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.

 


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:

 

Goshen_BlogGraphic_3-1

 

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.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD OUR 2013 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?


Jason's Story

Jason’s home life had always been turbulent. Jason’s parents got divorced when he was young, and he spent much time traveling between his parents' two houses. His mother struggled to maintain a steady job and had a new boyfriend whenever he came over. Jason’s father worked late hours and drank alcohol on a daily basis.

As Jason got older, he tended to spend more time at his father’s house. When he was there, he had more time to himself and did not have to care for his mother. Unfortunately, staying with his father meant that sometimes he was beat up when his father drank too much.

From late middle school to early high school Jason learned how to exist at his father’s house. Most of the time he tried to avoid him. One evening, Jason’s father came home to see Jason’s report card on the table. Jason had stopped trying in school, and he had many failing grades. Jason’s dad had been drinking a lot that evening and proceeded to hit Jason repeatedly. Jason escaped and spent that night at his friend’s house.

The next morning at school, Jason’s bruises were apparent. A school administrator called him into her office to ask Jason about the source of his bruises. Jason was scared, but hurt. He admitted to his father’s physical abuse.

The administrator called the Division of Family and Children Services. By the day’s end, Jason was in a local case worker’s car headed to a safe place to sleep.

Jason arrived at Goshen Valley that evening. He discovered that he already knew a few other guys who lived there. Although he was scared and confused, he felt safe. Jason spent the next two moths getting to know his house parents and the other young men in his house.

Jason’s father was remorseful. Through the court system, Jason’s father agreed to counseling, parenting classes and a rehabilitation program. Jason and his father began to have weekend visits at Goshen Valley where their relationship began to be repaired. After months of work, Jason and his dad were reunited. Jason continues to go to school and live with his father. Their relationship has improved, and Jason will graduate high school next year.