There is a distinct feeling you get driving onto Heritage Ranch for the first time. The tunnel of trees breaks open and the fields come rolling in, the ranch house comes into view and a natural peace settles in.
For house parents, Gage and Tori Caszatt, Ranch life is about providing stability to children in crisis. The Caszatts are able to paint a vivid picture of how, through the daily interactions and structure they provide, the ranch the boys are stepping further out of crisis and deeper into stability.
At Heritage Ranch, the morning begins when the boys get dressed for school, make their bed, straighten their rooms and enjoy breakfast with the house parents.
At 8 am the day shifts for everyone as the House Parents walk the boys to the on-site education classroom. Here they receive education in a small classroom environment. On-site education is particularly valuable according to Heritage Ranch Education Administrator, Carlar Scott. “Many of these boys have severe learning struggles as well as the other crisis they are going through, but with on-site education they are making great strides forward.”
When asked about the daily routine, Tori stated, “There are some days when it’s just like ‘okay let’s get through this,’ and other days where it’s really emotional, when you have a boy sobbing on your shoulder and all you want to do is make them feel better.” Gage hopes that during this period they will learn how to think before they act, and grow into successful adults. His view is that, “sometimes you still choose to do negative things, but that can be a valuable part of learning. If they can at least recognize the choices are theirs to make, then I know they can become successful.”
The average evening consists of a family meal, followed by devotions and time spent having fun as a family. Then it’s off to bed to start the whole process over in the morning, with the hope that a little more progress occurs. As Vicki Ellis often says “Progress, not perfection” is the goal we strive for, every day.