“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Friends, this year Boys and Girls Country is celebrating 50 years! It is an unbelievable blessing to be able to serve children from families in crisis for half a century. With your faithful support, lives have been changed, educational barriers have been demolished and cycles of trauma have ended. God has provided Boys and Girls Country with everything to grow from a small patch of land into an amazing facility supporting the lives of our cottage families, College & Career program and staff. This year, we look back with fondness on the history of this mission and how it came to bless the lives of more than 1,600 children over the years.
The idea to create a residential program to help young boys on juvenile probation originated in the 1960s by Wardell Leisk. He later approached T. A. “Tom” Robinson, Jr., owner of First Mortgage Co. of Texas, who became the guiding force behind the organization. At a time when most men are looking forward to retirement, Mr. Robinson devoted the next 20 years of his life to this cause.
He initially donated 10 acres of land in the Hockley area where the facilities stand today. Over the years, more acreage was donated by Mr. Robinson and additional acreage was purchased, bringing the campus to 216 acres. Tom Robinson and his wife, Jean, didn’t want to raise the boys in a barren land. Every Sunday after church, they would go down to Buffalo Bayou, get on their hands and knees and gather saplings in their hands. Then, they would drive out to Boys Country, get back on their hands and knees and bury the saplings on their land.
The name “Boys Country” was chosen by Mrs. Robinson. Mr. Robinson, in addition to making the majority of the capital contributions and underwriting operating expenses, personally guaranteed many loans so the building program could continue. Mr. Robinson’s visionary contribution was matched by that of another leader he recruited, Jack Brewer, a Youth Director at Tallowood Baptist Church, whose guidance and expertise proved invaluable over the years.
In 1971, Boys Country began with three mobile buildings, a metallic building and its first dormitory under construction. Progress developed rapidly with 24 boys enrolled by the end of the first year, as well as four heads of Santa Gertrudis cattle in the livestock operation and a one- teacher school to assist the boys with their studies.
The closing bank balance in May 1971 was a miraculous $678.96. Within six months, however, Boys Country secured $50,000 in grants to build one staff house and begin a vocational program while expanding enrollment to 35 boys. A master campus construction plan for the next ten years was presented.
It was the vision of these fearless leaders to turn confused, abandoned and hopeless youth into productive, responsible citizens by providing a loving, Christian environment, an education, a vocational training program and a shared sense of responsibility.