Congratulations to Tarnell, our May Student of the Month!

Transitions can be tough for us all. Tarnell experienced a significant shift when he left his life in the big city and relocated to a rural area with his mom and twin sisters. Despite the slower pace, he made some poor decisions and was placed at Rawhide to work through his anger, learn how to better deal with conflict, and avoid negative consequences.

“I didn’t think Rawhide could help me, but it did,” said Tarnell. “My therapist taught me to just let things be, even if I’m really irritated and angry. It’s difficult to be uncomfortable and not react but, in the end, I can avoid the consequences of fighting by choosing to walk away.”

Tarnell is a veteran of equine therapy, having embraced it both at Rawhide and in his hometown. He prefers it to traditional talk therapy because he enjoys working with the horses while he and his therapist talk.

Tarnell’s favorite activities are basketball, powerlifting, and celebrating the holidays at Starr Academy. He has also learned real-life cooking skills in the culinary arts Job Training program, even making a delicious, homemade banana pepper pizza! Off campus, he has enjoyed volunteering at a local nursing home and the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen.

When it comes to motivators, Tarnell has six — his younger siblings. He looks forward to spending time with them on every home visit and is committed to being a good role model.

“I’m most proud of myself for coming this far and really committing to my program,” said Tarnell. “I was close to being kicked out of Rawhide a few months ago, but decided to completely turn it around, and now I’m Student of the Month.”

In the future, Tarnell plans to work in construction and learn how to remodel homes. He even practiced his skills by helping to remodel one of the on-campus homes!

“I want to be remembered by staff and my peers as a guy who really turned things around in the last two months,” said Tarnell. “My advice to my future self: Keep doing the right thing. Everything is possible. You just have to find a way.”

To the donors: “I appreciate you. Thank you for giving us so many opportunities.”