Melanie Watt - Founder & Executive Director


  Founder & Executive Director of Hope Remains Youth Ranch

 In 1967, my preacher, Craig Neill came to my house late one night and talked to me about asking Jesus into my heart. He wanted to make sure I knew the seriousness of such a decision so he very tenderly walked me through the plan of salvation. Before preacher Neill left for the evening I knelt beside our couch in the den and I ask Jesus into my heart. On the following Sunday, I walked down the aisle at Homeland Park Baptist Church in Anderson, S.C. and made my public decision to follow Christ. Within the next few weeks, I was baptized.

In 1973, I was only a 12-year-old little girl when the Lord placed the ministry of Hope Remains Youth Ranch on my heart. Of course I did not know at the time that the ranch would be named Hope Remains. Yet, I do remember that day very clearly, it was a hot summer day and I was grooming and talking to my horse Princess when the Lord whispered into my soul the call to missions.

Fast forward to 2006 and if you are good at math you will know I am 45 years old now. So many events and journey's brought me to this point in my life, too many to mention in a short bio. At this point I am teaching Special Education at a local high school in Boiling Springs, S.C. and right in the middle of my instruction time with the students, the Lord whispers "it's time to start the ranch." I stopped for a moment and was thankful my students could not witness the spiritual battle I was having with the Lord right before their eyes. I absolutely loved teaching school and I had just completed my master's degree in 2005 and was questioning the timing of the Lord as He was prompting me to begin the work of starting a ministry. As always the Lord won the battle and the research of starting a 501 c 3 began.

In February 2007 on a borrowed farm, Crescent Moon Farms in Chesnee, S.C. Hope Remains Youth Ranch was birthed into a ministry for hurting youth and their families. I began working with youth after school while continuing to teach school full-time. Finally, in 2009 the Lord called me into full-time ministry work and with tears rolling down my cheeks I resigned my position as a special education teacher. Within the same year, I was commissioned as a Missions Corps Missionary by the North American Mission Board.

My dream and desire to get married and have many children, retire and work on a ranch came about in strange and unexpected ways. First of all, I am single, never married, never birthed children of my own, but to date I have been the "mom" to close to 2000 children and "grandma" to hundreds of families. I praise the Lord for allowing me to be a part of Hope Remains Youth Ranch. My titles include Founder & Executive Director of Hope Remains Youth Ranch, but make no mistake about it, the Lord is the BOSS and He is the one that leads, guides, and determines the direction of this ministry, not me. image001

What is your favorite thing about your job? When the Lord called me into full-time ministry work I thought my days of teaching school was over. However, the Lord has allowed me to go back into the school environment and work with special needs, at-risk and behavioral students utilizing horses through the Hoof Prints of Hope program at Hope Remains.

What's an interesting or random fact about you? Besides my love for children and horses, I truly enjoyed playing many sports in school (volleyball, basketball, softball, racquetball, and track). In college, 1983 & 1985, I was voted all-conference and all-district as a fast pitch softball player. Thanks to all my ball playing days I had to have both of my rotator cuffs repaired in 2013 & 2014!!


Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Proverbs 13:12

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.”

Psalm 82:3-4

"Their lives from crime to Christ and their sorrows into joy.We are called to defend the poor and the orphans; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute; rescue the poor and helpless; and deliver them from the grasp of evil.”

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