Often abused, abandoned or neglected, they arrive looking undernourished and acting skittish or distrustful. But after an agreed-upon stay within the wholesome atmosphere of Boys Republic’s serene, farm-school setting in Chino Hills, they regain the health they will need for a productive life.
The scenario above refers to a recently-negotiated agreement with the Inland Valley Humane Society to board mistreated livestock in Boys Republic’s farming operation, until they regain their health and can be either adopted or returned to their original owners. But we could just as easily be talking, here, about some of the street kids placed at Boys Republic and the benefits they derive from the agency’s highly-structured, wholesome environment.
And that’s just what makes this agreement a win-win situation. Boys Republic students, themselves often from less than ideal circumstances, provide care for the neglected animals. In so doing, students become more receptive to their own treatment program.
“This agreement fits well with our founding values. Agriculture and farming are as close to the original mission of Boys Republic as is the concept of student government,” notes Chris Burns, the agency’s executive director. “Our students provide care for animals that are completely dependent upon them for food and water. Students must irrigate the land and raise harvest crops.”
“While farming is a lifestyle experience that most will never again have, there is tremendous relevancy to the program. Students learn important work-related habits crucial to their later success in any type of work.”
Under the agreement, the Humane Society pays a yearly retainer amount plus a per-animal rate of $20 per day (there’s a lower, bargain rate for chickens!). Students help to care for the animals, by growing crops, and feeding and cleaning-up after them. In addition, the Humane Society has agreed to fill one of their intern positions with a Boys Republic student.