When Thoroughbred horse trainer and former Louisville police officer Jay Wilkinson retired from the service, he did not picture himself volunteering for a job that would teach kids a whole new career.
But upon retiring, Wilkinson became involved with Boys Haven in Louisville.
experience as a trainer to create a unique after school program that helps foster kids learn about horses.
"I thought we could get them involved in the industry because it seemed like a really good fit," said Wilkinson
As students progress through the program, Wilkinson
watches them change in many ways.
They develop the skills they need to handle horses, and they get to watch their hard work pay off when the horses run.
Students who work especially hard get to travel with the horses to out-of-state races, and when the horses win, they get a percentage of the earnings.
"It gives the kids an opportunity to see new places," said Wilkinson
"We catch them all the time talking to the horses," said Wilkinson
Wilkinson hopes to see the program grow in the next few years.
With more donations and owners to contribute horses, the program could expand to neighboring cities, such as Lexington.
But right now, Wilkinson
takes in the program's success one race at a time.
"Before, when I was watching one of my horses run, I would always concentrate on the horse," said Wilkinson