Webster’s dictionary defines home as “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family unit or household.”
Melissa Rivera disagrees: “A home is so much more than that!” She believes that a home is “a place where you learn, grow, change, and become the person you’re meant to be … it’s the place that makes you … YOU.”
And for Melissa, home is Happy Hill Farm.
She came to Happy Hill Farm from a very unstable home life. Melissa’s parents abandoned her to the care of relatives, where she experienced all kinds of heartbreaking abuse. Eventually, she ended up in the foster care system, where she met the family that would eventually become her resident parents at Happy Hill Farm.
Melissa shares, “When I first got to the Farm, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be here very long. I was so angry. I hated authority of any kind. And I didn’t want anyone to know my real story.”
We surrounded Melissa with a family environment. With loving discipline. With kindness, honesty, and stability.
Soon, she began to open up … her heart began to soften and her life began to change. She remembers, “I came in with a closed mind-set. But as the seasons began to change, so did I. It was hard, but I eventually joined athletic teams, the yearbook club, and a mentoring program. And I’ll never forget the kindness of my resident parents, teachers, and especially Mr. Shipman. It’s one thing to say someone made a difference in your life … but it’s another thing to be able to show it.”
Less than a month ago, Melissa graduated from the University of Texas with honors. She has accepted a financial advisor position with a large brokerage firm in Dallas … and she’s well on her way to a successful life. She says, “Against all odds, I made it. And I won’t waste a second of the opportunity I’ve received.”
But no matter where Melissa goes, Happy Hill Farm will always be home. She continues, “I lived in the Agape dormitory on the grounds. Agape means unconditional love. Sacrificial, selfless love. I know what it is to have nothing. For me, that love has been everything.”
Because of gracious donations from friends like you—who continue to support the work of Happy Hill Farm—children and young people like Melissa have the opportunity to overcome incredible obstacles and realize their God-given talents.
As we move into 2017, this is your opportunity to give the next generation of children and teens the education … the friendship … the loving family they need to build a brand-new life. Will you give generously to Happy Hill Farm today? There’s no better way to change a life forever!