Tis the season to share the JOY of giving, receiving, seeking “peace on earth,” decorating the house, “Making a list and checking it twice,” baking & eating our favorite cookies, sending Christmas Greetings, listening to or playing that awesome Christmas music and MOST of all, celebrating the Birth of Jesus. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. We also share love, care and concern for friends in ways we may not have been able to during the year.
With all the chaos of the election behind us I believe that Showing Kindness is even more important and significant. We all need to heal. Our kids and staff at the ranch are primarily of Hispanic and African American decent. It is very challenging to help every one of us keep it real, but not in an adversarial manner. It is giving us the opportunity to listen more, care in a more outward way, speak of HOPE more, show kindness, practice what we preach and be an example of a peace maker.
The last day of the semester will be December 16 at which time we will be having 3 more of our young men successfully complete our program and go home to their families. We will also have our end of the semester Awards Ceremony/BBQ Party. I am positive that all of our young men have made significant progress in their academics this semester. It is always a wonderful time to celebrate their accomplishments with them. They can see, hear and feel HOPE for a brighter future for themselves, especially in their education.
As you examine the blessings of 2016 and determine how you will give this Christmas season, I want to encourage you to remember our work at Valley Teen Ranch in your yearend giving. We ARE a qualified 501©3 charity and therefore will receive a tax deduction for your gift. You will receive a year end receipt from me by the end of January. I do not solicit via phone calls. This is the letter you receive to ask for financial help to allow us to keep our programs going forward. I thank you in advance for including us on your giving list this year.
I also pray that you will enjoy love and togetherness with your family and friends. The older I get (66 on December 5!) the more I appreciate kindness, thoughtfulness, support and love from those around me. It also gives me great joy to pass that on to others as well.
Have fun and enjoy the “Reason for the Season,” the birth of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Keep looking up and sharing Hope and Peace with everyone you meet.
Joy to the World…..Silent Night and Peace on Earth,
Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. (Psalm 95:1-2)
Connie R. Clendenan, CEO Valley Teen Ranch