Volunteers Build a New Campus For Thriving Youth Ministry

December 01, 2007 | Carrie Purkeypile

Project Patch, a ministry dedicated to helping troubled youth, is expanding their outreach. A group of adult volunteers with Maranatha Volunteers International is helping to build a staff house and four cabins in a beautiful wooded area in Goldendale, Wash. This campus will be specifically targeted to help entire families.

Project Patch founder Tom Sanford recognizes a need for family counseling in the modern world. "A growing need in society demands that there be something for families as well as their youth."

Volunteer project coordinator Ken Casper, from Rogue River, Ore., has been a champion builder for the Project Patch ministry, leading more than a dozen Maranatha construction projects for Patch since 1993, the year the ministry got its start. A long-time building contractor, Casper has had a hand in the construction or remodeling of every building used by Patch.

Working on the Patch ranch made Casper a believer. He has participated in Maranatha mission projects all over the world, but keeps coming back to Patch. "They have probably an 80 percent success of rehabilitating these young people. It is a tug at your heart right here in the United States. It is the kids that keep drawing us back here." Project Patch has helped between 1,200 and 1,500 young people, preparing them for healthy, fulfilling lives.

Casper is not the only one who feels a connection to this Northwest outreach that is ranked in the top 5 percent of U.S. residential facilities for adolescents. Ken Carr of Woodburn, Ore., has volunteered his skills there many times.

"They bring these kids in, some living on the streets. A lot of them don't have any respect for anybody, not even themselves," says Carr. "They counsel them and have schooling for them and get them turned around. But if they go back to the same environment they came from, they can get into problems again. They want to bring the families to Goldendale for a few days to help them understand where the problems came from."

Sanford is grateful for the ongoing assistance of volunteers. "Maranatha has been an integral part of Patch since we opened the ranch in 1993. Without Maranatha it would take a lot more years to get this done. It would have taken much more money. When we are operating on a sliding scale to allow children from all walks of life to attend the program, it is very important to have the assistance of these qualified volunteers. We can't say enough good about Maranatha!"

To find out how you can volunteer with Maranatha, visit www.maranatha.org.

For information on the history and services of Project Patch, visit www.projectpatch.org.