Farm couple aims to change destiny - one troubled teen at a time

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

When youth are in crisis, John and Cathy Goud want to help.

The Flamborough couple is working to transform their family farm, Our Fathers' Farm, into an oasis of calm and healing for troubled youth. The goal is to provide the young adults with job skills training, a high school education and Christian ministry. The program, CanTeen Destiny, aims to set them on a successful path.

John points out that, all too often, youth are placed in programs but revert back to a destructive lifestyle once they leave because they don't have the skills they need to succeed. He remembers one troubled youth he hired as a hand; he had completed a program, and had been taught construction skills.

"But they never let him touch the tools," said John. "We built a fence together, and he was so excited about it."

He feels the rural environment can help break destructive cycles for these youth. "They need to be taken out of their environment, to learn a different way," he said.

John knows first-hand what a change a ministry program like CanTeen can bring to a troubled youth. He has his own dark past, filled with drugs and alcohol. Although he was raised in a religious home, he hadn't accepted religion. But one dark day, he picked up the Bible, and it changed his life.

"I broke down and wept," he said. "I'd had it in my head, but not in my heart. I know the difference it made in my life. If I can just plant those seeds, I can get these kids to start that search for themselves."

Opening the farm to troubled youth was a no-brainer for the Gouds; they have always felt a pull to assist kids, and they hire help for the farm anyway - often youths in need of work experience and diversion from a troubled life, who have been referred by friends and church acquaintances.

"I knew from the time we moved to this farm, that it was meant for kids," said Candy. "In our hearts, we feel we need to help kids. This is something we feel called to do."

"They change while they're here," added John. "It's so different from what they're used to. They don't have the peer pressure, so they can focus on their future."

The Gouds plan to start small. They've been in contact with local service agencies, like Teen Challenge, and will begin with day programs, where the young men will help with farm work. The first project will be the conversion of an out-building into a workshop and classroom, where the youth will learn skills and finish their high school diploma through a home school program. The Gouds have already enlisted the volunteer help of some local teachers to assist with lessons.

From there, they plan the construction of a small dormitory, to allow five young men to live and work on the farm full-time, with an eventual goal of expanding the program to 24 spaces.

Through their time there, John hopes to give the teens skills they can use to apply to a job.

"I have simple skills, and am willing to share what I know," he said. The pair is also on the lookout for others willing to share their skills, whether it's from a trade, or a profession.

And there's no shortage of projects for the youth.

"It's a farm. There's always lots to do," said John, who hopes to teach the kids woodworking skills then use sales from the products they make to fund the program. The eventual goal is self-sufficiency; the Gouds aren't eager for government funding, because it could force them to alter the program.

Organic farming will also be taught. It's a topic the couple is passionate about, and they have been raising a variety of organic fruits and vegetables. They envision the youth starting the plants from seeds and tending them until maturity.

They're also experimenting with the new trend of using diluted seawater for irrigation, to replenish the soils, and boost the nutritive value of the food. Our Father's Farm also sells a variety of organic products and naturopathic cancer-fighting products, with a percentage of sales being donated to CanTeen.

The program isn't a new dream; it's been simmering on the back burner for some time.

"But now, we've received so much support, and such good feedback. It's like everything is falling into place," said John.

The only challenge is acquiring funding to get the program off the ground. The Gouds are in search of talent to teach, as well as building supplies, such as wood and drywall. They also need an injection of cash to secure the location. The farm currently belongs to John's mother, so the couple is either looking to purchase it, or sell it to someone who shares their vision for the land and can help them run the program, which is already a team effort, with a dozen local residents on board.

"This isn't about us," said John. "It doesn't matter if we're running it. We just want to see it happen."

They feel this plot of land is meant for CanTeen Destiny. The farm already holds horses and runs riding schools. And it backs onto Christie Conservation Area, which features riding trails. The Gouds feel that the care and feeding of horses is an important component of the CanTeen program, by teaching anger management, respect and patience. The setting is a perfect fit.

The Gouds' goal is to raise $25,000 by April, as a down payment on the land.

"If it's God's will, it will happen," said Candy.

Anyone with skills to share, or funds or materials to donate, can call the Gouds at 905-628-8195 or e-mail info@ourfathersfarm.

Farm couple aims to change destiny - one troubled teen at a time

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

When youth are in crisis, John and Cathy Goud want to help.

The Flamborough couple is working to transform their family farm, Our Fathers' Farm, into an oasis of calm and healing for troubled youth. The goal is to provide the young adults with job skills training, a high school education and Christian ministry. The program, CanTeen Destiny, aims to set them on a successful path.

John points out that, all too often, youth are placed in programs but revert back to a destructive lifestyle once they leave because they don't have the skills they need to succeed. He remembers one troubled youth he hired as a hand; he had completed a program, and had been taught construction skills.

"But they never let him touch the tools," said John. "We built a fence together, and he was so excited about it."

He feels the rural environment can help break destructive cycles for these youth. "They need to be taken out of their environment, to learn a different way," he said.

John knows first-hand what a change a ministry program like CanTeen can bring to a troubled youth. He has his own dark past, filled with drugs and alcohol. Although he was raised in a religious home, he hadn't accepted religion. But one dark day, he picked up the Bible, and it changed his life.

"I broke down and wept," he said. "I'd had it in my head, but not in my heart. I know the difference it made in my life. If I can just plant those seeds, I can get these kids to start that search for themselves."

Opening the farm to troubled youth was a no-brainer for the Gouds; they have always felt a pull to assist kids, and they hire help for the farm anyway - often youths in need of work experience and diversion from a troubled life, who have been referred by friends and church acquaintances.

"I knew from the time we moved to this farm, that it was meant for kids," said Candy. "In our hearts, we feel we need to help kids. This is something we feel called to do."

"They change while they're here," added John. "It's so different from what they're used to. They don't have the peer pressure, so they can focus on their future."

The Gouds plan to start small. They've been in contact with local service agencies, like Teen Challenge, and will begin with day programs, where the young men will help with farm work. The first project will be the conversion of an out-building into a workshop and classroom, where the youth will learn skills and finish their high school diploma through a home school program. The Gouds have already enlisted the volunteer help of some local teachers to assist with lessons.

From there, they plan the construction of a small dormitory, to allow five young men to live and work on the farm full-time, with an eventual goal of expanding the program to 24 spaces.

Through their time there, John hopes to give the teens skills they can use to apply to a job.

"I have simple skills, and am willing to share what I know," he said. The pair is also on the lookout for others willing to share their skills, whether it's from a trade, or a profession.

And there's no shortage of projects for the youth.

"It's a farm. There's always lots to do," said John, who hopes to teach the kids woodworking skills then use sales from the products they make to fund the program. The eventual goal is self-sufficiency; the Gouds aren't eager for government funding, because it could force them to alter the program.

Organic farming will also be taught. It's a topic the couple is passionate about, and they have been raising a variety of organic fruits and vegetables. They envision the youth starting the plants from seeds and tending them until maturity.

They're also experimenting with the new trend of using diluted seawater for irrigation, to replenish the soils, and boost the nutritive value of the food. Our Father's Farm also sells a variety of organic products and naturopathic cancer-fighting products, with a percentage of sales being donated to CanTeen.

The program isn't a new dream; it's been simmering on the back burner for some time.

"But now, we've received so much support, and such good feedback. It's like everything is falling into place," said John.

The only challenge is acquiring funding to get the program off the ground. The Gouds are in search of talent to teach, as well as building supplies, such as wood and drywall. They also need an injection of cash to secure the location. The farm currently belongs to John's mother, so the couple is either looking to purchase it, or sell it to someone who shares their vision for the land and can help them run the program, which is already a team effort, with a dozen local residents on board.

"This isn't about us," said John. "It doesn't matter if we're running it. We just want to see it happen."

They feel this plot of land is meant for CanTeen Destiny. The farm already holds horses and runs riding schools. And it backs onto Christie Conservation Area, which features riding trails. The Gouds feel that the care and feeding of horses is an important component of the CanTeen program, by teaching anger management, respect and patience. The setting is a perfect fit.

The Gouds' goal is to raise $25,000 by April, as a down payment on the land.

"If it's God's will, it will happen," said Candy.

Anyone with skills to share, or funds or materials to donate, can call the Gouds at 905-628-8195 or e-mail info@ourfathersfarm.

Farm couple aims to change destiny - one troubled teen at a time

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

When youth are in crisis, John and Cathy Goud want to help.

The Flamborough couple is working to transform their family farm, Our Fathers' Farm, into an oasis of calm and healing for troubled youth. The goal is to provide the young adults with job skills training, a high school education and Christian ministry. The program, CanTeen Destiny, aims to set them on a successful path.

John points out that, all too often, youth are placed in programs but revert back to a destructive lifestyle once they leave because they don't have the skills they need to succeed. He remembers one troubled youth he hired as a hand; he had completed a program, and had been taught construction skills.

"But they never let him touch the tools," said John. "We built a fence together, and he was so excited about it."

He feels the rural environment can help break destructive cycles for these youth. "They need to be taken out of their environment, to learn a different way," he said.

John knows first-hand what a change a ministry program like CanTeen can bring to a troubled youth. He has his own dark past, filled with drugs and alcohol. Although he was raised in a religious home, he hadn't accepted religion. But one dark day, he picked up the Bible, and it changed his life.

"I broke down and wept," he said. "I'd had it in my head, but not in my heart. I know the difference it made in my life. If I can just plant those seeds, I can get these kids to start that search for themselves."

Opening the farm to troubled youth was a no-brainer for the Gouds; they have always felt a pull to assist kids, and they hire help for the farm anyway - often youths in need of work experience and diversion from a troubled life, who have been referred by friends and church acquaintances.

"I knew from the time we moved to this farm, that it was meant for kids," said Candy. "In our hearts, we feel we need to help kids. This is something we feel called to do."

"They change while they're here," added John. "It's so different from what they're used to. They don't have the peer pressure, so they can focus on their future."

The Gouds plan to start small. They've been in contact with local service agencies, like Teen Challenge, and will begin with day programs, where the young men will help with farm work. The first project will be the conversion of an out-building into a workshop and classroom, where the youth will learn skills and finish their high school diploma through a home school program. The Gouds have already enlisted the volunteer help of some local teachers to assist with lessons.

From there, they plan the construction of a small dormitory, to allow five young men to live and work on the farm full-time, with an eventual goal of expanding the program to 24 spaces.

Through their time there, John hopes to give the teens skills they can use to apply to a job.

"I have simple skills, and am willing to share what I know," he said. The pair is also on the lookout for others willing to share their skills, whether it's from a trade, or a profession.

And there's no shortage of projects for the youth.

"It's a farm. There's always lots to do," said John, who hopes to teach the kids woodworking skills then use sales from the products they make to fund the program. The eventual goal is self-sufficiency; the Gouds aren't eager for government funding, because it could force them to alter the program.

Organic farming will also be taught. It's a topic the couple is passionate about, and they have been raising a variety of organic fruits and vegetables. They envision the youth starting the plants from seeds and tending them until maturity.

They're also experimenting with the new trend of using diluted seawater for irrigation, to replenish the soils, and boost the nutritive value of the food. Our Father's Farm also sells a variety of organic products and naturopathic cancer-fighting products, with a percentage of sales being donated to CanTeen.

The program isn't a new dream; it's been simmering on the back burner for some time.

"But now, we've received so much support, and such good feedback. It's like everything is falling into place," said John.

The only challenge is acquiring funding to get the program off the ground. The Gouds are in search of talent to teach, as well as building supplies, such as wood and drywall. They also need an injection of cash to secure the location. The farm currently belongs to John's mother, so the couple is either looking to purchase it, or sell it to someone who shares their vision for the land and can help them run the program, which is already a team effort, with a dozen local residents on board.

"This isn't about us," said John. "It doesn't matter if we're running it. We just want to see it happen."

They feel this plot of land is meant for CanTeen Destiny. The farm already holds horses and runs riding schools. And it backs onto Christie Conservation Area, which features riding trails. The Gouds feel that the care and feeding of horses is an important component of the CanTeen program, by teaching anger management, respect and patience. The setting is a perfect fit.

The Gouds' goal is to raise $25,000 by April, as a down payment on the land.

"If it's God's will, it will happen," said Candy.

Anyone with skills to share, or funds or materials to donate, can call the Gouds at 905-628-8195 or e-mail info@ourfathersfarm.