Having a place to call home, especially around the holidays, is something that we all desire. The idea of “home” gives us a sense of peace and allows us to be at ease knowing that we have a place where we are safe and warm.
Imagine how it must have felt for four young brothers whose home was not only taken from them but also their security when they were left on a Las Vegas park bench by the very people who were supposed to take care of them. These children, of whom the eldest was only eight years old, had no food, water or even a stuffed animal to comfort them. Luckily, they were found by a good samaritan who brought them to a safe place. Their fate could have been so much worse.
When caregivers from St. Jude’s Ranch for Children visited them, they were shocked and saddened by what they found. These beautiful little boys, who should have been laughing and playing in anticipation of the upcoming holidays, sat hopelessly on the floor as though all joy had been drained from them. Seeing their broken spirits was a painful site. The caregivers felt there was no question where these children belonged, so the boys were brought to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.
Because this organization has homes that can welcome large sibling groups, the brothers could stay together in the same home, which brought them comfort during that very frightening and confusing time. After being abandoned by their parents, to be separated from each other would have been devastating.
When there is a concern that a child is in danger, Child Protective Services will investigate and, depending on the circumstances, the police may also be called. If the child needs to be removed from the home for their safety, they will be brought to Child Haven, which is a temporary facility. From there, it is determined which fostering agency in the area can take that child. As one of the fostering agencies, St. Jude’s Ranch is notified, and our staff will go to Child Haven to interview the child. The staff will then determine if the child and St. Jude’s Ranch are a good fit for each other.
Some children may stay at St. Jude’s Ranch for just a short time while other children stay with us for years. Child Protective Services determines how long a child stays. We recently had a boy that had been with us for about five years. Another girl had spent several years here as a child and now is a house parent taking care of other children.
When these children, who have been through unimaginable pain and loss, are brought to St. Jude’s Ranch, they find themselves in a nurturing environment, sometimes for the first time in their lives. They are living in a home that is safe, where parents ask them about their day and what they learned at school. Their new home is a place where these traumatized children finally feel important and loved.
The four brothers in this story, like so many other boys and girls, found hope at St. Jude’s Ranch where we have been saving abused, abandoned and neglected children for the last 50 years. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we reflect on the many blessings we’ve enjoyed. The caring community of Boulder City has embraced the mission of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and made it possible for us to continue the vital work of providing a haven and restoring hope to thousands of traumatized children and families.
To show our appreciation for the many years of support, we invite you to join us for our 10th Annual “Night of Lights” Open House on Saturday, December 10, 2016, from 5pm to 8pm on our campus at 100 St. Jude’s Street in Boulder City. Enjoy delicious baked goods while you sip hot chocolate and stroll through our version of Dr. Seuss’s “WhoVille” filled with wonderfully-crafted decorations and Christmas lights. Carolers will be singing all your holiday favorites, and there will be games for the kids. S’mores are always a delightful treat, and we will have a special “S’mores Pit” where you can enjoy them! Children can get their picture taken with our jolly old Santa. Admission is free; however, there is a minimal cost for some items. Our newly revamped Gift/Thrift Shop will also be open and have some fantastic Christmas deals! Join us and help us celebrate 50 years of saving Nevada’s most valuable resource—our children!
If you would like to support St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, please visit our website at www.stjudesranch.org. We can always use new clothes, especially socks and underwear. Gift cards to clothing stores are wonderful for the pre-teens and teens. We are still collecting new, unwrapped toys as well. At present, we have an abundance of used clothes, toys, and greeting cards. Our greatest need is financial, and any amount is appreciated. It costs almost $180 per child per day to care for a child here at St. Jude’s Ranch and state reimbursements cover only 38 percent of that cost. We invite you to come to St. Jude’s Ranch to see how your money is being spent and meet some of the children you are helping. Please contact us at
702-294-7169 to set up a tour.