Goshen Leadership Academy Founding Class of 2022

Congratulations to our graduates of the first ever Goshen Leadership Academy.

Goshen Leadership Academy was founded to provide emerging leaders at Goshen Valley with an all-encompassing view of what it takes to be a leader. We covered topics from finance to strategic planning all within the framework of Mission, Margin, Morale, and Compliance. 

Goshen Valley CEO, Zach Blend, says, “With Goshen's growth over the past decade, including the opening of three new agencies, our footprint has expanded significantly. I felt it was important that we find ways for our emerging leaders to stay connected to one another and to each other's mission. The creation of Goshen Academy established such a platform for consistent collaboration across agencies. We're thrilled with the positive feedback that we have received from those that were chosen to participate and look forward to extending the opportunity to another class of participants sometime in the future."

Our 2022 Graduating Class:

Gabby Brumfield - Goshen Homes Program Director

Molly Phillips - Human Resources Assistant

Sarah Palmer - Goshen Therapeutic Services Clinical Supervisor

Giselle Francis - Goshen New Beginnings Program Director

Anthony Hall - Goshen New Beginnings Life Coach

Chuck Russell - Goshen New Beginnings

Courtney Argo - Goshen Therapeutic Services Program Manager

Kristy Pastush - Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Medical Coordinator

Megan Cortland - Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Program Director

Jamie Crews - Goshen Homes Case Management Supervisor

Caitlin Brunson - Marketing and Community Engagement Coordinator

Kathleen Bradley - Goshen Homes Home Licensing Supervisor

 

Goshen Valley Chief of Staff, Chris Thomas, who led the Leadership Academy initiative, says, “I am so proud of this group of emerging leaders. Over the past year they have learned not only how to be better leaders, but more importantly they have learned more about themselves and what they bring to the mission of Goshen Valley. Goshen’s ability to continue to grow and thrive is greatly enhanced by the talent of this group.”

Finally, as with all things Goshen, our key community partners were front and center in this effort.  Goshen is appreciative of the community partners who took the time to share their experience and leadership experience with our class, including:

Dr. Debra Murdock - Chief Operating Officer, Cherokee County School District

Melissa Lindh - Global CFO, Universal Alloy Corporation

Kevin Williams - Chick-fil-A Operator

Rennie Curran - University of Georgia Football Alumni

Julie Carter - Cherokee County CASA

Brooke Ford - Cherokee County DFCS Director

Mark Roberts - President, Reinhardt University

Nathan Castleberry - Lead Pastor, Local Church Canton

Peter McGaffigan, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Private Bank/Goshen Board Chairman

Bryan Apinis - Director of Intersect Project, North Point Community Church

Jordyn Davis, Intersect Coordinator, Woodstock City Church

Meg Davidson, Community Relations Director, Woodstock City Church

 

Goshen is proud to have these emerging leaders on our team working for the foster youth in our care. Congratulations Goshen Leadership Academy!


Goshen Valley Trees

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." 


Goshen Valley Trees

Brasfield & Gorrie selects Goshen Valley as Nonprofit Partner of the Year

Brasfield & Gorrie selects Goshen Valley as Nonprofit Partner for their 2021-2022 Fall Fundraiser

After a month-long process which began with 13 nonprofit applicants, Brasfield & Gorrie has selected Goshen Valley to be their partner for their 2021 and 2022 fall fundraisers. This event and partnership have historically raised around $250,000 per year to support the chosen nonprofit’s mission.

As of 2019, Goshen launched a new program to target root cause issues surrounding foster care, providing mental health and therapy services to families at risk of experiencing a foster care placement in the future. This funding will allow Goshen Valley to scale this program and serve far more vulnerable families.    

Zach Blend, CEO of Goshen Valley, says, This is an exciting time in the life of Goshen Valley. As our direct care work with Georgia’s foster children enters its 23rd year, we are equally excited about the positive influence we can also have through serving at-risk families preventively. The support raised by Brasfield & Gorrie and their subcontractors will fund the progression of Goshen Therapeutic Services throughout the state’s northwest region. Our intention is to continue to serve foster children within our three operating agencies to the very best of our ability while being mindful of the root cause matters that create the need for such services. Easy access to therapy, family counseling and other support services is the first step in that process.”

This year Brasfield & Gorrie instituted a new process to select their nonprofit partner of the year. Thirteen non-profits were invited to complete an application, and five were selected to present to a leadership committee. The group was then narrowed down to three, and an employee vote determined the winner. Goshen Valley received 53% of the employee votes in this process. 

“In addition to the financial support our employees and trade contractors will provide, we will participate in service days on Goshen’s Ranch campus. We love getting our hands dirty,” said Brent Perkins, director of personal development at Brasfield & Gorrie. Perkins led the selection committee.

“At Brasfield & Gorrie we believe in building strong communities. We love being a blessing to others. Goshen’s work with boys in the foster care system, the therapeutic services offered to families, and their increasing focus on root cause education for families all line up with our values. We are excited to be a partner with Goshen Valley!” - Brent Perkins

Zach Blend compared residential foster care to running a construction business, but one where you can only build on the site of a previous catastrophe. “We do great work in residential care, but we also want to focus on root-cause. We want to stabilize families before the building collapses. This funding will allow us to expand our work in ways that will keep families strong before a foster care placement occurs. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Brasfield & Gorrie, and we are confident that many families will be strengthened and rescued as a direct result of this partnership.”

About Brasfield & Gorrie

Founded in 1964, Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms, providing general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for a wide variety of markets. We are skilled in construction best practices, including virtual design and construction, integrated project delivery, and Lean construction, but we are best known for our preconstruction and self-perform expertise and exceptional client service. Brasfield & Gorrie has 12 offices and more than 3,200 employees. Our 2020 revenues were $3.9 billion. Engineering News-Record ranks Brasfield & Gorrie 22nd among the nation’s “Top 400 Contractors” for 2020. Brasfield & Gorrie is ENR Southeast's 2021 Contractor of the Year.


Goshen Valley Community Wellness Center

Goshen Valley Community Wellness Center

January 11, 2020 Ribbon Cutting

Goshen Valley Boy's Ranch held their ribbon cutting of the Goshen Community Wellness Center (The Well) on Saturday January 11, 2020. 135 community members who purchased bricks to help fund the facility joined for the celebration. 

As guests arrived at The Well, crowds formed outside as people searched for their bricks among the 304 custom bricks at the entrance. After getting their free t-shirts and Chick-Fil-A, guests congregated in the gymnasium for a celebration ceremony. Evan Ingram welcomed the guests and thanked them for their donations. Rachel Blend prayed over the facility and those who made it possible. Zach Blend thanked all who made this facility possible. Matthew Moring, Goshen alumni and US Military Veteran, shared his gratitude for all those who are helping boys like him experience a home and a family. 

As a surprise within the ceremony, the 2020 Goshen Spirit Award was presented to Paul and Julie Freudenstein. Paul has been a board member since the beginning of Goshen Valley, and his assistance was foundational to the construction of The Well.

To conclude the ceremony Goshen decided to mix things up. Since The Well could not have been built debt-free without the help of every person in attendance, Goshen decided to ditch the ceremonial giant scissors and give a pair of scissors to every guest in attendance. All at once, 135 guests who had purchased a brick and made The Well possible cut the ribbon together. 

Goshen Alumni, Matthew Moring put it better than we ever could...

"Someone told me earlier that this building has limits. I don't see this (the Well) as a building. I see the heart of Goshen Valley here, and the heart of Goshen Valley does not have limits."

For decades to come, the Goshen Community Wellness Center will provide the foster youth at Goshen Valley Boy's Ranch with a place to play, to learn, and to grow. But more importantly, The Well will be a place for our kids to call home for the rest of their lives.

Goshen Valley would like to thank all who support our kids and made the construction of this facility possible. The youth who live at Goshen will be forever impacted by your generosity. 


Goshen hosts 7th annual Cherokee Child Welfare Luncheon presented by Northside Hospital Cherokee

Goshen hosts the 7th annual Cherokee Child Welfare Luncheon presented by Northside Hospital Cherokee.

On Thursday Sept 19, over 275 community leaders in child welfare came together for the 7th annual Cherokee Child Welfare Luncheon, presented by Northside Hospital-Cherokee. This year’s event was headlined by Tom Rawlings, state director of DFCS, and we were also joined by Miss Georgia 2019 Victoria Hill.

Ike Reighard of Must Ministries opened the day with a prayer and an update on Must’s recent State of Hope grant. They were awarded these funds in an effort to service families preventatively, with the aim of fewer youth entering in to foster care.

Victoria Hill, Miss Georgia 2019, shared her passion for assisting girls in foster care, and told those in attendance how she plans to use her platform this year to help foster youth. Victoria then sang “A Horse with Wings,” a song she says could have been written from the perspective of a child in foster care. Victoria will be competing in the Miss America pageant on December 19th.

Zach Blend, CEO of Goshen Valley, then shared an update on Goshen Valley. He shared that Goshen has launched our fourth agency; Goshen Therapeutic Services. This agency is designed to strengthen and restore families through licensed, comprehensive therapeutic services. The aim of this program is to provide services both to families who have already lost their children to foster care, and also strengthen those at risk of losing their children. Zach also gave an update on the Goshen Community Wellness Center, set to open in November on site at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, and shared the story of the 9 high school graduates from Goshen Valley in May 2019.

Brooke Ford, Director of Cherokee County DFCS, provided an update on our local DFCS office. Brooke shared that their after hours team is fully staffed, they have hired 18 new case managers this year, and that employee retention is an important focus for their team. Brooke also shared a video of their employees sharing stories of why they choose to live, work, and play in Cherokee County.

Tom Rawlings, State Director of the Division of Family and Children Services, shared about his work and priorities as the head of DFCS. He said his main goal in office is to improve the support of the frontline workers. He wants frontline DFCS workers to be seen as heroes in the same light as nurses, firefighters, teachers, and other professions are in the eyes of the community. He stated that this change will reduce turnover and improve safety and outcomes for the youth served by DFCS.

This year, 2 Goshen Spirit Awards were given to community leaders who have gone above and beyond to serve the vulnerable children of our community. The first was given to Deidre Hollands, former leader of Cherokee County CASA. Deidre served for 19 years and founded CASA in Cherokee County. She led the campaign to build the Children’s Haven visitation center across from Cherokee High School that serves to reunite and restore families. The second award went to Ronnie Reece who this year retired from a full career working security in the Cherokee County Court. Ronnie is a much-beloved member of our community who is highly deserving of this award.

The program concluded with all in attendance reciting Our Cherokee Commitment, a pledge recited at the event each year. Goshen Valley would like to thank all who attended and made this event such a success. More pictures from the event can be found on Goshen Valley’s Facebook page.


Guns and Hoses 5k

Come run at our first fundraiser of 2019!

  Its not too late to join Team Hoses in the 2019 Guns & Hoses 5k! This Saturday morning the race will begin at 8am at Hobgood Park.

Online registration is closed, but you can sign up at the event this Saturday. We encourage check or cash at the registration table.

Saturday is our one great weather day in the coming forecast- a perfect day to run!
Team Hoses Benefits:
Like free T-shirts?

Recruit 5 friends who haven't run on Team Hoses before and we will send you a Goshen Valley Peace & Purpose Tshirt! Once your group is signed up reply to this email with group info and shirt size.

Thank you to the Cherokee County Fire Department for partnering with Goshen Valley, lets win our 4th in a row!

Mandela Washington Fellowship Returns to Goshen

Last year, we had the incredible honor of hosting the Mandela Washington Fellows at the Ranch. We had an amazing experience and were thrilled about these new relationships (click here to read more). This year was no different. Hosting the Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF) at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch brought forth laughter, learning and life-long lessons.

The MWF program was founded by President Obama in 2014. It is now run by the State Department. Each year 200 African leaders age 25-35 are invited to come study in American universities for six weeks. The experience culminates in a week long leadership summit in Washington D.C. Because Goshen Valley is ranked as Georgia’s top child welfare provider, MWF wanted to come back to the Ranch for a day of learning about child welfare practice, teambuilding, and experience sharing.

When the MWF group arrived, we knew it was going to be a day of joy. We started the day with an informal meeting. Our Founder, John Blend, and our CEO, Zach Blend, shared about our history and stories. We then moved into our Team Building activities led by senior consultant Mike Angstadt. There was singing, dancing, storytelling and prayer. The MWF group left Goshen Valley equipped with new tools for both leading teams and providing opportunities for youth in need in their home countries.

The session then led to a hayride tour of the Ranch, where the MWF group was able to have a true southern lunch provided by Four41 South BBQ in each of the homes. In the homes, the groups interacted with our house parents and youth. Both parties were asking questions about cultures, interests, education, and language. We saw a group of African Leaders ministering to our youth, and in return, the boys hanging on every word they said.

In a world that can be filled with debates, arguments and differences, children and adults of different cultures came together to share their similarities and to learn about each other’s lives.

The joy shown among the youth and the African leaders is precisely the type of character the world needs to see. The picturesque way the groups interacted was simply beautiful. The African leaders high-fived the youth after a great shot on the soccer field and offered them encouragement. The youth and leaders sang songs together and strummed on the guitar. These are the types of moments that are etched deep within the memory of all who saw.

We hope you catch a glimpse of the day in the video shot by Chandler Elder. We are incredibly thankful for all vendors involved, Georgia State University for choosing to partner with us, and especially to the 25 Mandela Fellows who shared the day with us.


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!


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.