Girls Ranch benefits from grants
The girls living at the Fame Girls Ranch will have a warm and cozy winter thanks to a grant that will replace four of the ranch’s heating and cooling units.
The grant, administered through the Franklin County Community Development Commission, was made possible by Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow and Sen. Roger Bedford, who each secured $1,000 a piece for the replacement units.
“I think the Girls Ranch is such a great program and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them here in any way possible,” Morrow said.
The Fame Girls Ranch is part of the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches program, which provides a family-style, Christian living environment for school-age children who are in need of a positive environment where they can grow both physically and emotionally.
The ranch currently houses eight girls, four of which are Franklin County natives.
“Some of the girls we house have been removed from their families by DHR or they come to us from other situations and our goal is to be that family unit for them and serve as a parent would serve,” said Cindy Hall, who serves as director of ranch life. “We also work with them and with the families so that the ones who are able can ultimately be reunited.”
The ranch is located in the Ligon Springs community at the former FAME Ranch – a property owned by music industry icon Rick Hall and his wife, Linda.
The home is where Rick and Linda raised their family and after living there for 30 years, they decided it was time for someone else to benefit from the property and have a chance for a warm and happy upbringing.
Linda Hall said they first became involved with the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches program through Randy Owen, a fellow Alabama musician.
“We went to a Christmas party they had for all the children’s ranches and one of the contributors gave out gift cards to the kids to spend on clothes,” Linda Hall said. “I was assigned a little 10-year-old girl to go shopping with and she got so excited about her new clothes.
“I remember she said, ‘Now the kids can’t make fun of me,’ and I got so emotional. I thought that if something like this could do so much for one girl, imagine what we could do for many girls.”
Linda Hall said that’s when they knew their home could be put to better use by donating it to the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches program so several girls could benefit from the caring environment.
“I grew up without a mother and lived in poverty-stricken conditions in the Freedom Hills area, so I know what it’s like to go through rough times,” Rick Hall said. “My son and his wife, Cindy, really stepped up and took charge of the ranch and she does such a good job here.”
The Fame Girls Ranch is also in the process of expanding so they can take in an additional eight girls in a new house being built behind the original house.
Cindy Hall said the new house was being made possible through a generous donor from Decatur, but they still needed sponsors to provide furniture for each bedroom.
“The money we receive from donors is so important because we couldn’t operate without people like Johnny Mack and Senator Bedford and others who have given so generously,” Cindy Hall said. “Every little bit helps us provide safe and secure housing for these girls who truly deserve it. They have been through a lot but they are an awesome group of girls.”
To help support the Fame Girls Ranch or for more information, contact Cindy Hall at 256-331-3813.