An Interview with Claire Parker

Claire Parker has been in the role of Therapeutic Case Manager with Goshen Homes for six months. Her responsibilities include establishing a relationship with the children when they come into care, helping ensure a smooth transition into Goshen Homes and helping foster families get the support they need. Some of the support she provides are supervised visits, transportation help with kids, along with communication and emotional support through the journey of fostering.

When asked what she loves about working for Goshen Valley she said, “It is the passion for the work we do. It always goes back to the children that we serve and it is evident everyone’s heart is in the right place.”

Claire is very hands on in her role and always shows great care to the families and children she serves. One of the most fulfilling parts of her job is visiting with our Goshen Homes families and watching the children interact in their new environment. She said, “you can see the good fit and connection between the two and it makes me love my job!” It is a unique process for the children and foster families when they begin to integrate into foster care. Claire is able to be there with the child from day one and beyond. She is a first-hand witness to the amazing transformation that takes place.

Being a case manager comes with its trials but the “wins” make up for the difficulties. From Claire’s experience she said that the most amazing thing is seeing God’s hand at work in placing the kids where they need to be. Our team works hard to make the right decisions in placement but Claire said time and time again we see that “the kids always land where they are supposed to land.”
We are incredibly thankful for the way Claire serves and loves the youth in our care!


Goshen New Beginnings- A Story to Celebrate!

Goshen New Beginnings is our independent living program, helping youth in foster care find their purpose as they age into adulthood. Here is a story about Janesha, our first Goshen Valley female. She is in the final phase of the GNB program and we want to celebrate her growth into adulthood.

When Janesha came to our program she was very behind academically due to constant instability and the lack of good, consistent schooling. Despite her difficult start, Janesha recently obtained her certification as a state approved nursing assistant! Before passing the certification exam, when taking the CNA course, Janesha would host nightly study groups to ensure her and her classmates passed the daily quizzes. She was already showing the servant leadership we seek to build in our youth at Goshen Valley. After a lot of hard work she was able to buy a new car in December and started to look for a job in the healthcare field.

Not only did Janesha overcome the educational hurdles that were in her way, she also obtained a full time job. She excitedly called Jenny Harris, GNB Executive Director to share the news. She told Jenny, “Miss Jenny, I got a full-time job as a live in house parent working with adults who have Down’s Syndrome. Can you believe it Miss Jenny? I am now just like one of the Goshen staff!” Goshen Valley is so proud of Janesha and her continued efforts to thrive in her new role as an adult caregiver. Janesha’s boss has already reported that she is so caring and works hard each day to make sure she does her job with perfection.

Janesha’s story is one of overcoming the burden of setbacks in life that were outside of her control, to experiencing the blessing of being a successful and accomplished young adult. She is now passing on the blessing she received by helping others.

 


"Whatever the work is, we want in."

Every year we join Woodstock City Church to host a series of service days called “Be Rich”. “Be Rich” is a Woodstock City Church initiative non-profits around Atlanta for several Saturdays of “Give. Serve. Love.” And we are blessed to partner with them. The fruit of this ministry partnership is seen in the wonderful people that connect to the mission of Goshen Valley and serve with us year round.

There is a small group from WCC that regularly sponsors our young men to go play paintball for an off campus recreation activity. Earlier this month this group approached the house dad of the Hope House, Josh Voyles, where most of our older kids live asking if they wanted to join a serving opportunity. There is a woman at WCC whose husband recently passed away from a heart attack while mountain biking at only 36 years old. This tragedy left her to take care of their two young children. The group asked if Josh if they would like to come help remodel her bathroom and pressure wash the house in an effort to help her get the home in better condition before they sell it. Before Josh could tell the boys the whole story they stopped him and said, “Whatever the work is, we want in.”

Our Goshen Valley staff and youth always amaze us with their uncommon kindness. “Whatever the work is, we want in” sounds a lot like “Here I am Lord, send me.” We are grateful for the moments where the light of Christ shines through the work of Goshen. Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our ministry.


Uncommon Kindness- The Goshen Good Samaritan

Goshen Valley believes they have the best staff on the planet and love to brag on them any chance we can. One of our respite parents, Mike Lind, showed an act of uncommon and extraordinary kindness recently.

Monday Jan 30 around 8:30 am Mike was driving along Salacoa Rd. when he saw what looked like a car down an embankment. In a situation where most people would’ve convinced themselves it was nothing, Mike pulled over to check it out. He parked and saw a car that had crashed into a tree. It looked like no one was there, but he called out and heard a mumbled voice respond.

Mike ran to the car and saw a baby in a car seat in the back. He broke out the remainder of the window and got the baby to a safe spot. He was unable to get the driver out, as he was delirious and trapped by a crushed car door. He was losing blood quickly. Mike flagged down a truck passing by and had them rush to highway 140 and call 911, as neither had cell reception at their current location. Mike held and calmed the baby until paramedics arrived and rushed the driver to the hospital.

Later that day Mike seemed fine overall but his hand was a bit cut up from the glass of the window. He was very worried about whether that baby's dad was going to survive, and he doubted that he would even make it to the hospital. He said that the driver is alive and well, and that baby girl is perfectly fine as well. Had Mike thought that his schedule was too important to stop, or had he convinced himself that it probably wasn't a car down there, this man very likely would be dead. I cannot think of a better real-life example of the Good Samaritan Jesus talked about.


An Interview with Stacy Cooper

Stacy Cooper is the executive director of the Goshen Valley Boys Ranch. She describes her role as “overseeing the quality of care, operations, and safety of both the boys and our staff.” She has been with Goshen for over three years and has done incredible work in advancing care for our boys as well as staff longevity and satisfaction.

I asked Stacy what she loved most about working at Goshen. She gave two answers that would not surprise anyone who has seen her passionate endeavors at the Ranch. First she said “getting to know the staff and serving in ministry together.” We would be hard pressed to find any Ranch employees who have not felt the deep love and intentional care Stacy gives freely to her staff. Her second answer is even more obvious, and 46 boys could attest to it each day. “Of course the boys. They are absolutely precious.” When asked about her favorite aspect of working with the boys, Stacy elaborated that she loves being with them when things are not going well. “You can come out of it with a deeper relationship and show them that even when things are bad you will be there for them.” This mindset and practice is profoundly powerful for youth who have found themselves in foster care.

I then asked Stacy about her favorite memory during the past three years at Goshen. It was obvious that her mind was filled with story after story of love and transformation; Peace and Purpose changing the heart and direction of so many youth. She said that she absolutely loves seeing a boy exceed in ways that others would have thought impossible. She told of a boy she interviewed on his first day at Goshen. He was overly anxious and kept apologizing. He couldn’t look anyone in the eye or sit still. He asked what kind of clothes hangers we used at the Ranch. Stacy felt an immediate connection with this boy, and through the years she has watched him transform.

“He had never felt free at home. One day I saw him running laps around the football field, and every time he passed by he excitedly said ‘Hey Mrs. Stacy!’ He learned how to ride a bike at the Ranch at age 13. Everything was so new to him. He saw the world open up. He even got a girlfriend.” Stacy says he brought a note from her home and was so excited to share the good news with her. Last year he went to a Braves game and rode with Stacy and two other staff members. She said that in his sleep deprived state at 1:30 he was “goofing off, laughing, singing, and laying his head on my shoulder. This is a level of freedom he never knew before arriving at Goshen. He thinks of the Ranch as his family, and here he has experienced the world and grown up so much.”

The love and acceptance Stacy gives so freely have impacted the lives of so many youth and will continue to do so for years to come. We cannot thank Stacy enough for the work she does every day serving both our staff and the youth in care at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch.