An organization that helps at-risk boys in our community is going to shut down. After 50 years, the Colorado Boys Ranch in La Junta is closing, leaving employees without jobs and kids looking for alternative treatment.
Over the years, the Boys Ranch has helped over 10,000 young boys, providing mental health services to at-risk kids. The sad reality is that there’s just not enough money.
Martin Masar has found his sense of purpose – it’s working with kids. But instead of the daily interaction and therapy group, he’s now spending his days boxing up 30 years worth of memories.
“It’s really tough, it’s a grieving process,” Martin Masar explained.
Masar is one of over 100 employees who will be without a job when the Colorado Boys Ranch is forced to close their doors. He says seeing the transformation of the troubled teens was by far the best part of his job.
“They’ve been so hurt and abused and traumatized by whatever situation they came from, and then to see them come alive, to see that life in their eyes, it’s powerfully rewarding,” said Masar.
The Boys Ranch president says restrictive state regulations combined with years of a tough economy and their rural location are all contributing factors.
“There are enormous needs for kids services in our society, and we have a skilled and tremendous and caring workforce, and powerful model that’s highly credited throughout the nation, but there’s not the financial glue or the policies to stick those together,” Colorado Boys Ranch President, Chuck Thompson, explained.
11 News asks, what will happen to the kids?
“The children have been appropriately arranged to go back home or to an appropriate setting from here,” Thompson said.
As for Masar, he says the closing of the ranch will leave him with a void, but he’ll reflect on the lives he touched.
“With the last of the kids, basically with the last child, so goes my heart out the door too”
The Colorado Boys Ranch is working to help their employees find similar mental health positions along the Front Range. They will officially close at the end of August.
Although the Boys Ranch is closing, there are other CBR Youth Programs across our state. They help both boys and girls through non-residential treatment, and their services will continue.