Sunday, February 11, 2018

That Sleepy Little College Town is Greater than the Whole

David and Margaret Home

Dad and His Daughters
My father worked for Waltersheid Electric in San Dimas, California for many many years.  He was able to do electrical work for lots of people and many different companies such, as Vita Pakt in Covina.  Loved working there because he could bring home orange juice and lemonade.  I loved their lemonade.  He crawled through a great many attics, down crawl-spaces, and through yards.  Two of his favorite places to do work were in that sleepy little college town of La Verne: The David and Margaret Home and Leroy's Boys Home.  He loved having the young kids come watch him work and ask him questions.

Hotel La Verne
The David and Margaret Home in La Verne was the first orphanage in the area.  It's history is directly connected to the building of the sleepy little town that was built by the Church of the Brethren and expanded by the citrus growers.  See, back when La Verne was known as Lordsburg in the late 1800s, there were no children services nor safe places for orphaned or abandoned children.  Poor thangs just roamed the streets and relied on strangers for food and bedding.  This bothered the President of the First National Bank, Henry Kuns.  So he purchased 18 acres of property and constructed the La Verne Hotel.  Now remember there was already an unused hotel--Lordsburg Hotel--that became the basis of the University of La Verne.  But Kuns build this hotel with another purpose in mind.  In 1910 when it was completed, he had donated it to the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Church for the purpose of establishing the David & Margaret Home for Children.  The orphanage was named after Kuns' parents. 

Whitney Building in 2018
By 1925, the hotel needed major repairs and so Kuns bought more land and the children moved into the newly built Whitney Building.  The rest of the land was used as a farm to help feed the children and to house administration outposts.  All this was right near the center of town so the community could be involved.

Over the years the organization continued to build housing--in 1964 the first residential cabin was built in order to make it more "homey."  The kids transitioned out of the Whitney building and into the welcoming housing.  Today the acres are filled with housing and classes and administration and families.  The mission of the organization has remained the same: to empower children.  But the organization has grown to include so many services.  Here is a list of the services they now offer.

Leroy's Boys Home
Now you would think one children organization was enough social services needed in such a small town, but the township didn't stop there.  There were troubled kids in the town and Leroy Haynes, a chaplain for the youth authority, thought there was a better way than kid jail to help these kids.  In 1946 he and his wife bought a large estate near the foothills of La Verne and opened the doors to Leroy's Boys Home.  They started with 10 residents.  Today they are still working with the community, having changed the name to the Haynes Family of Programs.  Like David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, they have expanded what they offer by tenfold.  The organization, still located on the same estate, now has 18 buildings, including six residential cottages and a state certified K-12 non-public school. They annually serve more than 450 boys and girls of all ages, and their families, through four programs:
  1. Non-public School
  2. Residential Treatment
  3. Mental Health Services
  4. Community Outreach
The Haynes Family of Programs is dedicated to helping children with special needs relating to emotional development, autism, Asperger’s Disorder, learning disabilities, abuse, neglect and abandonment.

Leroy's Boys in the 1950s
One of the connections between them that these two organizations have is that they both have transitional housing for kids who age out of programs like Foster Care (D&M Home) and schooling (LB Home).  No way are they going to just dump the kids out on the street simply because they reach 18 years old.  Yay for them!  Who would think that such a sweet little town would welcome and support not one but two incredible organizations that were created to house and help kids and are still going strong today?  

I recently continued my father's legacy of helping support La Verne kids by donating four lap blankets and a quilt to the David and Margaret Youth and Family Services.  The next round will go to the Boys Home.

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