There's a home ten miles northwest of Jasper that will soon become Champion Oaks Ranch a private placement facility for teenage boys and girls who are having a hard time in life.
According to Melissa Monroe, executive director of the facility, it will serve "mostly behavioral issues with their children who are acting out at home or struggling at school. Maybe it's a crisis that the family is going through, like a loss of a parent."
Champion Oaks Ranch has one motto, rebuilding families, one child at a time. In order to do that. Monroe and her team need to raise $850,000 to financially sustain the free life-changing environment. So far the team has met over three-quarters of it's goal.
This weekend they'll host a Boots and BBQ cookoff in the Jasper city square to secure more funding for the ranch's 2018 opening to stay on course. "The service area for our facility is actually a hundred mile radius from Jasper." said Monroe. "We'll be reaching out to the golden triangle and even as far up as Lufkin-Nacogdoches area."
Since 2005, Monroe's been riding the momentum of it's Thrive program, an after school service that Kathy Bass' son Virgil has labeled a saving grace to his performance in the classroom. Bass added, "tutorials after school, nothing helped. Within one six weeks, he went from a 48 to high Bs."
Students currently get picked up at school and ride a van to St. Michaels Catholic Church for supportive "free" tutorials. "He's got practice after school now, so he just said to me two nights ago, mom I only have two more games and I'm ready to go back to Thrive," said Bass.
Thrive's success almost assures that the ranch will see the same result. Monroe hopes Christian practice mixed with educational motivation will help young men and eventually women turn their lives around before it's too late. She recalls one of the first boys she helped more than 12 years ago.
"He sent me a note that said if we have not picked him up to take him to church all of those years ago, he would not be where he was today," said Monroe. She added that the ranch hopes to incorporate 4H-clubs, gardening, and maybe even an equestrian therapy program down the road. The idea is to give the boys and girls things that give teens a sense of responsibility and pride.
By enjoying Boots and BBQ in downtown Jasper this Saturday, you will help ensure at-risk teens will have a promising tomorrow.