Summer Appeal 2018
“Hoping for a better tomorrow…”
The Ranches is truly blessed. We cannot thank you enough for supporting us and giving us the opportunity to continue this vital and fulfilling work. It’s hard to believe, in 2019, we will be celebrating 75 years of Rekindling Hope In Today’s Youth. I am very proud to be a part of reaching that milestone. I can’t speak for everyone at The Ranches, but I do love my job. While difficult at times, what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t find joy and fulfillment in lending a hand to some of “the least of these.” I am both honored and blessed by my work.
As we head into the heart of summer, we are excited about the opportunities that the warmer weather and a less hectic school schedule affords us. May gave us one of those moments that remind us of our commitment to the kids we serve as we saw one of our residents walk across the stage and graduate from high school. While it seems like a small victory, it was monumental to her and to us. I am well aware, based on the statistics, that she would have been far less likely to graduate had we not had the opportunity to work with and support her. She did the work and she deserves the credit, but I am proud that we were able to stand with her during a rough patch in her young life. We could not have done that without your support.
As with most things, the glow of graduation faded very quickly. We had to get back to supporting the group of kids that we are currently working with. Hopefully, in the years to come, we will have the opportunity to attend many more graduations for many more deserving young people; young people who rediscovered their ability to hope for a better tomorrow while with us.
Sadly, more and more young people are struggling to find hope than ever before. We need look no further than the evening news to understand that young people’s behaviors have become more extreme. To make matters worse, many adults who possess the ability to deal with difficult behaviors in young people are being pulled into management for profit companies that hire, and thereby have to manage, young workers. Sadly, many of these working young people have similar behavioral patterns to the kids we serve. While I wish that churches, civic organizations and governmental agencies could come together in pursuit of brighter tomorrows for our young people, I am not as hopeful as I’d like to be that this will happen. We already have a plethora of laws, regulations and rules that attempt to prevent negative behavior in young people. Places like The Ranches that focus on creating safe, consistent and predictable environments for young people, are finding it more and more difficult to stand up under the weight of all the expectations of those that think rules are superior to relationships when it comes to what actually makes a difference in young people’s lives. So, what does make a difference?
Caring and supportive adults, consistent and well managed expectations and an environment that affords children the safety needed for them to begin lowering their hypervigilance to manageable levels are what we have seen provide the greatest opportunity for healing and for change. Unfortunately, we have learned much of this in the time since our cottages were designed and built. If we could travel back in time, we would definitely rework our cottages so that kids could be given a room to themselves with a bathroom that didn’t need to be shared with 3 other residents. While it sounded like an unnecessary luxury back in the “good ol’ days,” it is now seen as our only chance to address the escalating behaviors present in this generation of at-risk young people. As we head into our 75th year, I’d love to correct our unintentional oversight; one cottage at a time.
I recognize that I am asking for a big commitment and that it is an ambitious undertaking, but I hope that I have been able, over the past few years, to communicate how much still needs to be done for kids who are hurting. Please, help us celebrate our 75th year by giving back to our youth in providing newly designed cottages – a safe place they can call home; a secure roof over their heads away from hurt, sadness and pain…they can grow and develop and rekindle hope.
As always, we appreciate your continued support for The Ranches and thank you.
Heath Kull – President