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Archives for October 2013

Rawhide Café: Work Experience Program

Many of our guys enter our residential care program with street smarts but not “real world” smarts. They lack certain skills that many of us take for granted…everything from how to do laundry to how to act in the workplace. To better help our students succeed in the post-high school workplace, we started our Work Experience program – another program funded by car donations.

Rawhide’s work experience program is open to any of our students who have shown responsibility and are eager to learn. Students may choose from five work ares:

  • Vehicle Program
  • Café
  • Facilities
  • Administration
  • Stables

The Process

Before the student starts work in any of these areas, they need to apply for the position. To be able to apply for a position on the grounds, the student must gain privileges and show growth in the areas of respect and responsibility. They fill out an application, submit a resume, and go through the interview process before they can be hired for the job.

Cafe Work Experience Program

Each guy has different reasons why he likes to work in one area more than another. While the vehicle programs’ auto shop is popular with many of our guys, Vince* likes working for food service in our Frontier Café.

Vince came to Rawhide about six months ago and is in our residential program. He has been working in the café for the past four months. He works for three hours and attends school in the afternoons. One of Vince’s job duties includes preparing and baking deserts from scratch, washing dishes, and cleaning his work area. Vince likes working in the café because he enjoys baking, plus taste-tests most everything he makes. He especially likes to make cheesecake from scratch. His job trainer, Miss Julie, is another reason he likes working in the café. Miss Julie keeps Vince on task and shows him the basics of baking.

cafe work experience program

Rawhide’s Frontier Café

While Vince is crafting a delectable sweet, he and Miss Julie talk about things that are important to him, mainly his life after Rawhide. He likes to talk about the college he will attend and what he wants to do with his life. Working in the café has taught Vince patience and how to follow direction– skills he can take with him. Vince looks forward to showing off his new found cooking skills to his friends and family, and exploring related career options.

Who knew baking could help influence life choices? We teach our students the importance of  respect, self-control, and responsibility. Guys like Vince put them to good use to create their own recipe for success.

To learn how you can help guys like Vince, please visit rawhide.enfusendev.com/donate.


*Name has been changed to protect privacy

House Parents: A Day in the Life

Family is at the heart of our residential program in New London, Wisconsin. A good family loves and cares about each other and treats each other with respect. Our house parents demonstrate these values to the guys who call Rawhide home.

Meet Ken and Rosy

Ken and Rosy are the current house parents at the ABC House and have been for the past five years. During that time, they have been house parents to 49 guys. In a recent interview, they shared what life is like as house parents at Rawhide.

They started about 10 years ago as house parents at a home in Mississippi. Their career path to become house parents took many turns. They had been very involved with their church when Ken was asked to be the principal of the church’s school. That position lead him to become a Sunday School director which in turn, lead both of them to pioneer a church where Ken was the pastor. They knew that they wanted a career that impacts lives, and they wanted to work with kids. “[As houseparents] we are exactly where God wants us to be,” said Ken.

How They Landed at Rawhide as House Parents

Ken and Rosy found the house parent position through their daughter-in-law who encouraged them to apply. “The house parent application process is similar to that of any other position, but you do it as a couple.” Rosy said. After a phone call, Ken and Rosy came to the Ranch for a three-day observation visit. Shortly thereafter, they were hired for the position. But, they didn’t immediately start as house parents of their home. They first spent six months in the role of utility houseparents, working between several of the houses on the Ranch. It was during these months that they received extensive training for the position.

What House Parents Do

Ken and Rosy are the parental authority figures in the ABC House and supervise the other staff in the house which includes a housekeeper and several youth care workers. Ken, as the housefather, is responsible for the house budget and scheduling and planning events.

“Those are some of the administrative duties I have.” Ken said, “But the more rewarding piece of what I do is the interaction with the guys. Talking to a guy when they are struggling or helping them see an unproductive behavior and watching them grow is very rewarding.” Ken continued, “This position is a lot of things but never boring.”

As the housemother, Rosy keeps a log on each guys’ behavior and attitude each day. She is also responsible for making sure each guy has proper clothing; “Many of the guys come, in and they don’t have anything or what they do have isn’t appropriate for school. One of my responsibilities is to make sure they have proper clothing,” Rosy explains. She continues, “My role is of that loving and accepting mother. I accept them for who they are, and yet I am an example to them.” Rosy spends a lot of time with the guys showing and teaching them life skills and how to take care of themselves. She will show them how to do the laundry, iron and fold clothes, how to properly set a table and how to perform certain chores around the house.

Teaching Respect

“Rosy helps the guys learn how to respect women,” Ken said with a smile. “She teaches them how to be gentleman by opening or closing a door, pulling out her chair at meal time and letting the ladies go first when it’s time for dinner.” He continues, “In time, they become quite protective of her. If someone speaks disrespectfully to her, another guy will step in and reprimand them.”

Mornings in the House

A typical weekday for Ken and Rosy starts early in the morning. Before the guys are out of bed, they are up helping with breakfast prep and getting the guys up. The guys are down for breakfast at 7:15 am at which time Rosy checks to make sure that they are properly dressed and are ready for school. During breakfast they review the chores schedule. The guys are out the door by 8:10 and are on their way to school. Once they have left for school, Ken and Rosy take time to complete administrative paper work and attend meetings. Sometimes they will go shopping for groceries or clothing, make phone calls to different social workers or case managers, or schedule any doctor appointments for the guys.

At 11 am the guys return to the house for the lunch hour and they make sure that each guy has what he needs for the afternoon. After lunch sometimes there is ongoing training sessions that Ken and Rosy attend. The guys come home from school at 4 pm where they get some down time and they get a snack. At 4:30, the house has a planned activity where the guys play basketball, go swimming, lift weights or any other activity that Ken planned for that day.


Together, as a family, they watch the nightly news at 5:30 and dinner is served at six. After dinner, the guys help clean up the kitchen. Once all the after dinner chores are complete, there is free time where the guys can work on homework, play pool and video games, or read quietly. During this time, Ken and Rosy start their daily assessment of each guy and complete the necessary paperwork. Between 8:30 and 9 pm the guys go off to bed with lights off at 10 pm. When the guys are off in their rooms, Ken and Rosy are in the office debriefing about the day with the in-house staff.


Weekends are different. On Saturdays, the guys will thoroughly clean the whole house and then participate in a fun activity. Sundays the house goes to church and sometimes afterwards, they will have lunch out at a restaurant.

Best Part of Being House Parents

The most rewarding part of their day is interacting with the guys. “When you get to interact with them whether it’s just goofy fun or serious, you know that what you are doing is impacting them. They are at a tipping point where they are no longer a child but not yet an adult. They need to be challenged to grow, mature and learn how to be a young man,” Ken says with a smile.

Most Challenging Part of Being House Parents

The thing that they find most challenging is “[When you realize] sometimes a guy’s past has hurt him so deeply that you can’t get to the core of it, and you are unable to change it for them, it is frustrating. You want so badly to change it for them, but it’s impossible. They are always going to have those scars. Seeing the hurt and not being able to do anything about it is the hardest part,” Rosy says.

It’s a Calling

If you are considering becoming a house parent, they offer one piece of advice, “Make sure you know you are called by God to work here; because if you are not, it’s going to be rough. Be sure that your relationship with the Lord and your spouse is strong. If you are coming here to get your needs met, this isn’t a good fit, but if you are coming here to meet the needs of others, then it is.”

And so it is, as a Rawhide house parent. If this sounds like your calling, apply today! open positions.

A Day in the Life of a Youth Care Worker

“This is where God wants me right now,” says Rebecca a current youth care worker who has been in this position for the past three years.  She graduated from the University of Michigan with a teaching degree in 2009. During Rebecca’s career search she came across an advertisement for a youth care worker in Wisconsin. She applied and was hired on.

“I live with the guys and teach them social skills. I will tell them they need to shower. Remind them to chew with their mouth closed. Admonish them when they swear and tell them to keep the conversion appropriate.”  She continued, “On an average day, I get up with the guys and make sure they are ready for school, eat breakfast with them and walk them to school. When needed, I take them to doctor’s appointments and court hearings. When school is done, we all eat dinner together like a family. After dinner, I help them with homework and talk to them about their day.”

A day in the life of a youth care worker is not a normal 8-hour work day. Their day starts before the sun comes up and ends after the sun goes down. Youth care workers are live-in positions, which means they live in the homes 24/7 with the troubled youth who call Rawhide home. In addition to two or three youth care workers in each home, there is a married couple known as houseparents who act as the parental figures. “It’s important to remember that we always have support from the living unit staff and from the other youth care workers. They are a very strong, supportive group and they become your best friends because they know what it’s like, and they are the only ones who really understand,” Rebecca says.

The youth care workers are looked at as the “big brother” or “big sister” to the guys. They provide the guys with stability, social and moral values, encouragement, and spiritual guidance. Additionally, youth care workers must have a strong personal commitment to Biblical values and demonstrate this in their life. This position isn’t for everyone; it is physically, mentally and spiritually challenging; however its reward is greater than its challenges.

“Life with the guys is a learning curve, as each guy handles things differently. There is no right answer or a certain way to do things,” says Rebecca.  “My favorite part of the job is when you have been praying for them for a long time and there is some event or something in their life that happens and the light switch just turns on and either they accept Christ or they become open to him when they weren’t open before,” she said with a huge smile on her face.

Youth care workers get to have a lot of fun with the guys and share in their new experiences.  “We get a lot of guys who have not experienced the basic fun things; canoeing, fishing, sledding, and just being a kid,” Rebecca states. “It is exciting to see them let loose and have fun.”

Being a youth care worker isn’t always easy, but is a rewarding and fulfilling job. Rebecca says that she has learned a lot about herself by being a youth care worker, “I’ve learned to be more self-confident; I’ve become more assertive and most importantly, I understand what it means to love unconditionally.” A youth care worker is a supportive, strong, spiritual leader who encourages the guys to become responsible young men that live a healthy and responsible life.

Are you up to the challenge of becoming our next youth care worker?

Do you want more information? Learn more.