TU Business Grad to Start Nonprofit Serving At-Risk Youth
As I ripped open the letter from the IRS and scanned its contents, my mouth dropped. Our application for 501c3 tax-exempt status was supposed to take eight months, and here I was holding our approval letter dated eight days after the submission date! This was just another miracle in our journey to build High Point Youth Ranch – a place of healing and hope for youth that have faced serious adversity.
By the sixth grade, I had attended twelve different schools. I entered the tumultuous world of middle school lacking social skills and parental support. Thankfully my grandma was there to take care of us and take us to church. My youngest sister was born when I was thirteen, and by the time she was three, Grandma and I were the primary caregivers.
At age 17, a spiritual leader in my life spoke these words: “You don’t know why you’re going through these things, but one day you will…You can either follow in the footsteps of your parents, or you can break the mold.” In that moment, I determined I would break the mold.
I graduated from Berryhill High School as Valedictorian. I attended the University of Tulsa on a full-ride scholarship. While attending college, I had my first home built. Two weeks after graduation, I married a beautiful young lady, and two years later, we had our first of three children.
Over the course of my career, I have worked in both large and small organizations, nonprofit and for-profit. However, in the summer of 2010, I began to realize what would become my life’s pursuit. After an extraordinary encounter, I knew I was called to serve at a small private school.
During my five years as Administrator at Lighthouse Christian Academy, I found myself in front of a “mature” third-grade student that just “didn’t care.” As I shared the same advice I received exactly ten years prior, it all became clear. You don’t know why you’re going through this, but one day you will.
Now, my wife and I have answered the call to give of ourselves and help those that are hurting. I am pouring everything that I have learned into establishing the nonprofit, and my wife has gone back to school to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
At High Point Youth Ranch, we will provide home, education, and therapy to those that don’t have a safe place to call home. We will also provide camps and leadership programs both to our residents and to those that simply need motivation and direction in their lives. We are so excited to help young people break generational cycles of abuse and impoverished living.
The University of Tulsa equipped me with the knowledge to be successful throughout my career, and the Tulsa community continues to be supportive in the promotion of personal growth, entrepreneurial spirit, and service to others. We are extremely grateful for the support that we have received, and we are excited to extend that same support to others!
University of Tulsa Alumni, Class of 2005