Foundations of Support: Honoring Our First Community Partners

In the tapestry of Goshen Valley's 25-year journey, our roots run deep, intertwined with the support of our community partners. Today, we take a moment to express our gratitude to those who stood by us from the very beginning, laying the foundations of support that have shaped our mission and impact. 

 

The Spirit of Collaboration 

Goshen Valley's story is one of community, collaboration, and shared commitment. From the early days, we have been fortunate to partner with organizations and individuals who shared our vision of creating positive change in the lives of those in need. These people, and their desire to serve, have created a long-lasting legacy of impact in the mission of Goshen Valley. It is this spirit of collaboration that has fueled our journey and strengthened our impact. 

Celebrating Indispensable Partnerships 

We hope to take a moment to shine a spotlight on the meaningful partnerships that have played a pivotal role in our growth and success. These community pillars have not only supported us financially, but have also been instrumental in shaping the programs, initiatives, and values that define Goshen Valley. 

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer 

In the early 90s, John and Connie Blend began attending the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. During their first service, the pastor was celebrating all the ways the church had served their community throughout the year but communicated regret that they had not been able to open a home for foster boys as they had hoped, since they were lacking a location. John and Connie owned a family farm in Waleska, Georgia and had been wrestling with the idea of selling the land. In that moment, John knew that God was calling them to use their farm as a home for foster boys and to partner with Redeemer Lutheran Church in building it. Over the next decade, many members of Redeemer helped to develop the model, to work through regulations and laws, and to develop the 501c3. Through the help of many incredible Redeemer members, Goshen Valley Foundation launched Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in 2001 as its flagship program purposed to serve boys in the foster care system. Redeemer continues to support Goshen Valley financially each year and still has several members who hold board seats. Without the vision, groundwork and ongoing support of Redeemer, Goshen Valley would not have been established or served the thousands of people that it has today. 

First Baptist Church of Woodstock 

Since 2009, First Baptist Church of Woodstock has been a steadfast supporter and partner of the Goshen Valley Foundation through its Love Loud community service ministry. Over six years, from 2009 to 2014, the church served Goshen in many ways, like bringing together 300 individuals for three days of intensive service projects at the Ranch. These projects ranged from renovating the James House to constructing vital infrastructure like the Visitation Pavilion and the Overlook at the Upper Lake, resulting in an estimated $500,000 worth of impact. The fellowship extended beyond labor, with shared meals and worship sessions fostering a sense of community and mutual support. Moreover, the church actively engaged with the boys through hands-on training sessions, enriching both groups’ experiences. Their partnership also led to Goshen’s relationship with Family Christian Stores, further embedding a culture of service and collaboration within the community.  

 

Family Christian Stores 

Family Christian Stores was a vital supporter of the Goshen Valley Foundation since its inception, offering both financial assistance and hands-on involvement. They provided funding for new projects and sent mission teams, comprised of employees from across the country, to serve at the Ranch. These teams not only completed capital projects but also formed lasting bonds with the boys and staff. As one of the Foundation's largest supporters since 2009, Family Christian Stores made significant relational investments, resulting in two adoptions and enduring connections with former employees. They also led numerous mission trips to the Ranch, fostering a spirit of service and partnership. Goshen also took a group of boys and staff to serve at another partner location of Family Christian Stores in Oaks, Oklahoma. Through their unwavering support and engagement, Family Christian Stores has left a lasting impact on the Goshen Valley Foundation, embodying the values of compassion and community upliftment. 

Woodstock City Church 

With their involvement stemming from a providential encounter at a service event with Forever Fed, Woodstock City Church has been a steadfast supporter and partner of the Goshen Valley Foundation since 2011. Meeting the boys and house parents from Goshen Valley left a profound impact on a small group of individuals from the church, sparking a desire to learn more and contribute to the Ranch's mission. These couples collaborated with the Blend family to create service opportunities at the Ranch, resulting in the inception of the "Second Saturday" concept, where volunteers could engage in meaningful projects. Woodstock City Church played a pivotal role in facilitating Goshen Valley's official accreditation as an Intersect Partner, connecting them with Northpoint staff and providing invaluable support during the vetting process. Since 2012, their dedication has resulted in hosting thousands of volunteers and substantial funding resulting in over $1.8 million donated, empowering the Goshen Valley Foundation to expand its reach and impact within the community.  

Acknowledging Contributions 

To our first community partners, we extend our deepest appreciation for your foresight, dedication, and belief in our mission. Your willingness to partner with us in serving those most at-risk in our community, spurred on by the love of God, adds a profound spiritual aspect to our collective efforts. This faith-based foundation is critical to who we are and why we do what we do. Your contributions have been the bedrock upon which we have built a legacy of care, compassion, and community involvement. Together, we have created a network of support that reaches far beyond what any of us could achieve alone. It is a testament to the strength of community bonds and the difference we can make when we come together to change lives. 

Expressing Gratitude 

To our partners, whether you have been with us for 25 years or joined the journey more recently, thank you for your unwavering support. Your belief in the power of community has been the driving force behind every success, every smile, and every positive change we have witnessed. Join us in celebrating the community bonds that have shaped Goshen Valley. Share your stories, memories, and moments of collaboration using #Goshen25 on social media. Together, let us amplify the impact of community support and pave the way for many more years of meaningful collaboration.  

As we honor our first community partners, we look forward to continuing this journey of impact with all those who believe in the power of community bonds. Thank you for being the pillars that have held up the foundation of Goshen Valley for 25 remarkable years. 

 

 

 


Lighting the Path: Goshen Valley's 25th Anniversary Celebration

Welcome to a year of celebration as we embark on the journey of commemorating Goshen Valley's 25th Anniversary. This milestone marks a quarter of a century filled with compassion, community, and transformation. Throughout this year, we invite you to join us in celebrating Goshen Valley's remarkable journey, a journey that has illuminated countless lives and fostered a profound sense of community. 

 

Embracing Transformation 

Goshen Valley's 25-year history has been a testament to resilience, dedication, and transformation. The overarching theme guiding our commemoration throughout the year is "Light the Path," a theme that symbolizes our commitment to illuminating the way for foster kids, young adults, foster parents, and families in need. In the upcoming months, we will explore the details of our inception, spotlighting founders, and initial partners, showcasing our diverse programs, celebrating the dedication of our employees, and setting our sights on the promising future that awaits us in the next 25 years. 

A Resilient Legacy 

As we reflect on the past, we celebrate the visionaries and pioneers who laid the foundation for Goshen Valley. The unwavering dedication and passion of these individuals have shaped the organization into a beacon of support and care. In the coming weeks, we will share untold stories of our founders and the invaluable individuals who supported them in the early stages. Community members, churches, and companies joined forces with Goshen Valley years ago, contributing to the realization of our vision and mission for the families in our community. 

Paving the Way in Foster Care 

Goshen Valley's commitment to lighting the way, particularly within the realm of foster care, has been unwavering. Our collective efforts have paved a radiant path, leading to countless success stories and heightened community involvement. While not every narrative concludes with a perfect ending, each story is unique, important, and worthy of being shared. Join us as we dive into the tales that define our impact and underline the importance of our shared journey. 

Be a Part of the Celebration 

This anniversary year promises to be a beacon of hope, and we extend a heartfelt invitation for you to be an integral part of this luminous celebration. Throughout the year, anticipate captivating stories, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and special moments that define Goshen Valley's 25-year legacy. Join the conversation on social media using #Goshen25 to share your stories and memories. 

"As Goshen Valley Foundation marks 25 impactful years, we joyously celebrate our commitment to 'Light the Path' for our community. Over the past 25 years, Goshen Valley has made a life-changing impact on thousands of lives, but in every circumstance, we were simply given the opportunity to guide that child or adult, through love and services, as they walked down their road of life. It is our truest desire that Goshen Valley can be a light to others in dark times, that the path of a child or young person or an adult might be brighter, clearer, and more hopeful. Beyond commemorating milestones and highlighting programs, this anniversary symbolizes the illumination of the extraordinary journey we have traveled together. Through compelling stories, thoughtful reflections, and heartfelt conversations, we warmly invite our community to unite with us in shaping a brighter future. This special year is dedicated to you—our supporters, partners, and the families we have touched. Together, let's illuminate the remarkable path we've shared and continue building a brighter, hopeful future." - Zach Blend, CEO 

As we embark on this illuminating year of celebration, we extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has been a part of Goshen Valley's journey. Your support has been the guiding light, brightening the path for those we serve. Here's to 25 years of dedication, and to the countless bright moments that lie ahead! Stay tuned for more updates, stories, and celebrations as we Light the Path together. 

 

With heartfelt gratitude,  

The Goshen Valley Team 

 


Give, Serve, Love with Woodstock City Church

Be Rich Volunteers  

During the last few months of 2024, Woodstock City Church volunteers dedicated themselves to service with Goshen Valley Foundation during the Be Rich season. Over 485 passionate individuals, including many of you from our community, came together in a collective effort to contribute more than 970 hours of their time. Some of the projects these volunteers worked on included landscaping, holiday decorations, gift wrapping and putting together care packages for mothers in need. These efforts filled our spaces with an abundance of Christmas spirit! Each group of volunteers shared a commitment to creating a welcoming and nurturing atmosphere during this holiday season.

Building Foundations of Hope 

Our newest program, the Goshen Family Resource Center, underwent a significant renovation this year, thanks to the Be Rich funding provided by Woodstock City Church.  

The Goshen Family Resource Center stands as a beacon of hope, offering therapeutic and clinical services to vulnerable families in our community. The center plays a crucial role in preventing foster care placements by providing support to families during challenging times. Additionally, it acts as a resource for families working towards reunification after foster care placement. This initiative aligns perfectly with Woodstock City Church's commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of others.  

Looking Ahead 

As we transition into the new year and end this extraordinary Be Rich season, the impact of Woodstock City Church's commitment to giving, serving, and loving resonates throughout Goshen Valley. The transformative power of community collaboration has left a lasting mark on our homes, our families, and our hearts. As we look forward to the rest of 2024, the spirit of community and compassion continues to be the guiding force. Woodstock City Church, through its unwavering dedication and the generosity of its members, has set the stage for a future filled with hope, kindness, and continued impact.  


Goshen Homes: Informational Meetings

Join us for an informational meeting to learn more about becoming a Goshen Homes foster family and our unique Professional Foster Parent employment opportunities.

To learn about the next meeting, visit Goshenvalley.org/homes and use the contact box to request information

*childcare is provided with RSVP

Goshen Homes FAQ:

Q. Who is Goshen Homes?

Goshen Homes is the new foster care program of the Goshen Valley Foundation. Goshen Homes is a licensed Child Placing Agency that partners with DFCS to recruit, train and equip foster families to provide stable and loving homes to children in foster care.

Q. How is Goshen Homes different from other Child Placing Agencies?

The Goshen Valley Foundation is piloting a specialized foster care program specific to Sibling Reunification in Cherokee and Bartow counties. We are looking for foster families that are willing to take more than one child in an effort to keep siblings together when they enter foster care. Unlike other agencies, Goshen provides an enhanced financial model and therapeutic programming that includes support and training to ensure our families have what they need to take in sibling groups.

Q. Are there costs involved to become a Goshen Homes foster parent?

As a foster parent you must prove financial stability as part of the home study process. However, Goshen recognizes the financial burden that comes with adding multiple children to your household. Goshen does not want your financial status to be a barrier to ministry and therefore is prepared to assess your financial needs and offer an enhanced financial model that may include assistance with housing costs, food, transportation and potential salary for stay at home parents. Financial assistance varies depending on how many children you are fostering.

Q. Does a Goshen Homes foster family have a say in choosing children?

Yes. Goshen Homes serves children between the ages of 0-18. During the home study process you will discuss the type of children you are interested in fostering. Through the home study process we will determine how many children and what types of children are the best match for your household.

Q. How long do foster children stay in care?

The length of time varies according to the needs of the children and their families. Some children are placed briefly (a few days) while some remain for months to years.

Q. Are the children available for adoption?

Yes. When reunification with their biological family is not an option, an adoptive family for the children is sought.

Q. What responsibilities does the foster parent have?

Foster parents are responsible for the 24/7 care of the children in their home. Children in foster care have unique needs and may require counseling, visitation with birth parents and other needed appointments while in the foster home. With the help of Goshen Homes staff, foster parents ensure that the children's physical, emotional, spiritual, medical and educational need s are met. This includes coordination, transportation, and advocacy for the children placed in their home.

 


Goshen Valley Classic

Goshen Valley Classic: RESULTS!

The 11th Annual Goshen Valley Classic presented by WellStar on Monday, October 24th was a tremendous success. With your help, we raised approximately $150,000, totaling over $1,000,000 raised in the past 11 years!

Click here to access photos from the day.

 

Thank you to all of our participants, volunteers and donors from this special day.

 

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View our Goshen Valley Classic Presented by WellStar Brochure!


Two Fall Golf Opportunities

Whether it's the annual AFG Ambassador's Charity Tournament or our own Goshen Valley Classic, there are two great opportunities to participate or volunteer in golf outings that provide vital support to the young men, women and children of Goshen Valley!

 

Goshen Valley Classic presented by WellStar:

Monday, October 24,

Shotgun Start: 12:00 p.m.

goshenvalleyclassic.org

 

AFG Ambassador's Tournament:

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What we are Most Proud of

One of our greatest honors is to watch young men and women who leave our care allow God to turn their difficult circumstances into fuel for a purposeful life that positively impacts our world. Today we celebrate!

Kevin Armour

US Marine Corps, Lance Corporal (2009-2013)
1812 Tank Crewman
Operation Enduring Freedom
Kuwait, Afghanistan

Kevin was at Goshen Valley from 2006-2008

 

Shawn Chapman, Active

US Marine Corps, Private First Class
0811 Artillery Cannonier

Shawn was at Goshen Valley from 2009-2010 and 2014-2016

 

Chase Chitwood, Active

US Marine Corps, E-3 Lance Corporal
3531 Motor Transportation Operator

Chase was at Goshen Valley for 8 years, from 2008-2015

 

Wade Godfrey, Active

US Navy, Petty Officer
3rd Rated Master at Arms

Wade was at Goshen Valley from 2007-2010 and 2014-2015

 

Geoffrey Laney, Active

US Marine Corps, Lance Corporal
1142 Mechanical Engineer

Geoff was at Goshen Valley for 6 years, from 2010-2015

 

John Metcalf, Active

US Army National Guard, 2nd Lieutenant

John was at Goshen Valley from 2008-2010

 

Matthew Moring, Active

US Marine Corps, Private First Class
0311 Infantryman

Matt was at Goshen Valley from 2008-2011

Today Goshen Valley is a vocational ministry to 4 veterans and 1 active National Guard Sergeant. We are so thankful that they have continued a lifetime of service from the armed forces to human services in foster care.

Chris Copeland

US Air Force, Staff Sergeant E5
2000-2006
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Chris has worked at Goshen Valley with his wife Lorissa since 2014 in the area of Facilities Director, respite parent and as a foster parent.

 

Spencer Doyle

US Marine Corps, E-5 Sergeant
1995-1999
Gulf War - Kuwait
USS ESSEX

Spencer has worked at Goshen Valley with his wife Keren since 2014 as a foster parent, facilities staff and respite parent.

 

Paul Drennan

US Marines, Military Police
1989-1992
Desert Shield/Desert Storm
1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Paul has worked at Goshen Valley since 2010 as a full-time respite parent with his wife Tanya and currently as Director of Placement Services.

 

Mike Lind

US Marines, Infantry Sergeant
Combined Arms Team
2001-2005
Front line invasion force for Operation Iraqi Freedom

Mike has worked at Goshen Valley with his wife Tina since 2015 as a respite parent.

 

Josh Voyes, Active

US Army National Guard, Sergeant
2011 to present
Heavy Equipment Mechanic

Josh has worked at Goshen Valley since 2013 as a house father in the Covenant House. He and his wife Julie are expecting their first child in March!


New Beginnings takes Savannah thanks to United Way funding

One way that Goshen Valley has partnered with the United Way is by participating in a collaborative as a Pathway Partner around Opportunity Youth. We have joined together with other community organizations to collaborate and establish pathways that integrate learning and work experiences which support and facilitate post-secondary education and career opportunities for at-risk and disconnected youth ages 16 to 24. The other collaborative organizations we are currently partnered with include Goodwill of North Georgia, Year Up, Carrie Steele Pitts Home, GA State University and Kennesaw State University.

Through the Atlanta Opportunity Youth Summer Innovation Grant, our New Beginnings youth were given the opportunity to journey to Savannah to learn about the challenges and triumphs of a community outside of their own.

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  Our team visited and volunteered at Second Harvest food pantry to learn how the organization served the community in collaboration with other local organizations such as Lighthouse Ministry.

 

 

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At Lighthouse Ministry, Program Director Giselle Espinal-Francis describes the experience,

"Our youth had so many great moments but one that stood out the most was when all the youth walked into Lighthouse Ministries, not realizing that none of the expected volunteers showed up. There was a line around the building of hungry babies and mother waiting to feed their families and get assistance. We were greeted by Ms. Linda, who shared that they were going to have to serve over 60 families without volunteers until we showed up. Our youth were able to help toddlers pick toys and clothing, while others were able to give hugs and smiles at the doors and they even witnessed a baptism. One of our youth named Janesha, was given the task of checking in the families for the clothing closet. When she left, she was so touched at how appreciative everyone was for the services they received that day. She left with a smile and thanked us for making all this possible."

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The youth got the opportunity to visit Tybee Beach. For many of them, not only was this their first time outside of the Atlanta area, but the firs time to see the ocean. Sierra Tabor, Residential Life Coach, reflected on the experience,

"The look on their faces was priceless. Just to know that I was able to share that moment with them was something I'll never forget."

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Youth also visited Greenbriar Children's Home to learn about how youth their age, in a similar circumstance, lived within a different program. The team went to First African Baptist Church, the oldest African American church in the United States.

In order to make the fullest impact, New Beginnings also held a "Home Trip." During this day, our youth visited a local food pantry to learn the similarities and differences between the one in Savannah and one at home. They also met with pastor Keith Norman of the Factory to discuss cultural and ethnic challenges that face our community today as a reflection on their visit to First African Baptist Church.

As a result of the trip, New Beginnings youth would like to start a toiletry pantry to assist struggling or homeless youth. Their eyes were opened to both the challenges and opportunities in a community beyond their own, and they were invited to take part in the solution. Thank you to the United Way for giving our youth a chance to learn, grow and change!


Hiring! Job Description: Case Manager

Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Case Management Position Available:

 

Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in Waleska, GA is currently seeking a Case Manager. This is an opportunity to engage with youth ages 8-18 to be an advocate and positive example. The position requires the following:

  • A Bachelor's Degree in a related field + 2 years work experience in social services or serving youth.
  • A high level of organization
  • Excellent writing skills
  • The ability to speak professionally on behalf of our youth in a courtroom setting
  • A person of good character

Salary is dependent on education and experience. Benefits include health insurance (including dental and vision), a 401k and serving with a team who loves our boys and each other!

 


Hiring! Job Description: Administrative Assistant

Job Title:  Administrative Assistant

Reports to:  Administrative Director and CEO

Requirements: Familiar with managing technology platforms such as Salesforce, Mailchimp, Google Drive and proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point. Must be organized, efficient and maintain good communication skills. Must be of good character and supportive of the programs, policies and the ideals of Goshen Valley.

Responsibilities:

  • Salesforce donor data entry and management
  • Donor thank-you letters
  • Development mailers and tasks
  • Database management for various stakeholder groups
  • Extended Reach transition support
  • General HR tasks and record keeping
  • General Foundation-level tasks and communication
  • Office management