The Tulsa Boys’ Home is located in the community of Sand Springs, Oklahoma and there lives a nationally recognized residential treatment facility for boys with emotional, behavioral, and substance abuse obstacles. The purpose and goal of the Tulsa Boys’ Home is to support and assist boys ages 12 to 18 to show them that they can live meaningful and productive lives for the good of themselves and those around them. They treat each resident with an understanding spirit and offer passionate staff and volunteers to support and uplift the boys while doing all they can to help them heal from the hurt of their past. The Tulsa Boys’ Home helps with healing and hope by rescuing, rebuilding, and reintegrating the residents in order for them to have a healthy and successful future. The mission of Tulsa Boys’ Home is to provide the highest quality residential care for boys needing placement outside their home, for the purpose of developing well-adjusted, responsible adults, and strengthening the family.
Founded in 1918, as just a small two-story house in downtown Tulsa, the Tulsa Boys’ Home has grown to be the largest residential treatment facility serving boys in the state of Oklahoma. With help from members of the First Presbyterian Church and the Downtown Rotary Club, the Tulsa Boys’ Home was born. The home took five boys as their first residents, two boys found sleeping in an alley and three orphans, and since then over 13,500 boys have been helped by the kindness and assistance from the staff at Tulsa Boys’ Home. In 1979 the home was moved to 160-acres in Sand Springs. This year is the celebration of 104 years serving Oklahoma.
Today, the executive director of the Tulsa Boys’ Home is Gregg T. Conway, M.S. Mr. Conway has been the executive director for 25 years and has seen and implemented many programs into the home. With 64 boys currently living at the facility, he is an integral part of the growth in the boys.
“If I were to distill it down, I would say that the Tulsa Boys’ Home is about healing and about hope,” said Mr. Conway. “We take in some of the most broken hearted, broken minded, broken spirited boys and we help them heal from past trauma that a lot of them have experienced from early childhood.”
The programs that Tulsa Boys’ Home implements for their residents are equine and recreation programs, substance abuse treatment, and an on-campus alternative school with veteran, certified teachers.
“Everything we do here at the Tulsa Boys’ Home from the time they get up to the time they go to bed, 365 days out of the year, there is a rhyme and a reason for everything,” said Mr. Conway. “Everything we do is therapeutic for the boys. Our school is a therapeutic alternative school and our horses that we have are part of our equine therapy program. There are a lot of elements of fun that are embedded in our day-to-day operations, but everything we do is in effort to help them heal from their wounds and to develop a sense of hope.”
The teachers at the school have 152 years of combined experience that allow them to work closely with the boys. While at Tulsa Boys’ Home, the boys who once had lower grades find themselves receiving mostly As and Bs and finding enjoyment in learning because of the dedicated teachers, tutors, and direct care staff that work with the boys on their schooling. Aside from the everyday classroom, Tulsa Boys’ Home offers a virtual learning academy for students who are behind on their credits and a summer school program that offers extra classes such as art, music, and recreational courses, such as swimming lessons. In the past five years, the school has seen 10 boys graduate and receive a Charles Page High School diploma. There is a scholarship fund available for boys who graduate from Tulsa Boys’ Home to help with them attending a state school or vocational technical school.
The recreation programs are meant to help promote teamwork, cooperation, communication, and respect for rules and boundaries. The program consists of basketball, flag football, baseball, soccer, swimming, weight training, cardio fitness, pickleball, fishing, frisbee golf, and horseback riding. The equine therapy program is to serve the boys in both individual and group sessions to help with their healing. It gives the boys a chance to interact with the horses and equine therapists to find ways to connect in relationships and increase their self-worth, confidence, and hope for the future.
The substance abuse treatment program is designed to help support and enhance the lives of the boys. They provide best practices in alcohol and drug treatment, in order for the boys to continue with a healthy lifestyle away from drugs and alcohol. To help with this program the Tulsa Boys’ Home uses different methods of therapy and the client’s treatment consists of the Oklahoma Model Treatment Program endorsed by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Hazelden Step process, self-help support group meetings, and a Positive Peer Culture.
In addition to the schooling and programs offered for the boys, each boy has their own room and bathroom in one of the six lodges offered on the campus.
The Tulsa Boys’ Home provides tours for anyone who is interested in learning more about their mission and work through Hope Tours. These are one hour tours and walkthroughs where people can meet some of the residents, volunteers, board members, and staff. The Hope Tours give those who wish to learn more about the Tulsa Boys’ Home a chance to see what all takes place at the residency and how they are impacting the boys’ lives through the program. Mr. Conway, as well as other staff, express to visitors the mission behind the Tulsa Boys’ Home and how their programs benefit those who stay there. Hope Tours are from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. To sign up for a Hope Tour, email Mike Murphy, Chief Operating Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form at https://www.tulsaboyshome.org/hope-tour.
Volunteers are also welcome at the home in various ways. Whether you want to be a mentor to the residents, become foster or adoptive parents, or donate through financial assistance, the Tulsa Boys’ Home is appreciative of all their willing participants. The organization is always looking for volunteers to become one on one mentors for the boys, one on one or group tutors, or lodge mentors where the volunteer or group of volunteers have the opportunity to spend quality time with all the boys in a lodge. After not being able to allow for outside visitors during COVID-19, the staff and residents are excited for more volunteers to start coming back to the facility to offer friendship and love to the boys.
Another way to support the Tulsa Boys’ Home is to become foster or adoptive parents. Mr. Conway expressed that on any given day they have seven to nine boys who are ready to be in foster homes, but there is simply not a place for them to go. He encourages people to become this home for the boys and offer them love and support as they are learning to heal from their pasts.
“There is clearly a sense of urgency that I feel acutely to get these boys plugged in and connected with a real home, a foster home or ideally an adoptive home, a forever home,” said Mr. Conway.
Mr. Conway also encourages people to support fundraising efforts and events held by the Tulsa Boys’ Home. Their next event will be their 6th annual Tulsa Boys’ Home Barbeque, Beer, & Cigars at Neff Brewing. This event will be $125 per person and participants will receive a delicious barbeque meal, hand crafted beer provided by Neff Brewing, scotch tasting provided by Malt Whiskey Society of Oklahoma, two cigars provided by Steve Thomas of Tobacco Pouch and live music to enjoy with those around them. Another option to support this fundraiser is to sponsor a table. The event will be from 6 to 10 p.m. on August 11, 2022. To register for the event or to sponsor a table, visit https://www.tulsaboyshome.org/tbh-barbecue-beer-cigars. For more information on the event, email Roxanne Cook, Development Coordinator, at email@example.com. Participants must be 21 years of age to attend.
To learn more about the pursuit and story of Tulsa Boys’ Home or how you can get involved, visit TulsaBoysHome.org.