Woodward, Okla. —
EVERYONE HAS TRIALS SOMETIMES
Smith is a solid, pragmatic woman when she talks to anyone, including her clients. While she has celebrated 268 girls who have come through her facility, like anything in life, it hasn't been all sunshine and skittles, she said.
Of those 268, 11 have run away from the facility, she said.
The facility is a long way from where most of these girls have been reared. A large portion come from more urban settings and a ranch way out in Mooreland can be a difficult change, she said.
Add to that, many of the girls are brought to the facility in an intervention process by their parents and it explains why there are some who simply run away, she said.
In fact, one girl, June Johnson, had no idea she was coming to White Horse Ranch two years ago. Her grandmother, who had guardianship of her, made the plans without her knowledge.
"My grandma told me we were going to the zoo," Johnson says now with a laugh.
Johnson, who was suicidal at the time, did not run away.
Instead, after spending some time spent getting used to a house full, with 15 other girls, she chose to learn a new way to live.
Now, the plucky 17 year old is planning her 18th birthday and is attending Bethany Beauty College with big plans for her future.
"I would never have made it here without the people at White Horse Ranch," she said.
Of the 11 girls that ran away though, nine of them called and wanted to come back, Smith said.
"We did allow some of them to come back," she said. "In fact, one of them ran away, attempted suicide and when she was sitting there in the hospital after attempting suicide, she told them "I want to go home to the ranch."