Adopting from the Ranch: Providing a forever home
03/17/2020

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 and Philip Ives

Emily and Philip Ives

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

adoption family Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth Ranches

Celebrating becoming a family of four

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.

Adopting Isaac

Ranch kid

Isaac as a Rancher

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.

Isaac today

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Ranch Response to Coronavirus
03/16/2020

How we are keeping our Ranchers safe and healthy:

Due to the increased threat from the coronavirus pandemic, the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches is taking social distancing measures to isolate children and staff in an attempt to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered schools closed through Spring Break, so all of our Ranch children will remain on campus for at least the next two weeks.

Our houseparents will be keeping children close to their homes, and they will increase sanitation measures, making sure all surfaces are disinfected and that children are washing their hands often and effectively.

To keep our houseparents healthy so they can best care of our children, other ASYR staff will make grocery runs and make sure that each house has needed food and supplies. We are grateful to our donors for always helping us keep our pantries stocked and our children well taken care of. Click here to support.

ASYR administrative, business, and maintenance operations will be altered for at least two weeks to allow staff to remain in their homes as much as possible. We will continue essential functions but are asking staff to reduce their time in the office and on campus to reduce the chance of staff inadvertently spreading the virus on campus. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we return calls and messages as quickly as we can.

How you can help

Thank you to our donors, volunteers, and other Ranch friends for your ongoing support during this time, and we ask for prayers for our houseparents and staff as we work to keep our Ranchers safe and healthy.

You may also support our Ranch family with a donation by clicking here, or you can mail your gift to ASYR, PO Box 3964, Batesville, AR 72503. We also have an Amazon Wish List that you may shop to help take care of ongoing grocery and household needs if you would rather make an in-kind donation. Thank you for supporting the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches!

Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches nominated for 32nd Annual Arkansas Business Nonprofit Organization of the Year award
02/11/2020

Nancy Fulton, CEO of Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth RanchesArkansas 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.

girl barn farm Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth RanchesThe 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
01/21/2020

Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth RanchesAt 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

First Community Bank golf tournament Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth RanchesThe 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.”

White River Now Citizens Bank ASYR GivingTuesdayAnother 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

GivingTuesday ASYRThe 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

Santa Clause Judge Reinhold Melba TheatreASYR’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 Batesville volunteers ASYRHome 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.

 

From Rancher to Award-Winning First Responder
07/08/2019

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.

It’s Christmastime at the Ranch!
11/30/2018

Christmas can be a difficult time for the boys and girls at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. Some miss their families, and for others, this may be the very first time they get to experience the joy of Christmas!

YOU can make this Christmas merry and bright for our Ranchers! The end of the year is an expensive time to raise a child, especially when you raise as many as we do at the Ranches. We ask that you consider making a special year-end gift to help meet our needs during the Christmas season.

Here are some ways YOU can help this Christmas!

  1. You can sponsor a child by “adopting” one of our Ranchers this Christmas. See the wish lists at the bottom of the page. Simply pick a child and shop for the items on their list. You can drop the items off at our Batesville campus, or even have them shipped to our address at 100 Saint Vincent Place, Batesville, AR 72501.
  2. Or you may simply make an online donation, and let us do the shopping for you! $250 can sponsor a child, $50 will buy a large gift, $10 will buy stocking stuffers. Click here to make your gift online.
  3. Make a special honor or memorial giftYou can send a Christmas greeting to that person on your list who has everything via email or provide their address, and the Ranch will mail them a Christmas card acknowledging your gift! Click here to make an honor or memorial gift online.
  4. Buy a family gift for one of our cottagesWe can always use new board games, new video games, and new books for all ages! Shop online, and have it shipped to the Ranch at 100 Saint Vincent Place, Batesville, AR 72501.
  5. Our greatest need this time of year is general operating support. Please consider an end-of-year or a monthly gift to support our mission. You can give online here, call 870-793-6841 ext 315, or mail your gift to PO Box 3964, Batesville, AR 72503. All gifts are greatly appreciated and tax-deductible!

With your help, we can make this a Christmas to remember for the boys and girls who live at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches!

SHOP AMAZON SMILE & SUPPORT THE ASYR

You can also support the Youth Ranches by doing something you probably already going to do this Christmas season: shop online!

Whether it’s on #BlackFriday, #CyberMonday, or any day of the year, use Amazon.com’s Amazon Smile program, and they will donate .5% of your Amazon purchases to benefit the boys and girls at the Ranches!

All you need to do is visit Amazon Smile and select the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches as the charity you would like to support, and .5% of your future purchases will benefit the Ranches. It’s an easy way to help raise funds for the Youth Ranches by doing something you already do.

 

Become a Hope Builder

 

Commit to a monthly contribution. It’s a simple, secure way to provide consistent support to the ASYR. Click here to support today! For the cost of a fast food meal, you can help change a child’s life. For a contribution for as little as $10 per month can help provide for things like:

•  New shoes 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

 

Mid-Summer Roundup
06/28/2018

Since school let out in May, the Ranch has been buzzing with activity from campus visits, to projects around the farm, to lots of activities with our boys and girls.

Our Ranchers had a very special visit from First Lady Susan Hutchinson in June. The First Lady toured our campus and spent time with each of our boys and girls. She spoke to them and encouraged them to make the most of their time at the Ranch. Her message was very well received and much appreciated.

The next week, the Ranch hosted a group of Arkansas Sheriffs from across the state for a tour and a barbecue lunch with our Ranchers. We are grateful for the support of our county Sheriffs, and we always love it when they come out to the Ranch for a visit!

The first Saturday in June, Arkansas Game & Fish and the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted a fishing derby and a skeet shoot for our Ranchers. Game & Fish stocked our ponds earlier in the week, so our kids caught a lot of fish that day! The Wild Turkey Federation taught our Ranchers how to call turkey. Our Ranchers also had an opportunity to learn about gun safety and shoot skeet. Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make this event happen!

In May, more than 100 golfers played in the 21st Annual First Community Bank Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. This annual tournament was held at The Course at Eagle Mountain in Batesville and has helped raise over $278,000 for the Ranch since 1998. Thank you to First Community Bank for putting on this tournament each year and to everyone who sponsors and plays in the tournament!

Keystone Solutions in Batesville has been teaching a pilot course on technology to a group of our Ranchers this summer. They have learned how to set up a Raspberry Pi, to make their own ethernet cables, and to put technology to use in creating anything their minds can dream up!

Thank you to the The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot for providing the materials to build brand new picnic tables for all of our houses at the Ranch! And special thanks to the men of Presbyterian Kirk of the Hills for providing the manpower to build these great tables!

Also in May, in case you missed it, the Ranch was featured in an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. You can read the whole article by clicking here.

Our Ranch staff and some of our boys have also begun working on a new barn for our petting zoo animals. It will be ready in plenty of time for our Pumpkin Patch this October, and we can’t wait to show you the final product!

Join us

We are so grateful for every visitor, volunteer, donor, and staff person who work together to make the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches a safe, healthy and loving home to raise boys and girls.

You can join us in this important work with a one-time gift or monthly gift for as little as $10. For the price of a meal, you can help change a child’s life. Click here or text the word Ranch to 41444 to make your gift today. You may also mail your contribution to PO Box 3964, Batesville, AR 72503. Contact Matt Cleveland at 501-940-3440 or matt@youthranches.com for other other giving opportunities.

You can also help us spread the word about the good work being done at the ASYR. Follow @YouthRanches on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and like and share our posts with your friends.

From unimaginable childhood to a bright future
01/18/2018

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.

Greg Hatcher to be Honored at 22nd Annual Arkansas Children’s Award Dinner
09/19/2017

Please join us on Thursday, October 26 as we honor Greg Hatcher for his outrageous service to the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches.

Greg Hatcher and his team at The Hatcher Agency have been Arkansas’s number one producer in health insurance sales every year since the company opened its doors in 1990. Greg literally wrote the book on “Outrageous Service,” and The Hatcher Agency has been recognized as one of the top health insurance producers in the nation.

 

But for Greg, outrageous service doesn’t end with his business. Greg is constantly giving back to the community through his own outrageous service, and much of his philanthropic and volunteer work focuses on serving Arkansas children. Whether it is coaching football at Pulaski Academy, supporting mental health for children at Centers for Youth & Families, or by chairing the Arkansas Children’s Award Dinner for the last three years to benefit the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, Greg is always willing to step up for children.

Some of Greg’s most compelling work for children is his involvement with student athletics, especially his pioneering wrestling programs across the state. He founded The Arkansas Wrestling Association and has purchased wrestling mats for 60 high schools and 12 colleges to begin new programs. But more than any of the honors and accolades, Greg is proud to have over 4,000 Arkansas children strengthening their lives through wrestling.

In appreciation of his outrageous service to Arkansas children and his support of the mission of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches to provide homes for some of Arkansas’s most deserving children, we are proud to honor Greg Hatcher as the recipient of the 2017 Arkansas Children’s Award.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe will make his 22nd appearance as master of ceremonies for the Award Dinner. The 22nd Annual Arkansas Children’s Award Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at the Little Rock Marriott. A silent auction and reception will begin at 6:00 pm, and the dinner program and live auction will begin at 7:00 pm in the Grand Ballroom.

The Arkansas Children’s Award Dinner is an annual event benefiting the programs at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches and recognizing an individual or organization who personifies in word and deed the ideals of the Ranch and has made outstanding contributions to create better opportunities for Arkansas’s youth.

The 22nd Annual Arkansas Children’s Award Dinner 
Little Rock Marriott Hotel 
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Reception and Silent Auction at 6:00 pm
Dinner and Program at 7:00 pm
Business Attire

Tickets are $200 per person, or you can sponsor a table of 10 for $2,000. Click here to purchase tickets online. Additional sponsor opportunities with special recognition are also available. For more information about tickets or sponsorship opportunities contact Matt Cleveland at matt@youthranches.com or (501) 940-3440. You may also pay by check, made payable to ASYR at PO Box 3964, Batesville, AR 72503.

Click here for a list of all past recipients of the Arkansas Children’s Award.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Diamond Sponsors

The Hatcher Agency
Stone Ward

Gold Sponsors

Aramark Food Service
Linda & Rush Harding
Morris Foundation

 

NEW! Youth Ranches Pumpkin Patch
08/15/2017

Join the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches for its first ever Pumpkin Patch!

The staff and children at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches have been hard at work to transform the Ranch into its first-ever Pumpkin Patch!

Admission is only $10 and includes one pumpkin per visitor and free access to up to 5 of these fun activities:
  • Hay Ride
  • Bouncy Houses
  • Petting Zoo
  • Tire Swings
  • Fruit Slingshot
  • Corn Pit
  • Fall Maze
  • Carnival Games, and more!

Our beautiful 600 acre campus offers many opportunities for beautiful fall photos with the whole family, and we’ll also have some fun photo spots set up for the kids!

 

Hours of Operation

Dates: Fri, Oct 20-Wed, Oct 25 and Fri, Oct 27-Sat, Oct 28
Times: M-F: 9-4, Sat: 9-5, Sun: 1-5
CLOSED: Thursday, Oct 26

 

Admission

$10 Admission per visitor available at the gate, includes 1 pumpkin and 5 tickets for activities. Additional activity tickets may be purchased for $1 each. Children 2 years of age and younger are FREE. For large groups of 20 or more, please call 870-793-6841 ext 300 for reservations. Credit and debit cards are accepted! Concessions are also available for an additional charge.
 

And the best part? 

All net proceeds from the Youth Ranches Pumpkin Patch benefit the mission of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, which provides safe, healthy, and loving homes for Arkansas children.  
If you would like to support this event by becoming a sponsor, please contact Matt Cleveland at 501-940-3440 or matt@youthranches.com.
You can also make a one-time or become a Hope Builder with  a monthly gift by clicking here

 

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

Pumpkin Sponsored by

Activity Sponsor

  • Future Fuel

Patch Sponsors

  • Southern Bank
  • White River Health System

Ranch Supporters

  • Batesville Poultry Equipment
  • Flowers Baking Company of Batesville
  • The Home Depot
  • Kallsnick
  • Wal-Mart
  • Williams Equipment