Exploring an Unexpected Mission Field

Being a Houseparent at a Children’s Home Can Provide Family Mission Opportunities Closer to Home

Eagle Ranch provides a unique mission opportunity for couples looking to stay close to home and work with troubled youth as houseparents. Houseparents serve as surrogate parents and provide a model for healthy parenting and relationships to at risk youth.

The Crossland Family

We weren’t sure where God would lead us, but we were excited to find an opportunity to do mission work as a family, but still stay connected to home

When Jordan and Angela Crossland prayed about God leading them to the mission field, they had visions of Africa, or another far-off country that would require leaving the world they knew behind, getting special vaccinations and possibly learning a new language.

They were excited to find a mission opportunity that kept them in the United States, and even near friends and family. In 2011, the Crosslands became houseparents at Eagle Ranch, a children’s home for troubled youth in Chestnut Mountain, Ga. Similar to an out-of-country mission opportunity, the position required them to sell their home and move their family.

“We weren’t sure where God would lead us, but we were excited to find an opportunity to do mission work as a family, but still stay connected to home,” said house mom, Angela Crossland. “We had a young daughter when we started serving as houseparents and now have an infant as well. It’s great to still be able to have family visit us and spend time with our children.”

“Even though you don’t leave the country, there will be a new schedule to adjust to, such as working in the afternoon, night and weekends,” notes Ranch house dad John Cunnings. “You will be stretched and challenged in ways you have never imagined, but the personal growth is very rewarding.”

Houseparents: Providing the Experience of a Healthy Family

Eagle Ranch serves 24 girls and 42 boys on its 270-acre campus. The children live in homes with peers of the same gender and age range, with no more than seven children per home. Each of Eagle Ranch’s 10 homes is staffed by a houseparent couple – a married couple who lives in the home with their family for an average of three years, providing structure and guidance. They serve as surrogate parents during a child’s stay and also provide a model for healthy parenting and relationships.

“Many of the children here don’t have both parents involved in their lives. We have an opportunity to teach these children things they would never have the opportunity to learn,” notes house dad Shane Brown.

In addition to being a source of comfort, support and learning for children coming to Eagle Ranch, many houseparents find that they have more time to spend with their own children.

“I was in the Marines for eight and half years and in the corporate world for another eight, and was often traveling,” Brown said. “To get up every day, not have to leave the house, be able to see my kids and really be there for them is great.”

Houseparents receive a small salary and benefits, but also get housing, food and other perks. “There is a great sense of community here among the houseparents so you don’t feel isolated or alone,” said house mom Angela Crossland. “People in the community truly care about and pray for one another.”

To find out more about houseparent and other employment opportunities at Eagle Ranch, visit the employment page on Eagle Ranch website.

About Eagle Ranch

Eagle Ranch works with children in crisis, focusing on family restoration and reunification. Founded in 1985, the Ranch serves children from North Georgia and metro Atlanta, providing home life, counseling and education for the children on a 270-acre campus in southern Hall County. It is the largest long-term residential facility for children in Georgia. Through its global outreach program – the Wings Initiative – Eagle Ranch also equips others called to develop homes for children in need.

For more information, contact Eagle Ranch at 770-967-8500.

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