May 24, 2016
Cal Farley's Transforms Lives Of Local Families And Beyond
The Amarillo community is brimming with generous volunteers, influential leaders and successful businesspeople. The people of Amarillo are what make our city unlike any other. With the AEDC guest blog posts, we hope to educate readers on our community as well as share valuable messages from Amarillo's key thinkers. This is a guest post by Dan Adams, President and CEO of Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.
There are many characteristics that define a great community – strong leadership, a well-educated workforce and forward-thinking planners among them. But, part of a community’s greatness, too, is how it responds to society’s downtrodden.
At Cal Farley’s, we’ve served children and families from Amarillo – and far beyond – for more than three-quarters of a century.
Many in the local community are familiar with our Boys Ranch campus, our Christ-centered approach, and the fact we offer our services free of charge and without seeking state or federal funding.
But, I wonder how many know we’re one of the nation’s largest privately-funded child and family service organizations. Or, are familiar with the transformative, therapeutic work our professional staff is doing with the boys and girls living at Boys Ranch through cutting-edge programs like rocketry, aquaponics, 3D design and printing. All part of our Community-as-Lab concept, these programs show our youth real-world applications of the ideas they learn in their classrooms.
And, of course, Boys Ranch itself is only a single program in the life-changing organization that is Cal Farley’s. While we serve families from across the United States, Cal Farley’s is committed to changing lives right here at home. Our robust community-based services team, headquartered in Amarillo, operates our downtown Community Engagement Center in conjunction with Mission Amarillo and Amarillo Undivided.
Together with our No Limits, No Excuses partners, we’re providing invaluable social services to local families to help reduce the devastating effects of poverty and to increase educational attainment throughout Amarillo.
When you think about it, the Community Engagement Center is really a natural next step from Cal Farley’s existing community-based services. For many families, placing a child at our Boys Ranch campus might not be the most logical course. Locally, these families often are referred to Cal Farley’s Amarillo Family Resource Center for assistance. Family resource centers offer families many helpful services. They help children establish healthy boundaries and responsibility, to develop positive habits with aspects of daily life such as homework, respect for self or others and personal responsibility. Caregivers, too, benefit from training on parenting, conflict resolution, positive discipline and communication.
Like so many of our services, the Family Resource Center program isn’t one we’ve limited to Amarillo. Cal Farley’s operates a similar community office in Lubbock, which works hand-in-hand with our Genie Farley Harriman Center for Women & Children to give single mothers and their young children the tools they need for successful, independent lives. We have trained professionals in other communities, too, including Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Oklahoma City. Our presence in these communities lets us effectively serve more families with a broader spectrum of programs and support.
Of course, the natural question, at this point, is: How does Cal Farley’s offer all these incredible, transformative services?
I believe there are three key factors that explain our decades of success. First, we have a powerful, enduring vision. Mr. Farley said, “It’s not who you are or where you’ve been, it’s where you’re going that counts.” That maxim has defined our first 75 years, and gives us a guiding principle for the future. Like the families we serve, Cal Farley’s is going someplace. We’re continuing a tradition of innovation, with a commitment to program enhancement, research-guided methodology and industry leadership.
Second, we have at our core a strong, committed leadership. The men and women who make up the Cal Farley’s Board of Directors are people who care about their community and the legacy it leaves to our national culture. They volunteer their time, talents, leadership and prayers on behalf of the children and families whose lives Cal Farley’s transforms every day.
And, most importantly, Cal Farley’s has a loyal base of supporters from across the nation. It is these men and women, who share our passion for changing lives, who provide the resources that enable our leadership to offer the programs and services society needs, to hire staff who are the best in their fields and to project Mr. Farley’s vision forward to transform today’s hurting children into the positive leaders of tomorrow.
It’s an incredible legacy, both for the Cal Farley’s organization and for the Amarillo community from which it sprang. I hope, like me, you’re proud to be a part of it.
Dan Adams has been the President and CEO of Cal Farley's Boys Ranch since 2004. For more than 30 years, he has devoted his career in social services to working with youth and families.
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