Program aims to help teenage girls

The Yukon park system wasn’t the only organization to benefit from last Friday’s Patriot Project fundraising effort.

The House of Healing also reaped its rewards.

The Patriot Project is sponsored each year by Southwest Covenant Schools. It is a one-day effort in which students, parents and volunteers team up with city employees for a day of work in the Yukon city park system.

This year, as they have for the past several, the group worked to clean up, paint and work in the flower beds at the three-park complex of City Park, Freedom Trail Park and Chisholm Trail Park. They also worked at Taylor Park, which is where the school’s undefeated football team takes the field.

This year’s effort generated more than $230,000 in pledges, which school administrator Steve Lessman said is a school record.

Lessman said it was the first time since the program began that the total reached more than $200,000.

This year’s goal was $190,000. It was a number they reached more than a week before the project occurred.

In return, the school chooses a local charity to whom it donates 10 percent of the pledged funds.

This year, that was the House of Healing, a program for teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 17, said Kathy Boeckman, the executive director.

“We are trained to help them make smart decisions in a positive way,” she said.

The organization was founded in 2008. It is located at 7300 NW Britton Road at the site of a former restaurant.

The property is used on a daily basis to help girls gain the self-confidence needed to succeed.

“We are a faith-based organization. We turn them toward Jesus. We help them make strong decisions in Christ and to base their decisions off their relationship with him,” Boeckman said.

This year’s donation of just over $23,000 will help finish the second phase of the House of Healing’s building project, which includes a covered arena for the program’s Equine Experience.

That project, all totaled, was expected to cost about $240,000.

The Equine Experience allows the girls to interact with the horses for a positive experience.

The House of Healing also offers a mentoring program and a program called Tools For Change, in which the girls work with their parents.

“The girls can be part of one of those, or they can be a part of all of them,” Boeckman said.

She said Authentic Girl Mentoring is a Bible-study program with someone who will invest in them and spend quality time with them.

“These girls are looking for some kind of help. We are willing to take them in and try to help them any way we can,” she said.

House of Healing works with a number of programs, including Seaworth Academy, an alternative school in Oklahoma City, as well as the Mustang Treatment Center, and just recently began working with the Yukon Alternative Learning Experience.

“We will take any kid. We have a variety of kids. Some are here because of a lack of self-confidence. We want to help them all build their self-confidence. We have some who are struggling with school. We have some who have been bullied,” she said.

The program currently works with about 35 girls on a regular basis.

“This is a program to help them stay on the right track, to make positive choices and to become leaders in our community,” Boeckman said.

Last year, the program helped more than 100 girls. She said the goal this year is to reach between 125 to 130 girls.

The ultimate goal, Boeckman said, is to become a residential facility. That is Phase 3. However, it comes with a $3 million price tag.

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