The Joy Ranch team is so proud to introduce you to our Girls’ Houseparents, Gene and Bethany Collins!
On any given morning, the Collins’ day starts before sunrise. They face a monumental task: getting eight girls up, ready, and fed and then off to school. During the day they run appointments, do paper work, send emails, set up events, attend meetings, clean, cook, and organize, just to name a few of their daily tasks. Once their girls return home they have sports meetings to attend, dinner to prepare, school meetings to drop in on, not to mention the ongoing interpersonal relationships they spend countless hours developing. For the Collins, this is not a job: it is their life, and these are their girls, whom they deeply love, care for, and provide for. Filling this role is certainly not an easy task, and here at Joy Ranch we believe it is a calling. So who are these incredible people? Let us introduce them!
“For the Collins, this is not a job: it is their life, and these are their girls.”
Gene and Bethany met nearly 20 years ago and have been married for 17 years. Before moving to Joy Ranch, they lived in Maine where they worked for years as youth ministers. Gene has also served as a basketball coach and a teacher’s aid, and Bethany ran an in-home bakery and worked in accounts payable. These positions no doubtably shaped them to become the incredible houseparents that they are today. 5 years ago, the Collins began to feel a push towards working full time with youth from difficult backgrounds. When they began to seek God’s call on their life, they had never heard of house-parenting before, but, as they explain it, circumstances that could only be orchestrated by God led them to find Joy Ranch. They took the leap and interviewed, and began praying about making the move from Maine to the little town of Woodlawn.
“…circumstances that could only be orchestrated by God led them to find Joy Ranch.”
Now, 5 years later, they are still going strong as a crucial part of the Joy Ranch team! They began their work here as Relief Houseparents, working with both the boys and the girls; after 2 years of serving in this position, they were asked to consider becoming full time Houseparents in Exodus, the girls’ cottage. After prayerfully considering this, they accepted the role and have now served as the girls’ house mom and dad for 3 years this June!
Ask anyone on the Joy Ranch team about the Collins, and they will likely describe them as ninjas, superheroes, or jacks-of-all-trades! These two could not be much different-Bethany is a structured, observant planner that enjoys one-on-one settings, a good book, and deep conversations while Gene is a high-energy extrovert that enjoys meeting new people and is usually the life of the party- making them an amazing team with an incredible balance to their work.
“Ask anyone about the Collins and they will likely describe them as ninjas, superheroes, or jacks of all trades…”
Fierce advocates for the children who come to Joy Ranch, the Collins are very vocal about their children and are constantly fighting for their well-being. They are passionate to share with the world that the kids who come here are here due to difficult family circumstances; they are incredible children in need of a home, structure, and a family.
We asked a couple of their girls what they would say about their two Houseparents if they could. Here are a few of their responses:
“Mrs. Bethany is an awesome cook! She makes the best breakfast foods.”
“It is easy to know that they love us.”
“I like to watch T.V. sitting right beside Mr. Gene sometimes. And Mrs. Bethany sings to me when she tucks me in. I like that too.”
The Joy Ranch family could not be more thankful or proud of the incredible Collins and their strength, resilience, and faith as they serve in this position the Lord has called them into. They are truly loved!