AN ENVIRONMENT FOR CHANGE
There’s always going to be complications within the realm of life without something bigger than we are, because we’re trying to live life without a responsible future or a responsible purpose. It absolutely restricts our ability to fulfilling our future. So what do we do to help young people?
We want to change their behavior, but behavior is a product of their attitude. Well, with young people, you’re always working with attitudes; so how do we change their attitude? We change their belief. How do we change their belief? We change their knowledge. How do we change their knowledge? By changing their influence. How do we change their influence? By changing their environment. Second Chance Ranch is simply an environment for young people to breathe on the God side of life. Instead of dealing with the fruit of the problem, we’re dealing with the root of the problem.
We’ve had young people come to Second Chance Ranch and absolutely be transformed by the plan and purpose of God. The apostle Paul said, “An evil environment corrupts good intentions.” So all we do is get these young people into a controlled and safe environment, and then we’ll change their influence, change their knowledge, change their belief, change their attitude, and change their behavior. Therefore, we change their destiny. That’s what Second Chance Ranch is all about.
Teens in Trouble
It’s all over newspapers, television and magazines. It’s no secret that our young people are in trouble. Teen violence and destructive behavior is at an all time high, which means there are more teens incarcerated and spending time in detention centers now than at any other time in the history of America. In fact, our nation leads the world in its number of teens behind prison bars.
With conditions as they are, it’s no wonder more and more teens are at risk:
- Violent Acts: increased over 300% in the last 10 years
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: affecting 1 in every 100 young adults — 3 million new cases of STDs in 10-24 year-olds each year
- Drunk Driving: 1400 U.S. college students die each year from drinking-related accidents
- Illicit Drug Use: 22% of 18-22 year-olds use drugs on a regular basis
It would be easy to dismiss this generation as hopeless. But even with these staggering odds against them, Second Chance Ranch maintains that there’s no such thing as a bad teenager. We believe every young person has the potential of being a champion in life.
But why would we believe this?
In a recent study of teenage behavior at the University of Southern California, researchers compiled the following theory concerning behavior: all behavior — whether good or bad — is a direct result of attitude; attitude is a direct result of belief; belief a result of knowledge; knowledge a result of influence; and influence a result of environment.
Therefore, if the behavior of any teen is directly tied-in with their environment, then that’s where we must begin. If we don’t give teens a quality environment, how can we expect them to wield quality behavior? We see that behavior is not the root of the problem, but merely a fruit of their environment.
Too many teens have their potential defeated by the environment they grow up in. The typical American teen is threatened with overwhelming home/environment issues:
- Divorce: 40% of marriages with children end in divorce
- Violence at Home: between 3.3-10 million children witness domestic violence each year
- Single Parents: 28% of kids under 18 live with only one parent
- Sexual/Physical Abuse: 10%-19% of kids under 18 are abused (percentages are respective)
What does this generation need? They NEED a change in their environment. And as we’ve seen, if we change the environment, we CAN change the behavior.
What really works
Teens of today are our future — they’re our voters, decision-makers, and influential figures in society. We must affect them for the better.
Is a government program the answer? Studies show that less than 1% of government-owned or organized rehabilitation programs are successful. Truly, teens need something bigger than that; they need something personal. We believe there’s a better way.
The National Study of Youth and Religion, released in late 2003, shows that regular religious-service attendance, high subjective importance of faith, and time spent participating in religious youth groups, are clearly associated with safer, healthier, more-constructive lifestyles for U.S. teenagers. In fact, 85% of all religiously owned or organized rehabilitation programs have proven to be successful. There’s a loud message here: programs with a religion-centered curricula are the solution for changing young people’s lives.
Not only does a religiously based program promote a better lifestyle, but Barna Research also discovered a trend in the national mortality rate among teens: 18% of non-religious teens lose their lives every year, whereas less than 1% of teens who consider themselves religious lose their lives.
Despite what pop culture and media might portray of American teens, when questioned, 43% of them say that their faith is very important. 35% of teens feel it’s “somewhat important,” while only 8% say faith is of no importance to them.
Truly, religious faith has the potential to influence the lives of teens in a way nothing else has proven to do. Less than 1% of government-owned or organized rehabilitation programs are successful.
This stuff really works!
- High-school seniors that profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ receive fewer traffic tickets, are more likely to wear their seat belt, and are less likely to get in trouble with police.
- Seniors that profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are more likely to volunteer in their communities, participate in student government, play more competitive sports, and exercise significantly more than their “less religious” peers.
Making a difference
So how can we utilize the proven facts regarding religious faith and its effect on young people? How can we also change their environment, giving them the opportunity to choose right behavior?
Here’s our plan: empower young people to reach their generation. What better way to reach a young person than through one of their peers?
The GO Ministries Int’l Second Chance Ranch fulfills our vision to not only reach the youth of America and beyond, but also create a haven for challenged teens who could use another chance at being a champion in life.
Why the Second Chance Ranch? Because it’s a change in environment: from destructive to productive. And not only is it the changed environment, but it’s a change that will truly make a difference, through the effect of a faith-based program.
Who belongs here? Anyone who needs a second chance in life. If environment is the key, we’re going to provide an environment where these young people can truly reach their potential.
How will we empower teens to make a difference in the lives of their peers? By training them. An optimal environment for that is our Champion Ranch. As interns enter GO Ministries for intense, hands-on ministry experience, they’ll have ample opportunity to employ that training: each intern will work one-on-one with a troubled teen, as they work toward success.
GO Ministries’ Champion Ranch houses, feeds, and facilitates all of the Second Chance Ranch. During that year they will develop within these basic themes:
- Significance – I am somebody.
- Potential – I have an identity.
- Purpose – I have a destiny.
- Position – I have importance.
- Personality – It’s okay to be me.
- Power – I can do all things.
- Promise – I will succeed.
The teens will be taught these values through specialty classes as they discover how to embrace their identity and embark on their destiny. If necessary, behaviorally challenged teens will complete their high-school education through a G.E.D. program, interactive school resources, and/or tutoring personnel.
Through one-on-one mentoring and daily structure, the behaviorally challenged teens will walk into Champion Ranch with one attitude and leave with another.