Goshen Valley Classic

2014 Goshen Valley Classic

Join us on Monday, October 13th for the 9th Annual Goshen Valley Classic sponsored by WellStar!  We are set to have another record-breaking year and would love to see you or your team at Cherokee Country Club.

Please visit our website for information and registration.

If you are interested in supporting the Classic through silent auction item donation, please fill out our contact form and let us know if there is something you would like to contribute.


Thank you for being a part of changing the lives of our young people one day at a time!

Reflections from 2014 Summer Academy Interns

Throughout the year, the Goshen Valley Academy provides young men with opportunities to have some fun while on the ranch, especially during the summer months. Starting in 2005, the Academy was once just a summer camp, but has evolved to be so much more. From tutoring to field trips to service opportunities during school holidays, Goshen Valley Academy is a daily intensive program where young men can play sports, work, grow spiritually, catch up or get ahead in school or just enjoy some fun time off….all year long.

With so much going on at the Academy, we rely heavily on the community to help run the Academy. Volunteer tutors, interns and partnerships make it a true success. The young men get an experience they won’t forget.

Reflections from 2014 Summer Academy Interns

“It’s been the best summer of my three years at Goshen Valley. I loved seeing each and every kid grow—some moving from boys to mature men and others giving up what they wanted so someone else could have joy. I’m very thankful to have been a part of Goshen Valley.” – Nick Rowell

“This summer has been the best yet. The kids were incredible, the leaders were great, and Michael did a great job organizing it all. We had a lot of large group activities like football, basketball, soccer and ultimate Frisbee. We also divided the kids into groups to get to know them on a more personal level and encourage team bonding. Hearing the kid’s stories and struggles was eye-opening and being able to help them work through some of their struggles was a major blessing.” – Dalton Porche

“This summer was life changing with the boys on the ranch. The relationships made throughout the summer were unforgettable. As well as strengthening their walks with Christ, my relationship with God got stronger. During the last few weeks, you could see the boys finally dropping all resentment towards one another and just loving. I hope to come back again next year!” – Ben Rowell

Goshen Valley in United Way of Greater Atlanta Community Report

United Way of Greater Atlanta featured Goshen Valley in the education section of their 2014 Community Report, focusing on one of our best success stories of Chase,  a young man who went from Burden to Blessing while at Goshen Valley.


Watch Movie Online Logan (2017)

Burden to Blessing: Real Stories of Success

What does Burden to Blessing mean to Goshen Valley? Everything, according to the successes we’ve seen over the years. Our young men would agree. We’ve witnessed the most distressed young men tackle things they’d never thought possible before.

At Goshen Valley, a burden is defined as a deep reminder of a young man’s past, a dark place that’s hard to navigate and even harder to turn around. Sometimes a burden holds a tiny glimpse of the future. With a little bit of time and a lot of healing, a bright light can be found at the end of the dark and painful tunnel, revealing a blessing that is worth the journey.

That’s where Goshen Valley comes in. We transform lives through our dedication and commitment to our young men’s future. With much needed counseling, guidance and love, we turn men from lost to found. Each stepping stone is a challenge that leads to a much bigger achievement like graduating from high school, accepting a new friendship, or reuniting with family. With our help, our young men learn to take their burdens and turn them into true blessings.

Did you know that today there are 5,000 young men in the custody of our state, not by choice, but by the circumstances of trauma, abuse and neglect? We’re hoping to reduce that number significantly by helping young men take the many burdens that have ripped their lives apart and transform them into something bigger than themselves.

We’ve already done that with a number of young men. Their stories prove that their burdens don’t define their past and they can tackle the world one challenge at a time. Below are some of our favorite examples of Burden to Blessing:

Real Examples of Burden to Blessing

1. 2014 Report Card: Our report card is in, and it’s a great reminder of the progress our young men are making. Here are just a few examples: of the 143 classes taken, 134 were passed and 20 out of 28 students passed all of their classes.

2. Trey’s Graduation Story: Trey came to Goshen Valley a grade level behind and struggling to catch up. He thought his only option was getting his GED, but through the help of our Summer Academy, Trey caught up and earned his diploma in 2014.

3. Will’s Story: Will came from a dysfunctional family where drug abuse and violence were the norm. He’d been in and out of DFCS (Division of Family and Children Services) and wasn’t happy to hear that his next stop would be Goshen Valley. He was wrong. Will describes Goshen Valley as a family environment and has learned about healthy relationships and religion. He now plays sports like football and wrestling and is applying to college.

4. Josue’s Story: Josue worked since he was seven and moved to the United States completely alone. He worked until he was 14 when the government discovered that he didn’t have parents or anyone to take care of him. Josue is glad he no longer has to support himself and can focus on other things like school, becoming a citizen and applying to college.

5. Chase’s Story: Chase arrived at Goshen Valley when he was just 14. His childhood was a roller coaster of drugs, abuse and confusion. When his father went to jail and his mother left, he and his sister went to live with his grandmother until she too could no longer care for them. Chase entered the foster care system and then began his healing at Goshen Valley. Now he’s 21 and a college sophomore and a leader in the foster care system helping other young men find their purpose.

These are just a few examples of young men who have turned their lives around. What’s your favorite story? Read more on our blog and find out how Burden to Blessing impacts the lives of our young men.


Goshen Valley Report Card: Spring 2014

The academic reports for the spring are in… and because of the hard work and dedication of so many of our young men, we’re proud to say it was another great semester at Goshen Valley!

Here’s a look at Goshen Valley’s “report card” for the past semester:

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We’re so proud of our young men for achieving another semester of a 90% pass rate of better! Thanks to everyone who played a role in helping our young men experience the blessing of education this year!





Register! 2014 Luncheon and Fashion Show

"A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark"

Chinese Proverb

Commemorating 5 Years

Please join us for the

5th Annual Luncheon Fashion Show

supporting the

Alice Smith Memorial Fund

to benefit

Goshen Valley Boys Ranch

Saturday, November 8, 2014

11:30 a.m.

Country Club of Roswell

Roswell, GA 30076

Raffle and Silent Auction

Individual Tickets: $50

Table of Ten: $450

Tickets are tax deductible

Fashions by BARAMI at Phipps Plaza

For more information or corporate sponsorship, please contact Allison Smith

404-274-1583 or [email protected]

Register Here!

3 Keys to Our Successful Partnerships

One of the things we’ve always believed to be true is that Goshen Valley is only as strong as the community that surrounds it. Thankfully, since the beginning, we’ve been blessed by some incredible partners in our community that have a passion for transforming the stories of young men in the North Georgia area.

Because partnerships are so critical to the impact Goshen Valley is able to make, I thought it might be helpful to share with both our partners and supporters the reason that our partnerships have become so successful.

3 Keys to Goshen Valley’s Partnerships

Here are three things that have helped Goshen Valley create an extraordinary amount of impact through our partners over the years:

1. We act with intention and clarity in everything we do.

Goshen Valley is intentional about our partnerships. We try our best to work with those who have a deep understanding of the issues, needs, and opportunities are presented through our ministry.  We are also intentional about establishing partnerships that we feel can grow through the years. For example, we are approaching our 7th year to partner with First Baptist Woodstock as part of Love Loud, our 6th year to partner with Family Christian as a domestic mission trip site, and 3rd year to partner with North Point Church through the Be Rich Campaign.

2. We craft shared goals and outcomes with our partners

A few years ago, we met with some of the leadership from Love Loud and agreed that it was important to create additional opportunities for our young men to connect with their servants over the three days that they visit the ranch. We decided to work collaboratively and coordinated a series of service learning days for the young men at Goshen Valley to partner with the servants from Love Loud. As a result, our young men now spend Friday of that week at home on the ranch working as part of a Love Loud Academy. The boys earn certificates for the work they learn and do that day, as well as build lasting friendships with those that come and serve.  It's been a tremendous success for both organizations.

3. We review and evolve our partnerships annually

We have learned that partnerships have to be shared in their successes and their failures.  It's important that we are interacting with our partners throughout the year, discussing specific ways in which the partnership can continue to grow.  In some cases, we work to cut programs that aren’t working. In others, we look to expand on areas that have been successful.  Either way, we believe that the decisions we make should be shared and collaborated on equally. With everyone involved in the review process, we can make sure that we can ensure that everyone is benefiting, not only those being served, but those serving as well.

To all the incredible partners we’ve worked with over the years… thank you. We could not have made nearly as much impact in the lives of the young men who become part of the family at Goshen Valley without your help.


Trey’s Story: A Graduation Celebration

There are a lot of things we enjoy celebrating at Goshen Valley… but graduation is by far one of our favorites! For our young men, it’s one of the most significant milestones of their lives, one that seemed out of reach without the help and support of the people who believe in them.

At Goshen, a young man who thinks that he can’t (or doesn’t need to) graduate is kept accountable and given support to earn his high school diploma. The result is stories like Trey, who received his diploma from Cherokee High School last month.


Trey’s Story: A Graduation Celebration

Trey arrived at Goshen Valley a little under four years ago. When he arrived, Trey thought that earning his GED would be the only option because he was behind grade level.  However, through our support system, Trey was given opportunities to make up work and get ahead. His house parents and case management staff helped Trey to believe in himself. He worked hard with our education staff and tutors to get his grades on track throughout the school year and  our summer academy credit recovery program.

After turning 18, Trey returned to live with family in the area making him an official Goshen Valley Alumnus. Still, he made the commitment that wouldn’t be the only alumni status he would hold. Trey left the Ranch before graduation, but finished out his school year and received his diploma from Cherokee High School on May 29th, 2014. Today, Trey is making plans to join the workforce and fully-embrace this next season of life.

Thank you for helping make more graduations possible!

Celebrating graduations like Trey’s is only possible because of your support. Whether you help by volunteering, donating, or advocating for Goshen Valley, everything you do helps change the lives of young men forever!




2nd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon

Child abuse is a topic that no one enjoys discussing. However, the number of children that have been neglected and abused is something that can't be ignored.

Here are just a few of the statistics about the number of children impacted in Georgia alone:

  • Every day, 33 children are the victims of confirmed abuse or neglect.
  • 200 incidents of child abuse and neglect are reported daily.
  • 65 children died from abuse and neglect in 2011.
  • On any given day, about 7,500 children are in the foster care system after being removed from abused homes.


While we see the setbacks caused by child abuse on

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a daily basis, we realize most people aren't aware of the serious problem it has become.

As a way to bring awareness to an issue that's impacting thousands of children within our state, Goshen Valley recently hosted our 2nd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Highlights from this year's Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon

This year's 2nd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon was a tremendous success. Held on Friday, April 25th in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month, over 250 people from Cherokee County and the surrounding counties participated in a luncheon to remember our unified work in preventing child abuse.

Presented by the Juvenile Court of Cherokee County and the Cherokee County Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), representatives from these two entities including the GA DFCS Director Dr. Sharon Hill, local judges, government officials, local non-profits and community members participated in the event.

Introduced by Chief Judge Jackson Harris of the Cherokee County Superior Court, the keynote speaker for the event was Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines of the Georgia Supreme Court. Justice Hines gave an encouraging word to all who were in attendance. Justice Hines spoke to the crowd, reminding them that they were his "heroes" as they were the ones doing the very difficult work of caring for children in tough circumstances. He also encouraged the participants not to be jaded, but to look at each circumstance as hopeful and having potential.

In addition to the keynote, Mr. Ross Collins, Region 3 Director of the Division of Family and Children Services shared the positive outcomes of recent collaboration between the region's care providers and DFCS.

The event was co-hosted by Goshen Valley and WellStar Health System.


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No child should ever have to live with the burdens caused by abuse and neglect. Thanks to all of the incredible leaders who joined us to raise awareness and support to end child abuse as well as those who support our efforts to transform those stories of burden into stories of blessing.

If you want to learn more about how you can help put an end to the abuse of children in our state, you can find more information from our partners at the Division of Family and Children's Services.


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A Day in the Life of a Goshen Valley House Parent

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a house parent? It’s something a lot of people who support Goshen Valley are curious about, but often times, they don’t want to offend anyone by asking…

While culture and society may paint a picture that a day in the life of a foster parent includes a life solely devoted to cooking and cleaning, the reality is completely different. Just like traditional parenting, being a house parent can be the most challenging job in the world, but it is also the most rewarding. Our house parents get to experience the thrill of seeing young men grow and develop into young adults ready to embark on their own.

A Day in the Life of a Goshen Valley House Parent

Andy & Susan Forde have served as house parents for just over 3 years. The way they love our young men and help guide them through such a crucial stage in their life is incredibly inspirational. Today, Andy shares what a typical “day in the life” of a house parent at Goshen Valley is like:

“If you’ve ever considered going into mission’s work of some sort, you owe it to yourself to consider House-parenting. Who knew? You get a chance to work with some pretty great kids, change lives forever, build relationships that will last many, many years and go to bed at night knowing you’ve made a difference. That’s what Susan and I do on a daily basis….

Not that it’s all a bed of roses but like life itself, it is what you make of it. There are days on end that you’re faced with disappointment after disappointment. Just when you’re about to make a break-through, some kid will do something that makes you want to throw in the towel and give up. Then when you sit down to discuss the situation with the child, he or she tells you a story, a story from their past. A story that you never dreamed any child should have to tell. It’s those times that you realize why it is that you do what you do.

So many times it’s not what you say that counts. It’s just that you care enough to listen. We’re called to carry one another’s burdens. It’s what we do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

One of the things we always say around the Ranch is that Goshen Valley is only as strong as the community that surrounds it… But that statement is especially true of the incredible men and women who have devoted their lives to being house parents. These couples stand on the front lines of the fight to help our young men change their stories from a life of burden to a life of blessing. They work long and hard, navigating a path that is often filled with obstacles that would stop a less determined person. It is the nature of their jobs and the character that marks their personalities.


Thank you to all the incredible house parents who serve our young men so well at Goshen Valley:

  • Chuck & Cindy Russell

  • Andy & Susan Forde

  • Chad & Morgan Kirk

  • Don & Karen Baines

  • Joshua & Julie Voyles


And our respite house parents:

  • Edd & Nancy Frizzell

  • Merrill & Elaine Morris

  • Bill & Olga Lesko

Principal Debra Murdock Receives Community Spirit Award

At its Annual Meeting held on March 22, Goshen Valley announced Cherokee High School Principal Debra Murdock as the recipient of the inaugural Goshen Valley Community Service Award. The award was established to honor individuals who have given unreservedly of themselves, their time, and their talents to support the youth of Goshen Valley.

“Mrs. Murdock has taken the time to get to know Goshen Valley, catching the vision and then taking the message to the community,” said Goshen Valley executive director, John Blend. “Debra has brought groups of students to the Ranch as part of her leadership initiative and she advocates for Goshen Valley in the Cherokee county school system and the community.”

The Georgia Association of Secondary Schools recently named Murdock, Georgia’s High School Principal of the Year. As principal of Cherokee High School, Debra has led the school with care and compassion while fostering continuous improvement, focused on personalization, collaboration, and a strong effort in instruction.

“Debra is constantly sharing the message that there is a place for Georgia’s children that is making a difference,” adds Bend. “That place is Goshen Valley.”