We all know about the huge number of men and women serving time in jail and prison. But have you ever thought about their children? According to Barna research, statistics show that seven out of ten of these children who have one or both parents incarcerated will themselves wind up in prison. These are very at risk children. Sadly, there are way too many of these at-risk children here in the Inland Empire.
Calicinto Ranch began in the 1880’s as a sheep ranch that continued into the 1970’s. The ranch was bought by Henry and Joanne Pirelli in the 1970’s as a place to raise their children. In the mid-1990’s to now, the ranch has been used as a place for at-risk children to come and be ministered too.
The camps are offered at no cost to the children or their families. So, how can the people of Christ help this very special life changing ministry? More on that in a moment. But first I would like to share a few thoughts from letters written by the children who attended the ranch and one parent whose child attended the ranch. There will be no names used, but the thoughts are right off the letters;
Letter from a dad… “I just wanted you to know that my son ______ letter brought me to tears to know that someone is teaching him about God. You don’t know how much this means because I have been a Christian since 2003…”
Letter from child at camp to their mom “Dear Mom…camp was fun and I miss you. I cry every night I take care of the baby and I prade [sic] for you because I love you because [sic] I love you and you think you are not a gret [sic] mom. But you are and god love you and you know it and I want you to believe in your self and I believe in YOU!”
Another letter from a child at camp “Dear mom thank you for giving me life. I want you to know that I gave my life to Jesus and I’m doing good for myself. I encourage you to keep this paper forever. I’ve taken a lot of time to sit down and write you this letter. You have put me and my sisters threw [sic] lots of situations that made me question if you really love us. No matter what I love you and forgive you just as god has forgiven me. Mom stay strong through lives [sic] complications and remember that god will always accept you back no matter what you have done. I love you your son”
Calicinto Ranchhas been affecting God changing times in the life of at-risk children for many years and God willing with the body of Christ’s help, will do so for many years to come. So how can you help? Donations of course, but also and this is very important, through volunteering to work at the ranch during the camp sessions. Staffing is very important and it would be a great way to be involved in a local mission effort for a person, couple or groups from churches.