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:


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.

 


What we are Most Proud of

One of our greatest honors is to watch young men and women who leave our care allow God to turn their difficult circumstances into fuel for a purposeful life that positively impacts our world. Today we celebrate!

Kevin Armour

US Marine Corps, Lance Corporal (2009-2013)
1812 Tank Crewman
Operation Enduring Freedom
Kuwait, Afghanistan

Kevin was at Goshen Valley from 2006-2008

 

Shawn Chapman, Active

US Marine Corps, Private First Class
0811 Artillery Cannonier

Shawn was at Goshen Valley from 2009-2010 and 2014-2016

 

Chase Chitwood, Active

US Marine Corps, E-3 Lance Corporal
3531 Motor Transportation Operator

Chase was at Goshen Valley for 8 years, from 2008-2015

 

Wade Godfrey, Active

US Navy, Petty Officer
3rd Rated Master at Arms

Wade was at Goshen Valley from 2007-2010 and 2014-2015

 

Geoffrey Laney, Active

US Marine Corps, Lance Corporal
1142 Mechanical Engineer

Geoff was at Goshen Valley for 6 years, from 2010-2015

 

John Metcalf, Active

US Army National Guard, 2nd Lieutenant

John was at Goshen Valley from 2008-2010

 

Matthew Moring, Active

US Marine Corps, Private First Class
0311 Infantryman

Matt was at Goshen Valley from 2008-2011

Today Goshen Valley is a vocational ministry to 4 veterans and 1 active National Guard Sergeant. We are so thankful that they have continued a lifetime of service from the armed forces to human services in foster care.

Chris Copeland

US Air Force, Staff Sergeant E5
2000-2006
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Chris has worked at Goshen Valley with his wife Lorissa since 2014 in the area of Facilities Director, respite parent and as a foster parent.

 

Spencer Doyle

US Marine Corps, E-5 Sergeant
1995-1999
Gulf War - Kuwait
USS ESSEX

Spencer has worked at Goshen Valley with his wife Keren since 2014 as a foster parent, facilities staff and respite parent.

 

Paul Drennan

US Marines, Military Police
1989-1992
Desert Shield/Desert Storm
1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Paul has worked at Goshen Valley since 2010 as a full-time respite parent with his wife Tanya and currently as Director of Placement Services.

 

Mike Lind

US Marines, Infantry Sergeant
Combined Arms Team
2001-2005
Front line invasion force for Operation Iraqi Freedom

Mike has worked at Goshen Valley with his wife Tina since 2015 as a respite parent.

 

Josh Voyes, Active

US Army National Guard, Sergeant
2011 to present
Heavy Equipment Mechanic

Josh has worked at Goshen Valley since 2013 as a house father in the Covenant House. He and his wife Julie are expecting their first child in March!


New Beginnings takes Savannah thanks to United Way funding

One way that Goshen Valley has partnered with the United Way is by participating in a collaborative as a Pathway Partner around Opportunity Youth. We have joined together with other community organizations to collaborate and establish pathways that integrate learning and work experiences which support and facilitate post-secondary education and career opportunities for at-risk and disconnected youth ages 16 to 24. The other collaborative organizations we are currently partnered with include Goodwill of North Georgia, Year Up, Carrie Steele Pitts Home, GA State University and Kennesaw State University.

Through the Atlanta Opportunity Youth Summer Innovation Grant, our New Beginnings youth were given the opportunity to journey to Savannah to learn about the challenges and triumphs of a community outside of their own.

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  Our team visited and volunteered at Second Harvest food pantry to learn how the organization served the community in collaboration with other local organizations such as Lighthouse Ministry.

 

 

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At Lighthouse Ministry, Program Director Giselle Espinal-Francis describes the experience,

"Our youth had so many great moments but one that stood out the most was when all the youth walked into Lighthouse Ministries, not realizing that none of the expected volunteers showed up. There was a line around the building of hungry babies and mother waiting to feed their families and get assistance. We were greeted by Ms. Linda, who shared that they were going to have to serve over 60 families without volunteers until we showed up. Our youth were able to help toddlers pick toys and clothing, while others were able to give hugs and smiles at the doors and they even witnessed a baptism. One of our youth named Janesha, was given the task of checking in the families for the clothing closet. When she left, she was so touched at how appreciative everyone was for the services they received that day. She left with a smile and thanked us for making all this possible."

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The youth got the opportunity to visit Tybee Beach. For many of them, not only was this their first time outside of the Atlanta area, but the firs time to see the ocean. Sierra Tabor, Residential Life Coach, reflected on the experience,

"The look on their faces was priceless. Just to know that I was able to share that moment with them was something I'll never forget."

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Youth also visited Greenbriar Children's Home to learn about how youth their age, in a similar circumstance, lived within a different program. The team went to First African Baptist Church, the oldest African American church in the United States.

In order to make the fullest impact, New Beginnings also held a "Home Trip." During this day, our youth visited a local food pantry to learn the similarities and differences between the one in Savannah and one at home. They also met with pastor Keith Norman of the Factory to discuss cultural and ethnic challenges that face our community today as a reflection on their visit to First African Baptist Church.

As a result of the trip, New Beginnings youth would like to start a toiletry pantry to assist struggling or homeless youth. Their eyes were opened to both the challenges and opportunities in a community beyond their own, and they were invited to take part in the solution. Thank you to the United Way for giving our youth a chance to learn, grow and change!


Mandela Washington Fellowship Visits Goshen Valley

America’s eyes have been locked in on St. Louis, Minnesota, and Dallas these past weeks – and rightly so. We cannot turn a blind eye to all that has taken place. This does not mean, however, that we must ignore the good and the beautiful taking place around us. Something incredibly good and beautiful happened Saturday July 9 in Waleska, Georgia.Movie Rings (2017)

 

The Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF) program was founded by President Obama in 2014. This year, MWF selected 200 young African leaders age 25-35 to come and learn at American universities for six weeks. They will then spend three days in Washington D.C. – including a town hall meeting with the Obamas. 25 of these young leaders are studying at Georgia State University, and on Saturday July 9, they visited Goshen Valley Boys Ranch.

 

The Goshen Valley Foundation is ranked as Georgia’s top child caring institution. Goshen Valley Boys Ranch (the Ranch) houses 46 boys in foster care. A few individuals leading the MWF group in Atlanta, namely Dr. Sharon Hill, long time advocate of Goshen Valley and previous Deputy Director of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), reached out to Goshen Valley about hosting the Atlanta MWF group for a day. We accepted with great pleasure.

 

Our day began with an informational meeting. Our Founder, John Blend, as well as two of our directors, Stacy Cooper and Giselle Espinal-Francis, shared about our history, stories, practices, and financial details. The MWF participants were equipped with data, audits, and resources to improve orphan care and other non-profit industries in their home countries.

 

The informational meeting led to a true southern lunch provided by Bub-Ba-Q. We then took a hayride tour of the Ranch and visited two homes on our property. Then began one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

 

There exists a plethora of pictures featuring white Americans playing with African kids during a mission trip. Saturday at Goshen Valley I saw the roles reversed. A group of African leaders came to Waleska, GA and played soccer with our kids in foster care.

 

During their time together I witnessed some beautiful interactions. I saw children who, rather than being focused on our differences, were filled with curiosity about our guests. They did not want to debate; they just wanted to be friends and show off their clean rooms and soccer skills. They asked our guests questions such as “What is it like to travel to a different country?” and, “What has surprised you about America?” and, “You’re from Madagascar? Have you seen the movie?”

 

Maybe this country would be better off if we were all a bit more like children. Maybe we need to prioritize what we have in common rather than letting our differences separate us. Maybe I need to ask more questions instead of giving better answers. Maybe we need to play more soccer and have fewer arguments.

 

And maybe I need to watch Madagascar and see what that country is all about.

– Evan Ingram, Residential Life, Goshen Valley Boys Ranch

 

 

 

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“Goshen Valley has reminded me of the love that can heal broken souls and strengthened my resolve to make a change back home in Nigeria.” – Dr. Matilda Kerry Osazuwa, Founder – George Kerry Life Foundation

 

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“I was talking to one of the fellows about his experience. He said, ‘In much of our time here, Americans seem very individualistic and isolated. Visiting Goshen Valley has been the best part of our visit. You aren’t like that here. This place feels like a family.'” – Anthony Hall, Life Coach, reflecting on a personal conversation

Click for information on the Young African Leaders Institute.