Teresa Stewart
Heidi Zehr, a volunteer at the ICS Easter party paints faces for the kids, and Evanee Rodarte is taking full advantage.

Teresa Stewart photo
Finding jelly beans in whip cream contest.

Teresa Stewart photo
Storytelling time.

 Beverly Cornutt 

Special to The Ely Times

Fifty kids of all ages gathered on Saturday afternoon to celebrate Easter with the Inner City Slickers Sunnyside group led by Leota Johnson of Sunnyside.  The event was held at the Ely United Methodist Church.

The afternoon started with an Easter story presented by Jami Brinkerhoff, one of the youth coordinators from Bayside church.

Following the story, everyone was treated to hot dogs, chips and dessert before enjoying games and activities organized by Kara Anderson and Levi Garcia.

Following all the games, the children swarmed out into the yard of the church to search for the more than 200 eggs donated to the program by various individuals from Ely and the surrounding areas.

The program concluded with a presentation by Don Southworth, youth coordinator from Bayside Church about how important and valuable each student should feel about themselves.

All of this could not have been possible without the many volunteers who came to the program and helped keep the kids entertained and the afternoon running smoothly.

ICS Sunnyside coordinator, Leota Johnson would like to especially thank Pastor Suzanne Calhoun and the members of the Ely United Methodist Church for their help with the event and the use of their facility.

Inner City Slickers is an on-going “Old West Program” that was inspired by the film, City Slickers.  The “Old West” symbolizes Strength, Perseverance and Hard Work and this program builds self-esteem, self-confidence, character and breaks down the social prejudices that are so prevalent in our culture today.

Slickers learn what it’s like to be a cowboy/cowgirl and they learn to live by the “Cowboy Code of Ethics“ which includes  kindness, dependability, keeping your word, being responsible and they learn what it’s like to trust and respect the horses, themselves and each other…ethical and moral codes that will stay with them throughout their lives.

In addition, the Slickers learn to rope, groom, feed, sit on a horse and work together as a team.

The Inner City Slickers program is one of the only means we have seen that can virtually erase the color barrier between teens. With the magic of horses and our expert volunteers, our kids are transformed. They change right in front of your eyes. They forget about color, peer pressures and their own challenges and they learn to concentrate on what’s in front of them — a magnificent animal!

The kids face the challenges we ask of them with courage and optimism and by the end of the day, they have learned to trust…and have hope.

There is something that happens, a magical thing, when a child and a horse meet for the very first time. Maybe some suspicion and distrust at first, usually on both sides, but as the child and this magnificent animal start to relax and see what is in front of them –that is when the true magic begins.

As they develop a relationship and sense of trust, you find that both of their lives are being touched in a unique and profound way. There is a sense of peace, balance, and oneness, that only could happen between the meeting of these two beings — helping each other learn the lessons of life.

Information about ICS Sunnyside, and what they can do for your child and your family, can be provided by contacting Leota Johnson at 775-289-9401.  More information can be found at ICS – Sunnyside on Facebook or at InnerCitySlickers.com.