Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why Donate to Soaring Wings Ranch?

Here at Running with Amanda, we raise money for 3 specific children's charities--St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Arkansas Children's Hospital, and Soaring Wings Ranch. We've already done posts on why we support St. Jude and ACH, now it's time to explain why we raise for Soaring Wings.

Last October, a friend talked me into running the Soaring Wings Half Marathon in Conway, Arkansas. She told me it was a great course, organized well, a lot of fun, and for a great cause. At the time, I didn't really know a thing about the ranch or what it was. But I entered anyway, more looking for another half marathon to run than to support a worthy cause.

Once I'd signed up though, I began to dig a little deeper to see just what Soaring Wings Ranch was really all about. What I learned made me really glad to have entered that October race, and made SWR a natural choice for one of the charities we'd support when we decided to start Running with Amanda.

"even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." — Isaiah 40:30-31

SWR provides a Christian home to young people who find themselves in difficult situations and need a chance to grow up in a loving, Christ-centered home. Founder Andrew Watson started with little more than a dream when he and his wife, Marla, moved to Conway in 2002 to begin work on the ranch. By October 2004, God had provided private donations to purchase the 195 acre property SWR now calls home. In August 2007, the first three children to call the ranch home arrived.

Currently the ranch sports two homes, a boys' home and a girls' home, with room for eight children in each. In each home, Christian houseparents serve to lead, guide, direct, and love the children in their care. Houseparents are a committed Christian couple who have undergone extensive testing and background checks that make it obvious they have been called to this special work.

Houseparents, other SWR staff, and professional counselors provide an array of services to the children to encourage their spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual development. Kids at SWR attend church with their ranch family, attend group and individual counseling sessions, train in a variety of physical activities, and attend quality public schools.

To date, the ranch is operating at capacity with its current facilities. Its boys' and girls' homes are maxed out with eight children residing in each. But SWR is looking to expand so it can serve more young people in need. The SWR 2.2 Plan lays out a bold initiative to double its capacity to serve children and offer its residents a wider array of services.

Quotes from Soaring Wings Kids

"This is more than a home to me and I know God sent me here to be happy. There are lots of loving people here and sweet people. One of my favorite things is how Mom and Dad take care of us. They are special."
–L., age 8

"I like that we have a nice, comfortable house. It’s a safe place with the alarms on our house. Also the house parents are loyal, caring, and always there for us when others are not. Another thing is that it is all Christian based and a Lord-loving environment. Those are just a few of the many great things I love about the Ranch."
–M., age 13

"To me, Soaring Wings is more than my home. It’s a safe place. Here, they taught me the best way to have a Christian home! I have become really close to my mom, and I love my daddy with all my heart!"
–B., age 16

Your support is crucial! SWR operates WITHOUT GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE, depending entirely on private and corporate donations. So far, Watson and SWR have been able to operate debt-free and would like to keep it that way. Our donations give these kids hope, love, and a chance to grow up in a Christian home. Your donation may save a child's life.

These are the reasons we raise money for Soaring Wings Ranch. Your donations to Soaring Wings Ranch through our page help to Reach people for Jesus, Raise money for charity, and Remember Amanda. But if you can't donate, please share this post with your friends to let them know how they can help the kids at Soaring Wings!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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