Fletcher Street's riding community has been a part of the Philadelphia community for over 100 years. For many of those years, Fletcher Street was part of a larger urban horse community that numbered in over 50 stables throughout Philadelphia. Today, it is well known that the area surrounding Fletcher Street has increasingly struggled with unemployment and drugs overtaking the community; the men and boys of Fletcher Street have in turn struggled to maintain their horses, stables and way of life as conditions have become increasingly difficult.
The mission of The Fletcher Street Urban Riding is to save and restore this historical, important facet of Philadelphia's community, and most importantly, its children. Fletcher Street's horse community is for many children, the only safe place to be mentored, to feel good about themselves, to learn important lessons in responsibility, discipline and reward. Many of the boys that frequent Fletcher Street have little to no support in life and the men on Fletcher Street have consistently taken it upon themselves to provide a positive environment and some facet of stability for those kids that have none. Fletcher Street is determined to preserve its legacy, children and horses.
Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club goals:
- Community outreach for the prevention of crime through Equestrian activities and mentoring. Fletcher Street aims to expand upon the group of positive black male mentors for kids through the process of learning to ride and care for horses, providing them a desperately needed alternative to the street corner. It is important to note that many examples can be provided of the positive, intangible benefits of similar programs with kids (and adults) and horses. Fletcher Street is also happy to provide its own anecdotal evidence with its own children and young men that they have been and continue to be involved today in the Fletcher Street community.
- In having the attention of the kids through the aid of horses, Fletcher Street would like to use this vehicle to expand opportunities by having a clubhouse that has computers, internet access and tutors to help kids with homework as well as a place for them to develop goals and help prepare them to graduate and move beyond high-school and the streets. The access to learning and computers will also benefit many of the grown males in the community who have little opportunity or lack of knowledge and education in today's technology, which is essential to them being able to seek and maintain employment opportunities.
The Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club is a registered non-profit organization in Pennsylvania.
Fletcher Street book available from Powerhouse Books.