Starting a nonprofit and seeing a dream become reality has been one of the most challenging and rewarding moments of my life. The energy and effort required to make it all come together was far more than I expected, but the results I can already see from connecting One Child with One Horse and One Mentor make it all worthwhile.
Last year, Bright Side held its first ever major fundraising event called Bet on Bright Side. It’s a fun filled evening themed around the Kentucky Derby, and over 100 people came to it. We stood before our guests and volunteers and shared with them the mission and vision for the ranch. At that time, there was land and some fences were started, but we didn’t have the horses and we had not started programs yet. We talked about what was possible, and through the generosity and support of so many across several states, and through countless volunteers, Bright Side Youth Ranch was able to launch.
This year, on May 7th, we held Bet on Bright Side again. And, this time, 125 guests were present along with over 20 volunteers. It was a wonderful evening, and we loved connecting with everyone. We shared that Bright Side has started and is moving forward, and that we long to see more growth and more opportunities for kids and teens to connect with a horse and mentor. And, one of the ways we can help the session program grow is to put in a riding arena. It was (and is) a big ask. I’m so excited to say, the guests of Bet on Bright Side gave generously once again to see that happen. We are almost fully funded for the arena (just the fencing left to work out), and will be able to have the grading and footing done very soon.
It has been truly amazing to see how God has worked through the hearts and lives of so many people to make inspiring the next generation toward Hope possible. While the dream was rooted in our hearts and entrusted to us to launch, it is not about Devin and Tia. At least, we want it to be so much more than that. We know that this vision is sourced in the Giver of dreams, and He is the one who will see it to completion. We work hard on our end to be faithful stewards, but we have learned to trust Him fully to provide the people and resources to bring it together. And, so many times, He gives us exactly what we need at the time we need it. There are moments when I wish we had a major grant or an endowment to buffer all the budget needs. Or, that all the pieces of the master building plan for the property could happen all at once. But, if all that were so, I wouldn’t be learning to lean on and trust God for absolutely everything.
Are we often stretched to the max as we try to balance marriage, family, church, jobs, and a startup nonprofit? You bet. And, there are times where we fail in one area or another in the juggling act. However, I am more confident of God’s character and provision than ever before. The truths I’ve discovered about the faithfulness of the Lord in the ups and downs, the mountains and the valleys, and the bright and dark seasons of life are often the truths I get to share with kids and teens that come onto the ranch for sessions. As I grow in my understanding and trust, I see opportunities to help others do the same. And isn’t that just like God to give us something that appears to be for someone else but we learn it’s for us as well?
That’s why it is such an honor to stand before others to share that Bright Side exists to inspire the next generation and offer the opportunity for them to join in the cause and leave a legacy. Taking steps forward in prayer, serving, learning, and giving helps us to grow, and we want everyone who has given their time, talents, and treasures to be able to experience that.
Thank you for walking with Bright Side. It is no small courtesy you give. It is leaving an impact on the kids and teens already, and we look forward to seeing all that God has in store as we continue to work together to inspire the next generation toward Hope.
To see pictures from the event (courtesy of Langhoff Creative who did an amazing job), please click here.
To see the video we shared at the event (put together by a dear friend), please see below.