Cedar Hill is home to a five-acre farm that owners Jesse and Hannah Corn describe as an actual ministry - one they hope will make a difference in children’s lives.
The couple have deemed it Redemption Ranch, a non-profit designed to help struggling local youth by engaging them in equine and agricultural-assisted activities.
Whether a young person has suffered some form of trauma, abuse, emotional hardship or even other struggles like eating disorders, the Corns hope Redemption Ranch can help — and at no cost to the individual or family.
It’s a peaceful place, the Corns say, where kids can come, learn and be themselves, and hopefully find healing in whatever circumstances they are facing.
“We want them to feel open and at peace here,” said Jesse.
Projected to open next spring, those ages six to 18 who are enrolled can participate in structured programs and activities involving horseback riding, horsemanship and planting and harvesting foods.
Sessions will likely run between 45 minutes to an hour weekly, per semester.
“Horses are very therapeutic,” Hannah explained. “Horses themselves promote healing, leadership and communication and equip them (people) for everyday life.”
On the farm, youth will no doubt become familiar with Reba and Ray, the Corn’s horses, alongside their hinny mule, Forester, as part of structured activities.
In an adjacent garden area, youngsters will participate in activities related to growing and harvesting food, in addition to caring for the laying chickens who reside not too far off.
And around the corner are the Corn’s beehives.
“We hope to open that up to the kids as part of the activities,” said Hannah, so the children can care for the hives and learn about their importance.
Guests will not only have things to do on the farm, but there are plenty of peaceful spots on-site to simply relax and enjoy the beauty and calm of the area.
The Corns might still be considered newlyweds by some people’s definition — having only tied the knot in 2019 — but the idea for Redemption Ranch wasactually in the making long before the two became husband and wife.
It began years ago with Hannah’s love for horses and her motivating drive to help others. As a local extension office employee with a background in missions work — specifically in Uganda — Hannah as early as six or seven-years-old began riding horses and developed a love for them.
Years later, Hannah became aware that a relative was suffering from serious mental health issues, and she was always trying to figure out a way to help.
All this eventually led her down the path to Kentucky’s Asbury University where she studied Equine Management, with an emphasis in facilitated mental health. It was there that she began mapping out a plan for such a place as Redemption Ranch.
“It’s a special place,” Hannah added. “I want to see kids come and know we’ve made a positive impact in their lives.”
Her husband, Jesse, an emergency medical technician, admits he was initially a bit hesitant about going forward with Hannah’s vision for the non-profit. He said it was simply because he knew money would be a “necessary evil,” and was aware of the risks should there be financial strains.
But realizing that many are in need of an outlet in this world, Jesse said he became sold on the idea and ready to see Redemption Ranch come to life.
“I can’t wait to be able to see the impact to a child,” Jesse said. “To see a positive impact in a world that’s full of negatives, that’s priceless. It’s not about us. It’s about what we can try to do for others.”
Both are quick to point out that it’s the support of so many — family, friends and small businesses in the area — who have helped them get to this point.
“We couldn’t do it without their support,” Jesse said.
While they themselves have poured the vast majority of funds into the project, other fundraising efforts and service donations have been extremely helpful, Hannah noted.
For example, an area teen is currently working to see that a much-needed horse arena on the farm be constructed as part of her Eagle Scout project.
However, the journey thus far has also been laced with their share of challenges and discouraging moments, the Corns said.
For one, they have had to handle some pretty tough and lengthy physical labor projects to prepare the property, the couple said.
They’ve faced rejection, Jesse said, when some have made it clear they’re simply uninterested in donating to such a cause. They’ve scheduled contractors only to realize they were never showing up, in addition to hearing some discouraging words, they explained.
“People have said we are completely crazy, and we are not gonna make it,” Hannah said.
However, she said they have a gut feeling about the place, are keeping the goal in sight and are confident the “Lord is what brought us here.”
“I’m really optimistic,” Hannah added. “There’s been a lot of hardship and times we’ve been discouraged, but we’ve had a lot of people come along side and support us.”
To-date, Redemption Ranch is still in need of several things — specifically a footing area for the horse arena prior to opening, and at some point, a barn needs to be constructed on site for storage, a tack room, and space should they foster other horses.
But that has a hefty price tag, according to Jesse.
“The Lord is gonna provide,” he added. “It may not be in our timing, but things do come with not only patience and faith, but in God’s time.”
For more information about Redemption Ranch, go to @redemptionranchtn on Facebook or https://redemptionranchtn.wixsite.com/mysite