Adopting from the Ranch: Providing a forever home
How they met
Emily and Philip Ives met when they began working at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches nine years ago.
“Before we were hired at the Ranch, we worked across the street from one another for years unknowingly,” Emily laughs.
Emily graduated from Lyon College, and Philip graduated from Arkansas State University. Emily, who is now the Ranch’s Business Manager, joined the Ranch team as Director of Communications and was recently promoted to Business Manager. Philip, originally hired as Program Manager, was promoted to Chief Operating Officer a few years ago.
Over time, the two became quite a team. Emily and Philip collaborated to keep things running smoothly on a daily basis at the Ranch.
“I was born and raised as part of the Ranch family. My parents have been houseparents for literally over 1000 kids over the course of my life. Being here as part of the Ranch has always been my normal, but as I grew up, I realized that other families do not help take care of kids like my family did,” Emily says.
Becoming a family
Emily and Philip’s relationship evolved over time. They married and celebrated the birth of their son, Dash, a few years later. They adopted their son, Isaac, from the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches on November 1, 2018. Isaac came to the Ranch as a foster child four years prior to adoption.
“We spent time around him often since we work at the Ranch, but we didn’t build a strong relationship immediately. Since he lived in the home where Emily’s parents work as houseparents, we had ample opportunity to interact with him,” Philip recalls.
When Philip and Emily learned that Isaac would be eligible for adoption, they were concerned for his well-being.
“We thought his quality of life may decrease. He does not adjust well to change. Also, we hated to see him separated from his siblings,” Emily shared.
Life for foster children at the Ranch
The length of stay at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches varies for children who call the Ranch home. Some stay for a few months before transitioning to traditional foster homes, while others stay at the Ranch and remain for years. Others, like Isaac, are deemed eligible for adoption and leave when they find forever homes.
The Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) or The Department of Human Services (DHS) retains legal custody of foster children who call the Ranch home. The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches provides more than just foster care for Ranchers. Ranch staff offer loving, supportive family-style homes and keep siblings together. The Ranch provides therapeutic services, academic support, and life skills training. And in the summer, Ranchers enjoy fun, educational programs and activities on the Ranch’s nearly 600-acre campus.
Isaac, like other Ranchers, enjoyed living at the Ranch. The Ranch provided stability, security, and support. His previous living environment lacked these key components to emotional, mental, and physical well-being. When Philip asked Isaac if he would like to be adopted, he looked at him blankly, as if he’d never considered that option. After several minutes, he said yes and asked several questions.
The process of adoption began—but the adoption process takes time. The Ives family first expressed their intention to adopt Isaac. Then, they agreed to participate in several weeks of fostering and parenting courses through DHS. The series of courses educates potential adoptive parents about what to expect when fostering and adopting, provides parenting tips and techniques, and helps parents manage behavior problems, including power struggles. Philip recalls hearing many stories from course teachers about difficult situations.
“Our teacher he let us know it was not going to be all rainbows,” he remembers.
In addition to coursework, Emily and Philip underwent CPR certification training and DHS home visits.
“We let Isaac visit our home before fostering. When we showed him his bedroom, he jumped on the bed and spread his body across it. He really seemed at home,” Emily muses.
Adoption celebrations and challenges
While Emily and Philip share fond memories of Isaac’s adoption, they also admit to difficult moments.
“The first night felt very awkward. We told him he may be bored at our home because life is normal in our home. And all of a sudden, we realized we had a teenage stranger walking around. We needed to create more boundaries,” Philip notes.
The first six months required adjustment for everyone, including Dash, the Ives’ biological son, now five years-old. Emily and Philip agree that the greatest challenge was proving to both boys that they were equally loved.
“We had to help Isaac believe we loved him as much as Dash, that he wasn’t just a side note, that we valued his thoughts and interests, that life would be fair. And we had to do the same for Dash,” Philip shares.
Over time, the couple found balance with the children but faced struggles in the process. The couple also helped Isaac cope with anxiety. Prior to adoption, Isaac struggled academically and behaviorally in school due to anxiety. However, after the adoption was finalized, many of his fears about the future subsided. Isaac now remains on the Honor Roll at school, and his parents do not receive negative feedback from teachers or administrators.
“Now we argue about cleanliness and normal things,” Emily comments.
Life today for the Ives family
Isaac and Dash spend time together attending church, watching television, playing video games, and pestering one another. Dash loves playing with his goats, pigs, and prize cat, Ricky Bobby. Isaac enjoys football and basketball. In fact, he has always dreamed of attending a NFL game. Philip and Isaac will attend one together this fall to see the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys go head to head.
Emily and Philip offer tips and advice to other families considering adoption.
“Even after working at the Ranch, I remained naive about the process and had unrealistic expectations. Past trauma will come out. Personalities clash. Gratitude will not overflow. Just be realistic,” Philip urges.
“And I didn’t know my child’s love for his biological parents would remain so strong. But it has helped me tremendously to look at all things through my child’s eyes,” Emily shares.
Thank you, Philip and Emily, for your daily contributions to the lives of children at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. We hope all readers will consider joining us in supporting children who call the Ranch home by becoming a Hope Builder and making a monthly donation toward building better lives for Ranchers.
Baking for kids: Making birthdays special at the Ranch
Alishia Baker truly lives up to her last name.
About birthdays at the Ranch
Founded in 1976 by Arkansas sheriffs, the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches provide a loving, supportive place to call home for about 60 children per year. Located near Batesville, Arkansas, the Ranch operates family-style cottages, helping children feel secure, stable, and comfortable. The Ranch provides multiple programs and services for Ranchers, including therapy sessions, an educational summer program, and outdoor activities. Children at the Ranch also participate in chores and attend church weekly.
When children who call the Ranch home celebrate birthdays, they receive a gift from the Ranch and a birthday cake or cupcakes. Alishia makes this celebration time sweeter by creating cakes tailored to individual children’s preferences for flavor, color, and theme. She recently donated a custom-made vanilla “kitten” cake with pink frosting, complete with ears, a nose, eyes, and whiskers for a child’s birthday party. The recipient, a young birthday girl, was thrilled. At about $40 per cake, volunteer bakers save the Ranch $2,400 annually while providing children with special experiences.
The making of a baker
Alishia Baker first realized her talent merited attention when she baked a cake for her church in 2014.
“For our pie auction, I baked a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. It brought some of the highest bids,” Alishia recalls.
After the auction, two women from church requested that Alishia bake their birthday cakes. Alishia also hosted a fundraiser and prepared a cake for a Miss Arkansas candidate. Her fan base grew. The more people tasted her cakes and recognized her cake decorating abilities, the more they requested to purchase her creations.
Making birthdays special
In January 2020, we posted on Facebook about the need for bakers willing to bake custom birthday cakes for Ranchers. Alishia jumped at the opportunity and immediately responded.
“I have a very soft spot for kids who are less fortunate. Birthdays are a HUGE deal to me. I wanted the kids at the Ranch to feel extra special on their day,” Alishia shares.
Thanks to volunteers and donors like Alishia, our Ranchers do feel special.
Do you have a special talent, business service, or product to donate to children who call the Ranch home? Please consider volunteering or giving to the Ranch. Contact us at 870-793-6841 or via email to find out how you can build hope in children’s lives.
You may also make a charitable contribution to Ranch, which helps pay for things like shoes, clothing, and even birthday presents. As an organization that is almost entirely privately funded, we would not be able to provide these special occasions for our Ranchers without support from donors. Click here to make a one-time or monthly gift.
Becoming whole: Jason’s story
An interview with Jason
“What is the best thing about the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches?”
One of our children at the Ranch (whom we lovingly refer to as Ranchers) sits calmly across from me. He doesn’t miss a beat.
“My parents,” he smiles.
“Do you mean your houseparents?” I clarify, not knowing that his biological parents are deceased.
“Um yeah,” he stares back at me, as if I should have known that for Ranchers, houseparents are never simply staff members. “Of course. The best thing here is having a home and a family.”
For foster children who call the Ranch home, houseparents become much more than care providers. Because many Ranchers reside at the Ranch for years, their houseparents hold a special place in their hearts and lives. They feel like family.
*Jason’s experience is exactly what the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches offer to all Ranchers: a loving, supportive, safe, and healthy place to call home.
A troubled past
When Jason arrived at the Ranch a few years ago after bouncing from home to home in foster care, he was not the same young man he is today. He wept through his entire intake interview during the admissions process at the Ranch, overcome with fear. This now 4.0 high achiever, involved in FBLA, theatre, and choir at school, had been severely abused or neglected by his biological family.
Prior to Ranch placement, Jason’s life was in constant flux.
“When I was seven, my parents split up. I stayed with my dad because my mom wanted to be with her boyfriend. Everything was fine,” Jason reminisces.
However, one morning Jason woke up to a house full of people crying and mourning. His father was killed in a vehicular accident.
“I was hurt and sad. I didn’t know what was really going on at that age. But I knew my dad was gone, and I knew life wasn’t going to be the same,” he recants.
He was right. After moving in with his biological mother and boyfriend, Jason began witnessing the boyfriend beating his mother, often belittling her—and her children, including Jason. In addition, Jason’s mother and boyfriend began manufacturing methamphetamine.
“Once drugs took over, we didn’t have food. Roaches crawled everywhere. We couldn’t wash clothes and didn’t have a car,” Jason remembers.
The beauty of Ranch life
After several years of living in these conditions, the Department of Human Services gained custody of Jason and his siblings. Jason’s mother died from unknown causes a few years later.
Jason’s story represents the gut-wrenching reality—and beauty—of Ranch life. Many Ranchers arrive full of fear, anger, and unprocessed trauma. Like Jason, they’ve witnessed addiction. They’ve lived in the throes of domestic violence, inhabitable housing conditions, and even homelessness. They have acquired survival skills but have never learned to set boundaries, expect reasonable treatment from others, or process emotions fully or healthfully. Many have never slept soundly in secure, clean homes.
But the beauty of becoming a Rancher is the becoming: healing from the past and transforming into a healthy, happy individual. Ranchers receive therapy and emotional support from staff. They live in the same family-style foster care home as their siblings. Tutors provide academic assistance each afternoon, and during the summers, Ranchers participate in engaging, educational programs when they’re not enjoying the nearly 600-acre Ranch. Ranchers learn to embrace the moment, no longer afraid of constant chaos or continually haunted by the traumatic past. Ranchers discover true personal fulfillment as they find serenity and hope.
Jason isn’t finished growing or transforming. He plans to attend college after high school graduation.
“I want to be a teacher. 10 years from now, I think I’ll be a teacher at a school like Batesville and have a house,” Jason asserts confidently.
I have no doubt he will accomplish all these things while becoming the best version of himself.
Help Ranchers, including Jason, to become healthy, happy, and whole by supporting the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches as a Hope Builder.
*Jason’s name and details of his personal story have been changed for privacy purposes.
Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches nominated for 32nd Annual Arkansas Business Nonprofit Organization of the Year award
Arkansas Business recently announced nominations for the 32nd Annual Arkansas Business of the Year Award. Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches made the cut! ASYR earned nomination for the Nonprofit Organization of the Year award.
About Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches
Nancy Fulton, CEO of ASYR, expressed her excitement when she learned of the nomination.
“The Board of Trustees, staff, and I feel humbled to be nominated for Arkansas Business’ Nonprofit Organization of the Year. The other nominees represent phenomenal organizations. Being included with the other nominees brings us such a feeling of honor and pride. At ASYR, we commit fully to the well-being of Arkansas children and appreciate being recognized for our work,” Fulton stated.
In order to be considered for nomination, organizations must cite examples of significant impact. Nominees embrace and exemplify growth. The nominees regularly collaborate with partners, including other nonprofit organizations, agencies, and community members. And finally, nominees serve as leaders in their respective fields or industries.
The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches also recently celebrated nomination for the Batesville Chamber of Commerce’s Community Collaboration Award.
The Ranch has served as an integral part of Independence County since 1976. ASYR continually builds partnerships with organizations, agencies, corporations, and individuals. These partnerships help ASYR fulfill its mission. ASYR provides a place to call home for Arkansas children who have been abandoned, abused, and/or neglected. The ASYR provides a loving, safe, and healthy place to call home. But it doesn’t stop there. The ASYR also provides therapeutic services, educational programs, and fresh air and fun on its nearly 600-acre campus.
The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches relies on private funding. The ASYR retains strong community support in its local community and beyond.
Nominees for the Arkansas Business Nonprofit Organization of the Year award
Five organizations earned nomination for the 2020 Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. Other nominees include: Central Arkansas Rescue Effort for Animals (CARE), Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, Thea Foundation, and Women and Children First. In 2019, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance won the Nonprofit of the Year Award.
The Arkansas Business Awards dinner will be held on March 11 at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Ballroom in Little Rock. We look forward to celebrating with other nominees.
Want to help the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches provide a loving, safe place to call home for Arkansas children in need? Join our group of committed supporters as a Hope Builder.
Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches nominated for 2020 Community Collaboration Award
At the 2020 Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and gala on January 24, the winner of the 2020 Community Collaboration Award will be announced. The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches is excited to be nominated.
“We at ASYR are delighted and honored to be nominated for the Batesville Chamber of Commerce award for Community Collaboration. For the last six years, we have pursued the goal of being a good partner to the community that has given so much to the boys and girls who call the Ranch ‘home,'” says Nancy Fulton, CEO of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. “We are honored to share our blessings with the community. We consider it our duty to support the community of Batesville through partnership, participation, and collaboration.”
An integral part of Independence County since 1976, the ASYR has continually built collaborative partnerships with organizations, agencies, corporations, and individuals. These partnerships help ASYR fulfill its mission—to provide a place to call home for Arkansas children who have been abandoned, abused, and/or neglected. As a nonprofit organization relying almost solely on private funding, the ASYR is grateful for strong community support in the Batesville area and beyond.
Key collaborators: banking partners
The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches has benefited from key partnerships with local banks for decades. These banks continue to invest their resources in helping the ASYR raise funds for children who need a place to call home.
One of these banking partners is First Community Bank, which has hosted its Annual Charity Golf Tournament to benefit ASYR for 22 years. The tournament alone has raised over $300,000 for the Ranch. First Community Bank’s support does not end there. Three years ago, First Community Bank also became the presenting sponsor of the Youth Ranch Pumpkin Patch in October. The Pumpkin Patch has helped raise additional funds and increase awareness of ASYR’s mission and services. More than 7,000 visitors have attended the Pumpkin Patch on campus.
First Community Bank President and COO Boris Dover said, “The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches work closely with First Community Bank through ongoing community collaboration projects, including an Annual Charity Golf Tournament and the Pumpkin Patch project. These generate additional revenue for the nonprofit organization. Both projects help make the Ranch a better place for boys and girls to call home. We ask that The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch be strongly considered as the recipient of the Chamber’s Community Collaboration Award.”
Another key banking partner is Citizens Bank. Four years ago, Citizens Bank began partnering with ASYR for #GivingTuesday, an international day of giving to nonprofits. Citizens Bank first matched donations made to the ASYR during #GivingTuesday up to $5,000. That $5,000 matching gift led to more than $15,000 in giving that first year. Since then Citizens Bank’s annual matching gift has helped encourage more than $158,000 in contributions to ASYR.
“Citizens Bank is proud to foster support for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches in its efforts to find permanent homes for children. Together, through the Giving Tuesday campaign, Citizens Bank has helped the Ranches raise more than $100,000 in the last four years to provide funding for this critical and necessary mission. Supporting the Youth Ranch program is much more than money to us,” said Micah Beard, President of Citizens Bank’s North Central Market and current President of the ASYR Board of Trustees.
Partners in public relations and media
The ASYR’s record-breaking #GivingTuesday campaign was made possible by other partners, too. Two years ago, White River Now joined the campaign as a media partner. With the help of Citizens Bank (and other corporate partners), the amount raised more than doubled in the second two years over what was raised in the first two years.
Regarding White River Now’s work on #GivingTuesday, Chad Whitaker said, “It’s been our privilege to partner with the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch and Citizen’s Bank for Giving Tuesday. We get to share stories of children who have come to the ranch and had their lives changed for the better. Being that the Youth Ranch is funded mostly through private donations, we felt a special urgency to get the word out to our community of how great the need is. The public responded in such a compassionate way. We have seen the donations more than double since we’ve had the opportunity to be involved, and I’m looking forward to setting another record this year!”
Collaboration with sponsors, volunteers, and donors
ASYR’s work on #GivingTuesday also paved the way to a wonderful partnership with the Melba Theatre. On #GivingTuesday 2016, Judge Reinhold approached ASYR about hosting a charity screening of The Santa Clause to benefit the Ranch. The Melba helped the ASYR publicize the event, and we filled the theatre that evening with Christmas movie lovers, Judge Reinhold fans, and Ranch supporters. Patrons donated toys for our Ranchers and paid a suggested donation to raise additional funds. We recreated the event in 2018 with Judge Reinhold making another appearance and answering fans’ questions after the screening. We also celebrated #GivingTuesday that evening with a check presentation on the Melba Stage.
Home Depot is another invaluable community partner. The ASYR has received a Team Depot Home Depot Foundation grant for three years. The grant funds and Home Depot volunteers helped transform one of the Ranch homes, remodeling the kitchen, painting the walls, and completing landscaping, too. The volunteers also built picnic tables, decks, and fences for our houses last year and provided pumpkins at our Pumpkin Patch. This year, Home Depot is helping with landscaping projects to make our houses look and feel more like home to our Ranchers. Our campus is in much better shape today thanks to the support of Home Depot.
The ASYR is grateful for such a long list of collaborators and partners, including sponsors and in-kind donors. For example, Future Fuel donated fuel for the ASYR’s farm equipment and sponsored the Youth Ranch Pumpkin Patch. Precise Heating and Cooling’s customer appreciation day raised funds for the ASYR by selling BBQ meals. Pepsi Bottling Company washes windows for tips for the ASYR at Hawgs, and the Pinto Coffee and Comida provided a donation for every lunch special sold during #GivingTuesday. Scott Wood Chrysler Jeep donated a new truck for the ASYR farm program, and Bad Boy Mowers provides mowers to keep our lawns looking fresh.
ASYR gives back
The ASYR gives back to the community, too, partnering with other nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. This year, ASYR Therapist Maylynn Staggs, a National Board Certified Counselor, collaborated with the Batesville Child Advocacy Center, offering pro bono therapeutic services for adults in group settings and individual counseling for parents. She also collaborates with Batesville High School teaching mental health education to high school students to prepare children for challenges and decrease the mental health stigma.
Gratitude for partnerships
Thanks to our partners and collaborators, the ASYR serves children holistically and helps educate community members about the need to provide safe, healthy, and loving homes for Arkansas’ children. The need to provide homes for boys and girls continues to be an uphill battle with far fewer beds than needed. However, by working together with its great partners, the ASYR will continue to fulfill its mission.
A second chance: Roger’s Story
This is Roger’s story
Roger and his little brother came to live at the Ranch in 1977. In fact, they were the very first two residents of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. Roger’s dad, a disabled Veteran, resided in a nursing home. Roger and his brother lived with their mom.
At ages five and seven, Roger and his little brother ran amuck without adult supervision. They often missed school. Roger said his mom was “not the mother she should have been.”
Missing school meant missing meals since school provided their only sustenance. Often they didn’t eat for days at a time.
They felt hungry and afraid. Because they had no other family, they fended for themselves.
This unfortunate circumstance characterized Roger’s whole life before Sheriff Ed Hall stepped in. Sheriff Hall helped found the Ranch. He knew the Ranch could provide a great 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
Hundreds of children each year in Arkansas are abandoned, neglected, abused – much like Roger. So we keep telling his story. You may have even heard about Arkansas’ foster care crisis in the news. So many foster children in Arkansas wait for loving, safe, and healthy homes.
The Ranch recently opened a new cottage to meet this need. If you’re reading this, we need your support! Please give children like Roger a second chance at childhood with a gift to the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches.
We raise annual funds to operate cottages, stock our pantries, and make each house a loving supportive home. The ASYR provides all Ranchers with clothing and shoes, school supplies, age appropriate toys, and other necessities. 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 at childhood. At the Ranch, Roger grew into a responsible adult. This photo features Roger with his family at the Ranch’s 40th Anniversary Party. He married his high school sweetheart, and they have two lovely children. Roger travels the globe as a business solutions architect for Tyson Foods, a Fortune 100 company. He also served on the Ranch’s Board of Trustees!
Roger’s story proves that second chances happen when we provide stable, loving homes for children. Roger and his brother gained the opportunity to live healthy lives, thanks to friends like you and the sheriffs of Arkansas.
The Ranch changes lives
While we wish Roger’s original circumstances represent one isolated case, we know the unfortunate truth. Many Arkansas children face food insecurity. They go to bed hungry each night due to neglect. Others live in abusive homes. Help the Ranch support children 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 fulfill our mission. You help us provide safe, stable homes for children in need. Thanks to our founders and donors, the Ranches have served as home to more than 2,100 boys and girls since 1976.
The greatest gift you can give a child is a life free from hunger, neglect, and abuse. Even a small gift can help a lot! Select 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 changes children’s lives. Click here to make a one-time or monthly gift today.
Thank you for giving generously to change the life of a child like Roger.
P.S. Read Roger’s letter below. Many children who come to the Ranches have similar stories. Your support of the Ranch gives 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 brother’s – 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 eat on a regular basis and were left to our own devices. As children ages 5 and 7, we ran around footloose in Augusta, Arkansas.
Too often, we missed school, meaning we might not eat for a day or two at a time. We wore whatever we could find. Usually, my brother and I were not clean. We never learned hygiene at all.
The turning point: The Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches
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 that a negligent mother caused my scars. This felt embarrassing. In short I guess it is a miracle 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 three 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 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.
Roger’s life today
I am thankful I have a great job with Tyson Foods as Business Solutions Architect working around the world. One of the reasons I have been successful at Tyson is because of the work ethic instilled at the Ranch. Having chores and responsibilities and learning to set goals were key components. I learned life is not free, and a person must work hard to accomplish their goals.
Nancy, please use my story to help supporters understand the importance of their gifts to the Ranch. Thousands of children just like my brother and me 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 it takes a lot of prayers and financial support to keep the Ranch running and to support this new cottage so more children can be rescued. I’m happy to do anything I can do to help encourage giving.
The Ranch truly saved my life.
I want other children to have this same opportunity.
Will you help other children like Roger?
A monthly contribution of just $25 can provide a lot of “firsts” for our kids!
Celebrating a birthday party with cake and a gift
A brand new pair of shoes rather than hand-me-downs
Monthly allowance to teach Ranchers a sense of responsibility
Food for the first animal a child has ever taken care of
A cap and gown for a family’s first high school graduation ceremony
You can help a child celebrate a lot of “firsts” at the Ranch.
Click here to make a one-time or monthly gift.
From Rancher to Award-Winning First Responder
Jamey was quite the character when he lived with us at the Ranch, but his life wasn’t always so carefree.
Jamey’s mom was disabled, and when Jamey was 10 his dad lost his job. After that, his parents began to fight and there was a lot of family drama. All the fighting was difficult for a young boy.
Over the next couple of years, things went from bad to worse. Jamey began mowing yards so his family would have enough money to buy bread and lunch meat. One day his dad dropped him off at a friend’s house and told him not to come home. Of course, he went home.
That’s when it happened. Jamey found his dad unconscious surrounded by empty pill bottles. He called 911, and the police came and took Jamey to an emergency shelter. It was clear that Jamey’s parents were not caring for him. No 12-year-old should have to mow yards to support his parents.
“I’ll never forget the day I arrived at the Ranch – September 23rd, 2007. Life at the Ranch was amazing!”
At the Ranch Jamey was able to just be a kid. He was grateful that he wouldn’t have to mow lawns to eat every day, and he was able to focus on school work for the first time. Before coming to the Ranch, Jamey hadn’t attended school regularly and was behind on his education. But Jamey had great tutors at the Ranch who helped him get caught up.
Unfortunately, Jamey’s story is all too common for children in Arkansas. More often than not, this is due to parents who become addicted to substances and neglect caring for their children. Sometimes, parents are not mentally equipped to deal with raising a child. Whatever the reason, even one child living in these kinds of conditions is one too many.
If we are not vigilant in identifying and caring for these children, this lifestyle can become a cycle that plagues a family for generations. This is the heart behind ASYR’s mission – to break this cycle of abuse and neglect one child at a time.
Because the Sheriffs of Arkansas saw these needs firsthand, they founded the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch to give children like Jamey a second chance at life. Thanks to their efforts and the compassionate support of friends like you, more than 2,100 boys and girls from every corner of the state have found hope at the Ranch. They have found safety, stability, a good education, proper health care, and a home with houseparents who love them and support them like their own child.
Jamey is now engaged to be married and is an Emergency Medical Technician and a part-time police officer. He also volunteers with his local fire department and is an award winning first responder! One year, Jamey even sent his former houseparents on vacation for their anniversary to say thank you for raising him and giving him a second chance!
Will you join us in this important mission as we work to create brighter futures for children like Jamey? Your donation today will help more children receive a second chance at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch.
It’s simple to make a one-time gift or set up an automatic monthly contribution. Click here or text the word ranch to 41444 to make a gift today!
Become a Hope Builder with a monthly gift. A contribution of as little as $10 per month can help provide for things like:
• New shoes or coats for our boys and girls
• Christmas and Birthday gifts for our children
• Feed for goats, chickens or other animals on the Ranch
• Salary for our loving houseparents
• An allowance for a child
• Utilities for our cottages
Click here to become a Hope Builder with your monthly gift to the Ranches.
Congrats to our 2019 Graduates!
Congratulations to our 2019 Graduates! We were filled with pride to watch these two young men walk across the stage last Friday evening to accept their high school diploma.
The odds may have been stacked against them, but through a combination of their resilience and determination along with the love and opportunities they’ve received from their houseparents and staff at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, they have reached this important milestone in their lives.
We are incredibly grateful to every Ranch supporter who has provided for these young men over the years. Because of your support, they have been Ranch Raised!
At the Ranch, we raise a child’s vision for what a loving family looks like. We raise their expectations of themselves for how well they can do in school. We raise their hopes for their own future by helping them set and accomplish their goals. We raise them to love as they’ve been loved and pass along those lessons to the next generation.
Since 1976, we’ve raised boys and girls in stable and loving homes where they get to be a kid while growing into responsible young men and women. Thanks to consistent support from our friends and community partners, the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches has helped raise more than 2,100 children!
But we can’t do it without friends like you. Join us today in celebrating our Seniors by making a gift in honor or in memory of someone who’s made a difference in your life. With your one-time or monthly gift to the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch you are helping Raise a Rancher!
YOU CAN HELP RAISE A RANCHER!
With your support, the Ranch can continue to raise children who come from homes torn apart by abuse and neglect. Your gift to the Ranch, no matter how small, can make a big difference in the life of a child.
You may have heard the saying “it takes a village” to raise a child. That statement could not be more true for us at the Ranch. It takes all of us working together to raise these children. But the lives that are changed here are more than worth the effort!
Join us as we raise a new generation of Ranchers! It’s quick and easy to make a one-time gift or set up an automatic monthly contribution. Click here or text the word ranch to 41444 to make a gift today!
A monthly contribution of just $25 can provide a lot of “firsts” for our kids!
• A cap and gown for a family’s first high school graduate
• The first birthday party they’ve ever had
• The first pair of new shoes that aren’t “hand-me-downs”
• The first ever monthly allowance that will help teach responsibility
• Feed for the first animal a child has ever taken care of
You can help a child celebrate a lot of “firsts” at the Ranch. Click here to make a one-time or monthly gift.
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.