By: Macy Goodnight | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: September 2018
The Founding Board Members Front left to right: A.L. Farmer, William Stahl, Clark Field. Back left to right: C.S. Avery, Orra Upp, Mrs. C.F. Farren, E.P. Harwell.
One of the greatest treasures in Oklahoma is celebrating 100 years of healing and hope for more than 13,000 Oklahoma boys. The Tulsa Boys’ Home opened its doors on August 28, 1918 to fill the need for housing of young homeless boys living on the streets of downtown Tulsa. The foundation that housed the boys in the beginning was a two-story white house where the Bernsen Community Life Center is now located at 710 S. Boston. Three of the five boys that first lived at the home were found living in cardboard boxes in downtown Tulsa, a city that was growing faster than its social services could handle during the oil boom of the early 1900’s.
The Tulsa Boys’ Home moved several times because of the need for growth and expansion and settled into its current location on a 160- acre ranch in Sand Springs in 1979. The Tulsa Boys’ Home was the first and remains the largest residential treatment facility serving troubled boys in Oklahoma. Today, the home cares for 64 boys, ranging in age from 11-18.
Gregg Conway proudly leads as Executive Director of The Tulsa Boys’ Home, since 1997. Mr. Conway honors the tradition of the Boys’ Home, and those who came before. “For our 100th anniversary, we celebrate all the efforts of board members, staff, volunteers, and donors who have come before us. That’s whose shoulders we stand on now. That’s the foundation that we’ve built on and continue to build on,” said Mr. Conway.
The newest initiative of the Boys’ Home is the Hope Tours, with a goal of community awareness. Hope Tours are scheduled on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. “The Tulsa Boys’ Home has always been one of the crown jewels of Tulsa historically, and our current facility was made possible by the generosity of the Tulsa community,” said Mr. Conway. “We encourage the public to come and see it during one of our tours.” Special tours may also be coordinated in advance for groups that cannot make the scheduled times.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Tulsa Boys’ Home, a Centennial Homecoming Event is scheduled for October 14, 2018, from 1pm-6pm, at their extraordinary facility at 2727 S. 137th West Avenue in Sand Springs. Activities will include a meet and greet with former residents, staff, board members, and volunteers. Visitors will also enjoy tours of the campus, equine demonstrations, food trucks, fun and games, and more! Event chairs, Mieke Epps and Frank Rhoades have dedicated many leadership hours to ensure the Centennial Celebration is a success, as well as a festive and prosperous milestone for The Boys’ Home. Regarding the celebration, Mr. Conway added “We are so grateful for the immense support we receive, and have always received, from the Tulsa community; that’s what makes it all work. This is what we are celebrating.”
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