Goshen Valley named one of AJC’s Top Workplaces 2021

Goshen Valley has been named one of the AJC’s Top Workplaces 2021!

The Goshen Valley Foundation has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2021 honor by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We are grateful to the 65 full time employees at Goshen Valley who felt that we were deserving of this recognition. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward. Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.”

Of the 3,035 companies surveyed, the AJC named 175 Georgia employers as their 2021 Top Workplaces. Goshen Valley is one of 86 in the small business category, one of 9 non-profits, and one of 2 employers in Cherokee County named to the list.

Zach Blend, CEO of Goshen Valley, says that Goshen’s mission to provide hope, healing, and generational change to foster youth is something that the Goshen team has rallied around.

“When you have such an important mission, it is easier to look past the issues that can hurt morale. Our employees are part of something bigger than themselves, and at times the work can be just as transformational to us as it is our kids.” - Zach Blend, CEO

Not only is this announcement meaningful for Goshen employees, it also makes a major impact on the youth and families that we serve. The 113 kids in our care have had family come in and out of their lives previously, and Goshen wants to ensure the staff and foster parents that work with them are in it for the long haul. The vulnerable families in need of mental health services coming to Goshen can know that their case worker and therapist will be better equipped to get them back on their feet. Prospective foster families who are considering making a life altering change to bring kids into their home know that they will have the training and support of a great team that will be by their side through the journey.

This announcement means a great deal to the team at Goshen Valley, and we are excited for the ways that it will impact our youth and families as we work to create generational change.


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. 


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!


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:


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 Stacy Cooper

Stacy Cooper is the executive director of the Goshen Valley Boys Ranch. She describes her role as “overseeing the quality of care, operations, and safety of both the boys and our staff.” She has been with Goshen for over three years and has done incredible work in advancing care for our boys as well as staff longevity and satisfaction.

I asked Stacy what she loved most about working at Goshen. She gave two answers that would not surprise anyone who has seen her passionate endeavors at the Ranch. First she said “getting to know the staff and serving in ministry together.” We would be hard pressed to find any Ranch employees who have not felt the deep love and intentional care Stacy gives freely to her staff. Her second answer is even more obvious, and 46 boys could attest to it each day. “Of course the boys. They are absolutely precious.” When asked about her favorite aspect of working with the boys, Stacy elaborated that she loves being with them when things are not going well. “You can come out of it with a deeper relationship and show them that even when things are bad you will be there for them.” This mindset and practice is profoundly powerful for youth who have found themselves in foster care.

I then asked Stacy about her favorite memory during the past three years at Goshen. It was obvious that her mind was filled with story after story of love and transformation; Peace and Purpose changing the heart and direction of so many youth. She said that she absolutely loves seeing a boy exceed in ways that others would have thought impossible. She told of a boy she interviewed on his first day at Goshen. He was overly anxious and kept apologizing. He couldn’t look anyone in the eye or sit still. He asked what kind of clothes hangers we used at the Ranch. Stacy felt an immediate connection with this boy, and through the years she has watched him transform.

“He had never felt free at home. One day I saw him running laps around the football field, and every time he passed by he excitedly said ‘Hey Mrs. Stacy!’ He learned how to ride a bike at the Ranch at age 13. Everything was so new to him. He saw the world open up. He even got a girlfriend.” Stacy says he brought a note from her home and was so excited to share the good news with her. Last year he went to a Braves game and rode with Stacy and two other staff members. She said that in his sleep deprived state at 1:30 he was “goofing off, laughing, singing, and laying his head on my shoulder. This is a level of freedom he never knew before arriving at Goshen. He thinks of the Ranch as his family, and here he has experienced the world and grown up so much.”

The love and acceptance Stacy gives so freely have impacted the lives of so many youth and will continue to do so for years to come. We cannot thank Stacy enough for the work she does every day serving both our staff and the youth in care at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch.


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!


Hiring! Job Description: Case Manager

Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Case Management Position Available:

 

Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in Waleska, GA is currently seeking a Case Manager. This is an opportunity to engage with youth ages 8-18 to be an advocate and positive example. The position requires the following:

  • A Bachelor's Degree in a related field + 2 years work experience in social services or serving youth.
  • A high level of organization
  • Excellent writing skills
  • The ability to speak professionally on behalf of our youth in a courtroom setting
  • A person of good character

Salary is dependent on education and experience. Benefits include health insurance (including dental and vision), a 401k and serving with a team who loves our boys and each other!

 


Hiring! Job Description: Administrative Assistant

Job Title:  Administrative Assistant

Reports to:  Administrative Director and CEO

Requirements: Familiar with managing technology platforms such as Salesforce, Mailchimp, Google Drive and proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point. Must be organized, efficient and maintain good communication skills. Must be of good character and supportive of the programs, policies and the ideals of Goshen Valley.

Responsibilities:

  • Salesforce donor data entry and management
  • Donor thank-you letters
  • Development mailers and tasks
  • Database management for various stakeholder groups
  • Extended Reach transition support
  • General HR tasks and record keeping
  • General Foundation-level tasks and communication
  • Office management