Brasfield & Gorrie selects Goshen Valley as Nonprofit Partner of the Year

Brasfield & Gorrie selects Goshen Valley as Nonprofit Partner for their 2021-2022 Fall Fundraiser

After a month-long process which began with 13 nonprofit applicants, Brasfield & Gorrie has selected Goshen Valley to be their partner for their 2021 and 2022 fall fundraisers. This event and partnership have historically raised around $250,000 per year to support the chosen nonprofit’s mission.

As of 2019, Goshen launched a new program to target root cause issues surrounding foster care, providing mental health and therapy services to families at risk of experiencing a foster care placement in the future. This funding will allow Goshen Valley to scale this program and serve far more vulnerable families.    

Zach Blend, CEO of Goshen Valley, says, This is an exciting time in the life of Goshen Valley. As our direct care work with Georgia’s foster children enters its 23rd year, we are equally excited about the positive influence we can also have through serving at-risk families preventively. The support raised by Brasfield & Gorrie and their subcontractors will fund the progression of Goshen Therapeutic Services throughout the state’s northwest region. Our intention is to continue to serve foster children within our three operating agencies to the very best of our ability while being mindful of the root cause matters that create the need for such services. Easy access to therapy, family counseling and other support services is the first step in that process.”

This year Brasfield & Gorrie instituted a new process to select their nonprofit partner of the year. Thirteen non-profits were invited to complete an application, and five were selected to present to a leadership committee. The group was then narrowed down to three, and an employee vote determined the winner. Goshen Valley received 53% of the employee votes in this process. 

“In addition to the financial support our employees and trade contractors will provide, we will participate in service days on Goshen’s Ranch campus. We love getting our hands dirty,” said Brent Perkins, director of personal development at Brasfield & Gorrie. Perkins led the selection committee.

“At Brasfield & Gorrie we believe in building strong communities. We love being a blessing to others. Goshen’s work with boys in the foster care system, the therapeutic services offered to families, and their increasing focus on root cause education for families all line up with our values. We are excited to be a partner with Goshen Valley!” - Brent Perkins

Zach Blend compared residential foster care to running a construction business, but one where you can only build on the site of a previous catastrophe. “We do great work in residential care, but we also want to focus on root-cause. We want to stabilize families before the building collapses. This funding will allow us to expand our work in ways that will keep families strong before a foster care placement occurs. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Brasfield & Gorrie, and we are confident that many families will be strengthened and rescued as a direct result of this partnership.”

About Brasfield & Gorrie

Founded in 1964, Brasfield & Gorrie is one of the nation’s largest privately held construction firms, providing general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for a wide variety of markets. We are skilled in construction best practices, including virtual design and construction, integrated project delivery, and Lean construction, but we are best known for our preconstruction and self-perform expertise and exceptional client service. Brasfield & Gorrie has 12 offices and more than 3,200 employees. Our 2020 revenues were $3.9 billion. Engineering News-Record ranks Brasfield & Gorrie 22nd among the nation’s “Top 400 Contractors” for 2020. Brasfield & Gorrie is ENR Southeast's 2021 Contractor of the Year.


An Essay by GNB Youth, Quintavious Jennings 

Your past Does Not Determine Who You Are      

All I could remember was seeing the sun slowly creeping through the clouds as the officers put the handcuffs on me and escorted me to the back of the police car. I did not understand it then but being arrested and charged with several accounts would save my life. Life is full of experiences that will teach you lessons that you can either learn from or overlook. I chose to learn from every experience after this defining moment in my life. After that night, walking through doors took on a new meaning in my life and there are 3 doors that have made the biggest impact in my life: the Courthouse, the Regional Youth Detention Center and Goshen New Beginnings. 

The first door that I entered that made a big impact on my life was the door to the County Courthouse in November 2014. As a thirteen-year-old, African American young man, just the idea of facing a judge with such serious charges is terrifying. Yet, four months after being charged, I had to appear in court and meet face to face with a judge, as she would be the one to give me my official sentencing. I walked to the podium and looked up at her. She stopped, stared into my eyes and said,

“You are too young, and it is not too late for you to turn your life around, but you have to want it. I can’t want it more than you.”

She reduced my sentence and added a stipulation that with good behavior I could be released early to a program into the community. After that moment, I decided to change and break the cycle of my family going in and out of jail. 

The second door that I had to walk through that had a major influence on my life was the Regional Youth Detention Center. From the moment I walked into the RYDC, I realized that I never wanted to come back to a place like that. I saw young men get into fights and get beat up. Everything at the RYDC reminded me of what I wanted to get away from; gangs, fights, criminal activity, and pain. After being at the RYDC for three years, I finished my sentencing and was given the chance to go to a program that would help me achieve my goals. I went to a few programs, but it was not until I went to Goshen that I felt a true sense of family and acceptance. 

In July 2019, I entered through the third door that has helped shape me into the young man I am today, though I am still growing and evolving. Goshen New Beginnings is an independent living program that supports youth like me. I needed someone to believe in me and see past my story. I needed a group of people to believe in my dreams. I needed people that saw my pain but would help me work through the pain and not give up on me. I am so blessed to have found a community that has accepted me and is providing me with the tools I need to become better. I want to do better because I know that, typically people with my story end up back in jail or dead, and that will not be my ending. 

Six years ago, the chapters to my story were ugly and sad, but today I can proudly say that my past will not determine who I am or where I am headed. I have spent countless nights praying and asking God to help me turn my life around and show me the correct path to take. God has surrounded me with people who care about me, but I have learned that I need to do the work - for my past not to determine my future. My thought process, goals, and decision- making need to change, because it all starts with me, and I am worth it. Life is full of doors, and I will continue to open doors to new opportunities, happiness, and a story full of change, grace and second chances.


Back 2 School Campaign

As Goshen Valley approaches caring for 90 youth, the cost of back to school season is rising. Will you help us make the 2017-2018 school year a great success for those we serve?

Our goal is to raise $9,000 worth of gift cards and monetary donations to help kick start the school year. Whether it’s book money for a young woman at Reinhardt, a gas card for a boy driving to high school, or a clothing gift card so a child gets to pick their own back to school outfit, your donation will help our youth start the year with confidence.

Your investment into Goshen Valley has made a way for our young men and women to feel successful and important. Every gift will help us surround them with the peace and purpose needed to make the 2017-2018 school year the best they've ever had!

There are two ways you can give to the Back2School campaign:

1. To donate a gift card, please send them to our Canton office:
505 Brown Industrial Parkway
Suite 200
Canton, GA 30114

2.  If you would like to send a special gift to help our youth with purchasing new clothes, a haircut, and fresh supplies, use the donation form below.


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]


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.

 


"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.


Uncommon Kindness- The Goshen Good Samaritan

Goshen Valley believes they have the best staff on the planet and love to brag on them any chance we can. One of our respite parents, Mike Lind, showed an act of uncommon and extraordinary kindness recently.

Monday Jan 30 around 8:30 am Mike was driving along Salacoa Rd. when he saw what looked like a car down an embankment. In a situation where most people would’ve convinced themselves it was nothing, Mike pulled over to check it out. He parked and saw a car that had crashed into a tree. It looked like no one was there, but he called out and heard a mumbled voice respond.

Mike ran to the car and saw a baby in a car seat in the back. He broke out the remainder of the window and got the baby to a safe spot. He was unable to get the driver out, as he was delirious and trapped by a crushed car door. He was losing blood quickly. Mike flagged down a truck passing by and had them rush to highway 140 and call 911, as neither had cell reception at their current location. Mike held and calmed the baby until paramedics arrived and rushed the driver to the hospital.

Later that day Mike seemed fine overall but his hand was a bit cut up from the glass of the window. He was very worried about whether that baby's dad was going to survive, and he doubted that he would even make it to the hospital. He said that the driver is alive and well, and that baby girl is perfectly fine as well. Had Mike thought that his schedule was too important to stop, or had he convinced himself that it probably wasn't a car down there, this man very likely would be dead. I cannot think of a better real-life example of the Good Samaritan Jesus talked about.


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.


Will’s story: “It wasn’t just another group home”

Goshen_FeaturedBlogImage_5_1Every young man that comes to Goshen arrives with more “baggage” than just the luggage that carries their clothes and belongings. For most, the burdens they carry stem from biological relationships. Still for some who have spent much of their lives in foster care, the journey to find stability can be an equal struggle.

It’s always interesting for us to watch how a young man reacts when he arrives at Goshen for the first time. Most arrive thinking it’s “just another group home…” One of the biggest blessings we experience is watching how their mentality changes when they realize that Goshen is more than just a group home… it’s a family where they can belong.

Will is just one of our young men who experienced the difference that our house parents make. Today, he wanted to share his story from instability to Goshen, from neglect to love, from burden to blessing…

Will’s Story:

I was born into a very dysfunctional family. There was a lot of drug abuse and violence. Because of this, I was in and out of DFCS all my life. In 2007, my mother’s parental rights were terminated and I was officially “state property.” I found myself at Goshen about 9 months ago. I was pretty unhappy about coming here. I thought it was just going to be another group home. I soon learned that I was wrong.

I realized that Goshen Valley was set up to be a family environment. I didn’t have to live with “staff people” who came and went. I am able to live with a set of house parents. This gave me a whole new perspective on Goshen.

Since I have been at Goshen, I have been involved in football, wrestling, and now track. I am also very involved at Cowboy Church. Goshen has really supported me in sports and horse riding. Goshen is a good place for me. They support me in my athletics and give me religious support.

I am almost finished in my junior year of high school. I had a meeting recently and learned that I am going to be able to go to college and get financial aid. Goshen has been a great place and they have supported me since I’ve been here, and are helping me to have a good future.

Want to read more stories like Will’s? Goshen_FeaturedBlogImage_5_2

Will’s story is just one example of the life change we see happening in a short amount of time once our young men realize that they are loved and their life has a purpose.

Want to read more testimonies from young men who arrived at Goshen Valley uncertain about their future that grew and developed to do incredible things? Here are a few of our favorite burden to blessing stories.