Boys Republic was founded in 1907, as California Junior Republic. The organization was conceived through the collaboration of Judge Curtis Wilbur, of the Los Angeles County juvenile court, and a group of citizens, including Mrs. Margaret Fowler of Pasadena. The committee was interested in finding a way to treat troubled teenagers without sending them to jail along with adult criminals.
In consultation with William George, founder of George Junior Republic, in Freeville, New York, the committee determined to establish a Los Angeles-based program. Its founding principles were modeled after those of George Junior Republic: require a youth to be responsible for his own actions, to earn part of his own way through a program of meaningful work, respectful of the rights of others, and accountable to his own peers through a system of student self-government.
A start-up grant of $10,000, provided by Mrs. Fowler, established the fledgling program in an old hotel, located in the San Fernando Valley. Two years later, in 1909, Mrs. Fowler purchased farmland and provided funds for the first buildings at the organization’s present 200-acre site, in Chino Hills.
Boys Republic embarked on a steady yet careful expansion, establishing satellite programs and facilities in response to its students’ needs. Among these innovations were Pomona Residence (1959), Los Angeles Residence (1964), Orange County Residence (1973), Monrovia Day Treatment Program (1978), Chino Day School (1987), Girls Republic (1990), Aftercare/Independent Living Program (1990), and El Monte Day Treatment Program (1995).
Despite a gradual expansion and evolution of its offerings, Boys Republic’s programs continue to embody the core values upon which the organization was founded. From state-of-the-art vocational training in computer science to daily group counseling and interaction, great care is taken to assure that these experiences teach young adults the personal qualities needed of a citizen in today’s society – responsibility, diligence, respect for the rights of others and respect for himself.