Hello Ray of Hope/Valley Teen Ranch Family, Friends and Supporters,
I am so excited for this opportunity to introduce myself to all of you! I am Andrea Evans, the new CEO of Ray of Hope, a Valley Teen Ranch Organization. I graduated with my Bachelors in Criminology in December 2002 and came to Valley Teen Ranch in January of 2003. My goal had always been to be in law enforcement, but God had other plans for me. I was applying with the CHP, but needed a job in the meantime. I started at House 3 as a Child Care Worker, and fell in love with Valley Teen Ranch and its mission. Our motto, “Building Young Lives” found a place in my heart. I knew then law enforcement was no longer my passion.
About two years passed and my brother started a new venture opening a restaurant and I left to help him for the next year and a half. During that time I fell in love, got engaged and I was offered a position with California Department of Corrections to be a counselor in one of their youth facilities. It seemed it was my time to move on to what I thought was my calling. I had a short time to accept the position. It was a tremendous opportunity, but I felt I just needed to pray. The same week I needed to respond with my acceptance I received a phone call from the current Social Worker at the Ranch saying that he was leaving and thought I should apply for the position. It’s as Connie always says, “Oh that Jesus, He’s so funny!” I called Connie immediately to ask if I could be considered for the position. She said absolutely! I emailed Connie my letter of interest and was interviewed the next week. Two short weeks later, I was back at Valley Teen Ranch. That was in July 2007 and it felt like I was coming home.
So many changes at the Ranch and for me personally happened over the next few years. I got married and a few years later we welcomed our first baby girl. Life was good! We had an amazing team of people working at the Ranch who loved the kids and worked hard to give them HOPE for a new path in life. Mike Horn, the Ranch Manager at the time, was moving on to a new endeavor in his life. We split up some duties at the Ranch and I took on the Program Coordinator position in 2010. It gave me the opportunity to not only work with the kids, but also the staff. In 2012 my family was complete when we had our second baby girl. So many blessings!
As the years progressed Connie started talking about her succession plan. She approached me and we discussed the possibility of me assuming a new position, the Assistant Director of Operations, and learning more globally about the organization with the possibility of being her successor as CEO. At first this was a hard decision for me. I had to pray a lot and talked my husband’s ear off. I am so lucky that he is extremely supportive of my endeavors. Moving into the Administrative Office and not being able to work daily with the kids would be so hard for me. I began to think more globally than just the kids. In my heart I knew that whoever took Connie’s place needed to be someone who had OUR (Valley Teen Ranch’s) heart for the kids and the families we serve. In July 2014 I accepted the Assistant Director of Operations position.
Over the next four years I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Connie. What a Blessing! Her mentorship of me is WAY more than I could have ever expected. As she puts it, “It was supernatural, naturally.” The Board and Connie had a succession plan that was a few years in the making. I cannot thank Connie and the Board enough for the amazing opportunity to lead Ray of Hope, a Valley Teen Ranch Organization. Their support and guidance over the last few years has been overwhelming. I look forward to the new and exciting challenges ahead. I am grateful to have so many wonderful staff and supporters like all of you. I look forward to meeting with you all at our event on September 7, 2018.
Please feel free to reach out to me any time!
In HIS Grace,