Judge Charles M. McGee
“Thirty years ago I invested money to acquire a small interest in a ranch in the middle of Nevada. That experience has allowed me to confirm something that I suspected as being true: a ranch is a therapeutic place for young people. In point of fact, I have never seen a child who grew up on a ranch manifest the turmoil, anxiety, resentment, and anger that seems almost typical of the urban delinquent. Through the years, I have had ranch friends take in troubled kids, and in each case without exception, the experience has been wholesome and therapeutic. These are some of the reasons why I endorse the efforts of the board of directors of the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch to create a place in Washoe County where kids can go, where the stressors are few, and where simple daily moral and spiritual activities occupy their lives. At such a facility, they achieve the knowledge that it is only by the force of their own efforts and goodwill that they can succeed in any environment. For these reasons, I wholeheartedly endorse this concept. In fact, I have told Marvin Neal if he can get the doors, barns, and stables open for young people, I can fill them with troubled young people in probably about a week’s time.”
Respectfully submitted, September 30, 2003, from Second Judicial District Court, State of Nevada
Connie Rae Clendenan – CEO, Valley Teen Ranch
559.437.1144 office | 559.977.3879 cell
2610 W. Shaw Ln., Ste 105
Fresno, CA 93711-2775
“I believe in SNTR. I have been and will continue to support them as they GROW forward to finalization and getting their first home open. They are using Ray of Hope, a Valley Teen Ranch Organization as a pattern to follow. We have had a 30-year history and are a replicate of Michigan Teen Ranch that was started in 1964 by my father. There is ALWAYS HOPE!!!! One caring adult can change the life of a child/youth. SNTR is full of CARING ADULTS! Your investment in their program will pay lifelong dividends in the lives of countless vulnerable young people.”
Nathan DuPree – Executive Director
“It is my honor to endorse one of the most strategic and needed programs to the Reno/Sparks region to ever work with youth, the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch. The Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch has great vision and tenacity in attacking many of the problems our youth are facing today. We have raised record dollars since starting this mission for our community. Right now, we are on the verge of getting our first house built. It is my belief that we have a great community that understands our needs and they will be excited to be a part of this great endeavor. SNTR will be a change agent based on the vision and mission of the program. Our partnerships in our community will be strategic, looking to provide excellent services for our youth.
As a board member, I am happy to recommend the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch as a viable youth program and I believe we will make an excellent alternative for youth and lasting change here in the Reno-Sparks region.”
Nathan DuPree, Executive Director, 360 Blueprint
2225 Green Vista Dr Suite 306, Sparks, NV 89431
Scott Parker – Lead Pastor
Sparks Christian Fellowship
“My name is Scott Parker and I am the Lead Pastor at Sparks Christian Fellowship. I am writing today in support of Marvin and Jan Neal and Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch. Marvin Neal was employed at our church for eight years as our Facility Manager. He and his wife, Jan, have attended the church since its inception in 1990. They have been deeply involved in ministering to the needs of troubled teens in our area for many years. Through his many volunteer hours each week as Chaplain at the Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center for the last 10 years, Marvin has demonstrated in a tangible way his passion for teenagers at risk. He has invested his own time and resources for the last 5 years to share his dream of creating a much-needed facility in this area for these teens. Marvin left his employment here at SCF to pursue this dream.
The Neal’s are people of integrity, passion, and vision. Their desire to create a place such as the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch is fueled by these qualities and the knowledge that such a place would serve our community well.”
Pastor Scott Parker, Sparks Christian Fellowship
510 Greenbrae Dr, Sparks, NV 89431
Katherine Kennington ‐ Licensed Clinical Social Worker
“It is a privilege to support the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch project. Once the Ranch is up and running, I strongly believe it will provide a significant and valuable resource to our community. I am especially excited to see the comprehensive and unique approach of the proposed program and services. The Founders, Marv and Jan Neal, are really on the right track to place this outreach in a structured home‐like setting, amidst the rural surroundings of beautiful Nevada outdoors. It will truly offer a special opportunity for healing and restoration to teens and families who become involved.
My work in the area of social services offers a realistic picture of families who face serious challenges in parenting their teens. Our community is always in need of programs that embrace good values to offer teens and families a second chance. I love the message of SNTR, “Rescue, Redeem and Restore Young Lives”. I am eager to begin referring families with troubled teens to this program. It is my hope that many others will join this effort to support the Neals in their mission to serve teens and their families. There’s really no better thing than to be a part of a changed life.”
Katherine Kennington, Licensed Social Worker
Michael J. Pomi – Director, Washoe County Juvenile Services
“I am writing in the capacity of Director of Washoe County Juvenile Services in support of Marvin Neal in his pursuit of developing group care for youth who are in need of out-of-home placement. Marvin has been the Pastor of the youth groups at Wittenberg Hall for Washoe County Juvenile Services and has demonstrated a passion and connection to the youth he serves while they are in Detention. Marvin’s goal is to carry this pursuit into a Youth Ranch environment where kids can, with Christian guidance, deal with issues at home and be reunited with their families or emancipated.
Washoe County Juvenile Services currently has taken on the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative which has a core value that looks to the elimination of long-term secure detention and collaboration with community service members in providing care for the youth that we serve. Marvin Neal and his Youth Ranch concept are in line with our initiative to decrease secure detention and to increase collaboration with community providers. His Youth Camp could serve youth who currently cannot go home due to family difficulties and their involvement with the Juvenile Justice System. Marvin has a core set of research practices for youth to go through to be able to reunite with their family or become emancipated and live on their own.
I support Marvin Neal and the concept of a Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch and look forward to a strong working relationship in future endeavors with Marvin. Should the reader of this letter have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (775) 325-7818.”
July 5, 2006
Carey Stewart – Director, Washoe County Juvenile Services
“As the Director of Washoe County Juvenile Services, I am in support of Marvin Neal and his pursuit of developing a residential, ranch-style program for youth who are in need of an alternative placement. During the past five years, Juvenile Services has been involved in a nation-wide initiative called the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. A key concept to this initiative is the elimination of the unnecessary use of detention. This is accomplished by developing and implementing appropriate community-based programming and resources.
The Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch is one such alternative that will provide the necessary support, structure, and guidance for youth in the Washoe County area that are at risk of falling through the cracks and becoming deeper involved in the Criminal Justice system.
Marvin’s involvement with Juvenile Services over the years has been unparalleled. As the pastor for Wittenberg Hall, his dedication and commitment to the youth who are detained are reflected in the church services he coordinates and provides on a weekly basis. I applaud and support the efforts of Marvin and his fellow members of the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch in their efforts to bring this type of program to our community. Programs such as these are valuable because of the gap in services that they will fill for the most needy of our youth.”
Carey Stewart, Director – Washoe County Department of Juvenile Services
May 3, 2010
Mary Ann Wooley ‐ Washoe County Juvenile Services
“Marvin Neal has served in the Youth Ministry at Wittenberg Hall for the past 12 years [currently 20 years]. He has served as Coordinator of that Ministry for the past 8 years [currently 16 years]. Under Marvin’s leadership, the program has expanded from Sunday services to also include a Wednesday evening Bible Study group. Although program participation is completely voluntary, attendance in both these programs is usually quite high. I have found Marvin dedicated to this ministry, to have deep faith that he can help the youth with whom he deals, and to be truly interested in the welfare of these children.”
Mary Ann Wooley, Division Director (former), Wittenberg Hall, Washoe County Department of Juvenile Services
January 9, 2002.
Marvin Neal has been appointed as the volunteer chaplain for the Wittenberg Hall Juvenile Detention facility. Mr. Neal has been providing non‐denominational church services and bible study classes to detained youth for a number of years as part of a community fellowship outreach program. His efforts are greatly appreciated.
April 16, 2003
Leonard L. Pugh ‐ Washoe County Juvenile Services
“I have been employed in the juvenile justice system in Washoe County for over 26 years and, for the past five years, I have served as the Director of the Department of Juvenile Services. Unfortunately, during the course of my career, a shortage of alternative placements for youths has been a chronic problem challenging both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The shortage has resulted in youth being placed on unreasonable waiting lists allowing their problems to escalate requiring more intense, expensive interventions, or youth remaining detained in juvenile hall or in a shelter much longer than needed until a placement became available.
During the past decade, the youth population in the county has increased dramatically but very few alternative placements were developed to keep pace and as a matter of fact, some placements that were available have been lost. As a consequence, public institutions have become overcrowded and overburdened and while new facilities have been built and others enlarged, public facilities will never meet the actual demand nor should they. As is the case in most communities, there is a dire need for alternative placements that are privately operated.
The Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch is a non-profit organization whose members have been involved with the youth of this community for several years through other groups or organizations. They have come together because they recognized the gap in services that exist and have decided to develop a residential, ranch-style program that will assist in meeting this need. They have made remarkable progress in a short period of time that speaks to both their dedicated commitment to our youth and their ability to successfully undertake such an endeavor.
I support the members of the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch and their efforts to bring this type of program to our community and I encourage you to strongly consider their request for financial assistance. It is alternative programs such as this that are going to assist our community in rehabilitating young people who will eventually become successful, contributing members of our community instead of a burden.”
Leonard L. Pugh. Director of Washoe County Juvenile Services (former)
September 30, 2003
Juanita Chapman – MA MFT, LADC
“I am a long-time resident of Washoe County, and I am writing to express my full support for the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch.
I have raised four children in this community and know from the perspective of a mother that services such as those that will be offered by the Ranch would greatly benefit the youth in Washoe County. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Alcohol/Drug counselor, I have seen this issue from another perspective, working with troubled kids in a therapy setting. I have firsthand experience with administrators, probation officers, and parents who have asked in desperation for a place where they could send teens who are in dire need of the types of services that Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch will offer, and have had to tell them that are no places available in this region.
I understand that some in our community have voiced concern over having this Ranch in Reno but I am wondering if not here, then where? Kids in our community have no other place to go except a juvenile detention facility when they are having difficulties in school, their families, and their lives in general. Our kids are being shipped outside of this community to receive the services that the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch can provide right here at home!
Another reason I support the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch is that it is well known in the therapeutic community that one of the key elements necessary for kids to be successful in treatment is the involvement of their families in that treatment. With the Sierra Teen Ranch being located in our vicinity, families would not have to travel great distances and incur extra expenses to participate in treatment with their teens.
I urge you to put your support behind Mr. Neal and the Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch. When our kids are able to obtain the services they need to be successful the whole community will benefit. Healthy kids = a healthy community.”
Juanita Chapman – MA MFT, LADC
65 Regency Way, Suite C, Reno, NV 89502
May 10, 2010
David Dahl – Real Estate Developer, Sparks Marina Area
“When serving a community as an inner-city real estate developer, I have seen that boys and young men in trouble with the law have very few advocates to help get their lives turned around. Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch will be a beacon in the wilderness. I know of no other program that offers both a location away from negative social influences, and enough time to repair and restore the humanity and dignity of these young men.”
David D. Dahl, Sierra Nevada Teen Ranch Board of Directors
Chairman Development Committee
PO Box 14945, Reno NV 89507