Goshen Valley Opens New Family Resource Center

The Goshen Valley Foundation, a pillar in Cherokee County charity for over two decades, recently expanded with the addition of its new Family Resource Center. On Marietta Highway in Canton, the Family Resource Center will be a light for the foster care system in Cherokee County and will provide resources for anyone in need in the community.

A large crowd gathered on Wednesday, May 15, to officially cut the ribbon and support the new center, despite the light rain that began halfway through the program. To kick off the event, Goshen Valley CEO Zach Blend, director of development Evan Ingram, executive director Stacy Sabaka, and resource center coordinator Dana Zehner gave opening remarks.

With Peace and Purpose: Goshen Valley Opens New Family Resource Center (Photo Credit: Jaye Grimes/Enjoy Cherokee Magazine)

Zach Blend delivers opening remarks at the Family Resource Center opening.

Goshen Valley is a nonprofit organization based in the Cherokee County community. Under its motto of “peace and purpose,” Goshen Valley supports the foster system throughout north Georgia, benefiting over a thousand foster youth. While the organization is centered in Cherokee County, it serves individuals from counties across the region.

“Peace and purpose are what everyone wants for their own kids. They’re coming from places of chaos, so we want to build a place of stability. Purpose is the next big step. How can we prepare them for their future?” notes Evan.

Established for Peace

Goshen Valley offers a variety of services to meet all kinds of social needs, with a focus on those in the foster system. Founded by Zach’s father, John Blend, the charity originally began with the Goshen Valley Boys Ranch in Waleska, where boys in foster care from ages eight to eighteen years old receive therapeutic counseling, public education, and family-structured homes.

With Peace and Purpose: Goshen Valley Opens New Family Resource Center (Photo Credit: Jaye Grimes/Enjoy Cherokee Magazine)

John and Zach Blend

Since first opening in 1999, Goshen Valley expanded to include individual and family therapeutic services, drug screenings, food pantries, family support, life skills coaching, support groups, and more. Many of these services will be available and more accessible through the new Family Resource Center, particularly therapeutic services. Now in its twenty-fifth year, Goshen Valley provided 27,190 individual services across nineteen counties in 2023 alone.

Built with Purpose

Goshen Valley also constructed a bus shelter outside its new resource center parking lot for local students who ride the bus each morning and afternoon. The bus shelter will guard against wind and rain, and just a few feet away is the center itself, where the children and their parents are always welcome. The majority of those at the bus shelter come from Northwood Apartments located just up the road, with which Goshen Valley has an established relationship.

The new center is built with families in mind. Outside of the building is a playground and a vibrant mural, designed and painted by Cherokee County high school students. Marissa Migneco, Etowah High School Class of 2024, led the project, which features bright flowers, leaves, a watering can, and a hose pouring out the words “Peace & Purpose.”

With Peace and Purpose: Goshen Valley Opens New Family Resource Center (Photo Credit: Jaye Grimes/Enjoy Cherokee Magazine)

Family Resource Center mural designed by Marissa Migneco and painted by CCSD students.

Inside the building Goshen has various cozy, warmly lit rooms for therapy sessions, in addition to two playrooms for children’s play therapy. The hallways are decorated with artwork from Cherokee County students and will cycle out to feature more student artists.

Community Connections

In addition to established partnerships with Cherokee County School District and the county government, Goshen Valley makes an effort to connect with other community organizations, particularly faith groups. Volunteers from First Baptist Woodstock regularly participate in yard and cleaning work to keep Goshen buildings tidy, and members of Woodstock City Church organized a food drive to support the Family Resource Center’s food pantry. The Doughboys, a group of seniors from the Soleil community, also bring daily bakery goods from Panera Bread.

“Goshen is an extension of the community,” CEO Zach Blend says. “Our ability to have influence in this community is because of places like the school district and local churches. Wherever we’re connected, we want to be a good partner. We want to create value for the groups we work with.”

Since its founding, Goshen Valley has brought peace and purpose into the lives of many, from foster children to families in need. Zach and his team intend on continuing to grow Goshen to benefit the lives of many more in the county and beyond.

“The community is so mindful of our kids and families, and they allow us the resources to serve them well,” Zach remarks. “I can’t imagine Goshen being anywhere besides Cherokee.”

 

 

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