Trey’s Story: A Graduation Celebration

There are a lot of things we enjoy celebrating at Goshen Valley… but graduation is by far one of our favorites! For our young men, it’s one of the most significant milestones of their lives, one that seemed out of reach without the help and support of the people who believe in them.

At Goshen, a young man who thinks that he can’t (or doesn’t need to) graduate is kept accountable and given support to earn his high school diploma. The result is stories like Trey, who received his diploma from Cherokee High School last month.


Trey’s Story: A Graduation Celebration

Trey arrived at Goshen Valley a little under four years ago. When he arrived, Trey thought that earning his GED would be the only option because he was behind grade level.  However, through our support system, Trey was given opportunities to make up work and get ahead. His house parents and case management staff helped Trey to believe in himself. He worked hard with our education staff and tutors to get his grades on track throughout the school year and  our summer academy credit recovery program.

After turning 18, Trey returned to live with family in the area making him an official Goshen Valley Alumnus. Still, he made the commitment that wouldn’t be the only alumni status he would hold. Trey left the Ranch before graduation, but finished out his school year and received his diploma from Cherokee High School on May 29th, 2014. Today, Trey is making plans to join the workforce and fully-embrace this next season of life.

Thank you for helping make more graduations possible!

Celebrating graduations like Trey’s is only possible because of your support. Whether you help by volunteering, donating, or advocating for Goshen Valley, everything you do helps change the lives of young men forever!




2nd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon

Child abuse is a topic that no one enjoys discussing. However, the number of children that have been neglected and abused is something that can't be ignored.

Here are just a few of the statistics about the number of children impacted in Georgia alone:

  • Every day, 33 children are the victims of confirmed abuse or neglect.
  • 200 incidents of child abuse and neglect are reported daily.
  • 65 children died from abuse and neglect in 2011.
  • On any given day, about 7,500 children are in the foster care system after being removed from abused homes.


While we see the setbacks caused by child abuse on

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a daily basis, we realize most people aren't aware of the serious problem it has become.

As a way to bring awareness to an issue that's impacting thousands of children within our state, Goshen Valley recently hosted our 2nd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Highlights from this year's Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon

This year's 2nd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon was a tremendous success. Held on Friday, April 25th in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month, over 250 people from Cherokee County and the surrounding counties participated in a luncheon to remember our unified work in preventing child abuse.

Presented by the Juvenile Court of Cherokee County and the Cherokee County Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), representatives from these two entities including the GA DFCS Director Dr. Sharon Hill, local judges, government officials, local non-profits and community members participated in the event.

Introduced by Chief Judge Jackson Harris of the Cherokee County Superior Court, the keynote speaker for the event was Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines of the Georgia Supreme Court. Justice Hines gave an encouraging word to all who were in attendance. Justice Hines spoke to the crowd, reminding them that they were his "heroes" as they were the ones doing the very difficult work of caring for children in tough circumstances. He also encouraged the participants not to be jaded, but to look at each circumstance as hopeful and having potential.

In addition to the keynote, Mr. Ross Collins, Region 3 Director of the Division of Family and Children Services shared the positive outcomes of recent collaboration between the region's care providers and DFCS.

The event was co-hosted by Goshen Valley and WellStar Health System.


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No child should ever have to live with the burdens caused by abuse and neglect. Thanks to all of the incredible leaders who joined us to raise awareness and support to end child abuse as well as those who support our efforts to transform those stories of burden into stories of blessing.

If you want to learn more about how you can help put an end to the abuse of children in our state, you can find more information from our partners at the Division of Family and Children's Services.


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A Day in the Life of a Goshen Valley House Parent

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a house parent? It’s something a lot of people who support Goshen Valley are curious about, but often times, they don’t want to offend anyone by asking…

While culture and society may paint a picture that a day in the life of a foster parent includes a life solely devoted to cooking and cleaning, the reality is completely different. Just like traditional parenting, being a house parent can be the most challenging job in the world, but it is also the most rewarding. Our house parents get to experience the thrill of seeing young men grow and develop into young adults ready to embark on their own.

A Day in the Life of a Goshen Valley House Parent

Andy & Susan Forde have served as house parents for just over 3 years. The way they love our young men and help guide them through such a crucial stage in their life is incredibly inspirational. Today, Andy shares what a typical “day in the life” of a house parent at Goshen Valley is like:

“If you’ve ever considered going into mission’s work of some sort, you owe it to yourself to consider House-parenting. Who knew? You get a chance to work with some pretty great kids, change lives forever, build relationships that will last many, many years and go to bed at night knowing you’ve made a difference. That’s what Susan and I do on a daily basis….

Not that it’s all a bed of roses but like life itself, it is what you make of it. There are days on end that you’re faced with disappointment after disappointment. Just when you’re about to make a break-through, some kid will do something that makes you want to throw in the towel and give up. Then when you sit down to discuss the situation with the child, he or she tells you a story, a story from their past. A story that you never dreamed any child should have to tell. It’s those times that you realize why it is that you do what you do.

So many times it’s not what you say that counts. It’s just that you care enough to listen. We’re called to carry one another’s burdens. It’s what we do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

One of the things we always say around the Ranch is that Goshen Valley is only as strong as the community that surrounds it… But that statement is especially true of the incredible men and women who have devoted their lives to being house parents. These couples stand on the front lines of the fight to help our young men change their stories from a life of burden to a life of blessing. They work long and hard, navigating a path that is often filled with obstacles that would stop a less determined person. It is the nature of their jobs and the character that marks their personalities.


Thank you to all the incredible house parents who serve our young men so well at Goshen Valley:

  • Chuck & Cindy Russell

  • Andy & Susan Forde

  • Chad & Morgan Kirk

  • Don & Karen Baines

  • Joshua & Julie Voyles


And our respite house parents:

  • Edd & Nancy Frizzell

  • Merrill & Elaine Morris

  • Bill & Olga Lesko

Principal Debra Murdock Receives Community Spirit Award

At its Annual Meeting held on March 22, Goshen Valley announced Cherokee High School Principal Debra Murdock as the recipient of the inaugural Goshen Valley Community Service Award. The award was established to honor individuals who have given unreservedly of themselves, their time, and their talents to support the youth of Goshen Valley.

“Mrs. Murdock has taken the time to get to know Goshen Valley, catching the vision and then taking the message to the community,” said Goshen Valley executive director, John Blend. “Debra has brought groups of students to the Ranch as part of her leadership initiative and she advocates for Goshen Valley in the Cherokee county school system and the community.”

The Georgia Association of Secondary Schools recently named Murdock, Georgia’s High School Principal of the Year. As principal of Cherokee High School, Debra has led the school with care and compassion while fostering continuous improvement, focused on personalization, collaboration, and a strong effort in instruction.

“Debra is constantly sharing the message that there is a place for Georgia’s children that is making a difference,” adds Bend. “That place is Goshen Valley.”



Goshen Valley Impact Report: A look back.. and a look forward

2013 was an incredible year at Goshen Valley!

With a record participation in off-campus and varsity athletics, record GPA’s and 2 high school graduations, Goshen Valley Boys Ranch is thriving. We saw tremendous growth in our North Georgia New Beginnings Program. From our 1st Annual National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness luncheon in April to welcoming over 450 servants to the ranch during North Point Ministries “Be Rich” Campaign, we’ve been blown away by the way people have joined us changing the lives of our young men!


Looking Back


While we’re always striving to teach our young men to keep striving to make tomorrow better than yesterday, we also believe it’s important to celebrate the incredible things that have happened.


As we look back, here are a few of the most exciting moments from 2013:




Looking Forward


While 2013 was a record-breaking year on many fronts, our goal is to make 2014 even better!

We hope to bring the total occupancy of the ranch to 42,
adding 7 residency opportunities in 2014.

We want to triple the growth of our North Georgia New Beginning Program
and look for ways to support young women in the area who need help transitioning into adulthood.

These are just a few of the exciting things we have on the horizon for 2014!


A Deeper Look Back: The 2013 Impact Report


Our team has just finished putting together the final impact numbers from 2013. If you’d like a deeper look into the highlights from 2013, you can download the 2013 Goshen Valley

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Impact Report.


None of the work we do… none of the impact we are able to make in the lives of teenagers… would be possible without your involvement and support. Because of you, lives are being changed, stories are being rewritten, and impossible opportunities are being made possible.

Will you join us in continuing to break records and provide hope to young men and women in the North Georgia area in 2014?

Remembering Rabbi Gary

Today, with grieving hearts, Goshen Valley helped to celebrate the life of an important part of our family: Rabbi Gary Maxted. Rabbi Gary was our faithful, dedicated bus driver. Each morning at 7:30 a.m., Gary arrived at Goshen Valley to pick up 26 of our young men in order to transport them to school. As you can imagine, this job was not for the faint of heart!

With tough love, Gary built a relationship with each young man that rode with him. Some days were great. Other days were a challenge. Gary worked with Goshen Valley staff and house parents daily to encourage, correct and guide our young men. He was truly part of our family.

Three weeks ago during Atlanta's ice storm, Rabbi Gary spent 6 hours working to get the young men of Goshen Valley to their home. On top of the ice, gridlock traffic and bad weather, the bus was hit head-on by a truck. During the ordeal, his message to the staff at Goshen Valley remained, "I'm still coming." After dropping our young men off at 7:30 p.m. that evening, Rabbi Gary attempted to get himself home. By 9:30 that evening, he was forced to abandon his bus (by school district recommendation) and walk 5 miles to his home.

Gary was a bus driver in order to be a servant. Driving our young men was a way for him to be an influence in their lives in an unlikely environment. Gary would pray for the young men of Goshen Valley each night as he offered his influence as a source of consistent love.

Rabbi Gary Maxted passed away on Sunday, February 22nd. Click this link for information on the memorial fund for Rabbi Gary.

Goshen's Excellence seen through Academic Outcomes

The progress reports from this past fall are in and this report is definitely going on the refrigerator!

Of the 134 classes that were taken last semester, our guys passed 131 of them. When we first heard the news, we were beyond excited. The 98% pass rate is the highest academic performance of any other semester in Goshen Valley’s history.


Another exciting record-breaking number from last semester was the number of boys involved in athletics and extracurricular activities at their schools. Three young men played on the Cherokee’s Varsity football team and two other young men were part of the Junior Warriors team. We had two young men enrolled in Karate classes and three others that joined the wrestling team. Another one of our guys joined the Lacrosse team and had a terrific season!


What’s the reason behind last semester’s success? After taking the time to celebrate the success with the guys, we took some time as a staff to identify the factors that might have contributed to such a great semester.

Here are a few of the factors that made a tremendous difference last year:

  1. An incredible partnership with the Cherokee County School District. We have spent a lot of time improving the partnership and communication with the CCSD. In the end, we believe this made a tremendous difference in both the individual lives and overall success of our guys. Because of the fantastic partnership, we saw an overall improvement in behavior at school and fewer in-school-suspensions or alternative school occurrences.
  2. Cultivating a “culture of achievement.” We wanted the boys to believe that excelling in school wasn’t just possible; it was inevitable if they worked hard and committed to excellence. It started with the extensive summer academy program and continued throughout the year. The tutoring center and incentive program paid huge dividends throughout the semester. Our houseparents and staff went above and beyond to set the tone and provide support.
  3. Increasing academic progress through life skills. We believed that making positive investments in every area of life would make a huge difference in the classroom. The fact our best academic report and highest involvement in athletics and extracurricular activities both occurred during the same semester isn’t a coincidence.

We’re so proud of the success our young men experienced last semester. Not only was it a great way to end the year, it was another building block in their lives that helps increase the confidence and belief in their future.

We believe that the sky is the limit if we continue to cultivate these key factors and we’re working hard to continue the trend of 100% retention rate from graduation to independent living.

Goshen Valley Logo

The Message: Burden to Blessing

If you’re on our website, there’s a good chance you noticed something’s different. Well you’re right! We’d like to officially announce that we rebranded, complete with this beautifully designed website and logo.

“The rebrand is not just about creating a new logo or website,” said Zach Blend, Residential Life Director at Goshen Valley. “It’s about communicating our story to the community on the deep impact Goshen Valley has on the lives of our young men.”

The brand’s new identify reflects Goshen Valley’s commitment to transforming the lives of young men in foster care. The tag line, “Burden to Blessing” encapsulates the idea that when young men come to Goshen Valley they are defined by the burdens in their lives. However, the burdens that brought them to Goshen Valley also, bring them to their blessings. At Goshen Valley, the boys have an education, build healthy relationships, and have the possibility of being adopted or even reunited with their families in healthier wayWatch Cyberbully (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

“Not everyone relates to the struggles foster and adopted children go through, but everyone relates to having something in their life they once experienced as a burden and over time, they were able to find blessing out of that bad situation, that heaviness,” says Blend.

Please take some time to explore the new site and learn a little bit more about the incredible Goshen Valley story.

Goshen Valley Classic

Goshen Valley Classic Results

We are excited to announce the results of this year's Goshen Valley Classic.

With your help, a record total of $147,000 was raised to support programming at Goshen Valley. This is a 47% increase from what was achieved in 2012. We are humbled by our sponsors, golfers, volunteers and supporters who make the Goshen Valley Classic a success each year.

We look forward to updating you about the progress and healing of the young men at Goshen in the months ahead.

Young men at Goshen Valley are only able to grow because of those who have invested in them. Thank you for being an important part of their lives.

See you at the 9th Annual Goshen Valley Classic presented by WellStar on October 13, 2014!

United Way Collaborates with Goshen Valley

This grant money will directly be used for secondary education.

United Way has also donated thousands of dollars of in-kind gifts, money raised through a local 5K and has brought continual community recognition to the Ranch. On June 21, 75 high school juniors and seniors came up to the Ranch from the Atlanta Summer Work program in order to participate in United Way’s Day of Action. It was an amazing day of friendship and sharing as Goshen Valley boys worked with the Atlanta youth to complete landscaping and work projects around the Ranch. We are very excited about what is next in our partnership with the United Way.