Miracle on Chestnut Mountain

For children in crisis, there is hope in a place called Eagle Ranch.
Tucked away in a corner of Chestnut Mountain, Georgia, are 270 acres of beautiful woods and pasture where a miracle was born in 1985. A miracle that is changing hearts and bringing families together again. A miracle that is spreading across the United States and overseas. A miracle that surely comes from no other place than above.


Humble Beginnings

“Even youths gro w tired and weary and young men stu mble and fall B those who tru st in the L ut ord for hel p will find their strength rene wed T will soar with win gs as eagles.” hey I saiah 40:30-31

“I came from a very stable home. I came to realize it was only through the grace of God that I had what I had. That was the impetus for me to leave Alabama in 1982 and come to Georgia to start a home for children who needed a second chance in life.” Eddie Staub
Founder and Executive Director Eagle Ranch

Originally envisioned as a boys’ home, Eagle Ranch was founded back in 1985 to quite a bit of fanfare. Founder Eddie Staub captured the hearts and imagination of an entire North Georgia community after moving there from Alabama with little money, experience, or local ties to the area—only a vision and the strong belief that he had been called to a life of helping children.

What it Means for Today’s Children
Based in a quiet community just outside of Atlanta, Eagle Ranch provides a Christian-based home, school and counseling center where boys and girls come to live for a season of their life. The Ranch serves children in an 80-mile radius of its Chestnut Mountain campus, keeping them geographically centered in their community. Children come to Eagle Ranch when circumstances make living at home difficult or impossible. Sometimes this is due to changes in family structure or custody, poor school performance, behavioral issues, judicial requirements or other factors that affect the child and his or her family. The Ranch provides a fresh perspective and the tools needed to forge a new beginning. Ten homes accommodate nearly 70 boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 18. No more than seven children live in a home. Each home is overseen by a loving houseparent couple, trained to teach life skills and model a healthy family atmosphere. It is the largest children’s home in Georgia with a year-round, residential program focused on the child ultimately returning home.

The first Eagle Ranch entrance sign (above). Eagle Ranch’s first office (left).

there is ho pe in a place called Eagle R anch T will soar with win ga as eagles. hey

Eagle R anch
Here boys and girls are given a stable, consistent environment that addresses each aspect of their life— spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and physical.

The girls and boys spend the majority of their time at the Ranch learning new life skills. Homelife at the Ranch teaches structure, responsibility for chores, and how to get along with others. Houseparents and staff follow a “choice-and-consequence” model of discipline. Establishing specific consequences for choices and decisions, good and bad, is key in helping to reverse patterns of inappropriate behavior.

A new setting and fresh perspective can help a child in crisis find a path that leads to healing. Care is integrated daily among Eagle Ranch’s houseparents, counselors and teachers with the ultimate goal of healing the child and helping him or her return to a restored family focused on long-term success.

Children who come to Eagle Ranch are often up to two academic grade levels behind. This unfortunate truth led the Ranch to establish an on-campus school. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Eagle Ranch School offers a fresh start for children in grades 6-9 who have struggled academically and socially. A ratio of one teacher and one paraprofessional for a maximum of 12 students allows each child to be met at their point of academic need. Eagle Ranch also maintains a close partnership with the neighboring Hall County school system, working with an excellent elementary and high school team of teachers and counselors to support students from Eagle Ranch with their academic performance and behavioral skills.

The Ranch’s licensed professional counselors provide individual, family and group counseling. The counselors are involved in every facet of the Eagle Ranch program, working with the houseparents and school staff to provide each child with continual assessment and counseling. They also fully involve the child’s family as an integral part of the overall program.

Eagle Ranch also offers opportunities in
equine therapy, team building, intramural sports and after care counseling.

Eagle R offers a fresh start anch

R elevant and Relevant

The challenges facing children and families are constantly changing.

Eagle Ranch has adapted its program to anticipate and meet each new need.

Effective Effective
Eagle Ranch Girls’ Program Many boys who came to Eagle Ranch had sisters who also needed help. Additionally, Georgia’s population of at-risk girls continued to grow. The Ranch opened its first girls’ homes, Glory and Praise, in 2001 and today has four homes serving up to 24 girls.


Evaluation and Measurement
To ensure effectiveness and identify additional program opportunities, Eagle Ranch has established multiple points for evaluation and measurement. Children are assessed academically and behaviorally throughout their time at the Ranch using nationally recognized standards. Once a child returns home, additional evaluations are conducted


to determine the long-term success of the Eagle Ranch program. The result of these efforts is a program that remains relevant while preserving timeless standards of excellence.

The Faith Home The first boy arrived at Eagle Ranch on April 13th, 1985, walking through the doors of the Ranch’s initial home, the Faith Home.

1987: The Love Home

1995: The W.E. Reeve &
T.L. Foley Athletic Center

Eagle Ranch School The Eagle Ranch School was founded in 2001, with the permanent school building opening in 2006. Its creation grew from the need to serve Ranch children who were struggling academically and socially. Today, the SACS-accredited school serves up to 55 children in grades six through nine.

1988: The Peace Home 1990 1986: The Hope Home 1993: The Chapel in the Woods 1996: The Tom Wilheit
Administration and Counseling Center

1980 1982: Eddie Staub
moves to Georgia

2000 1997: The Wings Initiative;
The Grace Home; The Joy Home

2010 2009: The Wink Wynne Lodge;
The Blessing Home; The Mercy Home

1983: Contract for Eagle
Ranch land signed

1984: The John W. Jacobs
Administration and Counseling Center

settin g a timeless standards of excellence

Eagle Ranch remains relevant while preserving timeless standards of excellence.

AF oundation of F aith
Faith has always been at the heart of Eagle Ranch. Early into his uphill effort to start the Ranch, Eddie Staub found inspiration from a message hanging on the office wall of an Atlanta minister. “Attempt something so great for God, that it’s doomed to failure unless God be in it.” sustaining Eagle Ranch.

Seeds are Sown


He wrote the quote down on a scrap of paper and carried it with him through his trials in starting the Ranch. Today, that scrap of paper hangs in the Ranch’s administration building as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and provision in starting and

for Better Lives
“Since I’ve been at Eagle Ranch, my grades have gone up to all A’s, and home has gotten a lot better. We’re all trying to learn and keep going with what we’ve been taught so we can make a better family. I’ve learned how to be more social with other people, how to get along with my brother, and how to respect older people — mainly my parents.”

Halli, Eagle Ranch Graduate

“I look at people when they talk to me now. I have learned positive ways to handle my stress and have tried new things I never thought I would have done. I can go to high school and lift up my head high and show them I’ve changed. I’ve learned to be who I am — the real me.”

Ben, Eagle Ranch Graduate

Gulnaz, Eagle Ranch Graduate

“I was hurting a lot. I was upset with my family, upset about my past. My relationship with God was not good. I get along with my parents now, I trust a lot more and communicate better with everyone. I’ve learned to trust God, to rely on Him and His plan.”

Luciano, Eagle Ranch Graduate

“I am thankful for the opportunity to go to Eagle Ranch and have the God-given opportunity to restart, work with others and talk with a counselor who is willing to help. Eagle Ranch has helped me so much; it has helped me improve my grades and my relationship with my family.”

Seeking a Heart Change for Life
All three elements of homelife, counseling and education work in concert to promote a “change in heart” for a lifetime as opposed to a behavioral change that temporarily conforms to a program’s requirements. This heart change has generational impact. Many Eagle Ranch graduates claim to use the principles they learned at Eagle Ranch to raise their own children, forging a new beginning for their family.

whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,

as workin g for the Lord

Commitment to Financial Integrity
Debt-free Philosophy
Eagle Ranch has remained debt-free since its inception. No loans or financing have ever been used to acquire land or pay for construction, and no money ever goes toward paying interest on debt.

“W want to avoid any criticism of the way e we administer this liberal gift. F we are or takin g pain s to do what is right, not onl y in the eyes of the Lord but al so in the eyes of men.”
Children are Our Priority

Eagle Ranch has remained



2 Corinthians 8:20-21:

Each year nearly 80 percent of gifts go directly to the care of children and programs benefiting their overall development. This far exceeds the 65 percent standard set under national ethics guidelines for U.S. charities.

Financial Accountability
Each year, the budget process is started from scratch, with all expenses reviewed before the annual budget is approved. Eagle Ranch is accredited through the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), which provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations.
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Civic Groups
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Independent Oversight
In addition to the oversight of the ECFA, Eagle Ranch’s financial records are audited annually by an independent accounting firm, and the Finance Committee of the Eagle Ranch Board of Directors provides ongoing financial oversight.


Wide Acclaim for Eagle Ranch

Eagle Ranch is 100% privately funded.
More than half of Eagle Ranch’s funding comes from individuals. Additional sources of funding include foundations, businesses, endowment, civic groups and churches.

“I have found Eagle Ranch to be one of the most unique and progressive havens for children, not only in this state but also throughout the country. They are clearly on the cutting edge of best practices for children.” Normer Adams
Executive Director, Georgia Association of Homes & Services for Children

“Many organizations spend much effort making children behave, but Eagle Ranch concentrates on the heart change that can carry a child beyond the rules and structure of Eagle Ranch and into their homes and communities.” Earl N. Stuck
National Childcare Consultant Former Executive, Child Welfare League of America

Eagle Ranch “is the gold standard. It’s a model . . . that actually works.” Michael Thurmond
Former head of Georgia Division of Family & Children Services

The Eagle Ranch Foundation
The Eagle Ranch Foundation was established in 1994 to assist in providing operational support for the Eagle Ranch mission. Gifts to this foundation become part of an endowment to provide for the ongoing care of Ranch children. For more information on the Eagle Ranch Foundation, contact Eddie Staub or Jan Ros at 770.967.8500.

the ongoin g care of R children anch

“Only 14% of charities we rate have received at least two consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Eagle Ranch outperforms most other charities in America.” Charity Navigator, Independent Charity Evaluator

Casting the Vision
Partnership • Eagle Ranch has developed strategic partnerships with
organizations interested in developing children’s homes that will serve as a model within their region and country. “ What stood out to us about Eagle Ranch is its commitment to renewing family. We’re looking for God to transform not just a child’s life, but to renew the institutions of family and community.”
Mercy Ministry Director, Mission to the World Presbyterian Church in America

“ We are working with Eagle Ranch to help secure land and establish a leadership team for the development of a children’s village that will serve as a model throughout Jamaica.”
Founder and Executive Director, American Caribbean Experience St. Mary, Jamaica

Sam Haupt

Marla Day-Fitzwater

Eddie Staub with Mission to the World Haiti team.



Guidance • New and existing children’s homes have access to Ranch leadership for
guidance and mentoring on all aspects of serving children and creating a successful organization. “ Wings has equipped us to not only understand the impact a successful children’s home can have on community, but the best business practices, which must be implemented to ensure that success.”
Executive Director, Heritage Ranch Baton Rouge, Louisiana


The Wings Initiative has
provided assistance to more than

individuals and organizations, across the country


Creating Points

“It was the time spent in the early years with the mentorship of the Eagle Ranch staff that has helped us weather storms and achieve the success we are experiencing today.”
Founder, Chestnut Mountain Ranch Morgantown, West Virginia

and internationally,
who desire to start their own home for children.

Founded in 1997, the Wings Initiative provides information,


Vicki Ellis

Steve Finn

Resources • Individuals and organizations interested in serving children can

coaching and assistance to existing children’s programs and to people who are looking to start a children’s home. In addition to sharing its own blueprint for success, Eagle Ranch offers expertise in each facet of its program, including homelife, education and counseling. The Ranch also provides advice on business planning, communications, fundraising and other aspects of operating a successful charity.

find information on the Eagle Ranch website, including a free “Guide to Starting a Children’s Home.” Additionally, the Ranch leadership works with organizations to help implement their plans and make them a reality. “ We surely would have given up by now without the instruction and support we have found through the Wings Initiative!”
Executive Director, Lifeline Youth Ranch Frostproof, Florida

“God used Wings to provide the guidance and direction our vision desperately needed to become a reality.”
Founder and Executive Director, Homes of Hope for Children, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Greg Rounds

Dr. Michael Garrett

a blueprint for success

Frequently Asked Questions
How many children live at Eagle Ranch? Eagle Ranch can accommodate up to 66 children (42 boys and 24 girls) between the ages of 8 and 18 in its 10 homes. On average, Eagle Ranch provides a home to more than 100 children annually. What kind of children come to the Ranch? The children of Eagle Ranch come from diverse backgrounds, but with one thing in common: circumstances in their lives are such that living at home is no longer the best option for them. A few causes may include: behavioral issues at home or in school; difficulty dealing with family changes such as divorce or death; meeting requirements of a juvenile court order. How long do children stay? Each boy and girl has a “season” at Eagle Ranch — a period of time that is necessary for preparing the child to return to a healthy family environment. This can vary from nine months to three years. What is different about this program? Eagle Ranch uses a family reunification model wherein we partner with the entire family to provide counseling and instruction. Children return to an improved, safe and healthy home environment that provides a better chance for longterm success once he or she leaves the program. Does Eagle Ranch have independent oversight? Eagle Ranch is governed by an independent Board of Directors. This is a working board, composed of business and community leaders, who help ensure the Ranch is a good steward of its many gifts. In addition, the Eagle Ranch Board of Advisors is a group of notable leaders from a variety of industries who work with the Ranch to provide advice, counsel and assistance as needed. How is Eagle Ranch funded? Eagle Ranch is privately funded. More than half of its donations come from individuals. Donors give in a variety of ways from our Honor and Memorial Program to leaving the Ranch as a beneficiary in their will. Eagle Ranch also has a list of specific needs available to those wishing to fund items or projects. Donations are accepted by mail, phone or online.

T Eagle R M he anch ission
Eagle Ranch provides a Christ-centered home for boys and girls in crisis and in need of hope and healing. Partnering with their families, we pursue family restoration and reunification. We seek to influence and equip others who share a similar calling to impact children, families and future generations.

Eagle Ranch is located on 270 acres of wooded land four miles off Interstate 85, in southern Hall County, Georgia, about 50 miles north of Atlanta.

Excerpt from

On Eagle’s Wings — The True Story of the Founding of Eagle Ranch
“Let me make sure I heard you right,” Coach Vince Dooley said, his arms still folded as he cocked his head slightly and studied Eddie Staub’s face. “ You want to start a boys’ ranch, but you don’t have any land yet?” “No sir.” “And you don’t have any money either?” “No sir.” “And you don’t have any friends?” “No sir . . . unless you’re interested.” Dooley chuckled. “It sounds like you have your work cut out for you . . . What exactly do you want from me?” “Be on my board of advisors. Make a few phone calls and open doors for me.” Dooley paused as to reflect. The seriousness had returned to his face Finally he extended his right hand. “It’s Eddie, right?” “Yes, sir.” They shook hands. “Eddie, anything you need, you just let me know.” Eddie smiled back sheepishly. He’d just made his first friend in Georgia.

Mailing Address: Eagle Ranch Post Office Box 7200 Chestnut Mountain, Georgia 30502

Street Address: Eagle Ranch 5500 Union Church Road Flowery Branch, Georgia 30542

Phone: 770.967.8500 Fax: 770.967.3757 E-mail: info@eagleranch.org EagleRanch.org

All photographs, content and design for this publication were produced at Eagle Ranch by staff members.

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