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Buckeye Ranch celebrates 60 years of service on Friday

What started in 1961 as a small treatment center for 10 young men, now provides services for more than 23,000 youth.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In 1961, a group of women made it their mission to help young people in our community.

As The Buckeye Rasepnch, formerly called The Buckeye Boys Ranch, prepares to celebrate 60 years of service, they can also celebrate becoming one of the country’s leading providers of emotional, behavioral and mental health services for children, youth and families.

What started in 1961 as a small treatment center for 10 young men, now provides services for more than 23,000 youth. On Friday, September 10, the ranch turns 60.

“We’ve had amazing accomplishments in the last 60 years,” said Buckeye Ranch President & CEO Vickie Thompson-Sandy. “It started out with a group of women and I’m so honored to follow in their footsteps and keep our work going.”

Thompson-Sandy took over the reins at the ranch two years ago. She is the first female to lead the agency, despite the fact women founded The Buckeye Ranch.

Thompson-Sandy is continuing their mission of helping our community thrive by serving children and families in need.

“We strongly believe that when families are struggling with a child that has mental health challenges or trauma that if we can help that family and that child heal and feel healthier, then they move beyond that primary need and they begin to give back to the community,” said Thompson-Sandy.

That help can begin with preventative measures such as the ranch’s partnership with Columbus City Schools to do school-based therapy. They bring the treatment to the kids, so they don’t end up needing to come to the ranch. They can stay in school and stay at home with their family.

Thompson-Sandy calls what the ranch is doing “upstream work.” Taking therapy to those who need it can prevent kids from getting to the point where their mental health is so challenging that they have to leave their community to get treatment and stay at the ranch.

As The Buckeye Ranch celebrates the work of the past 60 years, they are looking forward to continuing to provide much-needed services to children, youth and families for the next 60 years.

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