United Way Partners with Goshen

This grant money will directly be used for secondary education.

United Way has also donated thousands of dollars of in-kind gifts, money raised through a local 5K and has brought continual community recognition to the Ranch. On June 21, 75 high school juniors and seniors came up to the Ranch from the Atlanta Summer Work program in order to participate in United Way’s Day of Action. It was an amazing day of friendship and sharing as Goshen Valley boys worked with the Atlanta youth to complete landscaping and work projects around the Ranch. We are very excited about what is next in our partnership with the United Way.

Jr Beta Club Gives to Goshen Valley

The Jr Beta Club members from R.M. Moore Elementary School Leah Garrison (President), Hannah Garrison (Treasure), and Anna Catherine Ulm presented Goshen Valley Ranch with a check from the Coin Drive they recently held.

Goshen Valley is grateful to these young ladies and all members of the Jr. Beta Club! Thank you for your support.


Cobb EMC's Big Tech Donation

Twenty-two donated Dell computers will impact life on the GA ranch

ATLANTA – February 20, 2013 –Goshen Valley Boys Ranch recently received 22 used Dell computers from electric utility Cobb EMC, a not-for-profit electric membership cooperative, with more than 196,000 meters representing 175,093 members in metro Atlanta and southwest Georgia.

For a decade, Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in Waleska, Ga., has provided a home for boys in foster care. Since opening its doors, the nonprofit has grown exponentially, but the technology has remained the same. Recognizing Goshen Valley’s need for updated technology, Cobb EMC Senior Vice President Technology Systems Robert Arnett contacted the Blends about donating the computers.

"After understanding the objectives of Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, I can't express how good it feels to be involved and make these kinds of contributions to the program,” said Arnett. “These PC's were getting ready to be retired, but I knew they still had some life in them given the right environment.”

The donated computers were installed to replace older tech equipment in various homework labs and to provide staff members with functioning computers at the office.

"Goshen Valley is so grateful for these computers,” said Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Residential Life Director Zach Blend. “They have been used in our offices, homes and computer labs throughout the ranch. The computers meet our needs perfectly and we are so thankful for them."

Charity Bike Ride for Goshen

In partnership with First Baptist Church of Woodstock (FBCW) and their Love Loud program, the Charity Bike Ride is on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Registration begins at FBCW at 11:00 a.m.

The ride will leave at 1:00 p.m. and end at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch at 2:00 p.m. Once riders enter the Ranch campus, they will be greeted by all boys and staff. Riders will park at the Ranch and enjoy a cookout and program by Goshen Valley.

For more information, please contact

Sgt. Shane Collie


We hope to see you there!

The Burden of Lost Hope

It was spring break, and I decided to play a game with a group of our guys. I asked them, "if you could be on vacation ANYWHERE in the world this week, where would you go?" A few of them gave general answers like the beach or a sporting event. One young man looked at me and, in a flat, matter-of-fact voice stated, "At home with my brother and mom." This young man was 17.

I laughed and said, "of course you want to be there, but I'm talking about a vacation!" "No," he replied, "I don't want to be anywhere else in the world but with my brother and mom."

This young man's family was fractured when he was very, very young. Neither he nor his brother had lived with their mother for over 10 years.

Later I asked this same young man what career he wanted to pursue. He said he didn't know. "You could do so many things!" I exclaimed. "You are very intelligent, and you are very gifted."

"I'm not going to do anything," he stated. "Haven't you seen my file? I've had too much happen to me for anything good to come of my life."

This was true. His file was littered with heartbreaking abuse. Yet, so were the files of every other young man who was living at Goshen Valley. This young man had given up home. He allowed his ability to dream to be taken from him which resulted in poor school performance, poor behavior and very little progress in his social and emotional health. So many young people follow in his path. They allow their circumstances to steal their hope.

The Burden of Broken Relationships

Our entire world is built on relationships.  This is how our minds and bodies develop and grow.  It is no secret that the nurturing and intentional love of a caretaker is vital to the survival of a newborn.  Trauma, lack of stimulus and relationship as an infant can affect the overall development of a child’s entire being.Trik Android

The reality is that all young people in foster care suffer from broken relationships.  Whether these relationships were fractured willingly, unwillingly or even through the circumstance of illness or death, all young people carry a deep sense of loss and mistrust with them.

In addition, many young people in foster care live at several different placements within the course of a few years.  Young men have difficulty making real friendships at school or in the homes where they live for fear they will be moved as soon as they get to know someone.

Often times, the burden of broken relationships affects young men spiritually as well.  The question of “why me” or “why didn’t you help me” is an obvious one to ask God.  Though many young men cling to God all the more, they still wrestle with this relationship.

The Burden of Setbacks

For a young person who has experienced significant trauma, abuse or neglect, setbacks are created. Here is one basic example:

A young man is not read to as a child because there is substance abuse in his home.

This child does not do well in school because he carries the trauma from his home life, as well as his lack of preparation, with him each day.

The child's parents are unable to attend to his increasing difficulties in school and might see them as unimportant if they did not finish school.

As poor school performance continues, the child believes that he is not smart and he is incapable of doing his work. He continues to perform at low levels and slides behind.

The child is now testing well below grade level. He sees himself as stupid and thinks that an education isn't necessary anyhow.

This is one example of a setback that a young person might carry into the world of foster care. Other setbacks include those that are emotional, physical, psychological and relational. Most of the time, young people have a combination of setbacks.


The Burden of False Identity

Abuse and neglect can happen in a number of different ways. No one ever plans to abuse or neglect their own children, but generational cycles of abuse and neglect can create a foreign understanding of "normal."

Trauma, Abuse and Neglect can happen from the combination of any of the following: poverty, death of primary caretaker, lack of parenting skills, untreated mental illness, physical illness, substance abuse

When young men are removed from their homes because they have experienced trauma with abuse or neglect, many of them leave thinking...

"This was my fault."

"I deserved this."

"This is who I am."

The burden that these young men carry is the IDENTITY they find in their circumstances. Young men do not create these circumstances for themselves, but the circumstances still shape their identity.

This is why it can be the tendency for many young people to perpetuate the cycle of abuse and neglect if it is not stopped. They see this cycle as a part of who they are, because it is a part of their family.

Steven and Mark's Story

Steve and Mark were neglected from a young age. As brothers, they looked out for each other. Steve often stole money or food in order to bring some back for his younger brother, Mark. At age 7, Steve would be responsible to look out for 5-year-old Mark when their mother would go missing for days. Steve and Mark’s parents were enmeshed in drug abuse which left Steve and Mark on their own most of the time.

With an absence from school and curious neighbors, Steve and Mark were taken into the custody of the state foster care system at ages 11 and 9. Mark was placed in a foster home, but there was no room for Steve. Steve was sent to a group home located 2 hours from Mark’s new foster home.

The boys struggled. Steve, now missing his sense of identity as the protector of his brother, spent most of his time being angry and causing trouble. This caused him to be moved to several different foster families and group homes. Mark stayed for a while at his first foster home, but he was very unhappy being away from his brother.

After 1 ½ years of being in foster care, Steve was told that his mother’s parental rights were being terminated. She could not agree to the court’s list of rules in order for her to regain custody of her boys. Even though Steve saw this coming, he was devastated.

In the wake of this overwhelming news, Steve received something good. He was to be moved to Goshen Valley where, shortly after, his brother Mark would be joining him. After 2 years, the brothers would be able to be reunited.

After the boys were reunited, they continued to work on shedding the sense of shame that covered their hearts. What they went through was not their fault, but they couldn’t help but feel a sense of ownership over the breakdown of their family. The boys slowly healed. They could not forget their parents, but they chose not to be defined by their mistakes.

Steve and Mark lived at Goshen Valley for two years and, one day, were introduced to a husband and wife who wanted to get to know them. They were unable to have children. They thought about adopting a baby, but realized that there were older children who also needed parents. Steve and Mark got to know the couple over weeks and months.

Within a year’s time, they were officially adopted. Steve finished high school and went on to technical school to pursue a career in sports management. Mark is still in high school and is planning to graduate next year.

Jim's Story

Jim’s father was never in the picture. He left when Jim was just a baby. Even though Jim grew up without a dad, things were good most of the time. He and his mom did not have much money. Sometimes it was difficult for Jim’s mom to keep watch over him since she worked 2 part-time jobs to help pay their rent. With extra freedom, Jim would get in trouble on occasion and sometimes did poorly in school.

All of this changed when Jim’s mom got sick. His grandmother tried to help, but she was very old herself. Jim missed school a lot in order to take care of his mother.

Jim’s mother died when he was in 8th grade. A couple of family friends and relatives tried to care for Jim. They loved him, but they had a very difficult time controlling a young man who experienced lots of freedom and deep hurts.

A year after his mother’s death, Jim was put into the foster care system because of truancy. Jim had a difficult time dealing with the grief of his mother’s death. Jim also had a difficult time attending school since he had spent so much time on his own.

Jim arrived at Goshen Valley his freshman year of high school. Defined by his sense of “independence” he had gained from having very little family and a life of his own decisions, Jim struggled. He struggled to value relationships and his school work. He often wondered who he really was. He missed his mother.

At Goshen Valley, Jim met other young men like himself. In fact, several young men had also lost their mothers. Slowly Jim opened up and began to trust again. Jim received counseling for his loss and opportunities to excel in things he enjoyed. Jim has lived at Goshen Valley for 2 years and is looking forward to High School graduation.