Ready to Take on Life’s Challenges

After years at Boys Ranch, Keaira feels prepared for life and adulthood

Keaira is strong, confident and poised. Her gaze is clear, while her mind is keen and logical.

After six years at Boys Ranch, the 17-year-old is ready to take on life’s challenges. Keaira turned 11 just a few days before she arrived at Boys Ranch, and she was featured in an issue of The Roundup that year.

“I remember how nervous I was sitting in that room by myself waiting to take pictures,” she said.

Today, nerves rarely trouble her. Experiences, adventures and the Boys Ranch lifestyle have given the teenager a calm beyond her years.

“The thing that has changed most about me is I used to be quite introverted,” Keaira said. “I fell in love with canoeing and kayaking and hiking and outdoors activities like that. I just like being outside and being that person. I think that’s what has helped me most about being here.”

Keaira at age 11
Keaira arrived at Boys Ranch when she was 11.

Arriving at Boys Ranch

When Keaira was 11, she had been living with different family members. Several family members sat down to explain that Keaira and her two older sisters, Taylor and Alexis, would be going to live at Boys Ranch.

“My mom was going to rehab,” Keaira said. “My aunt, my grandma, my sisters and my mom drove down here. We said goodbye and that’s the most vivid thing I remember before Boys Ranch.”

Keaira and her mother have always been close, she said.

“Now that I’m older, I can understand why she was in her situation and why we came here,” Keaira said. “Sending your child away is a hard thing to do. I understand why my mom did it and I’m glad she did it because I would’ve never experienced the things I did. And I’m glad that now I’m prepared to step into the real world because I know if I had stayed, I probably wouldn’t have been ready.”

In the past six years, Alexis and Taylor graduated from Boys Ranch. Keaira’s mom is sober, and she visits Keaira at Boys Ranch often.

Keaira at Smallwood Lake
Keaira likes to visit Smallwood Lake with her mother.

Building Relationships

“There’s a willow tree at Smallwood Lake,” Keaira said. “Every time my mom comes here, we go and sit under that tree, and we just talk. I think that’s probably my favorite place at Boys Ranch.”

Keaira has liked everything about Boys Ranch, from her houseparents to her coaches and teachers to the outdoor environment. Her relationships with her housemates have been her sturdy foundations, she said.

“My friends have helped me with trusting God more because they have also gone through some stuff,” Keaira said. “If someone who has gone through way more than I have can trust God, I can let go of my worries and let go of my hardships and just trust Him. My relationship with God, isn’t perfect, but no one’s is. I have gotten better at trusting Him.”

Keaira plays tennis
Keaira plays tennis for Boys Ranch High School.

Success in School

Keaira was part of the cast of the 2022 Boys Ranch High School One Act Play that went all the way to regional competition. Keaira, the stage manager, was honored at every level for her technical prowess.

Keaira was inducted into the National Honor Society in the spring, an achievement that didn’t come easily.

“From a young age, I knew I was different because I didn’t read the same as other people, and reading was hard for me,” Keaira said. “So in eighth grade, I got tested, and I found out I’m dyslexic.”

Like always, Keaira powered through that hard news and learned new ways to achieve her academic goals. For the 2021 football season, Keaira was a trainer for the football team, an experience that led her to choose a career.

“When I did sports training for football, I felt like that helped me make a decision,” she said. “And then we went to a couple of colleges to go to their athletic training seminars. I’ve gotten more experience with what it would be like to work in the medical field.”

Keaira and her caseworker
Keaira has a special bond with her caseworker, Esmerelda Munoz.

Finding Adults Who Care

“Right now, I’m just looking forward to starting a career and adulting,” she said. “I know most people say it’s hard, but I feel like I’m gonna be pretty good at it.”

Boys Ranch, she said, has given her the opportunity to learn at her own pace and become the person she was meant to be.

“I would just like to thank the donors for actually caring about kids because this world is a messed-up world, and a lot of kids aren’t loved or have the opportunity to be loved,” Keaira said.

“Once we’re here, we’re not with our parents, but we’re still loved by adults. We still feel that loving environment, which I’m thankful for. I’m thankful that the donors love kids enough to donate and give us the opportunity to be loved by adults.”

Ready to Take on Life’s Challenges

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