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. During this decade, Boys’ Village saw growth under the executive leadership of Clarence Kerr, Lester Glick and William Cranmer all serving as administrators from 1946 to 1962.
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. Dale Thompson is promoted to administrator in 1962.
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. Dale Thompson retires and William Shultz is chosen as the new Administrator.
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.
William Shultz retires in 2000 and is succeeded by James Miller. 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. In 2007, The Village Network was awarded Agency of the Year from the Alliance of Children and Families. Our first website was developed and new programs established in Lorain, Delaware, New Philadelphia & Uhrichsville, Ohio.
The Village Network is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). James Miller retires in 2012 and Richard Graziano is named President & CEO. The ChildTrauma Academy names The Village Network as a flagship site of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. The first of its kind in Ohio, the Therapeutic Stabilization Center is built to provide short-term care for youth in crisis. Out-patient therapy in schools continues to grow, expanding for the first time into West Virginia. Presently, The Village Network serves over 7,500 youth and families each day in 20 locations and 90+ schools in Ohio and West Virginia.