Serving Youth & Families For More Than 70 Years
The story of The Village Network begins more than 70 years ago, when a farmhouse on 46 acres of land outside Wooster, Ohio became a safe haven for traumatized youth. Formally incorporated on May 7, 1946, Governor Frank J. Lausche personally presented the state charter to Boys’ Village, one of the first residential treatment facilities of it’s kind in the eastern United States.
History of The Village Network
After seeing the movie Boys’ Town, Reverend Clarence Kerr of Smithville Methodist Church is inspired to open a home for ‘troubled boys’ in the area. Before Spring, Kerr and local civic leaders raise $15,000 to open Boys’ Village. By September, ten young boys are enrolled.
To meet the growing demand, The Village Network expands to three cottages in which the boys reside. Boys attend public schools in Orrville, Smithville or Wooster and then work four hours per day at assigned jobs in the community, on an adjacent farm, or at Boys' Village.
In 1960, construction of a fully accredited on-campus school begins with the generous assistance of the Timken Foundation. Teachers from the Wooster City District begin staffing the Boys' Village School. Two additional cottages are built and many improvements are made to the grounds, including the addition of a horse barn and two lakes.
The Friends of Boys' Village (FOBV) is forms as a volunteer auxiliary in the 1970s to support the youth with a host of activities that included buying and wrapping gifts for the children during the holidays, baking mountains of cookies and birthday cakes, and assisting in fundraising activities. As the needs of the community grew, so does Boys’ Village.
A chapel is built on campus and dedicated by The Fraternal Order of Eagles. The first Treatment Foster Care network is established and, by December 1987, the first girl is admitted.
The Boys' Village exceeds 100 children in care. Ten more Treatment Foster Care networks are added, opening offices in the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus areas.
The Mt. Vernon/Knox County Network offers the first co-ed residential program, the third residential facility of its kind at the time. Day Treatment centers begin to focus on responsible living and life skills development where youth in these programs reside off campus and arrive at the network for therapy and academic tutoring.
The Gault Youth and Family Enrichment Center is built, which houses both an on-campus school and counseling/family service center.
Boys' Village changes its name to The Village Network to better describe the growing network for both boys and girls, with girls making up more than 40% of The Village Network's youth served each day.
The Village Network is awarded Agency of the Year from the Alliance of Children and Families in October at the conference held in Anaheim California.
Richard Graziano is named CEO with oversight of all aspects of the agency and its $24 million budget.
The ChildTrauma Academy names The Village Network as a flagship site of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. The Village Network serves over 1,000 youth and families each day in urban and rural office locations settings..
Out-patient therapy in schools continues to grow, expanding for the first time into West Virginia.