WRITTEN BY CAROLINE DUVALL
There are 120 acres of farmland in Sevierville, Tennessee, at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Wears Valley Ranch has called this land home since 1992 and has provided a place for children to do the same. Wears Valley Ranch offers a safe place for children to stay who have endured a traumatic or family-related crisis. They provide counseling, opportunities for education, and healing through a relationship with God.
Children are often casualties of circumstances outside of their control. Many families are destroyed by divorce, drugs, abuse, neglect, or death. Founder Jim Wood opened Wears Valley Ranch to provide a home for children in these tragic situations. Wood also founded Saint Andrew’s School, which provides children with a complete K-12 education. The school includes one-on-one instruction from caring adults, a carefully chosen curriculum suited to the child’s learning style, and the opportunity for children to advance at their own pace.
On October 16th, the Ranch broke ground for construction of their new Chapel. Because of the generous prayers from the community, Wears Valley Ranch has outgrown their meeting hall, which seats 100, and has made plans to build a Chapel to seat over 200 people. The Chapel will allow new opportunities for Biblical teaching, yearly events, and further the mission to help children in crisis. The Chapel is on schedule to open in the Fall of 2016.
Brian McDonnell is the Chief Operating Officer at Wears Valley Ranch and says the new Chapel is an answer to a lot of prayers. “We want to see children from difficult situations come to know Jesus,” McDonnell says. “We want their lives to be transformed to include stable, loving families, and give them the opportunity to succeed.” With the help and prayers of generous individuals, Wears Valley Ranch has been able to do exactly that.
In addition to providing a home, continuing education and biblical teaching, Wears Valley Ranch offers children the opportunity to learn about responsibility through the care of agriculture, livestock, and aquaponics. “It’s exciting to see kids learn how to work with their hands, bringing produce from farm to table,” McDonnell said. “God’s creative genius is on display here in the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains. It is also on display in these children, as they receive new life in Him.”
McDonnell believes that each child that comes to the Ranch is sent for a reason. “We are honored and humbled to have that responsibility.” He says. “We desire to be good stewards of God’s blessing, and feel we can best serve our children and visitors at the Ranch and teach them more about our Lord.” Wears Valley Ranch relies on the prayers and support of the community to provide children with a safe place to stay. The Ranch does not accept any government support, and has remained debt free for 23 years, thanks to the generous donations of the community.
To refer a child or find out how you can help, visit www.wvr.org or call 865-429-KIDS today.