Community | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Madison Youth Ranch Holds Ground Breaking Ceremony [SLIDE SHOW]

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

[LIVE] Tallahassee, FL - September 18, 2012

Hundreds of Abused, Neglected and Troubled Children in North Florida May Soon Have a New Place to Call Home

Abused and neglected children of North Florida may have found a new hope in the Madison Youth Ranch.

Although there has not been much construction yet, just a house and a few cabins, soon, there will be an elaborate getaway for children in need.

Breaking ground means breaking the mold on helping troubled kids in North Florida. The Madison Youth Ranch will provide shelter and activities for children in need.

Merrilu Bennett, FL United Methodist Children's Home: "Hundreds of children are neglected and abused everyday. And there just aren't enough facilities out there for these kids to go to feel safe."

The ranch will sit on a 300 acre plot of land in Pinetta where kids will have a variety of services at hand - everything from therapy to horse back riding.

Merrilu Bennett, FL United Methodist Children's Home: "They actually live in a home with other children like you would with a sibling. Then they have house parents. And these parents are actually with them 24 hours a day. Seven days a week."

Plans for the campus started in 2010, and through donations of land and money, from people like Madison native Bunny Maultsey, the dream is now coming true.

Bunny Maultsey, Donor: "We just feel like this is a way we can give back. And what a better way than to have a part in transforming the life of a child."

Merrilu Bennett, FL United Methodist Children's Home: "We're really the only normal life that they've ever seen. And believe it or not, to some of these kids that's very unfamiliar for them. Because they don't know what a normal childhood is supposed to be like."

Of course today was just the ground breaking; the ranch is set to officially open sometime next year.

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Tallahassee, FL - September 18, 2012

Hundreds of abused, neglected and troubled children in north Florida may soon have a new place to call home.

Today marked the ground breaking of the new Madison Youth Ranch. Hundreds of umbrella-wielding folks came out today, all so excited for what this ranch is going to do for kids in need in North Florida.

The vision for the new campus began in 2010 when a handful of area residents wanted to build a home for troubled youth. Pledges were made including donations of land financial gifts, but it was a donation from Shirley Barksdale that made it all possible. The Madison Youth Ranch will include residential and therapeutic care as well as plans for an Equine Assisted Therapy.

Folks all have a lot of high hopes for what this ranch is going to do for area kids.


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