A new nonprofit is getting ready to open up in Grayson County. North Texas Geary Girls Ranch will provide foster home placement for girls ages 12 to 17 in the near future. The girls will attend S&S schools, according to founder Susie Black Holaman.
“It is a unique Christian foster home for displaced teenaged girls, 12 to 17,” Holaman said during a recent meeting of the Grayson County Commissioners Court.
She said girls that age are a passion of her’s and helping girls that age in the foster care system is important to her because she was that girl many years ago. The ranch’s website says it “is a tribute and a legacy to Joe and Charlotte Geary, who created a home environment” for Holaman and her siblings. It says she attributes her success in life to the care and support they provided.
“Teenagers are the last ones to be adopted and placed in homes,” the retired teacher said, so there is a great need for homes willing to accept them.
“We don’t want our own teenagers sometimes, much less someone else’s,” Holaman said.
But she does want girls of that age to have a place where they can feel that they are not only welcomed but deeply cared about and wanted. Holaman said the Geary Girls Ranch foster parents won’t have young children of their own so that they can focus all of their attention on the girls placed in the home.
She said she got the idea from seeing other similar places that currently exist in Texas. The girls for the home, she explained, will be referred from churches, schools, organizations and individuals within the 19 county area that will be served by the facility in North Texas. The girls will then be interviewed, she said, “to ensure they are a good fit” for the program. The ranch, Holaman said, will be privately funded and will not take funds from the state or federal government.
Holaman said the property in Tioga where the homes will sit has been donated by a board member. While the ranch will start with one home that will house up to six girls, it is hoped that eventually the ranch will encompass up to four homes with up to six to eight girls each.
Construction on the first home is planned to begin in March and they hope to have it open for the first residents in September.
In between now and then, they are planning fund raising efforts, including a golf tournament at the Lake Kiowa Golf Court in May, an evening at the Arboretum in late summer and an event at the ranch in the fall.
In addition to Holaman, the group’s board of directors includes Colleen Geary Patton, Cathie Leys, Nancy Pinson, LaTisha Marick, Lori Sitzes, LaDonna Carroll, Ginger Walker and Maggie Aune.