Walking a path of hope

Published 1:18 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hannah Home resident Angela has lived a life of abuse.

Angela was raised in an abusive home and ended up in an abusive relationship. Eventually she even turned to drugs and alcohol to, as she said, “Numb the pain.”

Angela spent years trying to leave the abusive situation. While living in a halfway home she found the scripture Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Even though she returned to the dangerous relationship, she eventually came to Hannah Home in Chelsea and found the scripture calling her again.

She’s lived at the home six months and credits the people there for her progress.

“There have been some awesome changes in my life,” Angela said. “My life is changing, and I know God’s behind every bit of it. I’m a miracle in the making, and I have witnessed miracles there.”

Thirty years ago King’s Ranch and Hannah Homes began serving people with life-altering stories like Angela’s.

“Those are tough situations and they’re real life, true stories from residents at the King’s Ranch,” said president Lew Burdette. “That’s why support means so much. They don’t have any structure or love in their lives.”

To support the ministry, King’s Ranch and Hannah Home will host their annual fundraiser April 23 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. The event begins at 6 p.m. and features guest speaker Rick Burgess of “The Rick and Bubba Show.”

The fundraiser’s $200,000 goal would fund the necessities of kids at the home for one year.

The ranch provides the image of a two-parent family rooted in Biblical teachings, Burdette said. Scott and Kim Thomas have served as family –– teaching parents at the ranch for 11 years.

“King’s Ranch is a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to take advantage of it,” Kim said.

The ranch parents provide all of the basics for kids living at the ranch — clothing, food, doctor visits and school expenses — through funds provided by the community.

The ranch also provides counseling and extra tutoring. Scott said sometimes it also means paying expenses for kids to play sports or be involved in extracurricular activities. Burdette said these things allow the kids to find a purpose and value in life.

While King’s Ranch cares for wayward youth, Hannah Home works to get women back on their feet.

The women and children there often come from abusive situations. The program provides a support network so they can rebuild their lives. The ultimate goal is for them to become self-sufficient.

On average, women and their children live at the home for two years. During that time they receive counseling for addictions or personal problems, help attending school to receive GEDs, information on how to save money and daycare for their children. Caseworkers sit down with the women as soon as they arrive to set goals for success.

Development director and former counselor Peri Costillo said the ranch takes care of the entire person.

“We teach them the appropriate behavior to make them successful,” Costillo said. “These kids get lost in the shuffle … and it’s amazing the difference you see in just the way they walk when they start making better grades, for example.”

King’s Ranch and Hannah Homes have 16 Christ–centered homes in four counties and provide help to more than 200 women and children each year. Hannah Home alone receives about 115 calls a month for placement.

For more information, visit Kingsranch.org or call 678–8331.