Chris is literally the poster child for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches’ cattle program. Chris was placed at the Ranch four years ago after his mother was charged with drug abuse. Chris, who was 14 at the time, was headed down the same path as his mother. He had joined a local gang and had begun using drugs himself.
At the Ranch, Chris got involved with our educational cattle program. He heard about our plans to raise a registered Hereford herd, so he began reading Hereford World magazine and studying the bloodlines of the cows. He helped our Program Director Philip Ives and Farm Manager Jake Holder select the Ranches’ first cows for the new program.
Chris trained with the cows for hours and began showing ASYR Herefords in cattle shows across the country. Chris’s bull won several Grand and Reserve Champion awards at these shows. He loved working with the cows and was proud to have played a part in helping the Ranch develop its new herd.
After living at the Ranch for two years, the judge in Chris’s hometown told him that his mother had passed a drug test. The judge gave Chris permission to leave the Ranch and move back in with his mother. Chris was faced with a very difficult decision for a 16-year-old.
Chris told the judge that if he moved back home with his mother, he feared that he would fall back in with the same group that had influenced him to abuse drugs. He thought he could wind up dropping out of school and following the same destructive path of others in his family.
Instead, Chris told the judge that he was doing very well at Ranch and he wanted to stay. He knew that if he continued to live with us at the Ranch he would graduate from high school in a couple of years and be able to attend college.
Chris is a senior this year, and when he graduates from high school in May, he plans to go to college and become a physical therapist. He knows our staff will do everything they can to help him keep his grades up and receive scholarships to attend college next fall. He knows that our independent living program is available to help him bridge the gap between living in a home with eight boys to getting out on his own. Because the Ranches are almost entirely funded by donations from friends like YOU, children like Chris are cared for from the time they are six years old until they are ready to venture out on their own at age 21.
YOUR support gives children like Chris that kind of stability. And with YOUR support, the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches can offer that same stability to many more children. In fact, over the last 40 years, more than 1,300 children from every corner of the state have called our Ranches home!
Without YOU, children like Chris will continue in a cycle of abuse and neglect. But with a gift today, YOU can give a child hope and healing. YOUR gift is an investment in the lives of boys and girls like Chris. I can think of no better, more compassionate gift than investing in the lives of the children we serve. YOUR gift allows us to give even more children like Chris the stability of a safe, healthy, and loving place to call home.
A recurring monthly gift is an affordable way to make an even BIGGER impact in the lives of our children. A monthly Hope Builder gift allows you to spread out your contribution over an entire year. It’s a simple and secure way to support our boys and girls all year. Click here to set up your monthly Hope Builder gift today.
Thank you for believing in our mission to provide homes for Arkansas boys and girls. With YOUR gift, YOU are giving children like Chris a second chance at a better life!
If you like, you can designate your gift to the educational cattle program that changed Chris’s life. We have recently written about our immediate need to raise a new hay barn for this life-changing program. YOUR gift toward this need will help us store hay for our grass-fed Hereford cows during the harsh winter months. Just click here to become a “Barn Raiser” today!