Category: WBH Blog

A collection of all the posts to the WBH site

Cotton crop at Saunders

Doing more with less . . .

Westview’s Molloy Farm has always produced good cotton crops, but a change to drip irrigation gives increasing yields with much less water. The benefits? Better profitability to care for our young men while they learn sustainable, ecologically sound practices.

Since drip irrigation applies the water at the root of the plant, there is much less waste and evaporation of water. Less watering reduces the strain on our aquifer and lowers the power cost of operating our pumps. Better watered plants produce more cotton.

This year’s crop is so promising because of the effectiveness of this system and the excellent cotton weather we have experienced this year. We may be able to pay off the irrigation system after just one year. This means that–in future years–there will be more revenues to help care for young men. Although the farm will never produce enough revenue to fund the operations of the Home, every nickle counts. We plan to wisely use that nickle and keep this land sustainably productive.

For more information about installing this system, see: Modeling & Teaching Stewardship.

Westside youth group

Sweet sixteen for Westside at WBH

For sixteen years, Brett McKnight and the youth group from the Westside Church of Christ in Norman have been coming to Westview to get to know our young men and to make our campus a better place. Their visits are always one of the sweet spots of our summer.

Perhaps that’s why it’s appropriate that their work on our campus this summer was on our north campus at Sweetwater House. Sweetwater is a great old house, but it was in serious need of a new coat of paint on its exterior. Our campus manager, Terry Owens, had set aside this job for the Westside group because they’ve earned our confidence in them over the years. We know that they can handle tough jobs and do them well.

Brett and Jennifer McKnight brought nine hard-working young people with them this year. They worked hard in the morning (before the heat became its most brutal), had lunch, rested a bit, and then enjoyed time with our young men on campus and at the Wellington Activity Center.

In the end of it all, they enjoyed the sweetness of a job well-done and those of us at Westview appreciated the sacrifice and hard work given by each of our friends from Norman. We are grateful.

Westside painting Sweetwater

Darryl Brown with Burl and Y'Vonne Butler

Old acquaintances are not forgotten

Years ago Darryl (DC) Brown was a young man at Westview Boys’ Home when Burl and Y’Vonne Butler were caregivers at Sweetwater House. The relationships they formed have changed all of their lives. Eventually, After DC left Westview, they lost track of each other and what was happening in each other’s lives.

After decades apart, God brought DC and Burl and Y’Vonne back together at the Red River Family Encampment in Red River, New Mexico. DC found the Butlers at the Westview booth, and there was a joyful reunion. They retold old stories and celebrated DC’s long career of service to the church.

Most recently, after ministering for 19 years at a congregation in Pearland, Texas, DC now preaches at the Magnolia Church of Christ in Magnolia, Texas. Since his grandchildren were with him at Red River, he was proud to introduce them to Burl and Y’Vonne. Burl and Y’Vonne were glad to meet his grandchildren and very proud to hear of  DC’s dedicated and extensive service to the church.

At Westview, we’re proud of so many of our young men and their choices to make a difference this world. Only God knows all of the good that they do on any given day at work, in ministry, and with their families. We thank God for the blessings they are in this world from day to day.

We also thank God for the special people who work to change the lives of our young men. Often it takes years for the fruit of their loving labor to become apparent. Nonetheless, God richly blesses Westview’s caregivers—special servants of God—for their care for these young men.

NMCP Program

Terry Owens completes nonprofit management program

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits has announced that 28 students have been awarded certificates for Nonprofit Management through the Nonprofit Management Certification Program. Among the graduates was Terry Owens, Campus Manager at Westview Boys’ Home. As a participant in this six-month professional development program, Terry accumulated 36 hours of Continuing Professional Education in the following content areas: Leadership Essentials, Managing Support for the Organization, Managing Budgets and Leading Meetings, Human Resources, Conflict Management and Diversity, and Coaching as Supervision.

Marnie Taylor, President and CEO of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, says about the program, “Managing a nonprofit is a very challenging job and the Center is so pleased to be able to offer this comprehensive program that touches on the essential skills that are required. A nonprofit leader is often expected to be ‘a jack of all trades,’ which is very challenging, and this program equips leaders to meet that expectation. Nonprofits are businesses and nonprofit professionals need to have good, sound business management skills in order to move their organizations forward. Our Nonprofit Management Certification Program allows even experienced nonprofit professionals the opportunity to learn and practice those skills.”

Dr. Ron Bruner, Executive Director of Westview, noted that “Terry Owens is a vital part of Westview’s dynamic leadership team. His willingness to continue to learn and grow contributes to our team’s success. The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits continues to provide affordable training opportunities of the highest quality for nonprofits and nonprofit executives that seek to successfully engage their mission.”

The Nonprofit Management Certification program is a six-month, cohort model professional development program, organized around building practical knowledge for managing the everyday life of a nonprofit. Content in six core areas is designed to advance participants’ careers and build effectiveness in their current positions.

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits is a nonprofit organization equipping and strengthening the Oklahoma nonprofit sector through training, consulting, advocacy, membership, networking and recognition. The Center’s Mission is “building better communities through effective nonprofits.”

Flagpole at camp

Blazing new trails

Habits and rhythms are positive and powerful things but there is also fun and excitement in getting away from them. Every summer our young men get away to church camp. For some it is their first experience of summer camp: life outdoors, new friends, and new songs. For teens, blazing these new trails is fiercely important because these adventures so often lead them to new possibilities and the discovery of better ways to see themselves.

Church camp gives our young men the opportunity to get away from the “busyness” of the world and to take time to think about their lives–past, present, and future–and their relationships. There is time to rethink and appreciate connections with family, friends, and most importantly–God. The change of pace and temporary change of habits (what some people call dehabituation) open up new possibilities for youths to see themselves and their relationships in positive ways.

Once again, our young men are going to Camp Lu-Jo KISMIF this summer. KISMIF stands for Keep It Spiritual, Make It Fun. At Camp Lu-Jo, the hours spent in worship, in Bible study, and in singing often help teens more clearly understand that they have been shaped in the image of God for the glory of God. Many also come to see their identity as a child of God. For these youth, this is a powerfully healing realization.

Westview is grateful for those who empower our young men to be present at camp this summer. Thank you for the ways that you seek to help their healthy spiritual formation.

Blazing new trails

 

Some of our boys with the crew from Oakdale

When we start working together

For years, the Church of Christ at Oakdale has been a vital part of the work at Westview Boys’ Home. Recently a team of members and leaders came to work side by side with our young men and staff on our farm. We were glad to show them the hospitality for which Westview has become known.

It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place . . . it’s when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.

– David Hume

garden toolsLed by a friend of Westview, Richard Yahola; the pulpit minister, Darrel Sears; the youth minister, John T. Langley; and one of the church’s shepherds, Larry Zeller, our friends from Oakdale worked hard in our vegetable garden. With about two acres in our garden, clearing out weeds and the remnants of the previous crop proved to be a hefty job. The crew from Oakdale got our young men off to a good start.

As this garden matures, it will provide fresh vegetables–squash, cucumbers, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, and okra–to the young men that live at Westview. We hope to have some extra produce for the market as well.

Besides sharing time in the field, our friends shared time at the table and in worship. We had some good meals together; we shared wonderful devotional time together as well. We have much to be thankful for.

We’ve found that working together builds relationships that are stronger and more enduring. Our hope is that our friends at Oakdale will continue to see themselves as important partners in our vital work with at-risk youth.