Goshen 2022 Volunteers of the Year

On April 13, Goshen Valley presented 6 individuals with their Volunteer of the Year award, and also presented the first annual Goshen Educator of the Year award. The recipients of the Volunteer of the Year award were Debbie Rabjohn, Bill and Kathy DeMartino,  Nancy LaChance, Sydna Lowe, and Kyla Cromer. The Goshen Educator of the Year award was presented to Don Deaton. A bit about each of their service to Goshen is outlined below.

 

When speaking about the volunteers who make Goshen thrive, CEO Zach Blend said that “We have the opportunity to change lives through relationships, and the relationships with those honored today are one of Goshen’s most powerful assets. We are grateful for all who sacrifice in service to our youth.” 

 

Debbie Rabjohn is the Goshen Homes volunteer of the year. She is the president of the Cherokee County Optimist Club, and has led her club in providing Easter baskets for Goshen Homes youth for 3 years in a row. She has done much of this while going through health issues, and was unable to attend the ceremony for the same reasons. The Goshen Homes team is grateful for her service, but even more grateful for her kind heart and her selflessness while going through a difficult time in her personal life. 

 

Bill and Kathy DeMartino are the Goshen New Beginnings volunteers of the year. Bill and Kathy connected to Goshen when becoming a Connections Homes family. They were paired with Goshen New Beginnings youth Robert, and they were able to be a significant part of his life through prom, graduation, and navigating adult life afterwards. After opening a room in their home for him and mentoring him for three years, they joined the Goshen staff in traveling to Missouri to celebrate Robert’s graduation from Basic Training. Bill commented at the ceremony how much the team traveling to the graduation meant to Robert, saying that he “had to do extra push-ups because he couldn’t stop smiling.” 

 

Nancy LaChance is the Goshen Valley Boys Ranch volunteer of the year. Nancy first connected with Goshen in 2016 while serving through Woodstock City Church’s Be Rich campaign. That day she was tasked with organizing the clothing closet, and since then she has led a group who comes to do the same task each month. This group led by Nancy has sorted and organized all clothing donations made to Goshen for 5 years. Additionally, Nancy has used her love of hiking to connect with and mentor boys at the Ranch during her time serving. 

 

Sydna Lowe was the Development volunteer of the year. Sydna chaired the Brasfield & Gorrie Charitable Committee, which was responsible for hosting their fall fundraiser and providing over $330,000 to support Goshen Valley. This made Brasfield & Gorrie Goshen’s largest ever single-year donor. Additionally, Sydna took her paid time off in advance of the fall fundraiser to make sure everything was organized as well as possible. When speaking about the partnership, Sydna said that "Brasfield and Gorrie takes pride in doing things with excellence.  We could not line up better with any other organization." 

 

Kyla Cromer was the Community Engagement volunteer of the year. Kyla is the Cherokee County School Board Chair, and she also serves on the Goshen Community Council. Kyla has continued to prioritize initiatives that help the school system better serve foster youth, including bringing in a Goshen staff person to lead a training to all school counselors on Trust-Based Relational Intervention. Additionally, Kyla invited 21 guests to join her for the Evening with Goshen dinner fundraiser, the most guests brought by any one Goshen supporter. Kyla remarked after receiving the award that "Respect and love are what our kids need. They come to school wondering where their next meal is coming from. They come after hearing their Mom and Dad fighting. We see the pride on their faces at graduation. Lots of people have poured into these kids to get them across that stage."

 

Don Deaton was recognized as Goshen’s first ever Educator of the Year. Don is the lead physical education teacher at Teasley Middle School. For many years Don headed up our Summer Academy program- the daily recreation program our boys participate in during summer break. He has continued to go above and beyond at school to learn who the Goshen youth are in his class, and to do all he can to provide them with extra support and encouragement during the school day. Don shared with the Goshen staff after receiving his award, “I want you to know we support you. We know the trauma our kids have experienced. Kids need to know they are loved. You are the footprint and the hands of God in their lives - you speak Jesus." 


Together Facing The Challenge: Goshen Homes

Goshen Homes has officially been certified in Together Facing the Challenge (TFTC), officially credentialing the foster care provider with an evidence-based approach.

TFTC certification means that Goshen Homes is able to provide a proven therapeutic foster care training and coaching program. Our goal is to ensure that our foster parents are equipped to best care for the children in their homes, learning systems that make fostering less confusing, and taking care of themselves in the process. This will in turn lead to foster youth experiencing more stable placements and greater lifelong outcomes. 

According to the TFTC website, the program aims “to improve the skills of foster parents and their agency staff. The model focuses specifically on the in-home intervention elements (and creating adequate skill levels to implement these strategies effectively) and on the important role of supervision and coaching in helping foster parents work effectively. We don’t ask agencies to “re-invent the wheel” — instead, the goal of TFTC is to work with agencies to enhance what they already do well by growing their knowledge & expertise with evidence-informed approaches to improve practice & outcomes for youth in care.” 

Gaining this TFTC certification was an 18-month process for the Goshen Homes team, involving many trainings and a great deal of refining to programmatic elements. Goshen Valley CEO Zach Blend shared his praise of the Goshen Homes team when stating what this means for the future of Goshen. 

“I am both pleased and equally proud of our Goshen Homes Staff and foster families for the dedication and commitment it has taken to complete the Together Facing the Challenge certification. To be recognized with other therapeutic foster care providers has been a goal of ours that was laid out as part of our most recent strategic plan. We’re confident the utilization of this evidenced-based model will provide the tools needed for our families to thrive in their capacity as foster parents”

To learn more about fostering with Goshen Homes, visit Goshencalley.org/homes. To learn more about Together Facing the Challenge, visit sites.duke.edu/tftc.