Elizabeth (Kemmerer) Suarez (Intern ‘15) and her husband Kevin were married in November ‘17 and currently reside in Lynchburg, VA. Elizabeth completed her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling through Liberty University in December and is pursuing licensure as a licensed professional counselor.
Following her internship, Kaitlin Dinkelacker (Intern ‘14-’15) moved to New York to work with 14-21 year olds in foster care through Mercy First Foster Care Agency, leading job skills workshops and assisting youth aging out of foster care to find housing, amongst other responsibilities. After a year in New York, Kaitlin moved back home to Ohio where she began working at Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health with 16-22 year olds with mental illness. Kaitlin is currently enrolled at Ohio State University, pursuing a doctorate in Occupational Therapy, with a desire to return to the mental health field.
Kate Jeffcoat (Intern ‘16) moved home to South Carolina after internship to continue education in physical therapy through Midlands Technical College. She returned to Grass Valley last fall and is currently working at Uplift Family Services in Sacramento, a behavioral and mental health treatment program, as a behavior specialist.
Though TJ succesfully transitioned into young adulthood, he didn’t feel a sense of fulfillment when he got there. As he prayed through this season, he found a CEM business card on the floor of his car. Though TJ had visited CEM a couple of years prior, he resisted God’s invitation to internship. This time around, still disillusioned with life, TJ prayed that only if someone was to reach out to him regarding internship would he come. Two people contacted him in the same day.
Despite his initial resistance to God’s call, TJ is leaving CEM more impacted from the past eight months than he could have anticipated from such a short window of time.
“I’ve allowed God to use me in ways I wouldn’t have expected God to use me. I wasn’t just brought here to be a body; I was brought here to be a part of the body. I’ve been privileged to live with the people here.
I love the students. I love the interns. I love the staff. There hasn’t been a day here where I haven’t seen God move in some way. There hasn’t been a day when I’ve thought the sacrifice of my time was not worth it.”
“Before [my internship] I had to seclude myself to hear God...I would set aside an hour or two for quiet time. It was hard to get alone time with God in the structure of Ranch life...[But] day to day, He would reveal things through daily interactions...He’s always with me. Before I needed to make an appointment. [Now] I’m often praying in the moment during the day, drawing as close as I can… “
- David Hernandez, 3-month intern
David finished his internship in August and returned to UC Merced, where he will continue his studies in Political Science.
“Something I observed in the dorm that I was hesitant to address at first was the negativity surrounding body image. When the girls were getting ready in the morning, they would be poking at different parts of their bodies, asking, “Why can’t I change this?” My first response was to tell them, “You’re beautiful.” I quickly realized my words were being deflected... but I wanted them to see that their health is so much more than physical health. I would ask them, “What do you love about yourself? What do you like about your roommate?” We made daily goals to better our physical health, but I really strived to help them look internally, too. There were nights when we were rolling on the floor laughing while doing an ab workout. I realized it is the small things of daily life that we can speak into.”
- Vanessa Harris, 3-month intern
After completing her internship in August, Vanessa returned to William Jessup University to complete her last semester of studies in Psychology.
"I strongly believe that the most difficult experiences during my internship resulted in being the most valuable ones...Never have I been so vulnerable and encouraged to deal with what’s in front of me instead of running away from it...
The most important thing I learned while being at the Ranch is this: if sorrow clouds my soul, I won’t fight it. I will allow my tears to flow. I was not meant to be invincible. I bruise easily; my heart is soft, prone to bleed sometimes at the slightest touch. In my moments of sadness, I must be willing and brave enough to allow Christ in my pain, in my pain for the students, in my brokenness - because He sees it all...Christ shares our pain and understands our sorrows..."
6 month intern
Hometown: Glendale Hts, Illinois
Jony returns to Chicago this month to complete his B.A. in Counseling at Moody Bible Institute. From there, he is looking to pursue a master’s degree in either social work or clinical counseling.
“Ministries are often focused on numbers and performance. But here it’s all encompassing, you feel supported constantly. Everything is to serve the same purpose...”
“[Internship] is a lot of learning to just shut up sometimes and just love someone. Disciplining is loving them, and there’s a time for that. And then there’s a time not to give advice, but to hug them, cry it out with them...They’ve taught me patience - learning to just be patient with someone who doesn’t know how to accept love.”
Parting words to the students:
“I love you all a lot. Your lives are of significant value to me. When I leave, I will still bear the weight of your lives. Keep fighting. It doesn’t matter if you stay here or get kicked out. It’s about moving forward. God is in control and can take any type of story and transform it into so much more than what we could have ever thought.”