Bringing horses and children together for healingAmy Meyer never expected the path her life would take, which included making Las Vegas her home and dedicating her life to public service, now as a founder and president of WHY Ranch (White Horse Youth Ranch).
Originally from rural Southern Illinois, Meyer grew up in a single parent home with three other siblings. Her mother had to work several jobs to provide for her family, which left little time for her mother to stay at home with her children. Still, Meyer had the support of her extended family, and her grandparents, Paul and Helen, would provide for her college education. She would graduate with a degree in broadcast communications radio/TV/film.
After graduation, she wanted to honor the love and dedication her grandparents had shown her, so she moved to Las Vegas to get to really know them. “I only planned on staying a few years and then pursuing my passion for filmmaking in California. God, however, had other plans,” she explained. “My aunt was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, which started a new journey in my life. I cared for my aunt during her final days on earth.”
Meyer, her Aunt Pauline and grandparents would create The Paul E. & Helen S. Meyer Foundation. She would also dedicate 12 years of her life to care for her grandparents, and after the sudden death of her grandfather, Meyer would become the president of the foundation. Her grandmother would be 97 years old at the time of her passing in 2005.
The foundation focused on educationally-based grants and scholarships for Las Vegas students that might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college. The foundation has assisted many in achieving their dreams, including those who continued their education by obtaining advanced degrees.
According to Meyer, “I wanted to continue the philanthropic ancestry. I was given the vision for WHY Ranch during a long season of prayer. God showed me His purpose for my life: to mentor socially challenged youth through basic horsemanship. Since our first program started in 2009, our partner stables and now our permanent ranch home have touched the lives of over 200 families in our community.”
Meyer has a passion to give opportunities to youth who face the same challenges she did. Meyer understands everything that leads up to making choices because of low self-esteem and wanted to give socially challenged youth a chance to overcome today’s challenges through befriending, caring for and riding a horse. “The bond between mucking stalls and growing a relationship with a horse has no words for a description,” Meyer explained. “The memories remain forever.”
She also “had the pleasure of mentoring several young ladies from ages 5 to 31. Even some of the moms who attend our program with their kids, I’ve touched them all by listening, praying with and for them as well as having fun times.” Two of her first female students, sisters Lauren and Lindsey Sokolowski, aspire to compete for the United States in equestrian sports Dressage, Hunter and Jumper in the Summer Olympic Games.
When Meyer was 30 years, she single-handedly raised her teenage niece. Her niece is now a successful adult with a young son. Today Meyer loves to train the horses and spend time with the animals on the ranch, create jewelry and is a big San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan. She is married and gives credit to her husband Curtis, for centering her as well as gives kudos to her mother, Denise Klein, Pam Johnson and Ernie Becker for her success.
Her biggest advice would be to dig deep inside and be honest. Really listen, take a deep breath, trust, make a choice, take a step and follow through. Amy Meyer is truly a Fearless Female.