Founders’ Legacy: A Glimpse into Goshen Valley’s Timeline 

Join us on a journey through time as we turn the pages of Goshen Valley’s history, celebrating the visionaries who laid the foundation for 25 years of impact. In this blog post, we shine a spotlight on our founder, John Blend, whose unwavering dedication has shaped Goshen Valley into the beacon of hope it is today. 

John Blend: The Visionary Behind Goshen Valley 

In 1981, John and Connie Blend purchased 20 acres in the serene Salacoa Valley, envisioning it as a family hobby farm. Little did they know, this land would become the cornerstone of a transformative initiative. John Blend, a man with a heart for service and a vision for change, would embark on a journey that would redefine the landscape of child welfare in Cherokee County and beyond. 

Born out of a desire to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, John’s journey with Goshen Valley began in 1993. Settled in Atlanta with his family, John learned of a noble initiative to establish a group home for foster children. The missing piece? Land. Without hesitation, John and Connie dedicated their land to serve vulnerable children, laying the groundwork for what would become Goshen Valley. This act of selflessness and compassion set the stage for a journey of hope and transformation. 

The Early Years (1999 – 2012) 

The legal groundwork for Goshen Valley was laid in 1999 with the establishment of the Goshen Valley Foundation. John and Connie, fueled by their unwavering commitment, legally contributed their land to the foundation, understanding that it would forever be dedicated to its noble cause. With several additional acres donated and purchased, the stage was set for the vision to take shape. 

In 2001, Goshen Valley welcomed its first resident, Jared, to the Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, marking the beginning of a journey that would see the expansion and evolution of Goshen’s impact. Between 2002-2004, additional homes were constructed, providing shelter and support to more children in need. The Redeemer House, the Messiah House, the Resurrection House, and the Good Shepherd House stood as symbols of hope and resilience, offering refuge to those seeking solace and support. 

As Goshen Valley continued to grow, so did its commitment to innovation and excellence. In 2012, Goshen New Beginnings was launched, aimed at guiding older foster youth into self-sufficient adulthood. This Independent Living Program represented a new chapter in Goshen’s journey, one focused on empowering individuals to thrive beyond the confines of foster care. 

Recognition and Collaboration (2013 – 2021) 

The years that followed saw Goshen Valley receive accolades and forge partnerships that further amplified its impact. In 2012, Goshen Valley achieved accreditation from COA (Council on Accreditation), a testament to its dedication to excellence in child welfare. This accreditation not only affirmed Goshen’s commitment but also provided a roadmap for continual growth and improvement. 

Partnerships with organizations like Woodstock City Church’s Be Rich and First Baptist Church of Woodstock’s LoveLoud facilitated greater community engagement and support. Through these collaborations, Goshen Valley became a beacon of hope, inspiring others to join in the journey of transformation and service. 

In 2016, leadership transitioned as John Blend stepped down as CEO, passing the torch to Zach Blend. Zach’s leadership ushered in a renewed sense of purpose and vision, guiding Goshen towards continued growth and impact. Also in 2016, Goshen embarked on a groundbreaking initiative with the launch of Goshen Homes. This visionary project aimed to address the needs of siblings separated by foster care placements, a cause close to Goshen’s heart. Through Goshen Homes, the organization extended its commitment to family unity, offering a comprehensive system of recruitment, training, licensing, and ongoing support for foster families dedicated to preserving sibling bonds. 

In 2019, Goshen Valley expanded its services with the launch of Goshen Therapeutic Services, further exemplifying its commitment to holistic care and community support. The partnership with the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children (MAAC) in the same year solidified Goshen Valley’s position as a leader in child welfare, facilitating collaboration and shared learning with other top agencies in Georgia. 

Recognition as one of the top 150 workplaces in Georgia in 2020 affirmed Goshen’s commitment to its team members’ well-being and growth. This accolade celebrated the culture of excellence and collaboration that defines Goshen Valley. 

Expanding Reach and Impact (2022 – Present) 

As Goshen Valley continued to grow, so did its infrastructure and community support. The opening of a new office in 2022 provided a centralized hub for administrative operations and program expansion, underscoring Goshen’s commitment to innovation and progress. 

The year 2023 marked a milestone in Goshen’s journey towards holistic community support with the opening of The Goshen Family Resource Center. This hub of resources and services exemplified Goshen’s commitment to addressing root causes and fostering resilience within the community. 

The timeline of Goshen Valley is a testament to the power of vision, compassion, and community. John Blend’s dedication, from the humble beginnings of a family hobby farm to the creation of a beacon of hope, embodies resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to serving vulnerable children and families. As we celebrate 25 years of impact, we honor the founders, contributors, and supporters who have been integral to Goshen’s story.