Getting the word out on Tulsa Boys Home

Tulsa Boys Home is just north of Sapulpa and Creek County, within the city limits of Sand Springs, actually. Most area people have seen the signs and a few know of its success in helping boys with troubles. Still, for the most part TBH seems a well-kept secret.

An awareness campaign and programs like that at Sapulpa Rotary Club on Tuesday during its regular meeting at Freddie’s is helping to get the story out, however.

Few also know about the Home’s tie to Rotary. It was in 1918 that two Tulsa men found a couple of homeless boys sleeping in trash boxes in an alley. The two men happened to be Rotarians, and undoubtedly practicing the Club’s motto “Service Above Self,” decided to help the boys find shelter and then took the cause to their fellow members.

Clay Langley, clinical director for the Tulsa Boys Home, and a Rotary Assistant Governor, was the speaker Tuesday. He said Tulsa Boys Home definitely grew out of a Rotary project and today is meeting the same kinds of needs at its founding nearly 100 years ago.

Still called Tulsa Boys Home it actually helps and has helped boys from all over the state including a good number from Creek County.

Founded in 1918, Tulsa Boys’ Home began in a two-story house on Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa. First Presbyterian Church and the Downtown Rotary Club partnered to establish the home that would later move to today’s 168-acre spread. Langly, who has been aboard the past five years, described the 64-bed facility as home, school and training center for boys overcoming troubles.

Meeting the needs of troubled boys and their families, TBH is accredited as a residential treatment facility for boys with emotional, behavioral, and substance abuse problems.

According to material presented Tuesday, TBH was the first and remains the largest residential treatment facility serving troubled boys in Oklahoma. Each year, the Home delivers residential services to approximately 150 boys and their families. It serves approximately 64 boys a day — 40 of which are placed by the Department of Human Services. The other 24 are privately placed by parents or legal guardians. Many of these boys learn to lead productive lives, and credit TBH for breaking the cycle of poverty, abuse, and neglect that is often passed on from generation to generation if no help is available.

TBH is a member of OKCARE and is audited by the Child Welfare Division of Oklahoma DHS. The National Council of Accreditation has three times awarded TBH a rare 100% compliance rating for meeting the highest standards of professional performance.

In 1948, a major fundraiser was established with an annual $100 per plate dinner. It has evolved through the years and continues today as Run for the Roses. In 1970, the TBH charity Golf Classic was established and also continues as a major TBH fundraising event each year.

“The underlying premise of our philosophy and treatment model is the belief that most of the emotional and behavioral problems we see in our residents are caused by painful past events and difficult relationships,” the program pointed out.

“The Tulsa Boys’ Home philosophy embraces the idea that behavior that is positively reinforced is likely to be repeated.  As a practical matter, therefore, TBH staff look for positive behavior in our residents that can be positively reinforced, in an effort to insure that this behavior is recognized, understood, and likely to be repeated.”

The mission of Tulsa Boys’ Home is to provide the highest quality residential care for young boys needing placement outside their home, for the purpose of developing well-adjusted, responsible adults and strengthening the family.

Of the various programs at the Home, one is getting some media attention is the Equine. Horses are utilized as a dynamic part of the healing process through TBH’s Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) Program. Therapists are trained in the EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) Model of EAP.

Residents benefit from the responsibility, trust, self-discipline, and communication skills they learn from their relationships with the horses, and are also taught equine care and horse safety as part of their overall horsemanship training. Tulsa Boys’ Home is in the process of developing its own Equine-Assisted Pyschotherapy Model, expected to be released in 2016.

Langley also introduced Karen K. Clark, development coordinator for the TBH Hope Tours. She told Rotary members that if they or anyone interested would invest an hour of their time, they can have a firsthand look at the “powerful treatment program that we provide for our boys.” She said the tour is not a fundraising event, and does not ask for contributions or involvement. “We just want the opportunity to showcase our important work with our very troubled young boys.

For dates and times of the next Hope Tour, contact Karen K. Clark at or 918-245-0231 Ext. 5004. We look forward to the opportunity to showcase our important work with our very troubled young boys.
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