Our Story

Two paths cross in a country a half a world away and our story begins...

Victoria and Beth on horseback in Kazakhstan

In October 2000, Beth Turnock was the Director of Operations for a large residential treatment facility for children in Indiana with a horse and three cats.  She had a community of friends, family and a job she enjoyed.  One of Beth’s friends had taken a short trip to teach English in Kazakhstan.  Having no desire to teach English, Beth didn’t give much thought to her friend’s adventure, but when her friend shared some pictures of her trip, Beth was captivated by images of children in an orphanage she had visited.  Beth commented, “If a trip is ever offered to work with the orphan kids, I would certainly go.”  Two weeks later, an announcement was made that a trip was being organized to send the first team to the Ulan Orphanage to do a two-week camp for the kids.  Beth felt that this was an open door that she had to walk through. 

On that first trip, she not only fell in love with the children,but also with the people of Kazakhstan.  At the end of her time there, she felt strongly that she was being called to move and work with the Humanitarian Aid organization that had hosted the trip.  Upon returning home, she began the process of closing up her life in the States in preparation for moving to Kazakhstan.  In June 2003, Beth moved to Taraz, Kazakhstan.

Victoria Charbonneau, an artist and self-proclaimed “Jack of all trades, Master of none” was in the process of raising her two children, Marc and Sarah.   Victoria has had a heart for the children no one else wanted for as long as she could remember.   Although she did fostercare, cared for children in the neighborhood, and hosted international students, she had never felt a desire to travel outside the country.  After a series of events, doors opened for her to travel on her first trip to the Ulan Orphanage in October 2000.  Before the trip, she worried that she would fall in love with one child.  Her own precious children, Marc and Sarah, had come into her life through the miracle of adoption, so she knew that she would move heaven and earth to bring that child home if she did.  During that trip, she fell in love with not one child, but 180 children.  She couldn’t bring that many home, yet she realized she was being called to care for those children who would never find their “forever family.”

Victoria soon realized that taking Marc and Sarah halfway around the world as teenagers wasn’t the best option.  She waited until they finished high school and ventured out into the world to build their own lives before moving to Kazakhstan in May 2009. 

Beth and Victoria enjoyed their work very much.  Beth had been promoted to the Director of the organization overseeing 30 national staff between two cities.  Victoria was the Youth Department Manager working with six national staff going into the government-run orphanages and working with the children.  They spent many hours talking about what more could be done for the children to equip them for life. 

The statistics are staggering with less than 10% of the children leaving the orphanages ever going on to build a productive life for themselves and many dying within the first five years.  Those statistics leave one feeling pretty hopeless and it is even more daunting when you know these children personally.  The children who were in the orphanages back in 2000 and 2001 were now out of the orphanages and not surviving.  There was no support system to help them, a shortage of safe places, and a system that was overburdened and unable to equip these children for adult life. 

The questions “What about the children?” and “Who will provide them a place of hope?”  settled deep into their hearts.  Something had to be done and someone had to make this their sole priority.  As young girls Victoria and Beth had individually dreamed of a farm/ranch and as they talked about the children, their individual visions merged into one.  A safe community surrounded by people who are committed to rebuilding the children’s broken lives, giving them hope, love, and skills needed for a bright future. 

Having resigned from the original organization January 2012, they joined forces and committed to moving forward with the J127 Ranch vision.  In May 2012 they partnered with Artists for Community Transformation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.  By August 2012 they had raised enough money to get started and return to Taraz, Kazakhstan October 2012 where they are actively pursuing the fulfillment of the Ranch vision.  

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