Tucked into the hills near Vilonia, AR is a wonderful home for needy children: Soaring Wings Ranch. Soaring Wings Ranch takes in non-violent children ages six to seventeen with special emotional or family needs, many of whom are foster children, and gives them the tools they need to succeed in life. They incorporate counseling, tutoring, physical skill building (horse riding, dancing, martial arts, etc.) and personal discipleship to help these children become useful, contented members of society.
Many people at Second Baptist of Conway and other local churches have teamed up to help meet the needs of the children there. They bring prepared, frozen meals for the house parents to heat up for an easy meal. They are currently collecting condiments, snacks and other kid-friendly summer foods for donation. Some people have even become “extended family,” after a thorough background check, to befriend the kids and take them on outings once a month and on holidays.
I spoke with a man today (who wished to remain anonymous), who has been extended family for a number of years. The child he sponsors is now being adopted along with his siblings. His family loved having this child be a part of their lives. Their children cried when they heard he was leaving, but they are happy that he will have a good home and that another child will now have a chance to be at Soaring Wings Ranch.
Each of the two houses are running at full capacity (eight kids per house, one for each gender). They have to regularly turn kids down who would benefit from their program, so they are raising financial support. They call this their “2.2 Plan.” They intend to build two more houses, one for the boys and one for the girls. In addition, they would like an indoor equestrian center to compliment their horse facilities, and a welcome/counseling/learning center.
As a means to fund this ambitious project, Reliance Health Care and Casey Jones Realty are presenting The Ranch Ride. This is a community bike ride taking place June 4 at the Village at Hendrix in Conway, AR. It is $75 for a family to participate in the 8 mile ride or $45 for an individual to participate in either the 34 mile short advanced or the 54 mile long advanced bike ride. They have a totally free and fully supported training program for these rides! There will be a family-friendly party with food, games and prizes at the finish area. More information for this event can be found at www.theranchride.com. There are several big area businesses already supporting The Ranch Ride, including Conway Regional Health System, Kids Zone Dentistry, the Crain Automotive Team, the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper and many others.
As they say on their brochure, “Don’t just ride…ride with a purpose!” This ride promises to be great fun with “something for everyone!” Even if you don’t ride bikes, please feel free to donate directly to the Soaring Wings Ranch or browse their website at www.soaringwingsranch.com to see how you could volunteer. You could change a child’s life forever!