COMO YOU KNOW: Boys and Girls Town of Missouri

Friday, March 8, 2013 | 11:41 a.m. CST; updated 7:22 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 9, 2014

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Boys and Girls Town of Missouri is a nonprofit organization aimed at bettering the lives of children with behavioral and emotional problems. There are four campuses, including one in Columbia, serving 95 counties and St. Louis.


Locations: St. Louis, St. James, Springfield and Columbia

Founded: 1949

Tax status: Exempt


Full text

Founded in 1949 by Lt. Bill James of St. Louis, Boys and Girls Town of Missouri has become one of the largest organizations of its kind. While serving in World War II, James had an experience that moved him to help others when he returned to the United States. His goal was to create a home for troubled boys, regardless of their situation. In June 1949, he opened the doors of the first campus of Boys Town of Missouri in St. James.

Since then three more campuses have opened around Missouri, and the renamed Boys and Girls Town of Missouri serves more than 83 percent of the state. A St. Louis location was opened in 1988, followed by the creation of a Springfield campus in 1989. The fourth location was founded in 2001. In 2005, the Columbia campus moved to a 5.8-acre, six-building site on Bearfield Road in Columbia. In October 2009, the organization merged with the Edgewood Children’s Center in an effort to better assist children and families while also saving money. Since the merger the organization, known as Edgewood in the St. Louis area and Boys and Girls Town of Missouri at the other three campuses, serves more than 7,800 families.

The Boys and Girls Town of Missouri assists children and families through various programs including residential treatment, foster care case management and therapy. The organization strives to make its programs a legitimate alternative to expensive hospital and professional treatments. This is made possible by donations and grants.

The Boys and Girls Town began renovations of its Columbia campus in 2005. It added two new cottages and renovated two existing cottages. A dining hall and recreation center were finished in summer 2010. Construction will begin on a new baseball diamond in spring 2011.

Links and sources

Official site:

Columbia campus website

Boys and Girls Town, Edgewood Children's Center to merge, 2009 article from St. Louis Business Journal

Better Business Bureau review, St. Louis

Newly renovated Boys & Girls Town campus hosts open house

Updated: March 8, 2013

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