Monthly Archives: August 2015

Volunteer Corner: Summer 2015

Arizona Ranch Volunteers

Volunteers from New Life Bible Fellowship in Tucson, along with our Arizona staff

Recent Arizona Ranch Projects:

  • Storage building converted into a staff lounge/conference room
  • Covered wagons refurbished for use by the children
  • Manager’s home bathroom remodeled and water damage from deteriorating tiles and pipes repaired
  • Kitchen help
  • Care of the animals at the Petting Barn
  • Craft time with the kids
  • Clothing barn organization and general cleaning

Recent Michigan Ranch Projects:

  • Painting of privacy fences and welcome signs
  • Removal and cutting up of dead trees
  • Power washing playgrounds
  • Repair of chicken coop fencing
  • Helping with flooding cleanup/repairs in the Hayloft
  • Mowing and weeding

Interested in giving your gifts and talents as a volunteer? Contact Stephanie at 517-569-3328 (Michigan) or 520-466-3093 (Arizona), or visit

Michigan Ranch Volunteers

Servant Event Volunteers at the Michigan Ranch

Torrie’s Story

torrieGod used your gifts to change Torrie’s life!

She was 13 when she first came to Youth Haven, with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

In one week, Torrie and her younger siblings had learned that her parents were getting divorced, and that her mom had cancer. The months that followed were difficult for the family. With her mom sick and unable to work, Torrie took on a great deal of responsibility for her sister and brother. And as money dwindled, they found themselves living in a hotel.

Fortunately, her mom reached out to Youth Haven for help. Her brother and sister came as Ranchers, and Torrie got involved in our teen program as a potential Leader-in Training (LIT).

“At first I didn’t want anything to do with God,” she remembers. “I came because I loved working with the kids.” But God began to soften her heart, until one evening in chapel, she accepted Christ as her Savior. That moment changed her life.

She came back as often as she could, hungry to learn more about God. While she was here she could rest from the difficulties she faced at home. Our staff encouraged her, and she found hope. Now, she is part of our summer staff, grateful for the opportunity to give back to the kids some of what was invested in her life.

Things are still tough for Torrie. Her mom still has cancer, and there is still very little money. But Youth Haven has helped her understand that God has a good and perfect plan for her.

“This is my home,” she says. “I know if I never came to Youth Haven I would not be happy at all. I would not be godly at all. I would definitely be going down the wrong path.”

Your financial gifts will help more children and teens like Torrie discover life-changing love and hope at Youth Haven!


Sparty Visits Youth Haven in Michigan!

Sparty with Larry and Lars Carlson
He’s been to the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Final Four with his Michigan State Spartans in the past two years. He’s a leader among college mascot competitions. He’s even been featured in ESPN SportsCenter commercials.

Sparty with a YH ChildImagine the excitement of the Youth Haven children when Sparty took the time to visit them at Youth Haven! It was all hugs, piggyback rides, high fives, and fistbumps as he hung out with the kids and made them feel special. Children who often feel forgotten and overlooked had his full attention. And they loved every minute of it!

It’s sure to be an experience they will remember for a lifetime. Our hope is that it also inspired some of them to begin thinking about a college education in the future.

Thank you, Sparty, for recognizing that these disadvantaged kids were worth your time, and for making them feel valued!

To see more photos of Sparty with the children, click here.

Youth Haven’s Executive Director Earns MBA

Lars Carlson and FamilyYouth Haven’s Executive Director Lars Carlson
Earns His MBA Degree from Michigan State University

The Youth Haven staff and Board of Directors would like to congratulate Lars Carlson for earning his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University!

Lars has faithfully served the Youth Haven ministry for over 17 years, and is currently the Vice President and Executive Director. The education he has received, as well as professional connections he made with other local business leaders, have better equipped him as he prepares to assume the leadership role at Youth Haven.

“My goal for the organization is to grow and develop new opportunities to help disadvantaged children around the country, building on the history and foundation set in place by those who have led before me,” Lars says. “I knew I needed to gain additional perspective in my leadership and really understand how businesses function and what it would take to lead a great organization. I’m proud of the work Youth Haven does, helping meet the needs of disadvantaged and at-risk children, giving them hope and love to help them succeed in their lives. Seeing over 3,300 free scholarships given to disadvantaged children each year is an amazing thing, and I’m proud of the team I lead that makes a difference in the lives of kids each year at Youth Haven.”

Lars was recently recognized as a top Executive MBA graduate for the class of 2015. Cheri DeClercq, MSU’s Assistant Dean for MBA Programs, said of Lars: “Lars is an exceptional individual who is using his knowledge and capabilities, leveraged with his EMBA, to make the world a better place… He is a role model for business and he’s impacting society in compelling ways.”

We are excited to see what God has in store for Youth Haven through Lars’ exceptional leadership. In the months ahead, you will receive more information from Larry, Lars, and the Board of Directors regarding the upcoming leadership transition.