The Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch provides young men the opportunity to become capable, committed citizens utilizing a program that emphasizes Christian values and ethics, education, skill training and counseling.
Over 250 boys have completed the 18 to 20 month program, and it currently has 18 boys living at the Ranch.
“We have room for 28 boys but we don’t have the staff in place and the funding is not available for us to run at our highest potential,” Melissa Ortman, director of development, said.
Because Lives Under Construction is not funded by the government, the Ranch relies on donations and grants, like those received from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, to pay all expenses.
Operation costs, including but not limited to utility, gas, food and salaries, cost a minimum of $2,500 a month per boy, Ortman said.
Ortman said the biggest reward of being a part of Lives Under Construction is seeing the difference in each boy from when they arrive to the time they leave.
“It’s almost a night and day difference,” Ortman said. “We don’t have a dismissal policy, so nothing they do will get them kicked out. We aren’t going to give up on them. We have the opportunity to see them grow and change their behavior and attitude.”
Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch is located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains in Southwest Missouri. The Ranch was founded by Ken and Sheila Ortman in 1982 with the premise that because God created each person with a purpose, each boy who comes to the Ranch is worth saving and can develop to his full potential with God’s help.
On October 7, Lives Under Construction is hosting its annual open house at 11 a.m. with guided tours and presentations from the boys.
Lives Under Construction is hosting a planned giving seminar led by Mr. Thomas D. Peebles Jr., former chairman of the Board of Directors at Community Foundation of the Ozarks. He will be speaking on November 6 at the Big Cedar Lodge.
Everyone is invited to attend and asked to RSVP to Melissa Ortman at (417) 779-5374.