PARSONS, Kans. — It has been serving boys for more than 40 years now. It’s the Youth Crisis Center in Parsons. It’s a long-term residential facility for boys ages six and up. Often times, some of them come from poverty or have dealt with abuse.
“A lot of kids, they had to beginning. They didn’t have a fair chance. You know that they had a bad start at the beginning. And what we tell them is it didn’t always have to be that way. And so a lot of time we have to lead by example. We got to get them around people that lead by example,” said Earnest Moreland.
Executive director and owner Earnest Moreland says the facility’s motto is “Serving kids for a better tomorrow.” They have structure in place that helps them with their studies, mental health, as well as their social skills.
“I want my kids to feel like they’re part of the community, which is exactly what we do. We get them involved in community stuff, community service. They all go to a public school, our public school program. And I want them to get involved in extracurricular activities too,” said Moreland.
“I know that we can’t fix all the kids. We can’t fix the families. We can’t change what happened to them in the past. But we can be the consistent for the future,” said Shelly Davis.
Over the last 20 years, they’ve been able to aid more than 1000 boys. Moreland says it’s been a total team effort.
“Getting appropriate staff number one, getting them, getting them involved in the community. Getting the right people in the community to surround yourself with the right people. We’ve got a major support cast here in this community, the businesses, the churches, the schools,” he said.
“To be able to see the change in them, their growth. Some of them even grow spiritually with going to church with us. Some of them, we see them through their mental health. And they’re able to, whenever they grow up, even come back and work for us,” said Davis.
They say one of the most gratifying moments is when they have former kids visit as adults.
“When our kids come back, we say kids, but they come back as adults with their kids to say things, to donate, or just to let us know that they’re doing okay. Yeah, that says it all,” said Moreland.
“I think it’s wonderful and it melts my heart. We get a lot of kids that come back and will say thank you. We’ve had a lot of kids that will call us mom or dad. And that to me is a huge thing to know that we’ve done something right,” said Davis.