Ranch for foster children in great need of mentors

Mentors help teach kids necessary life skills, establish meaningful relationship

BULVERDE, Texas – The SJRC, formerly known as the St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, serves foster children of all ages.

The SJRC is where children who have suffered abuse and neglect live on a ranch in homes together, learning to live more stable lives. Youths can even stay past the age of 18.

What a 15-year-old foster care resident is saying about SJRC:

“(I had) drug issues and neglect around me at the time. I finally spoke up one day. My first time being in foster care, I went to about seven homes and two shelters, and now I've (gone) to 3 RTCs (residential treatment centers) and now here.”

“Things kind of get difficult, but you have to find the right people to talk to and that you trust. It may be somebody that just comes and visits once a month, once a week. It’s something to look forward to.”

“People simply go to the park with us, play basketball with us, play volleyball. They do things with us that are life skills, like cooking, cleaning, learning how to change a tire. It means a lot. It doesn't mean as much to a normal kid who has their family, because we don't have people who do that for us all the time.”

“Bring your kids! A lot of us love little kids. We love being around them. They make us smile because a lot of us don't have our siblings anymore.”

“It feels like a family again. And that's what most of us want. You might come in as a mentor, but at the end of the day, you're leaving as a family.”

What a former foster care resident and soon-to-be mentor has to say about the SJRC:

“I got a scholarship for college, and one of the things I have to do is get 100 community service hours throughout the year. And I thought the best thing I could do is be, like, a big brother/mentor for one of the kids here.”

“With my mentor, I was able to go dirt biking, and I was able to go the movies if I wanted to go with him, go get something to eat. Oh, and deer jerky, he always had tons of deer jerky. He had the best deer jerky!”

“I think it snaps some depression from some kids real fast.”

To sign up to be a mentor, visit www.sjrctexas.org, click on "Contact Us" and then click on "How to Help."

The organization desperately needs more mentors, especially men.

If you can’t volunteer to mentor, you can donate items such as hygiene products, clothes, bedding, etc. Contact the staff for details.

About the Author:

Courtney Friedman

Courtney Friedman joined KSAT 12 News in August 2014 as a general assignments reporter. She graduated as a proud Longhorn from the University of Texas, with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. In 2013, she was nominated for a Barbara Jordan Award for her stories about people with disabilities in the workplace.