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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Thank you to those who support children

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 17, 2013 at 2:17 a.m.


How to help

Items needed at Bluebonnet Youth Ranch:

Furniture

• Living room furniture

• Bookshelves

• Small writing desks and chairs

Major projects

• Landscaping

• Sidewalk around playground

• Mason cottage demolition

• Recreation room addition

Report abuse or neglect

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:

• Call the Abuse Hotline toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nationwide at 1-800-252-5400.

• Or visit TxAbuseHotline.org - Report with a secure website and get a response within 24 hours.

It was 1968, and in a small Texas town, a group of Yoakum businessmen pulled their funds together to provide rent and a caregiver for five children whose widowed mother left them for treatment. Not long after, the Welfare Department stepped in, saying it was illegal to operate a home for dependent and neglected children without a license.

As with most small, close-knit towns, heroes step up when the need presents itself. This situation was no different. A generous patron donated 50 acres for a facility to be built, and many others donated time and money until in 1972, the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch was opened. Because of those heroes, some 450 children from abusive and neglected homes throughout Texas have been provided a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow, learn and reach their full potential. We thank those many generous patrons who have selflessly given to these children who have the right to grow and prosper free from abuse and neglect.

In 2012 in Texas, there were 64,366 confirmed victims of child abuse/neglect, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Data Book. Of those, 601 came from our seven-county area. Sadly, there is a huge need for residential services to house these vulnerable children. From this one family's need in a small Texas town grew a caring, supportive environment to help many of this area's children thrive. We applaud all those who have helped this facility grow and enabled it to reach beyond its roots.

However, the construction of a facility is the easy part when compared to ongoing care and maintenance of buildings, staff and around-the-clock care of 30-plus children. The annual cost of running the youth ranch, with its ever changing family groups, is approximately $700,000 per year. Fundraisers like the Yoakum Annual Spring Fling and the Bluebonnet Celebrity Golf Tournament, as well as private donations and grants, keep the ranch going.

The 32nd annual celebrity golf tournament is a key component of the youth ranch's fundraising efforts, raising both funds and awareness for its mission. The golf tournament will be held Oct. 13-14 and is in need of volunteers and sponsors. Our hat is off to Claud Jacobs, who has stepped back into the role of chairing this major event. His dedication to and passion for the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch is contagious, capturing the hearts of so many of the celebrities who come year after year, dedicating their time and talents for the children of the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch.

The editorial board wishes to thank all the heroes who step up and commit to caring for those who cannot yet care for themselves. Our children are our greatest resource for the future - we can't afford to neglect them.

We encourage everyone to do their part in protecting all children, including the children in our area, where we can make the biggest impact.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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