The Ranch recently laid five foundations for our new cabins. They are strong, stable and ready to be built upon. The role the foundations plays for a cabin—a steady base upon which to build that will hopefully never fail—is like the role the Ranch plays in the lives of our students. Love, faith, identity and purpose are foundations laid at Wildwood that students can build their lives on. And we believe these foundations will last.
Sometimes our students don’t receive the greatest foundations. Parents make poor choices with consequences that can shape their children’s lives. Our Men’s Director this summer, Dan Galindo, shared about a parent he connected with who lacked a solid foundation:
DAN AND A FATHER
Before working at Wildwood Hills Ranch this summer, I worked as a substance abuse counselor in the Polk County Jail. People were referred to our yearlong inpatient treatment program instead of taking a prison sentence. I led group therapy and met with individuals once or twice per month to meet treatment goals.
One client was caught selling meth out of his home, the same home his children lived in. His main goal was to get back to his family. Still, he struggled to make good choices. He shared that he didn’t have great models in life. Later, when I mentioned that I would be leaving my job to work at Wildwood Hills Ranch, he said, “My daughter will be there!” He conveyed love for his kids and how he missed them.
Honestly, I forgot that conversation. One day at the Ranch I got a call to help comfort a homesick child. Our women’s director usually attended to homesickness, especially girls, but she was on break. I met the child in our healthcare center. I asked her name so we could call home. She gave the same last name as my old client and it all clicked! Of the nearly 1,000 students we served this summer, I was blown away to learn I connected with her in such an unlikely way!
I shared with her that I tried to help her father. “Even though he has made mistakes, he loves you more than you realize,” I shared. I believe that God orchestrated our meeting so that I could tell her that her earthly father loves her. Although she didn’t seem very connected to her dad, it put a smile on her face.
And that’s why the Ranch exists—to help at-risk children gain a firm foundation. We hope and pray for negative generational cycles to be broken by the new foundation that our students receive at Wildwood Hills Ranch.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” –Matthew 7:24-27