(775) 475-9255 marvinn@sntr.org

Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch has until November 11, 2003, to raise the first $120,000 it will need to purchase an 80-acre ranch in Palomino Valley upon which to build its residential teen program. With a present bank account of about $80,000, an immediate goal of $40,000 has been set. An additional $120,000 will be due six months later.

$10,000 Matching Grant
One beneficiary has offered a $10,000 matching grant, which will be paid if SNTR can raise $10,000 by November 11, 2003. This matching grant will maximize the benefit of donations made now.

Additionally, SNTR has received a 2-door 1976 Pontiac Firebird as a donation to help raise funds for the land purchase. This car is orange with black racing stripes and has a rebuilt engine with fewer than 10k miles on it, plus nearly new tires. It is selling for $3,000 or the best offer.

Music artist, Elise Weatherly, who recently cut her first Christian CD “Consider”, has offered to donate all sale proceeds to the land purchase. The CD, which includes favorites such as “All is Well”, “To Live Is Christ”, “He Changes Not”, and “Consider”, is $20 and may be ordered by calling 775.789.2625 or by sending a check to Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch, P.O. Box 14945, Reno, NV 89512.

Fundraising Effort Recap
To date, a number of fundraisers have added to project coffers. They include:

  • June 21, 2002, SNTR hosted an event with keynote speaker Judge Charles McGee at Reno Christian Fellowship that drew about 80 people and raised approximately $30,000.
  • August 2002, during Hot August Nights, SNTR raffled a classic car, 1967 Chevrolet El Camino, which netted approximately $10,000. The car was donated by Chris and Lorri Saxon.
  • Feb. 21, 2003, SNTR held it’s first community-wide fundraiser dinner at the Atlantis Casino that featured football great, Napoleon Kaufmann, as the keynote speaker. The event allowed SNTR to “Cast the Vision” for the teen ranch and drew 400-plus guests. Connie Clendenan from Valley Teen Ranch in Fresno, Calif. gave a spirited presentation. SNTR netted $10,000 from this event.

Vision for Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch takes hold in No. Nevada
For the past 15 years, Marvin Neal, the volunteer chaplain at Washoe County’s Wittenberg Juvenile Detention Center, has experienced the heartbreak of watching troubled boys and girls who are caught up in a hopeless and destructive cycle that finds them returning to the correctional facility more often than not.

During Sunday church services and Wednesday Bible studies, Neal and his team of some 30 volunteers bring God’s word and His love to these youths. Sunday services generally draw more than half of the youths in the facility at any given time. Wednesday studies draw a smaller number (usually 4 to 20) who have earned the privilege of attending based on their behavior at the detention facility.

“We get a chance to see their hearts. We see that they want to change,” Neal says. “They open themselves to the Lord.”

But after they leave Wittenberg, they return to the same troubled lives that they left. Many come from broken homes, poverty, and exposure to drugs, alcohol, and abuse. Some just choose to rebel.

“These kids leave Wittenberg, and then we see them back again,” says Neal. “They come back to church. Share their stories. We see the plight of these children and the need to do more to break the cycle that entangles them.”

Out of that observation grew Neal’s vision for Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch. “Seven or eight years ago, the Lord gave me the desire to build a ranch,” Neal says. “A safe place where those kids could come to. A place where we could focus on their spiritual growth and provide them with services like counseling, education, vocational learning, and recreation. The glue for the vision is the love of the Lord. However, our spiritual programs are strictly voluntary.”

Embracing the vision of a teen ranch
As Neal began sharing the vision with others – both inside and outside Juvenile Outreach Ministries, he found support for the idea. And more than that, he found people who were willing to help fund the ranch.

A local business owner provided the seed money to begin SNTR about 18 months ago. From that gift of faith has grown presentations of the vision, the formation of the SNTR board of directors, approval of non-profit 501c(3) tax status, fund-raising efforts, and most recently, acceptance of an offer on 80 acres of land in Palomino Valley where the ranch would be built.

“We have $80,000 of the $120,000 the owners requested as a down payment,” Neal says. “The owner will finance the balance, another $120,000, and allow SNTR to take possession of the land and make payments until the balance is paid in full.”

Matching grant to raise $20,000 by November 11
To reach its goal of $40,000 to secure the property, SNTR has been promised $10,000 if it can raise $10,000 by November 11, 2003. “We really need to take advantage of this matching fund since it will double every dollar we receive and help us reach our land purchase goal,” says Neal.

Fund-raising efforts are underway with Neal meeting with individuals throughout Northern Nevada to share the vision of the ranch. At a September 25 reception, Neal said he found people were “interested and wanting to do more.” Other receptions are planned which will culminate in a big fund-raising barbeque on November 1 at the Palomino Valley Property. Neal says, “We feel we are in alignment with what the Lord is doing.”