In 1992, God gave me a burden to Start a home for at-risk boys. For the next several years, I sought God's direction for my life to fulfill this calling. During that time I worked construction, served as a correctional officer in the state of Texas, and also served 10 years as a youth pastor at three different churches. Since the time God called me to start a boy's home, I see that He has been preparing me through these experiences for the task ahead.
Recently, God has opened doors that have prompted us to move forward significantly on this dream. Lonesome Dove Boys Ranch is incorporated in the state of Arkansas and recognized by the IRS as a public Charity. We now have the opportunity to buy a 10 acre fenced facility that is a few miles from the farm that has 7 cottages, a dining hall, and an educational building. With this facility we can house and educate 42 boys at a time in a family style setting with a set of house parents per 6 boys. We are currently leasing the facility and have one cottage remodeled. As soon as we get the dining hall remodeled we can open and take the first boys.
We need everyone's help. This is an enormous task, but together we can make a difference in the lives of young men. We will work to have a variety of funding sources as we mature as an organization, but initially we are relying on the generous contributions of compassionate people to get our feet off the ground. In the future, we will receive funds from the state for boys that are placed in our care by DHS. We are currently seeking corporate and foundation grants, and eventually the farming activities of the ranch will supplement food and income for the ongoing operations.
Please consider what you can do to help change the future of the young men entrusted to us. Thanks you for allowing us to share our vision with you.
Shawn & Neisa Watkins
In December of 2013 we had the opportunity to bring in a 13 year old young man who needed help. When he arrived was on Geo- don, a bi-polar medication, twice daily. He also took Tenex for ADHD three times daily, clonidine once daily to help him sleep and 300 mg of Celexa for depression once daily. He was a victim of emotion- al, verbal, and sexual abuse. When he arrived at Lonesome Dove Boys Ranch he weighed 159.8 lbs and he was 5'3" tall. He had no self- confidence and absolutely no discipline in self hygiene.
because of the relationship between gluten and bi polar diagno- sis we decided to take the young man off of gluten as well as all pro- cessed foods and added sugars. We helped him to learn to eat gluten free. Within the first month we noticed a significant difference in his attitude; however he would still be very emotional at times. The excess weight that he was carrying began to fall off. We noticed that he was sleepy all the time, so we pulled him off of the clonidine to help him stay awake more and lowered the tenex. It was prescribed 1 to 3 times daily as needed so we opted for the lower dose. It made an im- mediate difference as he began to be more focused on his school work without being sleepy all of the time.
At the end of February a tornado came thru Camden and we were unable to get his prescriptions filled because of widespread power outages. He ran out of Geodon in that time and for the first Sunday since he had been with us, he stayed awake during the entire church service. My curiosity wanted to see if this was due to him being off the medication so we waited to start him back on them. As a result, he was making better grades and finishing his assignments more quickly and efficiently.
He left us May 29th and he weighed 127.6 lbs was 5'4" tall and 14 years old. While he was with us he attended Camden First Assembly of God where he was active in Revolution student ministries and involved in the Fine arts drama team. Also, while he was with us, he was enrolled in the Alpha Omega Monarch home school program. He was doing 6th grade work and he was making A's and B's. He had been in resource pri- or to coming to the ranch.
When he went back to school he was placed in 8th grade. He was able to continue to make mostly A's and B's and was playing Junior High football. His self-confidence went thru the roof and instead of living with the victim mentality of the abuse he had endured he was a victor and a testimony of God's grace and mercy. There are many young men out there like this one that need the type of help we can offer them at Lonesome Dove Boys Ranch!!!!