A Message from Mr. Tim
Whether you are a parent or guardian in need of help with a child or a potential donor looking for an excellent investment, we're glad you have chosen to visit our website. Joy Ranch is many different things to many people.
Now is an exciting time to be a part of the Joy Ranch ministry. We are committed to the House Parent model of care for children because of the meaningful and lasting relationships that are formed. We have committed Christians in every cottage who truly want to change a child’s life for Christ.
Furthermore, we have brought education back to the Joy Ranch campus! Joy Ranch is now part of the Virginia Virtual Academy who has partnered with curriculum developer K12. This collaborative relationship allows us to offer an alternative in education to our children who may be struggling academically or who may have social anxiety in the mainstream schools. We place children at the appropriate grade level for learning and surround them with people and tools that help prepare them for high school and college.
As you will see in our Web Site, we are excited by all of the many things that God is doing here. Enjoy our site and contact us if you should have any questions.
For the Children,
“Mr. Tim” has served for twelve years in many different capacities at Joy Ranch, including direct care as a house parent with his wife Connie, in food service, donor relations, and as business manager. He brings a wealth of first hand experience to directing a crucial ministry in fulfilling its mission during a challenging time.
A Visit with Mr. Tim
Tim and Connie Lewis
Staff members at Joy Ranch are called by their given names with a “Mr.” or “Ms.” in front of it. “Mr. Tim” is Tim Lewis, Executive Director of Joy Ranch Home for Children. In answering the following questions, Mr. Tim shares his heart and reveals his vision for the future of Joy Ranch.
1. What is most inspiring to you about your service at Joy Ranch?
The opportunity to plant a seed that may one day take root and grow in a child is the one thing about serving at Joy Ranch that keeps me going. I know that many of our children are resistant to the Gospel but as relationships are built and trust is developed, there is the opportunity to see positive change in children that can last a lifetime. Having a community of believers that supports Joy Ranch is another thing that is inspiring. Knowing that so many people and churches support us encourages us to be good stewards of God’s gifts that He gives us.
2. What is some of the greatest challenges at Joy Ranch?
Survival into the future is crucial at this time in the life of Joy Ranch. I know that as we continue to meet the needs of kids, that the local Departments of Social Service in Virginia are moving away from placing children in residential care and are more inclined to place children in foster care. With this change, reduced numbers of children are coming to Joy Ranch from DSS placements. However, we are seeing an increased amount of telephone calls from parents and relatives that would like help with their child. We feel that private placements will continue to rise as economic difficulties continue.
3. In a nutshell, what is your vision for the future of Joy Ranch?
We are creating a culture of excellence at Joy Ranch for the children. Part of that goal is to return to a houseparent model of childcare as well as to begin our own virtual learning academy. Both of these goals for 2009 will meet the needs of children by creating the important healthy relationships that they need as well as meeting the educational challenges of our children where they are.
4. What is your underlying philosophy of how to best "make a lasting difference in the life of a child"?
We will never be able to “change a child”. However, change will come to children as the Holy Spirit changes them. Knowing this, our staff will offer the very best care to children for as long as we have them in our care and offer them every opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ whether it be in the local church, in a devotional time in the cottage, or beside their bed at night as prayer time is shared with the staff member and the child. This change, the change offered by the life changing power of God, will make a lasting difference in the life of a child.
5. Can you tell us a story involving a child that would help others better understand the ministry of Joy Ranch?
Many stories come to mind but the most memorable for me is when Oscar came to us as a 17 year old runaway. The DSS worker with him told us to expect him to run away but she didn’t know what else to do with him. At that time, my wife and I were house parents for boys and had only worked in the cottage for a few short months. Not knowing how to handle a boy like this, I simply asked God to intervene on our behalf and tell us what to say. When we took the boy to his bedroom, we made sure it was the last room down the hall, right next to the exit door. I simply said to him, “Oscar, I know you have a history of running away. Joy Ranch can offer you some great opportunities and we really want to be a part of your life. We are going to place you in this bedroom so if you choose to run away, you can go right through this door and you won’t have to wake anyone up at night. We hope you won’t run away because we know that you can have a better future if you choose to stay.” Oscar never ran way; he finished his education, and now owns a construction business in central North Carolina. Oscar has brought his wife and two children back numerous times to make sure we knew that he was going to be o.k.
6. What can readers do to help Joy Ranch?
First, we need the constant, fervent prayers of believers everywhere. Second, financial support is crucial at this time. Our fee support from DSS agencies is being reduced because of changes in their care for children. However, we have had the faithful support of many donors for almost 50 years. We need to increase that donor base so we never have to rely on the fee support of any other agency. Third, schedule a presentation at your church, civic organization, or club so we can get the word out. We want to see Joy Ranch celebrate the 50th anniversary in two years and want as many people as possible to be a part of it.
Mr. Tim and Connie on a Hot-Air Balloon Ride at JoyFest '09