New Perspectives - December, 2001 Issue #88
Gentle Spirit Ranch
Mark & Virginia Bonacquitta – Owners
Gentle Spirit Ranch, is a Christ-centered working farm/ranch for
struggling teenage girls aged 13 to 17 who need “ a stronger family support system.” This “loving, nurturing and structured family-like
setting provides guidance for the girls and their families “in a time of crisis.”
The girls are required to stay a minimum of one year at the ranch, which has the goal of family reunification. They “strictly work
with families who want to build a new communication structure.” Due to safety issues, they won’t take violent aggressors or severe
emotional problems that can’t be controlled by medication. Their primary service area is Southern California, so that the family can
be geographically closer to the ranch for visits. Family contact consists of weekly telephone calls, monthly visits, and 6-8 home
visits during their daughter’s stay at the ranch. Parental involvement and growth is required to accomplish the goal of “having the
teenager at home as soon as possible.”
Each girl receives an accredited academic program designed to meet her specific needs. Performance is monitored and individual motivation
plans are implemented to encourage successful completion of the academic program. Each girl is also required to participate in recreational
and extracurricular activities.
The Ranch is located 24 miles east of Temecula, California on twenty-acres bordering the San Bernardino Forest. There are six acres
of organic garden, over100 fruit trees, and a main house with seven bedrooms and three baths. The kitchen, dining room and classroom
are located in a separate building. They are licensed through the Department of Social Services “Community Care Licensing.” The ranch
is supported by donations from the families with daughters in the program, as well as through the sale of ranch crops and livestock,
a petting zoo, pony rides as well as with donations from individuals, churches, businesses and grants.
The Gentle Spirit Ranch is operated by Mark & Virginia Bonacquista, and overseen by the California not-for-profit corporation
they founded, called C-YAA in HEAVEN Ministries. This 501(3) corporation has a Board of Directors and Board of References that oversees
all organizational expenditures. Mark & Virginia have worked with a variety of youth ministries, as well as a Christian program
called Shelterwood, a one year residential treatment program for at risk teenagers.