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Archives for May 2015

7 Transferable Skills Learned in Woodworking Class

Did you ever have a teacher who made a profound difference in your learning experience or opened new areas of interest for you? Our woodshop instructor, Jerry Trzebiatowski, is attempting to do that for students at Rawhide’s Starr Academy.

Building Transferable Skills for the Future

Jerry ensures his woodshop classes give the guys more than just a change of pace from traditional studies. It’s more than pounding nails and creating sawdust when you think about it. Woodshop projects teach Rawhide guys skills that will serve them in future workplaces. They are able to:

  1. Practice math skills
  2. Learn project planning and management
  3. Put art concepts into practice
  4. Nurture their creativity
  5. Improve learning abilities
  6. Learn how to turn hobbies into revenue
  7. Discover new areas of interest

Woodworking and Entrepreneurshiptop bar bee hives

students will sell honey in gift shopJerry tries to incorporate additional educational elements into the projects to broaden their horizons. For example, they are currently building 2 top-bar beehives. This type of hive is a single-story frameless beehive in which the comb hangs from removable bars. The added bonus to this project is that Jerry will add honey bees to the hives and teach the guys the art of beekeeping. Honey will be sold in Rawhide’s gift shop.

Learning Cultural Histories

For another project, the guys built authentic Native American flutes. While learning the art of crafting a musical instrument from wood, the guys also learned about a different culture and its music. Jerry often teaches the historical background on each project like with these flutes.

Hands-on Approach

This hands-on teaching style works well for students who have struggled with more traditional teaching methods. Some individuals are able to learn by reading while others need the more hands-on approach that Jerry provides.

The University of Purdue funded a study on this subject in 2009. The study found that the students who were taught through a more hands-on fashion learned faster and retained their knowledge better compared to the students that learned through the traditional textbook method. Jerry observed this first hand in a previous teaching position which inspired him to do what he does today.woodshop canoe

Future Project of a Grander Scale

Jerry plans to build a boat 30 feet long and 4 feet wide that will allow 12 people to navigate the Wolf River near the ranch. He hopes to begin construction soon and is waiting for the right group of students to tackle the project.


Wood Donations aka “In-Kind” Donations

As you’ve read, woodshop allows the guys to learn marketable employment skills, build self-esteem, and learn new hobbies. Many of these projects would not be possible without generous donations of kiln-dried wood. And if we want to get this boat project off of the ground, we will need more.

If you can donate wood to make this happen, please contact us immediately. You will make a difference in young lives. Thank you so much.

301 Acres to Showcase Classic & Collectible Cars

Car enthusiasts – start your engines. The annual Iola Old Car Show is right around the bend and promises to showcase thousands of cars on 301 acres from July 9th-11th. This show has been drawing car enthusiasts from across the country since 1972.

Enter for Your Chance to Win a Car at Iola Old Car Show

This year, Rawhide will have a booth at the show and will hold a drawing to give away a 1973 Chrysler Newport automobile. (Pictured above.) Only one owner! This gold gem was donated to Rawhide recently, and you could win it by simply completing the entry form. Visit our booth in the “Teamed to Learn” exhibit tent to see the car and enter the drawing.

A Relationship that Spans Decades: Chet Krause and RawhideChet Krause

The relationship between Rawhide and the founder of the car show, Chester L. “Chet” Krause, spans several decades. Chet has helped Rawhide Boy’s Ranch in many ways over the years. He first visited Rawhide in 1987 and noticed only two boys’ homes existed at the time. Chet pulled aside the founder, John Gillespie, and challenged him to develop an expansion plan with the promise that if he and his staff pulled the plan together, Chet would lead the fundraising efforts to make it a reality.

John accepted the challenge and spent the following year developing financial projections, writing practical growth and program-improvement plans, and meeting with social service and business leaders. Chet reviewed every aspect of the plan and contributed several major financial gifts. He also let Rawhide use printing resources at his Krause Publications company to produce their main promotional booklet.

Sports Facility for Rawhide Youth

Nine years later, John saw another need for Rawhide students. They needed a facility in which to play school sports like basketball. So John asked Chet if he was willing to lead fundraising efforts for a campus fieldhouse as well as contribute towards the one million dollar goal.Iola Old Car Show

Chet thought about John’s request and he called John on Christmas Eve. “John, I really don’t want to serve on a fundraising committee, but I’ll give you the million dollars for the field house,” he said. Chet wrote a check for the entire amount. The Starr Academy All-Stars have been competing in the Chester L. Krause Fieldhouse ever since.

Rawhide is eternally grateful to Chet Krause and his tremendous generosity. We are proud to be part of the Iola Old Car Show and can’t thank Chet Krause and his team enough for all they’ve done to make a difference for at-risk youth.

Mark Your Calendars

Join us at this phenomenal Iola Old Car Show and remember to enter for your chance to win the 1973 Chrysler Newport at the Rawhide booth! Watch this video for more details. We hope to see you there!

Troubled Youth REAP 9 Rewards of Equine Assisted Therapy

The Rawhide Equine Assisted Program (REAP) has been helping guys who battle behavioral and emotional issues ever since 2001, when Rawhide’s Equestrian Center first opened. The beautiful on-campus facility features an indoor riding arena, where the vast majority of individual and family equine assisted therapy sessions take place; the Small Animal Barn (Sponsored by Hillshire Farms); and fencing and animal yards (donated by Rawhide alumnus Roger Davenport and his wife, Betty).

A Rawhide guy is paired with a horse or pony that possesses a personality and temperament similar to his own. For instance, a timid teen is typically assigned a horse who is on the shy side and who will be most effective in supporting his individual treatment. A more outgoing guy might be paired with a bolder horse. “Sometimes, they both pick each other,” says Clinic Administrator for Youth and Family Counseling Services Kelly Wisnefske, a longtime employee of Rawhide who oversees REAP.

Unbridled Benefits of Equine Assisted Therapy

Clients are able to discover solutions to a variety of personal challenges and family concerns through a series of therapeutic activities designed to foster:

  1. communication
  2. concentration
  3. confidence
  4. discipline
  5.  listening
  6. patience
  7. problem solving
  8. respect
  9. trust

These personal challenges and family concerns may include

  1. anger management
  2. anxiety
  3. attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  4. depression
  5. posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  6. relational difficulties
  7. substance abuse
  8. thinking errors

In the REAP process, they learn a lot about themselves—their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement and growth.

Supportive Supervision

REAP sessions always involve an Animal Care Specialist—or a staff member with significant equine experience—and a mental health professional in the form of a master’s or doctoral degree-level Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Depending on individual circumstances and situations, family members may or may not be present.

Positive Outcomes

The New York Times article “Horse Therapy for the Troubled” indicates a successful pilot study of 13 adolescents from the East Mountain Youth Lodge, a Belle Mead, N.J.-area residential treatment program for 13- to 18-year-olds with psychiatric or emotional difficulties, conducted by psychotherapist JoAnn Jarolmen, Ph.D., LCSW. “After working with the horses,” the daily newspaper maintains, “the teenagers were less angry and aggressive, improved their relationships with their parents and peers, and had fewer suicidal tendencies.”

Over the course of the past decade, Wisnefske has witnessed amazing transformations right in front of her eyes. The first step is distinguishing and extinguishing the threats that can hinder one’s progress, she suggests, pointing to the following example: “If an adolescent is doing poorly in school, maybe with many angry outbursts, through REAP, we are able to help him figure out what the triggers are and give him tools to cope at school and reduce the number of outbursts.”

These sorts of strides can continue—and often do—long after our guys leave the ranch. “Communication improves at home. We can work through the dynamics of the family and help model situations in the Equine Assisted Therapy session,” Wisnefske says. “We have seen successful completion of schooling to married couples learning to talk and express themselves without yelling.”

How REAP is Funded

Rawhide depends on various donation types to keep programs like REAP going. Perhaps our most widely known type is vehicle donations. To learn more about this process or to donate today, visit our donation section.

127 MPH of Fun — Auto Shop Elective

Which would win a race, a small airplane or a special car from the Rawhide Ranch? If it’s a car from our Beat the Heat auto shop elective, it could outrun a small aircraft, topping off at 127 mph! Even though that aircraft is a single-engine, propeller driven airplane, it is still quite impressive!

During the summer, the Rawhide guys may take an auto shop elective, Beat the Heat, through Starr Academy. Participating guys spend the summer learning about drag racing and working on a few cars as well. At the end of the class they get to see their hard work pay off and hopefully set new records!

From Clunker to Lean, Mean Racing Machine

Beat the Heat began as a way to teach troubled youth about positive, alternate activities to drugs and alcohol. The guys learn how to perform basic car inspections, test and replace batteries, check and change fluids, adjust valves, trouble shoot problems, and experience what it’s like to work in an automotive shop. They also get to see the fruits of their labor as they work on an engine and see it transform from a low-performing clunker to a roaring, drag-racing machine.

Currently, the class is working on a 1974 Chevrolet Nova that was donated by Marion High School. Students have worked on enhancing the performance of the vehicle to shorten the racing time. Until recently, the car topped out at 75 miles per hour. After a generous donation of auto parts from key sponsors Faith Technologies and The Machine Shed, the Nova shattered the previous record, traveling the drag racing track distance in 10.65 seconds and reaching a top speed of 127 mph. That’s faster than some small single-engine airplanes travel!

Who’s Behind the Wheel?

You might be wondering who’s driving these drag racing machines. It’s an off-duty police officer. The guys work side by side with the officer and get to see that cops are more than just law enforcers—they are real people who care about them, too. This process helps the guys build trust with officers and perhaps see them in a new light, as civil servants sworn to serve and protect—even them.

Ongoing Annual Project

The Beat the Heat elective allows the guys to work on a project that teaches healthier pastime activities, develop new skills that will help them later in life, and create a positive relationship with a local police officer. The program is always in need of different types of donations to keep it going, such as:

  1. Car parts to use on existing cars: headers, rear slicks, suspension systems, etc.
    The suped-up Nova’s estimated 700 Horse Power makes it difficult for the car to gain traction. Rear slicks would improve the Nova’s rear suspension and traction.
  2. Whole cars that the guys can transformbeat the heat
    Having other cars on hand allows the guys to practice different maintenance skills and really see a “before” and “after” on the vehicle.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are available as well, allowing your corporate logo to appear on the Nova. It proudly states that your organization makes a difference for troubled youth.

Past sponsors have helped the car improve racing stats by donating headers for the engine and other automobile parts. Future sponsors can help the program achieve even more and continue to provide guys with the opportunity to learn something they’re passionate about.

Benefits of the Program

The program provides a healthy, quality outlet for the Rawhide guys to exert their energies and allows them a positive experience to interact with local law enforcement. The class provides new experiences and may lead some guys to realize a passion that could turn into a future occupation. Combine that with the opportunity to see a car they worked on go crazy fast, and it’s no wonder the Beat the Heat program is one of the most popular summer electives at Starr Academy.

Vehicle Donations Help

The Beat the Heat program is just one of many ways Rawhide helps give troubled youth a second chance. All of these programs are possible because of generous donors. Please consider making a difference in the lives of troubled youth by donating to Rawhide today.

Life Changing Adventure Camp for At-risk Youth

If your son or grandson has been struggling throughout the school year, are you dreading what the summer might bring? Are you worried about his behavior, friend choices, or activities? Rawhide’s weeklong summer Adventure Camp can help.

The camp’s objective is to build character and self-confidence while also teaching personal responsibility, team work, self-control, and respect for self and others. Plus, young men who are credit-deficient in school can earn high school credits through the week-long program.

A Mother’s Relief

For one mother, Adventure Camp provided changes in her son that relieved a stressful environment. Her son’s grades were Camp for At-risk Youthslipping, he struggled with making and keeping friends, and he had developed a quick temper. His outlook on life became negative and began to lack passion and enthusiasm towards life. After her son’s repeated lying, she decided to send him to Rawhide’s Adventure camp.

She could see the changes in one week. Her son displayed a rejuvenated gusto for life and was eager to share his experiences with the family. Upon arriving home, he even took his camping gear from the car after only being asked once!

The improvements continued months later. His grades went from Ds and Fs to As and Bs, the disciplinary problems disappeared, and he began to make friends! The improvements show no sign of letting up and the mother feels that Adventure Camp was a big reason for it. “Now, and in the future, I feel that Adventure Camp is certainly something we will all be able to look back on as a turning point in his life. My hope is that he will continue to make the good choices. Rawhide’s Adventure Camp has certainly been an answer to our prayers.”

A Camper’s Turning Point

For Dylan*, Rawhide’s adventure camp instilled hope for his future. As Dylan’s group canoed, fished, swam, and ate together, he made new friends and had clean, wholesome fun like bouncing down the rapids! He strapped on a life jacket, lay back in the water, and let the current take him down the river, keeping his feet up as he went. He enjoyed it so much that he bubbled over with laughter while telling of his adventure later.

Dylan knew this was something he wanted to do with a family of his own someday. He could actually envision a future with his own family.

Another favorite part of the camp occurred during the last few days. A boulder created a miniature waterfall and Jacuzzi in the rapids, so the guys sat on the rock to enjoy it. After a full week of new adventures with new friends, his memory book began filling up with good memories. He had hope.

Camp for At-risk Youth

Thankful Parents

Rawhide’s Adventure Camp Director, Kerry Gibson, sees the guys change in as little as one day. “It takes the guys about a day to really get the city out of them and appreciate the beauty of the forest and the river.”

Kerry focuses on teaching three things during camp:

  1. Respect
  2. Responsibility
  3. Self-control

Self-control is the biggest change Kerry witnesses and he says the giant swing that the guys jump off at week’s end provides the greatest example. The moment a guy is mid-air on that 50-foot swing, dangling over the river provides the best insight into what is in his heart. “In the beginning of the week, I have guys who can’t say two sentences without swearing. By week’s end, they’ll get on that swing, jump off it into the river, and not say a single bad word.”

Kerry has received many letters and heard different testimonials regarding the changes young men and parents have witnessed. The one that he remembers the most ended was from a mother who wrote: “Thank you for giving my son back.”

Register Your Loved One for Camp for At-risk Youth

If you feel at wits end and are looking for a way to help your at-risk son, nephew, or grandson, register them for Rawhide’s summer Adventure Camp. The changes and memories that the camp creates are something that will last your son a lifetime.

11 Myths of Foster Care Parenting

The thought of becoming foster parents may raise numerous questions and uncertainties. Perhaps some uncertainties are based on myths you may have heard, yet many myths are untrue and overshadow the rewards of helping youth. Here are some common misconceptions and truths of being foster parents:

  1. MYTH: To be foster parents we need to have parenting experience
    FACT: Many foster parents never had children of their own. [1] If you are a responsible person willing to commit to providing a safe and loving environment, you’re a perfect fit. Not having children of your own doesn’t take away from your ability to be responsible and provide a loving environment to a child who needs it most.
  2. MYTH: We can’t be foster parents AND work full-time
    FACT: You don’t have to be stay-at-home parents to foster. If the child does require day care, you may have to cover that cost [2], but there are programs that can help cover expenses depending on the state you live in. Becoming foster parents won’t take away from your work hours.
  3. MYTH: Being foster parents is too expensive
    FACT: While there is some cost for foster care, many states or programs will reimburse expenses and/or provide a monthly stipend. [3] Being able to provide a safe and loving environment for someone who needs it most is priceless.
  4. MYTH: Foster children are hardened, difficult, and unruly
    FACT: Many children in the state child welfare system have endured trauma in their lives. Because of this, they need you the most. You can provide a loving, stable, nurturing home for them to heal, learn, and grow. Many programs, as well as Rawhide, provide training on the dynamics of abuse and neglect to help you understand the foster child’s situation and be able to adapt to their needs.
  5. MYTH: Children are placed in foster care because of a criminal background
    FACT: Many children enter foster care because of neglect, abandonment, or abuse. These children are looking for a loving, safe environment that nurtures and encourages them. [4]
  6. MYTH: Foster care is a punishment
    FACT: Very similar to the misconception above. Not all children in foster care are delinquents and the courts don’t use foster care as a punishment. Foster care is to help the children find a safe, loving environment, not to punish. [5]
  7. MYTH: Children placed in foster care are orphaned
    FACT: While some foster children are orphans, the vast majorities come from difficult home situations. Foster care is intended to protect those children. [6]
  8. MYTH: A biological parent can take an adopted child back
    FACT: If reunification is on the table, a foster child can return to their biological parent(s) after some time. However, it would occur via a court-ordered process and not in one quick cinematic surprise. Once the child is eligible for adoptive placement, there is no chance of reunification. Once a birth parent’s parental rights are terminated; they have no way of regaining custody of the child. [7]
  9. MYTH: Foster children have been in and out of dozens of other foster homes
    FACT: The idea of foster care is to create permanence in the lives of the children. Many children are placed with foster parents and remain with those parents for a long time regardless of adoption eligibility. When they do go from home to home it is usually because of reunification attempts. [8]
  10. MYTH: I’m not allowed to adopt children I foster
    FACT: Some children that enter foster care do return to their birth families, but there are still thousands of children who cannot return home. According to the Adoption Exchange Association , of the 51,000 children in foster care adopted last year, 54 percent were adopted by their foster parents. [9]
  11. MYTH: I’m too old to be a foster parent
    FACT: The only age requirement is that you must be at least 21 years old to be a foster parent. [10]  Many empty-nesters have found foster parenting to be a rewarding experience. As long as you’re able to bring passion and a heart full of unconditional love, you’re never too old to be a foster parent.

Are You Curious About Foster Care Parenting?

If you would like to learn more or if you already feel you can create a loving, stable home for youth that need you, consider Rawhide’s Treatment Foster Care Program. We offer training, a monthly stipend, and 24/7 support.

Becoming a foster parent allows you to be part of something great and make an impact on a troubled teen.

Inquire Today

Contact our Treatment Foster Care Team.
Phone:  888-745-7445

[2] http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/how-to-foster/common-myths-about-foster-care
[3] http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/how-to-foster/common-myths-about-foster-care
[4] http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/03/foster-care-safety-net-or-trap-door
[5] http://parenthood.library.wisc.edu/Lerner/Lerner.html
[6] http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/how-to-foster/common-myths-about-foster-care
[7] http://www.foster-adopt.org/for-future-parents/myths-about-domestic-adoption/
[8] http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/how-to-foster/common-myths-about-foster-care
[9] http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/how-to-foster/common-myths-about-foster-care
[10] http://thechildrenarewaiting.org/fostercare/myths/


15 Factors that Influence Decision-Making

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions are part of our everyday life ranging from what to eat for dinner to how to respond to someone’s snide comment. We all face choices—big and small—everyday. So, how do you decide? What drives you to choose one option over another?

When you make a big decision, you most likely weigh pros and cons or visualize the effects of each choice. On the other hand, when you make smaller, last-minute decisions, you might rely more on a hunch or gut feeling to guide you. The decision might be so small that you don’t even realize you’re making a choice. Regardless, something affects your decision.

7 Self-Driven Factors

Recently, Rawhide’s Starr Academy added a new topic, Bullying, to the Life Skills course. Sponsored by Life Promotions, a local organization that instills hope in youth to pave the way for a better future, this course taught how to resist and stand up against bullying. The instructor, Anna, facilitated a discussion one day about 7 factors that affect our everyday decisions—even a bully’s decision to bully. She called them the 7 Ps.

  1. Physical appearanceWill this make me look good?Factors that Influence Decision Making
  2. PerformanceWill I do well?
  3. PossessionsWill I keep what I have or gain more?
  4. PopularityWill I keep my friends or make new friends?
  5. Pleasure Will this make me feel good?
  6. PowerWill I keep control or get more?
  7. PrestigeWill people still respect me?

Which is Most Important?

Anna questioned the guys. Which of these is most important to you? Stop and think for a moment—which factor affects your decisions the most?
After listening to some of the guys give their answers, which included an assortment of the 7 Ps, Erik* made an interesting observation. “The more certain you are that these 7 factors will not impact that decision, the easier your decision will be.” At least that’s what it seems like, right? In today’s society, basing a decision on these factors seems to make you happier and your life easier. But we know from experience that any happiness and ease derived from these motivating factors is usually fleeting.

Good or Bad?

If you notice, all the questions in the 7 Ps list are self-focused. How will this decision affect me? As the classroom conversation continued, the guys began to realize the danger of the 7 Ps. They noticed that making a decision based on these 7 factors often leads to negative results. For example, in order to maintain popularity or gain power, you might choose to put down or bully someone else.
So Anna asked another question—can the 7 Ps be good? Donny* chimed in and said, with the right priorities, they can be good. Jim* added, when you forget about the important things in life—that’s when they can be bad. The guys shifted their perspective and began focusing more on the well-being of others.

8 Spirit-Driven Factors

How about a different set of decision-making factors altogether especially when it pertains to how we treat others? Anna brought up a new list that is more others-focused and less self-focused. She called them Fruits of the Spirit:

  1. LoveWill I show love to others?
  2. JoyWill I be joyful?
  3. PeaceWill I keep peace with others?
  4. Patience Will I be patient with others?
  5. Kindness Will I be kind to others?
  6.  GoodnessWill I be good to others?
  7. GentlenessWill I be gentle to others?
  8. Self-ControlWill I have self-control?

These factors encourage us to consider how our decisions affect others, and can lead to positive personal results as well. Although our human tendency is to focus on the immediate results of the 7 Ps, the 8 fruits of the Spirit bring lasting comfort.

*Names changed to protect anonymity.

Tell Us

  1. What influences your decisions?
  2. Have you ever bullied? Why?
  3. Do you agree with the 7Ps? 8 Fruits of the Spirit? Why or Why not?

Could You Pass this Interview? A Mother’s Day Tribute

You might remember this video from about a year ago when it went viral on social media. In honor of a certain special holiday coming up, we’d like to draw attention to it once again. View the video below.

Director of Operations Job description

  1. 135 hours to unlimited hours per week
  2. On call 24/7/365
  3. Must be able to stand most or all of the time
  4. No breaks, no vacations, no holidays
  5. Must excel in interpersonal communications
  6. Degrees in medicine, finance, and culinary arts necessary
  7. $0 salary

What Were You Thinking?

Did you think of your mom or someone who’s been like a mom to you? What are your thoughts after viewing it?

You’re thinking about everything your mother or mother figure has done for you over the years—how she was there for you through the good and bad times. Right?

If you aren’t a mother yourself, perhaps you’re realizing how tough the job really is. I know I am.

Maybe you’re thinking about giving your mom a call or making a trip to visit her. I know I am.

Mothers across the world work countless, tiresome hours to raise their children well. And they do the world’s toughest job for absolutely no salary. They sacrifice so much for their kids, from a full-night’s sleep to the luxury of sitting down to a meal or having a few minutes alone. On behalf of sons and daughters everywhere, thanks mom. We don’t say that enough.

Rawhide House Mothers

A Rawhide house mother’s job is equally as tough with some unique challenges. They serve as mothers to Rawhide guys—troubled young men who come to Rawhide for family-centered living, treatment, and education. As soon as a new guy arrives at Rawhide, his house mother makes it very clear she is not trying to take the place of his mom. She stresses that she will love him like a son and is committed to do the best for him, no matter what.

Our house mothers choose to be role models for the Rawhide guys to help them respect and relate to women in a healthy way. Their interpersonal teaching role is a large share of what they do, yet they still need to manage food prep, medication adherence, meeting appointments, helping with school work, other paperwork, and more. Like all mothers, our house mothers have countless things running around in their minds. And they always try to stay one step ahead.

At-risk youth come to Rawhide with a distinct set of challenges, such as past trauma or mental health issues. Along with the guys, our house mothers deal with these challenges daily. Have they made mistakes in their approach to these tough issues? Of course, just like any mom does. But they have learned better approaches with more experience. They have empathy, love and commitment for the guys, and their passion for helping troubled youth trumps the tough stuff.

To all the Rawhide house mothers—Patti, Christy, Cheryl, Rose, and Deb—thank you so much for everything you do for the guys! Happy Mother’s Day!

Tell Us

  1. What does your mom mean to you? Or…
  2. What would you like to say to your mom or mother figure?


Tell us in the comment section!

3 Tips for Parenting Troubled Youth with Consistency and Structure

Rawhide house parents, Ed and Patti Dedmon, commit to loving their guys in this very way—with consistency and structure. Their experience has taught them that consistency is crucial for their guys’ growth and development.

3 Tips for Parenting Troubled Youth

  1. Establish a daily routine for structure they can count on
  2. Set clear ground rules, expectations, and consequences to breaking those rules
  3. Correct with love and predictability

1. Follow a Routine to Create Sense of Security

Most Rawhide guys come from dysfunctional or tumultuous homes and have lived with a great deal of uncertainty as to what each day will bring in those homes. Will a parent or guardian be raging? Using drugs? Or even absent for days? They often don’t know what it’s like to count on someone being there for them—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Ed and Patti intend to help heal that. They are wise enough to know that even the smallest of details in a daily routine help create a sense of security for their guys. So, every morning, when the Smith home guys wake up and go downstairs, they know exactly what to expect—Ed, known to the guys as “Pops,” will be sitting in the kitchen, drinking his coffee and reading the newspaper. Ed sits in the same chair at the same time every morning. He sits the same way, with the newspaper and his coffee in the same spot on the table. Knowing that Pops will always be there when they wake up gives the guys a sense safety and security. Ed notices that some guys even look to make sure he is there as expected, then bound down the stairs with a spring in their steps because he IS there.

2. Communicate Ground Rules, Expectations, and Consequences to Set Predictability

Another way Ed and Patty create a safe family-centered home is to communicate upfront what is expected of each guy and what the guys can expect from Ed and Patty if the house rules are broken. Doing so removes any uncertainty of how they will be treated. This technique also creates a sense of security like a routine because the guys learn that they don’t have to be hypervigilant.

When a troubled youth arrives at Rawhide, he learns the house rules and consequences when he follows or breaks them. For example, if he behaves during the day, he earns extra privileges during evening free time. If he misbehaves, his evening free time is limited. The expectations and consequences don’t change, and neither does Ed and Patti’s love for the guys.

3. Love Before, During, and After Correction

Love should be as constant as God’s love. And like most of us, the guys need to know that they are loved even when they misbehave. Ed and Patti correct a guy for his misstep and continue loving him like a son. This constant love creates a sense of well-being and reassures the guys that their Rawhide house parents want the best for them.

Ed and Patti have noticed that the more secure and loved the guys feel, the more they adhere to house rules. Even though Rawhide guys still act out from time to time, they know what’s expected of them, and they feel a sense of responsibility to follow the rules. At the end of the day, Ed and Patti want their guys to heal, grow, and succeed with new life choices.

A Passion for Troubled Youth

Ed and Patti have been Rawhide house parents in the Smith house for over 8 years in Rawhide’s About Face program. This program is a military-style program that focuses strongly on consistency and structure.

Rawhide has many programs and services that help give troubled youth a second chance and inspire and equip them to lead healthy and responsible lives.

The Dedmons know God has called them to serve as Rawhide house parents, and they will continue to do so until God calls them elsewhere. They find joy in their work each day, and they hope their guys will find consistency and stability thereby being equipped to turn their lives around.

Could You and Your Spouse be House Parents?

If you share Ed and Patti’s passion for helping troubled youth, learn more about being Rawhide house parents.

Of if you believe this is for you and your spouse, apply today.