Harris County, Texas – Through equine therapy offered from Harris County Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., Mackenzie has learned self-control, empathy, and patience. The program is part of YAP’s mental health services offered to young people at home, school, or in community settings.
“Being enrolled in equine therapy has helped with several of the issues from which I suffer,” Mackenzie said. “Patience has always been a struggle for me. Working with horses has helped me learn to harness some self-control and use patience as a way of handling situations with others.”
Mackenzie is one of the numerous former YAP program participants and family members or guardians receiving a 2022 Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education. Through the Endowment Fund scholarship, Mackenzie recently received a laptop to help during her first year at Galveston College where she is enrolled in the Culinary Arts program.
A national nonprofit in 33 states and the District of Columbia, YAP partners with youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health, and other systems to provide trauma-informed community-based services as an alternative to youth incarceration and congregate residential care. Mackenzie connected with YAP through the Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Waiver Program, which helps young people who face mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges.
“One day, I hope to have my own business and compete in different baking competitions,” Mackenzie said. “Being awarded this scholarship is a blessing, to me and my family in helping me achieve my dream of becoming a pastry chef.”