Lives Under Construction Boys' Ranch Wins 2005 Acton Institute Samaritan Award


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Oct. 19, 2005) — Lives Under Construction Boys' Ranch in rural Missouri is the winner of the Acton Institute's 2005Samaritan Award for outstanding private, voluntary charitable service. The winner's mission of changing the lives of troubled youth — one at atime — underscores the value of charities that are local, personal, andaccountable. The Samaritan Award includes a $10,000 cash prize thatwill be awarded by Acton's Center for Effective Compassion.

The Boys' Ranch residential treatment program in Lampe, Mo., servesmostly teenagers who have been in trouble with the law and have seriousbehavioral disorders. Ken Ortman, who founded the program in 1982 withhis wife Sheila, said the boys under treatment learn that “decisionshave consequences.” At the Boys' Ranch, these consequences range fromdoing pushups (for cursing) to shoveling manure (for major offenses).Hard work, Ortman said, provides the necessary physical activity toimprove each boy's academic performance, work ethic, vocational skills,self discipline and, most importantly, sense of self-worth.

This approach has achieved excellent results. Ninety two percent ofBoys' Ranch participants have had no more trouble with the law. Development director Melissa Ortman points to an even greater indicatorof success. “Most boys in a treatment setting just want to finish,leave, and never look back,” she said. “But the Ranch's graduatesfrequently come back or contact us after they leave.”

Ms. Ortman said the Samaritan Award will help the Boys' Ranch raiseresources to expand the program, currently serving 17 boys but with thegoal of serving 24 by the end of 2006. The $10,000 Samaritan prize willenable Boys' Ranch to consider adding staff, as well as computers andbooks for their home-schooled students. “The recognition of theSamaritan Award and the Ranch's high profile on the Samaritan Guide asthe 2005 winner should really help people find us and see what greatchanges these boys make in their lives,” Ms. Ortman said.

The Samaritan Guide is the Acton Institute's online directory of morethan 600 private charities. Users of the guide can access detailedinformation about each of them at www.samaritanguide.org .

The Boys' Ranch was joined by nine other honorees in the 2005Samaritan Award program: Washington City Mission, Washington, Pa.;Panama City Rescue Mission, Panama City, Fla.; Promise of Hope, Inc.,Dudley, Ga.; Hearts of Christ Youth Outreach Ministry, Memphis, Tenn.; Citizens for Community Values of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.; Good ShepherdShelter of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.; Samaritan Inns, Inc.,Washington, D.C.; Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities, St. Paul, Minn.; andKnox County Christian Women's Job Corps, Knoxville, Tenn.

Honorees will be awarded various consultation services to assist themin the delivery of effective programming. Samaritan partners providingservices include Calvin Edwards & Co., Atlanta; Capital Strategy andDevelopment, Alexandria, Va.; NPower Michigan, Detroit and Grand Rapids,Mich.; CMS Development, Inc., Indianapolis; and Performance ResultsInc., Laytonsville, Md.

Formal presentation of the 2005 Samaritan Awards will be made to theBoys' Ranch and other Honorees in Washington in early 2006. Nationalpolicy makers, nonprofit leaders, foundation supporters, and effectivecompassion program graduates will join together and celebrate privatelysupported effective compassion programming.

The Samaritan Award is based on several criteria, including financialstewardship, evaluation of results, and the incorporation of faith intoprogramming. The evaluation of Samaritan Award candidates draws itsoverall philosophy from the seven principles of effective compassionformulated by Dr. Marvin Olasky, senior fellow at the Acton Instituteand author of The Tragedy of American Compassion .

About the Acton Institute
With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at jcouretas@acton.org.