Jody Sandwick and Circle Ranch: On A Mission
To bring hope and healing to Georgia children
Jo Ellen (Jody) Sandwick has a personal understanding of the difference love can make in the lives of children in need. Of her six grandchildren, the youngest two are adopted, and she has an adopted brother. She also understands the importance of nonprofits, and the positive change they can create in the world.
Now Jody has established her own nonprofit, Circle Ranch, to heal and transform the lives of abused and neglected children.
The Birth of an Idea
About four years ago, Jody was cleaning her back porch as she contemplated retirement. What she would do with all that extra time? All she knew for certain was that she wanted to help people.
She had worked as a licensed broker with ING for decades, running her own branch office for 23 years, and in her leisure time she made an effort to give back to those less fortunate than herself. She volunteered for the March of Dimes for fifteen years, and in the Mental Health Unit of Hackley Hospital for ten.
So as she cleaned her porch that day, contemplating retirement, she considered joining the Peace Corps, or becoming a house parent for a foster child.
“But then,” she said, “the notion was put on my heart to help needy children in my community.”
This notion turned into a dream, which soon became a business plan for Circle Ranch Inc., a non-denominational Christian nonprofit designed to rescue children who are suffering in the foster care system. Circle Ranch will consist of multiple households on a working ranch, each home with a loving, Christ-centered staff that will have the compassion and training to provide each family of children with whatever they need to thrive and reach their full potential.
“I was trying to figure out how was I going to run this non-profit—how to make it work,” Jody said. “I asked God, how can I do this? The next day, my phone rings and an associate I knew asked if they could buy my book of business—the list of clients I served as a broker for ING. The purchase allowed me to retire and sign on as the Director of Circle Ranch.”
To get the word out about the need for a place like Circle Ranch, Jody joined the Putnam, Greene, Morgan & Oconee County Chambers of Commerce, and began giving presentations to private organizations. She established a website (https://www.circleranchinc.org/), and set to work creating a social media presence and launching fundraisers, including a GoFundMe campaign that can be accessed through the Circle Ranch site, or found at https://www.gofundme.com/circleranch.
“We’re looking for property in Morgan, Greene, Putnam and Oconee counties, but we haven’t found anything suitable yet. We need a minimum of 50-100 acres, partly timber and part pasture, with some water, like a spring or a pond. Easy access to main roads is also important.”
There is still a ways to go before Jody can achieve her dream, but donations of any size will help. “Even just ten dollars,” she said. “If everyone in the area donated that much, we’d be able to build Circle Ranch.”
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