Samaritan Center: Helping young boys, families make good choices

    12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 Local
Amy Christensen is the executive director of Samaritan Center for Young Boys & Families. Contributed

What does Samaritan Center for Young Boys & Families do?

Samaritan Center for Young Boys & Families is a residential, Christian program operating five days a week to address and modify inappropriate behaviors in young boys who are there on a voluntary basis. Boys of all religious backgrounds are welcome to participate in the program. It is a behavioral program, not a school.

How does your agency benefit the community?

Boys come to the center as a result of inappropriate behavior which can also result in poor academic performance. As a team, everyone works together to modify each boy’s behavior, get him at or above his expected grade level, and build his character, self-esteem and sense of community. Our Christian-based program approaches these challenges from a positive perspective. We employ structure, consistency, love and encouragement. We use a basic merit and demerit system to encourage the boys to make good choices.

Parents are required to take classes that improve their child-rearing skills. Any other people with whom the Samaritan Center resident comes into contact is interacting with a positive and caring individual whose attitude will affect those around him. The motto of the Samaritan Center for Young Boys & Families is “Building men … one boy at a time.” The influence of those boys spreads far and deep in helping those around them to be better people.

Boys are selected through a rigorous application and interview process to determine if the boy, his family and the staff at Samaritan Center staff can work together. It is critically important that the family commit to their son and the program. It’s the only way that success can be achieved.

What is your agency’s focus?

From grades 1-8, boys attend classes taught by licensed teachers on the grounds of the campus in Stuart. Once boys enter their freshman year of high school, they attend South Fork High School and continue to return to the center after classes and activities each day.

Most boys stay in the Samaritan Center program for an average of 2 to 2 1/2 years. The progress of both the boy and his family are monitored while they are in the program, and the decision of when the boys leave is made together.

How can the community help?

Financial support is key to the success and future of Samaritan Center for Young Boys & Families. For every dollar invested in the Samaritan Center, taxpayers are saved $20 in the underwriting of future services that won’t be needed by these boys and their families.

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