Recently, one of the former residents of Progress Ranch, Matt, returned to visit his former home. He had been removed from his abusive family. But he tells his story the best. “I’ll never forget my first holidays at Progress Ranch. I was eight years old and there were presents and lots of smiles and I felt warm and safe for the first time in my life. It was the first place I ever felt like I belonged. When I was first there, I didn’t like myself, didn’t trust anybody, picked fights all the time. And the nightmares. They came every night and I would wake up screaming. I was scared and mad at the world. Over three years, the staff helped me get over that stuff and made me feel good about myself. Then they found me a real (foster) family. At 18, I joined the Marines. Now I’m 20, learning to be an electrician and planning to get married next year. We both want kids and I’m going to be a good dad. One thing’s for sure. My kids aren’t going to be abused like I was. And I may not be President, but I won’t be in a state hospital or prison either. Considering my past, I think that’s pretty great!...” Matt’s story is not an unusual one. He is typical of the children placed in Progress Ranch. And he has benefited not only from the efforts at Progress Ranch but also from a supportive community.
|Jeff is a 9 year old whose smile lights up the room! He is beginning to feel good about himself and it shows. After 15 months at Progress Ranch his therapist says, “Jeff understands that he is not to be blamed for his mom’s drug abuse and neglect of him. His self esteem has improved!” His tutor states, “He has made remarkable improvements in reading.” And his Special Friend mentor says, “Jeff is just great when we go out to the Farmer’s Market!” Staff members have observed him playing and sharing with others, whereas before he was fighting and taking things from others. He was in AYSO soccer and likes to play city league basketball. Jeff failed several foster homes before coming to Progress Ranch and is being prepared to go to a long-term foster family in three months. He will be given ”choices” by visiting different homes. After all, “at risk” children need choices for life-long decisions. Jeff and other boys like him, are the reasons Progress Ranch continues to serve emotionally troubled young victims of severe abuse and neglect. We believe that all children deserve a chance in the world to grow towards a healthy, productive adulthood. Progress Ranch provides them with a safe, nurturing and professional guidance that they need to overcome their life challenges.|