The Tulsa Boys' Home
The Tulsa Boys' Home was established in 1918. Currently there are 64 boys at the Tulsa Boys’ Home, 24 of whom are in the drug treatment program and 40 are wards of the state, with ages ranging from 11 to 18. Those in the drug treatment program are there for one or more addictions to drugs or alcohol. Boys that are wards of the state come to the TBH from broken homes through the DHS division of child welfare.
Executive Director Gregg Conway says many of the boys from DHS have been through many failed foster home placements. "When we get them, they've been bounced around a lot and as a consequence they pretty much don't trust people really well,” he said. “So we've got to get in and develop a relationship with them built on trust."
In the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, TBH was primarily focused on orphans (their parents killed in war, died of illnesses, or too many kids in a single father family). Today, TBH boys are still mostly orphaned, but for different reasons: horrendous abuse and neglect. Conway explains that TBH has evolved to become a state of the art residential treatment facility for extremely troubled kids, helping boys that no one else has been able to help.
Conway, who has been with the organization for 16 years, says that if he could distill their mission into a few words it would be healing and hope. He explained, "We heal broken minds, broken hearts, broken spirits, and we instill a sense of hope for the future that perhaps they never thought was possible before they came here."
One of the exciting new programs at TBH is the Equine Therapeutic Program, where retired race horses are used for treatment of their boys. One of the stars at TBH is the famous horse, "Seabiscut,” the horse that played the famous racing champion in the movie of the same name.
Tulsa Boys' Home has 20 horses and working with them helps the boys with their psychotherapy as well as teaching them horsemanship. On May 4th "Run for the Roses" will feature a live and silent auction, numerous special events, great food, guest speakers, and of course horse racing viewed on JumboTron screens. Sponsors are needed for this event and tickets cost $175 each. For more information call Tulsa Boys' Home at (918) 245-0231.
Tulsa Boys' Home also needs mentors and tutors. They would like every boy to have a mentor who can spend an hour a week with a boy. Mentors serve as role models and continue their relationship even after the boy leaves TBH. Additionally, they are searching for tutors for the boys, to redirect their focus on schoolwork. Tulsa Boys' Home has its own school on campus as part of the Sands Springs School District. Mr. Conway said, "We sometimes see boys increase their reading ability by six grade levels in one year because of the focus we have on that."
Gregg Conway explains that, with 24-hour staffing, Tulsa Boys' Home is very expensive care. "We have to raise a lot of money every year and, at the end of the year on January 1st, we have to start all over again," he said. "But how can you put a return on the investment of changing a kid's life?"
They currently have a budget of 5.9 million, and most of that will be given in the form of state funding, foundation gifts, and of course, estate gifts. They have free professional financial planning available in hopes of creating an endowment to secure funding for the next century. Conway said, "We've got to make sure we have funding in place now... the problem is not going to go away. This place needs to be viable and healthy and strong for at least another 100 years." The Tulsa Boys' Home Website provides opportunities to give and more information about their program, services, and history.