At a ceremony Friday morning, Columbia resident Wes Stricker presented the Boys and Girls Town of Missouri with a check for $100,000, the largest donation yet for a new and more secure facility being built on Bearfield Road.
“The challenge here is to help with the buildings here,” Stricker said.
“But it’s more of a challenge for those in the community to get involved in Boys and Girls Town.”
The Boys and Girls Town of Missouri is a nonprofit organization that helps youths with emotional and behavioral problems, build self-esteem and develop positive behaviors.
Although the organization already has a facility in Columbia, there is no place in Boone County that provides level 4 care, which caters to children with conditions that might lead to self harm, said Jim Silsby, campaign manager for Boys and Girls Town.
The new facility will allow Columbia children with such conditions to stay close to home, rather than being relocated to other facilities in the state, away from family and friends.
The new facility will be able to accommodate 48 children, up from 31 at the existing site. There will be 24 beds of secure care and 24 beds of residential care, shared between an equal number of boys and girls.
Construction on the project will start within the next few weeks. The two new secure cottages on the facility will be completed by the end of the summer, and the whole facility will be complete within the next two years.
“It was a dream of the community to have a place here in the community to take care of these kids,” said Vince Hillyer, executive director of Boys and Girls Town. “This is not only a celebration, but the start of a dream.”