Goshen Graduates- Defying the Odds

  • The statistics show that only 50% of youth in foster care will receive a high school diploma.
  • Only 10% of former foster youth will attend college.

Graduating high school is an accomplishment to be celebrated for any teenager, but especially for youth in foster care. We want to highlight the youth in our care that have achieved this great milestone while being away from their parents and family support. We are extremely proud of each of them and the next steps they are making! Each graduate is attending college and continuing to grow with peace and purpose.

Your investment into Goshen Valley has made a way for these young people to succeed. Every gift given was utilized to surround them with the safety of a home, love of a family and hope for the future. We hope you enjoy seeing the fruits of your support!

If you would like to participate in the $50 for 5 campaign you can give a special gift in honor of our graduates below:


Fishing Rodeo

We had an incredible time at the Fishing Rodeo on Saturday! First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Renesant Bank, and Allstar Financial Group led the charge on an incredible outing for our boys. “The event was great! The boys caught over 380 fish!” says Donald Rampley. "It was exciting to see some of these young men catch a fish for the first time."

The fishing rodeo took place in Rockmart, Georgia at a private lake owned by Allstar Financial Group. There were multiple stations where groups of our boys rotated throughout the day. Adult volunteers from FBCW guided our boys at each station, ensuring each one had a great time and caught as many fish as possible.

“Every boy at the Ranch caught a fish, the volunteers made sure of it,” says Scott Gaither, house parent supervisor at the Ranch. “The event is one of the highlights of the year! Last year was great, but this year was even better!

One of our boys who had never been fishing before absolutely loved the experience. “It was the first time I ever went fishing, and I caught six fish!” He now has a new fishing pole and is excited to try again soon.

The fishing rodeo was an incredible day for our boys, and we are very grateful for everyone who played a role in making it happen!


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.


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.

 


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.

TreysGraduation

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!

 

 

 


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.


Chase's Story

Picture a 7-year-old boy. He has a younger sister. This child grew up watching his parents physically assault each other over anything from bills, to the despair of poverty, to lack of food. The father is addicted to drugs and very abusive to his mom and two children. His mom is angry and is also addicted to drugs. She has no ability to provide for her children. This young boy’s dad goes to jail, and the young boy and his sister go to live with his mom’s parents.

Still amidst turmoil, the family moved around. The young boy’s mother eventually left her two children to live with a friend. He secretly worried about who would take care of him.

A step-grandmother took in the boy and his sister. For 2 years, things seemed stable, until the step-grandmother’s 18-year-old stepson moved into the home with then. Terrible things happened because of this, and the children’s lives were altered forever. The step-grandmother did what she could and moved out with the two young children. They were homeless and spent time in a women’s shelter before the grandmother realized that she could not care for the children any longer.

That morning, they were dropped off at a Department of Family and Children Services office. They cried, not wanting to leave her, but she had no choice. This young boy and his sister were separated and, over the next several years, were moved around to 16 different foster families.

Due to the struggle and significant trauma that he faced this young boy, now a young man, grew deeply hurt. He disrupted his foster home placements until he was 14. His case worker, wanting to see some significant change, took him to a group home: Goshen Valley. This was when his healing began.

This young boy, Chase, is now 21-years-old. He has lived at Goshen Valley since he was 14. Through the safety and stability, love and purpose he received, Chase graduated high school in 2011 and is a sophomore at Reinhardt University. He is in foster care leadership positions and helps other young men to remain strong and find their purpose while in foster care. Chase is still connected to his family, especially his sister, but has found his identity is truly found in his faith and triumphs.

Watch Below Her Mouth (2017) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download