Congratulations Class of 2016! On May 13, 2016, staff members, friends and family members watched with pride as four Ranch residents walked across the stage in Belen to receive their High School Diplomas.
The event was the culmination of over four years of hard work and determination for these young people. All were behind in school when they entered the program and had to work hard to catch up and earn the credits needed for graduation.
Chelsey arrived at the Ranch on January 15, 2013, angry and ready to fight the world. Her resistance to allowing people to care about her was profound. Through persistence and commitment, she found the courage to face her fears and learn to trust others. She also learned which battles to fight and how to approach the fight in ways that would change her environment for good. In three years, she came from behind in school to completing the requirements for graduation and proudly accepted her diploma. At this time, she is planning to work to save money to attend college in hopes of developing a career working with mentally handicapped children. She loves animals, singing and being around friends. She is now described by her peers and the staff as strong, determined, kind, talented, protective of those she cares about and funny.
Zach appeared on August 8, 2013 like a tornado in jeans, rarely slowing down to listen to anyone or stay focused on the tasks at hand. His smile was always present and he was eager to engage, but struggled to build the kind of relationships that would prove positive for him. After a long, hard process of learning about himself and how to relate to people, he has focused sufficiently to earn his High School Diploma and is spending the summer working on the landscaping at The Ranch. After turning 18, Zach moved into an apartment on campus and is learning to live somewhat independently and work as an employee before attending CNM in the fall. He is known as energetic, fun loving and determined to succeed.
On April 17, 2012, Faith came on the scene unsure of herself, very fearful and terribly confused about how to develop healthy relationships with people. For much of the first two years, she formed and lost friendships that left her frustrated and unhappy. But on May 13, she walked into the auditorium with a big smile and confident of having many close relationships in the audience. Faith plans to attend UNM in the fall and is ready to work toward a degree in pediatric nursing. Faith has been working at a movie theatre in Albuquerque and has even helped out on campus by assisting staff in the cottage by cooking, making snacks and helping the girls learn how to complete their chores. Faith’s peers describe her as kind, honest, courageous, beautiful inside and out, caring, and willing to invest in people.
Emma arrived on September 2, 2013, withdrawn, confused and full of distrust for all adults and the systems that control children’s lives. Her resistance to learning about trust was challenging and difficult for both her, the staff and her family. Through many ups and downs, Emma learned to cautiously trust in little ways and know herself in a more positive way. Eventually she was able to grasp that people wanted the best for her and found the strength to forge relationships that would be beneficial. On May 13 she accepted her diploma with a big smile and pride for the friendships she had developed. She will remain in the program until she turns 18, when she plans to move to independent living, find a job and enroll in CNM. Emma is very artistic and creative, often helping out by creating beautiful designs to share with others. The staff and residents now talk about Emma’s growth and courage and her willingness to help others. She is described as determined, talented, caring, helpful and fun to be around.
While participating in group meetings on campus, all of these young people have been open and honest with the younger residents about their struggles and have been bold in offering assistance to those who have not yet developed positive relationship skills. Their influence has been very valuable to those still facing the need to learn new ways of dealing with the world around them.
The Success Continues
On May 19, former resident Mitch graduated from Southwest Secondary Learning Center in Albuquerque. He will be interning this summer with an audio engineer and hopes to make that a career.
Thanks to your continued support we are blessed to see our residents thrive. Attending their graduation is a celebration of their hard work and their new found commitment to their own success. Thank you for continuing to support us and for rekindling hope in this group of young people.