RAVEN ROCK REPORT
Brilliant blue skies and bold red, yellow and orange leaves made the backdrop forour perky trail rides in the cool fall afternoons particularly sensational. Wrapped warmly on horseback always helps melt away the thoughts of shorter days and winter doldrums that are sure to follow. But for now, the wind turns our ears bright red while giving our horses an extra bounce in their step.
I can say that this October and November have made the difficulties of the previous months pale in comparison to the abundance we have experienced. As you all know, Raven Rock had our 9th Annual fundraising event in October. While our very best auction items, a trip to Maui for example, turned into the worst (Hawaii was shut down) and auction items were harder to procure because so many businesses were in financial trouble, our event was a success. Well, that isn’t exactly true- the online event itself barely broke even. But we recognized well before the event that it was not trending well for auctions and took action. In this season of thanks and gratitude, we had much to be grateful for! Tim made individualized calls to donors he believed had the resources to contribute a SIGNIFICANT amount. We were blessed with a total of $180,500 in cash! This is more than a blessing; it is truly a MIRACLE! Thanks to God, of course, and thanks to Tim, who faithfully made each difficult call. And a HUGE thanks to every one of our beloved donors who gave sacrificially to help our kids and feed our horses. Then, Miracle upon Miracles happened: a long-time Raven Rock faithful donor arrived on our doorstep with an ENORMOUS check! Jeff Kirby brought a check for $100,000. This was humbling and amazing. Neither Tim nor I are usually at a loss for words, but this time we were. This means our planning for the 24-month runup to “normalcy” has a great start. Thank you, Dear Jeff. Well done, good and faithful servant. God is good. Always. This is a good time for me to ask you personally to consider making a year-end donation to RRR. We are not out of the woods, as experts predict that it will take until 2023 or beyond to even start looking like normal for all of the world. Charities were particularly hard-hit. 40% of charities will not be in existence by January 1. We are good for a while, but we need to remember these questionsWhen will we be able to have 200 guests in a venue for dinner? When will some small businesses recover to donate items? When will people be working steadily again? I am now pleading for the kids who feel the isolation and online school confusion so negatively. They need Raven Rock and Raven Rock needs you. Please join with us to save precious lives.
We have been working straight through as our work load increased when mental health issues grew worse. We are working hard, long hours, but it’s making a difference. One difference came for a young lady, Irene (not her real name). She has been coming since she was 15 years of age. Her trauma was the result of being raped at a camp she attended when 9 years old. She never talked about it, but she finally confided in her mom. It was years after the incident and nothing could be done to find the young man who did it. But it left Irene feeling damaged, dirty and unable to defend herself. Indeed, I’m not sure she knew what a personal boundary even looked like. Because of her trauma, she spent all of her energy focused completely on finding a boy to “love” her. It was obvious to all how little she thought of herself and that she had no dignity left. Schoolwork suffered and she was suicidal. When she first came to the ranch she was very, very quiet for at least a year, which is how someone without confidence acts. But she loved her horse and every week she was ready for a break from her fears and the pressure she felt to perform. She could sit atop her horse and feel his strength and courage and borrow it for a little while.
The progress felt slow at times. It is hard, hard work to rebuild a damaged selfimage. But she stuck with it, made some hard choices about what was really important to her in this life, and now that she is 17, she is on a good path to finish high school on time (a feat that no one believed she could accomplish- except for me). I knew that inside that small, fragile young lady was a strong, determined, talented person who wanted to be truly alive each day. Her goal now is to go to college and pursue a career in performing arts. I once had someone once ask me, “is it worth it? It seems to take so long for some people to recover…” I smiled wryly. “But they DO recover.” I guess my answer was obvious. Every life is precious and valuable. It just takes a while sometimes for each child to feel precious and valuable. Thanks to each and every one of you- you are reading this and are interested in helping these suffering kids. Many of you have given sacrificially to further our important work and save the lives of a special girl like Irene and her horse, who has had many children whose lives have transformed because of his love. And many of you come every week to volunteer at the ranch-know that you are very, very important to all of us at the ranch.
Have a wonderful holiday with the ones you love. Loved ones are the most important thing we have. With love and gratitude, Sandy