History of Timothy Hill
It is the mission of Timothy Hill (TH) to strengthen character by modeling Christ Centered values. The program’s vision is to transform hearts and change lives through love. TH’s focus is on education, vocational training, counseling, life coaching, and spiritual guidance, all set in an equestrian, adventure-based ranch environment with the goal of helping our youth have a second chance at life. More than sixty years ago, Jerry Hill and his wife, Fern, moved from Tennessee to New York so Jerry could serve as a Preacher. They opened their home to dozens of foster children who were homeless and in need of temporary housing. Their oldest son, Timothy, saw the painful hardships and emotional suffering that the children had endured. He was deeply affected. He told his parents that he wanted to someday to “build a place where troubled kids could live, be loved, feel safe, and have wide open spaces to ride horses.” At the age of 12, he began to save money for the land where his dream could become a reality.
On May 11, 1972, a tragic bicycle-truck accident ended Timothy’s life at the young age of 13. Fern, seeking a way to commemorate his life, wrote a book entitled, “Graduation to Glory,” which recounted Timothy’s altruistic years and his visionary dream of opening up a ranch for homeless children. Friends and neighbors, mostly from Tennessee, responded spontaneously by creating a memorial fund earmarked for “Timothy’s Ranch.” From there the Hill family has adopted Timothy’s dream and God has blessed the journey ever since.
The Ranch TodayTimothy Hill’s residential facility known as The Ranch at Riverhead has grown to become a residential home for a total of 60 residents and meets their needs within four programs:
- The Group Home program provides residential care to boys and girls, ages 10-17, who are in need of a therapeutic environment.
- The Transitional Care programs are for young men and women, 18-21 years of age, coming from the Department of Social Services, Foster Care division and, for young men and women, 18-24 years of age, who are facing the hardship of living in homeless shelters or have aged out of the foster care system.
- The Right Path program is a 12-18 month program for young men and women, ages 17-21, who were recently released from the Suffolk County Department of Corrections.
In addition to TH’s New York campus, in 2008 TH purchased The Retreat at Norwich Lake in Huntington, Massachusetts and in 2015, TH purchased The Retreat at Center Hill Lake in Smithville Tennessee. Both campuses are on glacier like lakes and at the foothill of mountains. The purpose of the retreat centers is to provide places where Christian leaders are developed and become leaders of good works. In addition, both sites serve as vocational training location for the residents at the Ranch at Riverhead. With God’s help TH has been able to love, protect, teach, cherish and value nearly 1,000 young people, ages 10-24.
These young people come during a desperate time of abuse, neglect and crisis. TH allows these young people to experience healing from past hurts and begin to dream of future possibilities. The Retreat Centers have been able to be a sanctuary to more than 3000 children, young people, church groups and friends. The Retreat at Norwich Lake in particular has been a safe haven for many who have come to be one with God away from the norm of their everyday lives and stressors, including but not limited to: the communities they come from (often low income), work and technology.
The Retreat at Norwich Lake is a 97 acre campus located on Norwich Lake in Huntington, Massachusetts. It is the perfect centerpiece for the surrounding hills with deer, moose, bear and other wildlife. Norwich Lake, a glacier lake located in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, is crystal clear and teeming with multiple species of fish restocked annually. All who visit are encouraged to ride horses, hike, fish, practice archery, cook on a campfire, swim, paddleboard, kayak and canoe.