, is dwindling: