New Life Trails Ministry Association (NLT) animals to get to the hearts of children to help them academically, socially, mentally and spiritually. NLT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located in Ponca City, Oklahoma home to over sixty animals that are used in mentoring and tutoring programs . We partner with the Northern Oklahoma Academic Tutoring Foundation as well. We use outdoor therapy as a healthy way for children to occupy their time. Also open to the public for free, fun, family time together.
Someone is always at The Trails. Come rain or shine, snow or heat, the animals have to be cared for daily, with the majority of them twice a day. They need feed, water and general upkeep, from receiving preventative medicine to having their hooves trimmed or caring for any injuries or special needs. It’s truly amazing the amount of time it can take. If your are alone, 2 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the evening is the care time. Now, if you happen to notice an animal is in the wrong pasture, or has knocked down or just jumped over a fence, that will add to your time. You’ll have to find the hole (the place they got through). It’s amazing how many place they can get out. Then, bring wire and tools and maybe even, an extra portion of fence to patch it. It all seems do-able, right? Well, multiple those issues by the 40+ animals we keep during the winter. You can imagine how impossible this becomes. Now, if you add events with the preparation time, building fences to hold them, transportation, it gets a little crazy. Also, add any trips we take the animals on to visit a school or nursing home. All of this said, we could not function with out the vital resource we have received in the youth of Ponca City.
This year we asked the local business, fast food restaurants, and diners to help us show just what these kids mean to us. We were able to give them sundae tokens, chicken dinners tickets, free pizza certificates, tacos and even a full size pie ticket. You should have seen their eyes light up when they knew the businesses of Ponca City appreciated the help/work they did at New Life Trails.
Our CEO/Founder, Deborah(Renee) Spears was amazed when she started compiling the list of kids who have helped. When she reached 30, it seemed like she was missing a few. Around 50, she felt like she got most of them. As she continued to search her phone, there were close to 75 kids who have helped out. Does anyone have a spare youth pastor? Here is your flock! These kids come willingly, worked hard and aren’t afraid to get a little dirty. All in all, after she sent out the info for the party, we had 28 kids show up. Pretty good percentage as anyone who works with kids should know. We had LOTS of food, soda, and games. Because this was the first function of this type for us, most of these kids didn’t know who else volunteered. The games were set up to change participants for each activity. So it was a time to get to know each other.
At about 8:30 we called it quits because we were scheduled from 6-8. The next day during morning chores 5 of those teenagers showed up to help with whatever we needed. And you know what the biggest complaint was…”We didn’t get to play all the games.” We know it was a success and plan to have another get-together in the spring.
THANK YOU YOUTH OF PONCA CITY FOR JUST BEING AWESOME!