A Letter from our Founder...

With the end of the year approaching and our need for giving growing with the holidays, our founder, John Blend, sent a letter to our donors. We wanted to share it with you, our Goshen Family.

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Friends,

I was raised a Lutheran. Sunday School, acolyte, Boy Scout, Little League, Luther League, on to a Lutheran college. My dad took the same train every day, my mom was at home. I was in the inaugural Baby Boomer batch.

In 1966, the summer of my sophomore year in college, I studied Latin American literature at the National University of Mexico, in Mexico City, DF. When not in class, I worked in a jewelry factory near the University. Over the summer, I volunteered at a Catholic orphanage in the suburbs of Mexico City. The orphans were “thalidomide babies”, born with no arms. I brought broken jewelry from the factory to the orphanage and the kids were paid to restring the broken necklaces with their feet and toes. When I came back to the States that fall, I would try to send the Mother Superior $20 when I could.

Thus came the seeds of Goshen Valley.

Twenty years ago, having spent the years prior riding horses and teaching my daughter to drive our old Jeep, God woke the seeds brought from the hills of Mexico City, and led the Blends to welcoming hurting kids and servant families to Goshen Valley. We established the Goshen Valley Foundation in 1998, and gifted Goshen Valley back to Christ.

Over these past 2 decades, the Goshen Family has listened, learned, and executed. A dear preacher friend observed some years ago that he preferred if Goshen would pray, not plan, as the story has already been written. There’s wisdom there.

So, what is in store for Goshen? If the past is the prelude, we will continue to serve. Our community will continue to sacrifice at our side and on our behalf. We will hope that our Father is pleased with the sanctuary He has given us.

In a coming note, Zach will share more about where Goshen is heading in the future. For now, I want to thank you for your role in the past 20 years of Goshen. We believe God has made the world a more welcoming place for the youth who have called Goshen Valley home, and for that, we thank you.

With love and much gratitude,

John Blend


Georgia Teenworks at Goshen Valley

Georgia TeenWorks program giving Georgia's foster youth at Goshen a boost for success.

 

TeenWorks is a program run by the state where foster youth age 16-18 get to gain valuable work experience. While these teens are supervised and trained by a local employer, they are paid by Georgia. This allows foster youth to gain work experience and build both their resumes and their potential career pathways. 

We interviewed two of these Goshen youth who spent this summer working at the Boys & Girls Club and R&D Mechanical Services

Edward had the opportunity to work for the Malon D. Mims Boys & Girls Cub this summer.  Edward, says, “They provide an introduction to the workforce. It has helped me prepare and save for college, while also learning several new skills. I learned how to interact with my boss and be respectful. It bettered my relationships and made me more efficient in helping me save for college.”

Tyler says the best part of Teenworks this year for him was, “getting to work with R&D Mechanical. I got to learn a lot and had new options open up for my future that I never would have known about.” He says to R&D, “Thank you for letting me work with you this summer, and giving me the opportunity to create a new life goal… I know I’ve got the knowledge and skill set to start a career in HVAC.”

It’s this kind of forward-thinking and education that will help foster youth at Goshen grow to be successful young adults as they grow out of our care. We are not only looking to better these kid’s present situation, but also their future. 

Both boys had parting messages for their employers and for the TeenWorks program. Edward says, “TeenWorks taught me to save my money for the things I want, and the things I will soon be held responsible for as an adult. Learning how to save and manage my money will be crucial when going through the medical school process and managing finances for the rest of my life.” Tyler Woody said “Thank you for letting me work with you this summer, and giving me the opportunity to create a new life goal.”

We are so proud of our youth and thankful for our employment partners who set our teenage youth up for lifelong thriving success!


2019 Graduations!

9 Goshen Graduates!

 

Only 50% of foster youth graduate high school*. Not at Goshen. This year our young men and women went 9 for 9! We are incredibly proud of the hard work that these 9 have put into their studies, and we are confident that because of your investment, they have brighter futures ahead of them.

Since you were part of their success, and will hopefully be part of their future with a graduation gift, we wanted to share the celebration!

 

Not pictured: "K" is still 17 and cannot have his image shared. He graduated from Cherokee High School and is on the path towards veterinary school.

These 9 amazing stories are only possible because people like you have decided to invest in our kids. You have given them a chance at lifelong thriving independence, and you have forever shaped their lives.

Would you consider investing further in their futures with a graduation gift to Goshen Valley? Your donation will equip these 9 for the transition into thriving independence.

Thank you for being part of the Goshen Story! We couldn't do it without you!

 

Give a Graduation Gift to Goshen

 

 

*50% graduation rate statistic from https://www.nfyi.org/issues/education/

 


2017 Year End Review


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.


Eagle Scout Project- New Ranch Signage!

 

Last fall, the Barnfield family came to serve at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch through Woodstock City Church’s “Be Rich” campaign. They all were inspired by their day of service. Just as we always hope, they became interested in getting more involved.

A few months later, Connor Barnfield began planning his Eagle Scout project. He decided to help out Goshen Valley, and through discussions with Zach, he decided to create new signage for the Ranch. This has been a significant need for Goshen Valley over the past several years, but with limited manpower and funding, it had not yet happened.

We expected something along the lines of plywood signs with painted logos and directions. Connor decided to take this project to a far greater level of excellence. He researched the best materials to use and found a highly resistant polycarbonate structure that will last much longer than wood. He found a CNC Router to engrave our logos and writings with perfection. Connor and his family then took hours detailing and painting the engravings to look phenomenal on the white signs.

On Saturday, Connor brought his family and 14 additional volunteers to the Ranch. We worked for six hours installing seven signs all around the Ranch. Connor even came back on Sunday to touch up a few spots and install an improved border on the entrance sign.

This is not the first Eagle Scout project to take place on the Ranch, and with several other aspiring Eagle Scout’s in attendance serving Saturday we are excited to welcome more going forward!

Goshen Valley is incredibly thankful for the excellent signs made by Connor Barnfield for his Eagle Scout project. Thank you to Woodstock City Church, The Boy Scouts, all of the volunteers involved, Tony and Missy Barnfield, and most of all to Connor Barnfield for the excellent work. Goshen is better because of people like you.


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:


Summer Needs: Comfort Kits and More

As summer approaches, Goshen Valley has a variety of ways that you can help our youth have an amazing summer break! We are highlighting “Comfort Kits” as a special current need, and we also have several other ways your small group, business, or family can partner with Goshen in this season.

Goshen Valley Boys Ranch is in need of six comfort kits. These kits are designed to help our boys feel at home during what can be a tough transition into foster care. Many of our boys have trouble sleeping, and we want to provide each house with a kit that can help. If your family or small group would like to put one together please let us know.

Suggested items:
Soft blankets
Sound machines
Lava lamps
Clock radios
Night lights
Essential Oils
Diffusers
Stuffed animals that shine stars on ceiling
Plush pillows
Weighted blankets

In addition to this special current need, below are additional ways that you can partner with Goshen over the summer to help our boys have an amazing summer break!

Summer needs:
Meals delivered to homes
Off campus rec trips for a house or the whole Ranch
Access to water activities (invite a house to your pool, take a house to the lake, etc)
Pressure wash a house
Paint a deck
Soccer goals
Kayaks
Paddles
Life jackets
Gift cards to use as event prizes

For more information, or to commit to one of the listed items, please email Evan Ingram: [email protected]


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!


"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.