Texas Boys Ranch offers children stable, rewarding life
For decades, the Texas Boys Ranch, just northeast of Lubbock, has been a place many kids have called home. But its mission doesn't end there.
The Ranch has an all-encompassing approach to giving these kids a more stable and rewarding life.
"You're gonna need that love from someone," said Isaia Luke Duenas, who was adopted after living at the Ranch. "And I feel like some of us might...some kids are gonna feel like they might be overlooked but in the end I believe God's gonna have a plan for everybody."
And that plan is for every child at the Ranch to be transformed.
The mission statement is "sharing Jesus, healing hearts, transforming lives," explains Roger Mahan, a program director at the Texas Boys Ranch. It's also his personal goal. Founded in 1972, the process at the Ranch has evolved in who it helps.
"It began years ago with serving young men who were involved with juvenile probation," Mahan said. About a decade ago, things changed. Ranch president John Sigle was approached to care for a sibling group of three girls and two boys. "And there had to be a big change in documentation and wording to say that we were also going to begin serving those girls as well."
Mahan explains the focus is not to have children age out of foster care on the campus.
"Our goal is to help those children be prepared for either returning back to their parents, if that's what the court decides is best for them, or preparing them for adoptive homes," Mahan said.
Many of the children at the Ranch are placed after child protective services discovers they are living in an abusive or neglectful situation. The Ranch is more than 400 acres of land. It provides counseling, animal therapy and tutoring, all while living in a setting that emulates a traditional home environment.
Each cabin is headed up by a married team, who serve as "house parents". Once the basic needs are met, kids are then introduced to the Christian faith and encouraged to develop a relationship with Jesus.
"Each house parent couple is allowed to express their faith individually with the children," Mahan said. The churches that they are a part of, that they are active in, whatever activities are going on with their individual church congregations, then those children can participate in those activities."
Mahan also says the kids aren't dispensed into the community right when they turn 18. They have the option to stay at that point, while they either advance their education or work in the community. While the experiences that brought the kids to the Ranch can be traumatizing, the experience while they're here truly heals their hearts and transforms their lives.
"Kids are just so resilient when they're given the right resources and the right opportunities," Mahan said. "We don't talk about trying to serve as many kids as we can, because we really wish that we didn't have to exist. That kids weren't treated poorly, that they didn't need the services that we provide for them.
"But because we do have to exist, there are those needs. We just try to serve one child at a time to make a difference in their lives. So that Jesus can change their lives and their whole outcome be transformed."