Executive Director’s Report Restoration at Sunny Crest
by Brian J. DeVos
Like you, we have been trying to stay warm in a very cold January. We have had too many snow days that cancelled school. Keeping 30 boys and young men occupied is a chal- lenge, but we have a great staff who flexed their schedules so they could care for the kids. We have kept them busy with some indoor activities as well as projects here on the ranch.
I want to write about our youth waiting to be adopted and ways you can get involved at the ranch.Many of the youth at our facility are waiting to be adopted because they do not have a family. Some wait for years. Waiting for a family to take them in and to give them uncon- ditional love and acceptance. Waiting to be accepted. Therefore, we have conversations with them that in normal circumstances their parents would have with them. One day I noticed myself in one of those conversations. I was talking to two of the young men here at the ranch about what they want- ed to do when they grow up. One is thinking about joining the Army and another one is trying to decide what to do with his musical abilities and gifts.
These are life decisions youth need to make, and on top of this, they are thinking about these things without having a family to guide them and direct them, we help with these discussions. However, I thought to my- self, this is not the way it is supposed to be. This conversa- tion is too short and as issues and concerns come up, who will be their consistent sounding board?
Therefore, you and I are here to restore things to the way they are supposed to be and are trying to fill in the gaps. One major gap we have in our country is having loving families who are willing to take in a child who does not have family. Family is the source of love, acceptance, discipline, relationship development, and dignity and most importantly a since of be- longing. Because of family brokenness, and the shortage of families willing to take a child in, institutions rise up to fill the gap. That is why we are here.
At the Ranch, we cannot replace family, and we are not about taking the credit or who amongst us did what wonderful thing, but we are about engaging in the daily struggle to start and restart the restoration process with our youth. Keeping these young men filled with hope, and joy is a daily prayer.
One thing that makes me very sad is that sometimes the youth begin to believe that they will never have a family and are not good enough to have a family. They begin to believe this lie. This belief forms much of their perspective on many things. One of our jobs is to always be filled with hope as we are com- mitted and dedicated to the restoration process. So, will you join our project?
There are many ways in which you can join and help out. May- be you are in a position to adopt, maybe you can be a mentor, and maybe you can assist with projects on the Ranch. We also need those who can assist with activities and outings. The list is endless, but incredibly rewarding and appreciated by the staff and the ranchers. The smile that brightens the face of one of these young men, just because someone took the time to care is indeed amazing to see.
We would love to start a basketball team, but we do not have an indoor area for basketball. We would love to explore the idea of having a choir and art program. We also always appreciate the donation of lightly used shoes, boots and coats. If your business has used office furniture you do not need, we are in need of chairs and desktops/desks. We also are looking for vol- unteers who would be willing to assist with caring for our ani- mals. Please feel free to call me, and we can talk about how you can be on the restoration team! Thank you for what you do.
Brian J DeVos, Executive Director