Highlighting a CIS Gives Back site for Pender County Teen Court
By Tracy Lafon, CIS Pender County Community Programs Manager
Hidden down a dusty road in Rocky Point is a valuable community service site for our teens who have moved through CIS Teen Court. McNally’s Farm is lovingly run under the eyes of its owner and operator, Cindy McNally.
Raised in Wilmington, Cindy attended college to obtain a degree in math. She has spent the last 28 years building her farm in Pender County, which she currently shares with over 60 furred and feathered creatures, from chickens, sheep, goats, and pigs, to horses, mules, and even a relatively rare Hinny (cross between a male horse and female donkey). Caring for these animals helps her connect with the young people assigned to her farm to carry out their community service sanctions for Pender County Teen Court.
McNally says she finds it fulfilling to see young people come to her from all walks of life and backgrounds. They all share the struggle of needing to positively change and grow. She says she has two rules: Be kind and be respectful. She loves the Teen Court and CIS process because she believes the program has the same objective as she does, changing kids lives, not punishing, but giving them the opportunity to turn themselves around.
Her favorite experience so far was having a young lady come to her defiant, no self-esteem, unkept and unmotivated; through her connections with the animals, the student left the program three months later completely changed, even asking to come back as a volunteer because she had found something that gave her true self-actualization and peace.
For Cindy, her partnership with CIS is all about giving children a chance to grow and learn respect by using the love of the land and animals to make it happen.