TAMPA, Fla. - When Armando Gort started his farm in 1994, he had two horses and three goats, but over the years it has grown into an outdoor animal sanctuary and family farm called Horsepower for Kids.
It began to grow when people reached out to Gort asking him if he would take in their animals that they couldn’t care for anymore.
"When the animals come here, they have a forever life here at the farm," he explained.
After taking in many animals -- including horses, camels, donkeys, birds, sloths, turtles and a kangaroo -- Gort wanted his farm to be self-sufficient, so he turned the farm into a petting zoo to raise money to care for the animals.
Today, Horsepower for Kids is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that doesn’t adopt out or sell any of the animals.
"I think that I’m giving the animals a good home here," Gort shared. "I receive a lot of animals that have been abused. They do not have to worry where their new home is going to be or what’s going to happen to them any longer."
Horsepower for Kids not only transforms the lives of animals but the organization says the kids that come to the farm are changed as well. Gort says animals enrich lives and can help transform children into young adults by teaching them responsibility and respect.
"I think when kids spend time at a barn or at a farm they learn so much responsibility, they learn how to take care of a live animal and this is something that a lot of city kids don’t get to experience anymore," Gort said.
Gort has had thousands of interactions with children during his 26 years at the farm and he says it’s wonderful to see how the children grow over the years. He added that some children who came to the farm when they were kids, now bring their children by to see the animals.
"I feel good about that. I’ve touched so many kid’s lives and a lot of people don’t get to do that," he added.
LINK: Learn more about Horsepower for Kids at www.horsepowerforkids.com.
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