With the help of civic leaders, the vision becomes a reality when the group acquires 2,600 acres south of Belen, New Mexico. This is the beginning of Boys Ranch.
The first building is constructed on a sandy hill overlooking the Rio Grande. It is built out of grass sod hauled in horse-drawn wagons. The demand for this type of facility is so great that soon over 60 boys crowd this one building under one set of house parents.
And the boys keep coming from difficult circumstances…
Clifford – no age given, has a difficult home life
Thomas – age 8, his stepfather drinks excessively, his mother and stepfather are separating again.
Troy – age 11, his father is a farm laborer who lives in a truck. Troy spends most of his time on the streets in bad company.
Pippin Youth Ranch opens as a semi-independent and transitional living program for youth ages 17 - 21.
Families For Children becomes a chapter of Child S.H.A.R.E (Shelter Homes, A Rescue Effort) and begins to recruit foster and adoptive parents in a variety of Albuquerque churches.
A unique parenting program designed for families with pre-teen and teenage children is offered to the community.
New Mexico Family Connection is organized to help families stay together while improving the quality of their family experience.
Hart Youth Ranch opens as a residential setting for teenage boys, ages 12-18, until high school graduation. (Note: Hart Ranch closed in 2001 due to staffing shortages that kept it from operating at full capacity.)
The New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranch Foundation is incorporated, and it facilitates the development of an endowment to ensure resources will be available well into the future.
Girls Ranch is established, for girls ages 10 to 18.
Mary – age 15, is defiant, needs a lot of attention; her adoptive parents have stopped communicating with her. Anna – age 12, is a victim of physical and sexual abuse, likes to write poetry.
Families for Children opens it's doors to provide foster and adoptive homes for children.
Sarah – infant of teenage mother unable to provide an adequate home; mother decided to place her for adoption. Andy – age 8, is placed in foster care while his mother finds a job and a place to live.
A massive building project including a gymnasium, dining hall, swimming pool, and office culminates with the last of the four cottages.
The debt is paid in full. The Board of Directors develops a 10-year plan. Determined never to be in debt again, these dedicated leaders work to stabilize the organization
Construction begins on the first of four modern cottages to house the boys.
Boys Ranch faces a financial crisis. In the mistaken assumption that the nonprofit organization is free from all taxation, conservancy taxes are not paid for many years. They total nearly $100,000. It looks as though Boys Ranch will be sold to pay the debts.
Walker Hubbard, Executive Director of the Baptist Children's home in Portales, New Mexico, agrees to direct both homes. He travels weekly between Portales and Belen, giving talks to raise money.
But in the midst of these difficulties, boys are succeeding . . .
Johnny A. – was released to his mother as she can now provide him with a normal and congenial surrounding. Donald – offered to lead his cottage members in prayer before dinner last evening.
Founder Al Buck and his wife are tragically killed in an airplane accident.
Dads are away at war. Boys across America are fast replacing their knickers with blue jeans. . . and in New Mexico, juvenile delinquency is on the rise. Al Buck, president of Rio Grande Steel, envisions a ranch-home for boys from troubled backgrounds. Here they would learn of hard work, fair play and responsible living through the rigors of ranch life.
About The Ranches
Established as New Mexico Boys Ranch, Inc. in 1944, our organization has evolved into five divisions that promote opportunity and meaningful help for struggling children and their families. Our multi-denominational Christian programs offer kids a safe place to live, a personalized plan to address their needs and goals, and individualized education and counseling. We offer families help through services such as crisis management, family counseling and parent skills training.
Generous contributions from a variety of sources underwrite our expenses and make our programs possible. We operate without sponsorship from a national organization or church denomination, and we do not accept government funding. Although we have a fee structure, it is based on what each family is able to afford, and services are not denied to anyone for financial reasons.
By offering children a fresh start and families assistance in addressing their challenges, our goal is to help families stay together whenever possible. And when children cannot remain at home, we give them a safe place to live and teach them the skills they'll need as responsible, contributing members of the community. .
The Mission of the The Ranches is, "Rekindling hope in today's youth." When considered along with our purpose statement, "To provide services for young people and families for a brighter tomorrow," a truth emerges, the power of hope to transform lives. Our Mission statement not only defines what we do, but the difference we want to make. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." As a Christian organization, we know the importance of good values including hope. However, such values are useless unless they also become important to the individual young people who utilize our programs. Hope includes many facets; a new life, a relationship with God, finishing school or a job with a future. When a young person believes such things are possible, hope transforms.
Help, Healing and Hope...
At The Ranches, we subscribe to the belief that there are no bad children. There are, however, children who have learned to respond to the conditions of their lives in unorthodox ways, and have adopted values that do not serve them well. Our goal is to provide a safe, supportive environment that encourages these children to acquire the tools and values they need to become competent, productive, happy and well-adjusted adults.
Many years of experience have taught us that there are fundamentals that greatly improve a child's ability to succeed. The most important things we can offer the children who come to us are help, healing and hope.
When children come to The Ranches, they need more than advice. They are usually facing difficult personal situations that can have serious economic, academic and/or legal implications. They need meaningful solutions that make a difference in their immediate circumstances as well as the future. We offer this help through a safe and nurturing place to live, a personalized plan for overcoming their challenges, counseling and an education that brings them back to grade level.
All children need to know that they are loved and wanted. Many children come to us from difficult circumstances and are often unsure about their self-worth. Healing from the difficult and sometimes painful past is important as they mature into adulthood. We aid this process by helping them see themselves as capable and valuable, and by helping them develop a healthy self-concept. A team of professionals works to provide the support services needed for both the child and the family to experience healing and growth.
Some children, forced by the circumstances of their lives, assume adult responsibilities at very young ages. They may find themselves taking care of siblings or an ill parent, or they struggle to survive hunger or physical or emotional abuse. These children have often never known the joys that most of us associate with childhood. At The Ranches, we place importance on providing such children with experiences and opportunities to be a child in the purest sense. Positive experiences and memories are essential building blocks in the journey from childhood to competent adulthood.
A common characteristic among the children who come to The Ranches is intense hopelessness and despair about the future. Many have been told repeatedly that they are incapable and will never amount to anything. Some believe that they will never see their 21st birthday.
Children need to have hope for a bright future. In order to have a chance at that future, they need a high school diploma and additional training in an area that has economic value. At The Ranches, we provide an accredited on-campus school with curriculums designed to bring students back to grade level and instill hope for the future through academic success. Computer and Internet skills are also included. Every child that leaves our program with good computer and Internet skills will have an advantage in both higher education and the work place.
In addition to education, society expects that each of us acquire and live by certain common values – values such as care and concern for others, honesty, integrity and a strong work ethic. We teach children these values, why they are important, and that there are personal and legal consequences for violating them.
Research has also shown that a strong spiritual base is critical to meaningfulness and hope. As a Christian organization, we believe that ultimate hope and meaning comes through Christ. However, our aim is to show unconditional respect, care and concern to all who come to us for help, regardless of their religion. We encourage children to find spiritual answers and direction, but they make spiritual decisions based on their own choices.
Every day children and teens face challenges that severely hinder their potential as responsible, productive citizens. Too many of them don't overcome those challenges and face futures filled with hopelessness and despair. If these youth are to realize their potential, they need a fresh start … a second chance to make better choices, get an education and learn the skills and values they'll need as adults and contributing members of the community.
Since 1944, The Ranches has given thousands of boys and girls a fresh start. Our comprehensive programs offer children meaningful help now, healing from the difficulties of the past and the hope of a bright, productive future. Given the right motivation, environment and opportunities, all children can realize their incredible God-given potential.