Chris can’t remember a time before foster care. “I couldn’t even count the number of homes I’ve stayed in,” he shares. Growing up in the foster care system is stressful because it lacks stability. He frequently moved from house to house. Sometimes he’d stay with his step-dad, other family, and friends, but there was no permanent place he could call home.
When Chris arrived at the Boys Ranch, he felt like this was a place he might be able to trust. There is a family atmosphere where, “You get the sense people are here to help you… No matter your past, they treated everyone the same. They really stuck their neck out and gave everyone the same opportunity, no matter what.” Chris says that he “…didn’t get that anywhere else.”
The Boys Ranch consists of cottage style houses where children in foster care live in our Campus Christian Homes. Children over 16 are served in apartment style housing where they receive guidance, financial support, a skills-based education, and more to so that they can lead lives of independence. All children are provided love and support in a community of faith that believes in the promise of each child. They take trips together to the Ozarks, the beach, and a yearly visit to Annual Conference to say thank you to the United Methodist Church. “To me, the Annual Conference is a big one. You can see the supporters and we are proud to show our appreciation,” Chris explains.
Chris graduated from high school and went on to attend college in Muskogee on a football scholarship. In addition to class and practice, he plans to join the Army National Guard part-time. It is an inspirational outcome for a young man who, at 16 years old, came to the boy’s ranch halfway through his freshmen year of high school. Chris says it is important to “… believe in second chances because Circle of Care makes it happen.” Thanks to your steadfast support, Circle of Care will continue to make it happen for children and youth in crisis in our state.