A crisis can strike any family. When local families are in need of support and a Christian home environment for boys, Heritage Ranch is there.
Founder Vicki Ellis saw the vision of the Zachary-based non-profit organization at just 14 years old. She tagged along with a family she babysat for on a tour of Wears Valley Ranch in Tennessee. “Now I was just there to babysit their kids – I didn’t have any grand plans to start a ranch one day or children’s home, but when we walked around the campus, and the founder started sharing their vision to help kids in crisis that had potentially gone through abuse, it just broke my heart thinking about what it would have been like for me having to cope with sexual abuse from my childhood if I hadn’t had all of the resources of counseling, family support and church support.”
She held tightly to that vision of service to the community and went on to attain a Master’s degree in social work. Immediately after graduation, she founded Heritage Ranch with the help of the Heritage Ranch Board, donors and volunteers. In the beginning, the non-profit operated programs in local schools to help families and their children navigate crises.
In 2015, the ranch opened its doors on Tucker Road in Zachary to provide a Christian home environment for boys ages 10-18 while providing counseling for the entire family. The organization has two pillars of service: residential care and parent education. Program teams work with Heritage Ranch residents to help them build coping skills and treating trauma to nurture healthy, productive children.
“This year, we started a focus of prevention shifting into some community programs and just launched our first family coaching program,” Ellis said. The 12-week community-based program provides a peer support group for children and parent support groups for adults to help families navigate crises in an outpatient setting.
Heritage Ranch welcomes support from individuals and businesses through donations and group volunteer efforts. The organization also hosts fundraisers – the Heritage Gala and the upcoming 2022 Matt Flynn Open.
To learn more about Heritage Ranch and upcoming events, visit www.hrbr.org.