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Working in law enforcement for 21 years, I watched and listened to the histories of the habitual offenders in our county's system. They all seem to have one thing in common. In their childhood, they have experienced trauma. I have seen firsthand how the traumatic events in their lives have led them to life as a victim, a criminal, or even suicide. My training taught me the physiological impact childhood traumas have on a child's brain and ability to make healthy choices. Early intervention with traumatized children is crucial, and preventative care can drastically influence their ability to overcome. But more than that, my experience has taught me the impact childhood traumas have on their hearts. Dr. Gary Chapman has written a series of remarkable books called The 5 Love Languages. He explains how we all inherit a love language as crucial as a spoken language. The principles of the five love languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Trust and respect is the foundational piece to what Dr. Chapman teaches. When a child's love foundation is developed in an atmosphere of dysfunction and fear, their idea of love is the opposite. The "love" they experienced comes through words of rejection or disapproval, unhealthy physical touch, abandonment, servitude, and oppression. These negative representations contribute to why it is so difficult for a person to change their life direction and accept a healthy love from anyone, especially themselves. Love with a foundation of respect and trust is not a concept they readily understand. I have spent countless hours learning and discussing with social workers, therapists, teachers, and other professionals ways to help these children. All this has led me to a mission to develop Community Hearts Ranch. Community Hearts Ranch needs to secure a piece of property to create a hands-on, outdoor, alternative learning private schooling. This minimum of one year, maximum of three years, program will give us the ability to build trust, develop respect and help the hurting youth of our community understand the benefit of and learn a new "love language." All while interrupting their negative thought patterns that come with trauma, helping to heal their brain and emotions. In this naturally therapeutic ranch and farm-like learning atmosphere, we can support our most vulnerable youth by collaborating with local organizations. Community Hearts Ranch will empower youth to develop character, social awareness, and leadership qualities using a combination of animal interactions, research-based programming, and a homeschool curriculum. We equip our youth to lead healthy and fulfilling lives, find their purpose, and strive to be successful members of their community. The programs take place in a Christ-centered atmosphere with the finest American traditions. If you would like to learn how to be a part of helping hurting hearts heal at Community Hearts Ranch through direct donations or volunteering, don't hesitate to get in touch with me: Bonnie Bee (President / Founder), 239-253-7744

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