Cedar Springs horseman hopes to open ranch school for kids in court system

Posted at 4:10 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 17:14:07-04

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. -- Nearly 1,500 kids per year spend time in the Kent County Juvenile Court and Detention Center, but a new plan in the works aims to lower that number and give kids exposure to horses in the process.

The idea came about when Ron Silverman, a leather craftsman, got an order for his leather goods from a school in Columbus, Ohio. But when he got there, he realized it was no ordinary school. It was a ranch school for kids in the court system to earn their GEDs while working with horses.

Ron saw the need for something like that right here in West Michigan and began laying the foundation for 2nd Chance Ranch; part Christan school, part horse ranch for kids in the Kent County Juvenile Court System.

With the land and building purchased, Ron and his team are getting excited about their plans for the ranch in Cedar Springs.

“If we could help one kid and turn their life around we would be winners," says Silverman. "But I know that we can do a whole lot more.”

“All the judges are excited and all the probation officers I work with are excited as well," says Joel Oosting, board member for Second Chance Ranch and Kent County Juvenile Probation Officer. "They are actually prodding us, hoping that we can go a little bit faster, which is what we are trying to do as we earn the money.”

Second Chance Ranch is still in the fundraising process, so there is no construction timeline or planned opening date just yet.  For more information visit their website or Facebook page.