Goshen Valley Trees

Brasfield & Gorrie at Goshen Valley

Brasfield & Gorrie at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch

In June of 2022 Brasfield & Gorrie, the 2021 ENR Contractor of the Year, spent two weeks at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch to complete construction on several important improvements and maintenance at the Ranch.

Brasfield & Gorrie at Goshen Valley

Brasfield & Gorrie is an industry leader in the construction space, and in 2021, their Atlanta team chose Goshen Valley as their nonprofit partner of the year for 2021 and 2022. They work on a wide range of project types, from aerospace, to healthcare, to sports and much more. More importantly than their projects, their “purpose is building exceptional people, trusting relationships, great projects, and strong communities.” Brasfield & Gorrie has gone above and beyond to fulfill that mission at Goshen Valley. 

Goshen Valley serves over 110 foster youth and many families in the North Atlanta region across four programs. Goshen Valley Boys Ranch was the first program founded, located on 160+ acres in Waleska, GA. Home to 40 young men in foster care, The Ranch was founded to provide the safety of a home, love of a family, and hope for a future to the kids that call The Ranch home.

With large acreage to care for including six homes and other facilities, the Facilities Director at Goshen Valley, Josh Williamson, has a long list of projects to work on. Over the past two weeks, his list got a lot smaller - thanks to Brasfield & Gorrie.

Over the past two weeks, Brasfield & Gorrie sent their summer internship group and multiple superintendents to oversee the completion of many needed projects at Goshen Valley. Brasfield & Gorrie donated all time and materials to complete the following projects:
  • A Horse Barn
  • Back Deck of the Administration building
  • Re-leveling front porch of the Administration building
  • Pond Renovation for recreational use
    • Grading at Pond
    • Hardscaping pathway to pond
    • Laying riprap at pond
  • Finishing the recreational Creekside Trail
  • Re-building 3 bridges at the Creekside Chapel
  • Grading field by baseball diamond
  • Grading the road to the top fishing lake
  • Spreading gravel over creekside trail and chapel
  • Building staircase behind the James House to make the top level accessible
  • Fixing horse fences
  • Clearing brush
  • Donating leftover materials worth over $5,000

Maintenance Director at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, Josh Williamson, knows best how this will impact not only The Ranch, but also the boys in foster care who call Goshen home.

In total it would take me over a year with the budget, staff, and equipment I have access to, to do what Brasfield & Gorrie has done in two weeks. The impact Brasfield & Gorrie has had on our facilities here at the Ranch will be felt for years to come by our staff and, more importantly, the boys we serve. In addition, opportunities for teaching our young men were created by having Brasfield on site as they demonstrated excellence in quality and safety, as well as demonstrating a healthy working environment. Opportunities like this do not have a price tag.” - Josh Williamson, Director of Facilities at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch.

As a community, we want to thank Brasfield & Gorrie for going above and beyond to be servant leaders and to be an integral partner for Goshen Valley. The foster youth in care at Goshen are better for it, and our community is stronger even still.

Pond renovations at Goshen Valley Boys RanchHorse barn by Brasfield and Gorrie at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch


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. 


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.

____________________________________________________________________

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]