Family Ministries began in 1939 as a dream of a group of ladies to start a Free Will Baptist orphanage. Out of that dream has grown a multi-faceted and diverse ministry that is making a positive difference, from protecting the lives of the unborn to caring for
our senior citizens. We serve young people through residential homes in Tennessee, Virginia and Arkansas, as well as an intensive alcohol and drug treatment program, foster care, The Hope Center crisis pregnancy resource center, The Oaks Retreat Center and The Laurels Retirement and Assisted Living.
We provide a home to at risk youth who have been awarded to us by the state, either by their own actions, or those of their parents. Our Horse Therapy Program is an "earned" benefit; the boys have to excel in their school work and with their behavior to be able to participate.
Our property is on 230 acres in East Tennessee. Our property backs up to the Cherokee National Forest, we mainly trail ride, but are introducing the Boys to showing this year.
Our residents range in age from 12-17; the younger kids usually go to foster homes, leaving the older boys to live on Campus. The majority of our residents come from big cities, where they have never experienced the tranquility of a farm, and the love of horses. I have never had a boy be less than respectful to our horses, they enjoy them very much, and I've witnessed several telling secrets to their horse, when they don't always like talking to people.
All of our horses have been donated, either by people that cannot afford their care any longer, or by people that couldn't sell them for what they thought they were worth, and took the tax donation. The majority of our horses came to their forever home because they could no longer do the sport they were trained to do, and now are in the "retirement" years of their lives, with light trail riding and lots of grooming. J
Since we are a non-profit organization, the boys and I have to raise money for extras (tack and accessories) for our program with fundraisers. Feed, vetcare, and farrier services are all paid for by the Organization. We are in the process of building a new riding arena, and have several events planned for the rest of the year to benefit our Therapy program. I see this as a benefit, it teaches the Boys to respect and take care of what they have. It also teaches them pride, which a lot have not been shown prior to becoming residents.