Remembering Rabbi Gary

Today, with grieving hearts, Goshen Valley helped to celebrate the life of an important part of our family: Rabbi Gary Maxted. Rabbi Gary was our faithful, dedicated bus driver. Each morning at 7:30 a.m., Gary arrived at Goshen Valley to pick up 26 of our young men in order to transport them to school. As you can imagine, this job was not for the faint of heart!

With tough love, Gary built a relationship with each young man that rode with him. Some days were great. Other days were a challenge. Gary worked with Goshen Valley staff and house parents daily to encourage, correct and guide our young men. He was truly part of our family.

Three weeks ago during Atlanta's ice storm, Rabbi Gary spent 6 hours working to get the young men of Goshen Valley to their home. On top of the ice, gridlock traffic and bad weather, the bus was hit head-on by a truck. During the ordeal, his message to the staff at Goshen Valley remained, "I'm still coming." After dropping our young men off at 7:30 p.m. that evening, Rabbi Gary attempted to get himself home. By 9:30 that evening, he was forced to abandon his bus (by school district recommendation) and walk 5 miles to his home.

Gary was a bus driver in order to be a servant. Driving our young men was a way for him to be an influence in their lives in an unlikely environment. Gary would pray for the young men of Goshen Valley each night as he offered his influence as a source of consistent love.

Rabbi Gary Maxted passed away on Sunday, February 22nd. Click this link for information on the memorial fund for Rabbi Gary.

A Place to Call Home: Josue's Story

Imagine coming to the United States from Mexico seeking the opportunity for a better life. Imagine not knowing anyone when you arrive. No friends. No parents. No siblings… Now imagine that you’re experiencing all of the feelings that would come from those circumstances… and you 11 years old.

That is Josue’s story.

Josue was born in Mexico, but grew up throughout most of his childhood without parents. Six years ago, Josue moved to the United States... on his own.

Here is a look into Josue's story of burden to blessing in his own words:

“Growing up, I worked hard and try my best to do well in school. I started working when I was 7 years old and worked until I was 14. That’s when the government found out I didn’t have anyone to take care of me. I’m really thankful for DFCS (Division of Family and Child Services) because now, I don’t have to work to provide for myself and can focus on becoming a citizen...

The relationship with the people I live with at Goshen Valley is really nice because they treat you nice and care for you. That is why I feel lucky to have a place like Goshen Valley to call home. When I think of how my life has changed since coming to Goshen Valley, I am so grateful for it. If I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be thinking about having a successful future….
Where I come from, everyone is poor. I appreciate what I have now because I never had a place to live like Goshen Valley.”

While Josue's story may sound extreme, for us it’s another example of the kind of hope the young men at Goshen Valley experience. Like many of the other young men, Josue plans on attending college after graduation. An aspiration like this that would have never been dreamt before Goshen.

The ability to dream about the future is one of the many blessings the young men experience after being removed from their life of burden.

Want more “burden to blessing” stories like Josue’s? Here are a few testimonials from other young men that call Goshen Valley home.

Supporting Goshen through Giving Goods

There are countless ways for individuals, families, groups or teams to get involved at Goshen Valley! We have a newly-added "needs list" for those who would like to donate goods or host a drive. If this sort of giving interests you, please visit our "Volunteer Goods" page. If you have any questions or ideas, do not hesitate to contact us!

This page will be updated often. We will also begin to post monthly donation needs for those who would like to volunteer goods on a regular basis.

Goshen's Excellence seen through Academic Outcomes

The progress reports from this past fall are in and this report is definitely going on the refrigerator!

Of the 134 classes that were taken last semester, our guys passed 131 of them. When we first heard the news, we were beyond excited. The 98% pass rate is the highest academic performance of any other semester in Goshen Valley’s history.


Another exciting record-breaking number from last semester was the number of boys involved in athletics and extracurricular activities at their schools. Three young men played on the Cherokee’s Varsity football team and two other young men were part of the Junior Warriors team. We had two young men enrolled in Karate classes and three others that joined the wrestling team. Another one of our guys joined the Lacrosse team and had a terrific season!


What’s the reason behind last semester’s success? After taking the time to celebrate the success with the guys, we took some time as a staff to identify the factors that might have contributed to such a great semester.

Here are a few of the factors that made a tremendous difference last year:

  1. An incredible partnership with the Cherokee County School District. We have spent a lot of time improving the partnership and communication with the CCSD. In the end, we believe this made a tremendous difference in both the individual lives and overall success of our guys. Because of the fantastic partnership, we saw an overall improvement in behavior at school and fewer in-school-suspensions or alternative school occurrences.
  2. Cultivating a “culture of achievement.” We wanted the boys to believe that excelling in school wasn’t just possible; it was inevitable if they worked hard and committed to excellence. It started with the extensive summer academy program and continued throughout the year. The tutoring center and incentive program paid huge dividends throughout the semester. Our houseparents and staff went above and beyond to set the tone and provide support.
  3. Increasing academic progress through life skills. We believed that making positive investments in every area of life would make a huge difference in the classroom. The fact our best academic report and highest involvement in athletics and extracurricular activities both occurred during the same semester isn’t a coincidence.

We’re so proud of the success our young men experienced last semester. Not only was it a great way to end the year, it was another building block in their lives that helps increase the confidence and belief in their future.

We believe that the sky is the limit if we continue to cultivate these key factors and we’re working hard to continue the trend of 100% retention rate from graduation to independent living.