— Chapter 1 —

It wasn’t uncommon for Cory to get in trouble in school. Fights, poor grades and truancy were becoming the norm for the 12-year-old. From the outside looking in, Cory looked like bad news. What people didn’t see was the burden of pain weighing him down: a broken family, divorce, and a single dad struggling to provide for Cory and his two siblings. It was too much for Cory to handle. Rebellion and defiance? That was easier.

Desperate for help, Cory’s father found a place called Eagle Ranch.

“You and your brother Roley will be going to live at Eagle Ranch for a while,” his father told him, “I think they can help us.”

“Eagle Ranch,” Cory thought “What is that?”

Bags were packed. Seatbelts were buckled. The engine started up, and they were on the road to an unknown destination. Cory’s eyes—heavy with sleep—slowly began to close as he watched the clouds out his window.

“We’re here,” his father said, making a turn off Union Church Road.

Cory looked up as they pulled down the gravel road, the car bumping along and jostling him in his seat. He stared out the window at the tall oak trees around him, the green grass. Cory’s suspicious eyes locked in on the lake, the water glittering from rays of the sun.

They pulled into the driveway of a house called the Hope Home. Flowers filled the front yard—red and yellow, warm and welcoming. Resting in the grass by the porch steps was something strangely familiar, like from a dream.

The bright blue bicycle had been cast lazily on the ground, front wheel turned upward, turning in the wind. The seat was empty, beckoning him. It was waiting for its next rider.

A strange feeling crept over him. He felt lighter, briefly. What was that feeling? Almost…peaceful. For a moment—just a moment—Cory allowed himself to feel a small glimmer of something unfamiliar…hope.

Cory’s story is one of many children’s stories from Eagle Ranch. Your support goes toward providing a home, counseling, education and spiritual guidance to children in crisis. Consider making a gift by clicking here