From unimaginable childhood to a bright future
An Unimaginable Childhood
Llahoma was only 10 years old when her parents divorced. Soon after that, her mother became pregnant with another man’s child. Her mother went from job to job. Over the next 3 years, they were evicted often and a variety of men were in and out of Llahoma’s life. There was no stability.
Llahoma’s mom and her live in boyfriend were both addicted to drugs. Her mother would often try to barter her for sex in exchange for more drugs.
First, her mom was trafficking drugs. Then she started an escort service. Every day was filled with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. In the 6th grade, Llahoma only went to school for 3 months. She was beaten so badly that year that she couldn’t use her arm.
When Llahoma was 13, her mom had sobered up, but she thought Llahoma was the cause of all her problems, so she decided that sending Llahoma to live with her dad was the solution. She took Llahoma to Toad Suck Park near Conway, gave her a scribbled note with a number for a taxi, and an address she believed to be Llahoma’s dad’s. Then she left.
This was the last time Llahoma saw her mother alive.
Llahoma was not a welcomed guest at her father’s house because he had a girlfriend who had her own child. Llahoma was devastated. But fortunately, this situation led to her finding the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch.
“It was hard when I first came to the Ranch. I didn’t want to talk to the counselor, I just wanted to listen to my Walkman. After all the hurt from my mom, I felt that my dad didn’t care either.”
Soon after Llahoma arrived at the Ranch, the staff and her doctors discovered that she was addicted to amphetamines and was experiencing withdrawals. She had no idea that her mom’s boyfriend had been slipping her drugs to be able to sexually abuse her.
The Next Chapter
Although Llahoma’s story began with an unimaginable childhood, thanks to loving houseparents at the Ranch and generous donors who make the our work possible, this story gets better.
Once her system was clean, Llahoma realized she was in a safe place at the Ranch. And Ranch life was so much better! She got real food every single day – and someone actually cooked her food. She was also able to bond with other girls at the Ranch who had been through similar situations. She no longer felt like an outcast because the girls had each other, and the guys were like real brothers. She knew they had her back and that the Ranch was a safe place where no one would come in her room at night.
Dr. ‘G’ was Llahoma’s counselor, and he was so helpful in her recovery. He taught her how to have appropriate interaction with men and not be afraid. He taught her who she could be.
Llahoma says that houseparents are truly the unsung heroes of the Ranch. They not only care for the children’s physical needs, but they also make every child feel safe and loved.
Not long after coming to the Ranch Llahoma got a job at age 14. The Ranch encourages Ranchers to get jobs. She saved her money, and at 16 she bought a car. She excelled in school. She was Vice President of the ART Club, active in her schools chapters of Future Business Leaders of America and Future Farmers of America, and she played softball. She loved staying busy with her school’s extracurricular activities, and her houseparents always encouraged her in her endeavors. Upon graduation she got a full ride scholarship to Henderson State University, where she attended their Honors College.
Llahoma became involved with the Humane Society and was the youngest person ever elected to their Board of Directors at age 20. Later, she received a job offer from the Red Cross and moved to Baltimore. She also worked with Americorp and the Domestic Peace Corps.
At age 25, Llahoma learned that her Mom had cancer and had passed away, so she returned to Arkansas for the funeral.
Llahoma has a big heart for animals, and after returning to Arkansas, she was offered a Regional Training position for Petco as a Behavior Consultant working with abused animals. Many of her clients referred to her as the “Dog Whisperer.” Not only had she been abused, but she formed special bonds with her pets that had also been abused.
A Bright Future
Today, Llahoma is the Regional Philanthropy Officer for the American Red Cross. She has a six year old daughter who loves to sing and dance. They’re both fans of Wonder Woman and live in Central Arkansas.
Thanks to everyone that supports the Ranch, Llahoma has grown into a successful young woman. She tells us, “I have found my voice and it is strong!” So from Llahoma, her daughter, and everyone at the Ranch, we are grateful to everyone who played a part in Llahoma’s story.
“This is my story. I would not be the woman or the mother I am today without my story, and the Ranch is a big part of that.”
You Can Help
Llahoma’s story is just one of more than 2,050 boys and girls who have called the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch home over the 40 plus years. Thanks to generous supporters of the Ranch and their love for children, lives are changed every day at the Ranch. With an annual or monthly gift to the Ranch, you too can impact the lives of children children like Llahoma who have been neglected, abused and abandoned. Click here to give today.
As an honorary member of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, you become our partner in serving hurting children. We could not do this important work without the faithful support of friends like you. As a member, you will receive a 2018 membership card, a window decal, and we also have license plate tags and frames available to show your support of the Ranch!
Many of our Ranchers have had a difficult past, but at the ASYR they find a brighter future. But we can’t do it without friends like you! You can join us in this lifesaving mission by committing to an annual or monthly gift today.
Did you know that a monthly contribution of just $25 can help provide:
• New shoes for up to six of our boys and girls
• A monthly allowance for one child
• Caps and gowns for all of our graduates
• Birthday gifts for 12 children
• Feed for our goats and other farm animals for one month
This year, you can make a difference in the life of a child. Click here to become a Hope Builder with your monthly gift to the Ranches.
From the Ranch to the Board Room: a story of second chances
This is Roger’s story
Roger and his little brother came to live at the Ranch in 1976. In fact, they were our very first two Ranchers. Roger’s dad was a disabled Veteran and had been admitted to a nursing home. They had been living with their Mom.
At ages 7 and 5, Roger and his little brother had very little parental supervision. They would often miss school. Roger said his mom was “not the mother she should have been.”
Missing school meant missing meals, since school was where they would usually eat. Often they didn’t have anything to eat for days at a time.
They were hungry and afraid. They had no other family and had to fend for themselves because of their mother’s neglect.
This was their unfortunate story before Sheriff Ed Hall learned of their situation. Sheriff Hall was one of the founding Sheriffs of the Ranch and knew this would be the perfect home for Roger and his little brother.
Thanks to the Sheriffs of Arkansas and other supporters, Roger received a second chance at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. We are humbled to see lives like Roger’s transformed at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. Join others in supporting children like Roger by making a gift today.
Meeting the Growing Need
The reason I’m telling this story today is because there are thousands of children in Arkansas right now who have been abandoned, neglected, abused – much like Roger. You may have even heard about Arkansas’s foster care crisis in the news. The need for more homes for Arkansas children is greater today than it ever has been. This fact breaks my heart.
These children are why the Ranch is opening a new cottage to meet this growing need. And if you’re reading this story, we need your help! You can help give more children like Roger a second chance at childhood with a gift to the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches.
We need to raise additional funds funds to support this new cottage. We need to hire new house parents, stock our pantry, and make this house a home. These new children will need clothes, toys, and school supplies, and everything else you need to raise a child. You can help by making a one-time gift or setting up an automatic monthly contribution.
Roger’s second chance
The Ranch gave Roger a second chance to be a child and grow into a responsible adult. Here is a photo of Roger with his family at the Ranch’s 40th Anniversary Party last year. He is now married to his high school sweetheart, and they have two lovely children. He travels the globe as a business solutions architect for Tyson Foods a Fortune 100 company. This year, Roger even joined the Ranch’s Board of Trustees to help move the Ranch forward into its next 40 years!
Roger’s story is a testament to second chances that can happen when we work together to meet a need. Roger and his brother grew up at the Ranch and were given the opportunity to thrive thanks to friends like you and the Sheriffs of Arkansas.
The Ranch changes lives
While we would like to believe Roger’s story is an isolated case, unfortunately it is not. Many Arkansas children will go to bed hungry tonight due to neglect, while others will continue to live in an abusive home. That’s why we need to raise the funds to open this cottage ASAP. You can help by making a one-time gift or setting up an automatic monthly contribution.
Because the Ranch is almost entirely funded through charitable contributions, supporters like you have kept alive the dream of Arkansas sheriffs to provide safe, stable homes for children in need. And thanks to that partnership, the Ranches have been home to more than 1,300 boys and girls over the last 40 years.
The greatest gift you can give a child is a life free from hunger, neglect, and abuse. And even a small gift can help a lot! An easy, affordable way to give is by selecting the monthly option when making your donation. A gift of $25 per month is just .83 cents a day (less than the cost of a bottle of water), but it can truly change the life of a child. Click here to make a one-time or monthly gift today.
Thank you for considering a generous gift to help change the life of a child like Roger.
Nancy Weaver, Chief Executive Officer
PS, Read Roger’s letter below. Many children who come to the Ranches have a similar story. Your support of the Ranch gives these children a second chance to thrive in a safe, healthy and loving home.
I’m happy to share my story. Without the Ranch, my life – and my brothers’ could have been tragically different.
My brother and I were basically raised by a single mom since our father was a disabled Veteran living in a nursing home.
Our mom was not the mother she should have been. We didn’t get food on a regular basis and were left to our own devices. As children, ages 5 and 7 we were running around footloose in Augusta, Arkansas.
We would often miss school, which meant we might not eat for a day or two at a time. Our clothes were whatever we decided to wear and often were not clean. We were not taught hygiene at all.
Thankfully, Sheriff Ed Hall one of the founders of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches learned about our situation and brought us to the Ranch.
With the lack of understanding about hygiene, a hot shower and a toothbrush at the Ranch were new ideas! When we first came to the Ranch I had scars. I had to explain to kids these were caused by a negligent mother. This was embarrassing. In short I guess it is a miracle that we survived long enough to even make it to the Ranch.
The Ranch quickly became home. One of the best parts about being at the Ranch was having structure. Just knowing that we would have 3 meals a day and clean clothes to wear was great!
And, for the first time I actually got to be a kid! Up until this time, my life had been about taking care of my younger brother.
When I think about the people who had the greatest impact on my life, I think about my house parents Rick and Cheyenne Ingram. All the house parents really care about the kids and are always available to the Ranchers. I can’t thank the Ranch enough for helping make me the man I am today.
I am thankful I have a great job with Tyson Foods as Business Solutions Architect working around the world. I am confident that one of the reasons I have been successful at Tyson is because of the work ethic instilled at the Ranch. Having chores, responsibilities and learning to set goals were key components. I learned that life is not free and a person must work hard to accomplish their goals.
Nancy, please use my story to help your supporters understand the importance of their gifts to the Ranch. There are thousands of children just like my brother and me that could end up in trouble – on drugs or even worse.
The Ranch is a place of restoration, a safe place where kids get a chance to be kids and grow into responsible adults. I know that it takes a lot of prayers and financial support to keep the Ranch running and support this new cottage so more children can be rescued. Anything I can do to help encourage giving, I am happy to do.
The Ranch truly saved my life. I want other children to have this same opportunity.
Did you know that a monthly contribution of just $25 can provide:
• New shoes for up to six of our boys and girls
• A monthly allowance for one child
• Caps and gowns for all of our graduates
• Birthday gifts for 12 children
• Feed for our Rancher’s horses for one month
You can make a difference in the life of a child. Click here to make a monthly gift to the Ranches.
Cattle Program Makes BIG Difference in Rancher’s Life
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!
2015 High School Graduates
One of the greatest joys of working at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches is when one of our boys and girls graduates from high school. This year we had two who graduated from Batesville High School. Please join us in congratulating our 2015 high school graduates.
Thanks to friends and supporters like you, this is another young man and woman who have been given a chance at success and leading productive lives in their communities. Thank you for allowing the Youth Ranches to provide a stable, healthy, and supportive homes to give them this chance.
To learn more about how you can get involved in helping the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, visit our Ways to Help page.
How can I teach respect and responsibility?
The Ranch recently held a contest to see what the children thought about respect and responsibility. They were asked to write a short essay on how they can teach both. Colten from Faith Hall won the contest; here are his ideas on teaching respect and responsibility:
East Arkansas residents “Open Hearts, Pump Up!” for the Ranch
Recently 11 Circle ‘N’ market stores in east Arkansas collectively raised over $10,000 during their annual Open Hearts, Pump Up campaign to benefit the ranch.
This year Jamey shared his story of triumph with those attending the 16th Annual Children’s Award Dinner. Jamey’s life as a child was normal- he lived with both of his parents and was active in sports. But by age 10 his life took a turn. He was taken into custody by DHS after his father attempted suicide and from there his life was never the same. (more…)
A True Calling: Faith Hall
Cheyenne Ingram, the houseparent at Faith Hall, has been with the Ranch for 28 years. She and her husband of 34 years, Rick Ingram have dedicated their lives to what they call a true calling from God. Cheyenne and Rick have two children of their own, Seth- 31 and Emily-22, who have grown up with the kids at the ranch and have become like brothers and sisters to everyone that lives there.
In a typical day I get up at 7a.m. and start getting breakfast ready. Around 9 a.m. the boys are all well fed and ready to start the day doing work crew. At noon we all go back inside to clean up and eat a good lunch. After work crew is over, my day usually progresses to going grocery shopping, doing laundry, or cleaning the house. Dinner gets started at 6p.m. and its free time for the boys until bedtime.
All the years I have been here there have been plenty of memories but one good memory that makes me laugh every time I think of it is one of a former resident. He disliked doing the dishes chore, but one night in particular he made the kitchen look spotless. After I had checked his work and went back to my own, one of the kids came to get me in order to show me something in the kitchen. (more…)
Our Ranch Kids Rock!
At the end of the year the school hosts an award night for its students and two of our young people received acknowledgement for their achievements. Shawndra received the Academic Distinction Award from the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. Jamey’s History Day team won first place at regionals for their project on Japanese Internment Camps and received a special honor for this at the awards ceremony. At the state competition at the University of Central Arkansas their team came in at a close fourth place.
One of the great joys of living on the Ranch with lots of animals is getting to see the baby animals. Three of our horses recently gave birth to foals. Everyone enjoys seeing them every day in the pasture and watching them take their first steps running. These babies don’t have names yet but you can be sure the kids will have them picked out in no time.
An Opportunity To Do Things Right
No longer on a downhill slope Chandler shares his story of triumph with attendees at the 2010 Children’s Award Dinner. Chandler expressed his trying times born to a 15 year old single mother in Wichita Falls, TX, a move to his Uncle Paul’s in Arkansas, a life changing transition to the Ranch and his aspirations for the future. The best days of his life were spent on the Ranch with horses, televisions, plenty of food and people who really cared. Click above to listen as Chandler tells about a second chance he was granted.
Josh Finds His Cool at the Ranch
Confidence filled Josh as he spoke at the 13th Annual Arkansas Children’s Awards Dinner about his story of learning survival skills at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. Struggling with anger management throughout most of his life, Josh was come to find a perfect, permanent home at the Ranch. Hear from Josh how the Ranch helped him learn to control his emotions, giving him a new attitude that has set him on the path to success.
Shawndra Learns to Trust Again
There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience at the 14th Annual Arkansas Children’s Award’s Dinner after Rancher Shawndra spoke of how the Ranch has changed her life for the better. Dropping out of school and experimenting with drugs and alcohol in the 9th grade, Shawndra’s unstable home life left her feeling alone and scared. But after being at the Ranch for a year, she’s regained her ability to trust and love others, and now looks forward to a bright future.