Another week at The Ranch and another story of transformation. Listen to this story about a student from this past week who got to experience renewed joy and hope…
One of our ranchers, Caleb (we’ll call him Caleb for confidentiality sake), came in at a low spot and showed no interest in getting to know any of the other students or his leaders and did not want to engage in any activities at The Ranch. He made hurtful comments to his bunkmates and was more interested in putting others down rather than building them up. This presented a challenge to his team leaders since they were working hard to build a cohesive, unified team. They continued to love Caleb and encourage him and point out the positive things they saw in him despite him being a difficult student to work with. Slowly but surely, Caleb’s attitude and demeanor began to shift and his heart began to open up. By the end of the week, he was eager to engage with his team and even gave out kind-hearted compliments and words of encouragement to them. He was a “different person” in the words of his team leader by the end of the week. He became friends with his bunkmates and discovered a sense of unity and understanding after getting to know students that had experienced similar things to what he had gone through.
Caleb’s story is like so many others at The Ranch… youth that come in with walls up over their hearts and trust issues towards adults (oftentimes for good reason due to the trauma they’ve experienced). It’s a beautiful thing to see how impressionable youth are, though, and how in one short week, so much trust, joy, and open-heartedness can be restored. Our aim is to restore hope in our students lives and to give them a reprieve from the hurtful and challenging situations they often face. It is critical to give youth glimpses of hope in their tough situations to pull their mind out of the hurt and hardships they are facing and on to a trajectory of optimism and courage.
An interesting study was done by Curt Richter back in the 1950’s that examined the amount of time it would take for rats to drown in a bucket of water – sounds morbid but it uncovered some very fascinating findings about hope. Check out this article for a thought-provoking read on the topic: https://www.heartbeatservices.org/hope-floats.
It is so life-giving to see the changes and transformations that take place in the lives of the youth we serve every single week and we love getting to share pieces of those stories with you! Thanks for tuning in to our weekly stories. If you feel led to give above and beyond what you already give to your local church, consider becoming a Dream Builder. Support youth at The Ranch with monthly giving opportunities. Consider pledging between $5 and $50 per month and join us in our mission to transform the lives of youth in Iowa. Invest in the next generation of leaders by following this link: https://www.wildwoodhillsranch.org/donate/dream-builders/.