Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch
The Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch, a Christian residential treatment home for at-risk boys ages 7 to 21, was founded in 1982 by Ken and Sheila Ortman. The program is based on their idea that, because God creates every person with a purpose, every boy who comes to the Boys Ranch is worth saving and can -with God's help - develop his full potential.
The Boys Ranch grew out of the Ortman's vision to change the way America saves at-risk youth. They believe it is possible for troubled boys to have a second chance at life if they can change their negative behavior patterns, that God can change lives in miraculous ways, and that good work habits are important for building character, self-esteem, and self-discipline.
Many of the boys come from abusive or negligent homes, and have never experienced respect and love. Ken and Sheila begin by demonstrating God's love to them by their own words and actions. Their mission is to provide boys the opportunity to become capable, committed, Christian citizens.
One of the unique qualities of the LUC program is the willingness to help a boy overcome his problems and not "kick him out" because of his negative behaviors. The Ortmans believe that God has chosen each boy who comes to LUC and has a plan for his life; therefore, the Ortmans work to develop the unique qualities of each boy to help bring meaning into his life.
The Ortmans have seen miraculous improvements in the lives of many boys who were dismissed from other treatment programs. The LUC Christian residential treatment program utilizes Biblical counseling and applies Christian principles to re-build broken family relationships. Boys are able to find purpose and develop their talents by acquiring various trade skills and learning to excel academically.
The boys participate in daily Bible studies, meal-time devotions and praise, personal study of God's Word, and attendance at various local Sunday school and worship services. Because the Boys Ranch is interdenominational, the LUC the LUC staff uses the Bible as the handbook for helping boys with their daily needs and inspiration.
The Ortmans desire to help each boy find his way back to his family by changing his behaviors and by helping him discover things about himself that help him rebuild a positive structure for a successful future. This is done through behavior management techniques and individualized counseling. Goals are set for each young man, with the the LUC staff helping each boy to achieve his goals.
One key to a successful future is a good education, which is high on the priority list. The Education Coordinator works with the Blue Eye Public School system to discover the boy's abilities. The Boys Ranch and the school work hand-in-hand to enable the boys to achieve academic success. Many of these boys would not graduate from high school. Without the benefit of a high school degree, they may find themselves on the road to prison and/or welfare.
These boys have great potential locked within them. Many boys find that they are capable of excellent grades, and also discover unrealized musical and artistic talents. They also receive instruction at the Boys Ranch in a number of trade skills.
Boys in the LUC program are able to gain certificates of achievement in the fields of :
Boys gain basic vehicle maintenance skills and acquire various mechanics skills.* Welding. Using various scraps of metals, the boys learn to create various kinds of gift items, make grills, help with farm welding, and sell some of their handiwork to the public.
The LUC staff teach safety and proper techniques in working with power equipment and boys receive hands-on training while helping construct Boys Ranch buildings.
* Animal Husbandry.
Caring for animals is very therapeutic because a boy realizes that a life depends on him. The farm offers wonderful opportunities to demonstrate love while learning responsibilities. Boys learn how to work with a stubborn animal that requires a lot of patience and understanding and also see the miracle of birth. The Boys Ranch has such exotic animals as ostriches, emus, llamas, and buffaloes in addition to traditional farm livestock.
The boys mow lawns for the elderly in the community. These and other jobs develop excellent work habits and reinforce self respect when they are praised for a job well done.
Boys-at-risk come with various backgrounds and offenses, substance abuse, violence and aggression, chronic truancy, disrespect for authority, self-destructive behavior, and other emotional problems.
Over 170 boys have completed the program, and over 93% of these boys remain free from trouble with the law after graduation. The Ortmans believe there are four basic aspects to the program that are responsible for this high success rate. These are the Christian values and ethics that are taught and role-modeled, the emphasis on a good education, the training the boys receive in the various trades, and the counseling that they receive.
The Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch generally caters to helping boys within a 200-mile radius, but has accepted boys from over 20 different states. The rewards are tremendous.
The Ortmans have witnessed a boy who came from a background of gang involvement who completely turned his life around. After just 15 months, he returned to his home and invited his former gang members over for a game of basketball and a Bible study.
Many of the graduates have enlisted in the military service and have received high honors. Others report success in higher education or jobs in their home communities. LUC graduates have become successful in management, teaching, social work, laws, skilled trades, and more ...
The Ortmans have regular visits from graduates who bring their families back to "a place they once called home." These former residents share with the current boys the things they learned while at the Boys Ranch and the lessons they have experienced since they left. Many boys just like to come back to visit, have a hug, and hear the words "well done" or "keep working hard -the Lord will help you ..."
The Ortmans are continually working towards excellence. There are numerous plans for expansion to enable them help more boys, provide parental workshops, train LUC staff training, and much more. If you desire to be a part of God's work in helping to re-construct boy's lives and creating a better world for the youth, contact the Ortmans at:
Ken & Sheila Ortman
Lives Under Construction Boys Boys Ranch
296 Boys Boys Ranch Road - Lampe, MO 65681
Phone: (417) 779-5374