President’s Message: Loss is difficult, but part of the journey


In stunned disbelief, the boy’s legs suddenly grew weak beneath him, devastated by the loss of a man who was, at one time, the closest thing to a father figure he’d known in his 16 years.

For several minutes, his grief and agony poured forth on everyone in his life: Why couldn’t his loved one have kept fighting this horrible disease? Why did he have to suffer this loss after everything else he’d already been through? Why would a loving God let this happen?

Beside him, a caring adult gently placed her arm around him. She knew his pain was as normal as it was real. And, in her love for him, she grieved, too.

Boys Ranch supporters know that many of our youth come from traumatic, even painful, backgrounds. You know Boys Ranch to be a place of healing, where struggling hearts learn to turn personal tragedies into triumphs. And, that’s all very true.

Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect everything about Boys Ranch to be sunshine and happiness in every moment. Our youth are overcoming difficult past circumstances. At times, changing a troubled past into a promising future is challenging — young people very often express or act upon a great deal of intensely personal pain before the seeds of hope take root.

Many of the children who call Boys Ranch home are learning to cope with deep personal loss. For some, it’s the death or a parent, grandparent or other loved one. Others feel a profound sense of loss when the adoption they expected to change their lives for the better becomes an unexpected series of relational challenges. Even the death of a beloved pet — a symbol of unchanging love – can trigger an intense emotional reaction.

Whether the heartache a child identifies is a single event or a pattern of emotional hardships, the experience of losing someone or something cherished can create obstacles and mental barriers he or she may not be equipped to face.

Thankfully, young people who’ve experienced these adversities don’t have to remain mired in the dark, cold recesses of pain and regret. Your support of the life-changing work at Boys Ranch offers much-needed hope — hope that there is life after loss, that the sun will again shine on their lives.

I’m pleased to share the young man I mentioned is today a happy adult, well-adjusted and living the best life he can make for himself and his family.

Hope, you see, is an incredibly effective tool. And, thankfully, it’s also one Boys Ranch has in abundance! Your support of our experts’ work in understanding childhood neurological development, in providing opportunities for lasting, healthy relationships and in creating a safe, caring environment where healing can take place is changing young lives for the better.

Each of us, at some point in our lives, experiences loss. It’s a tragic, yet universal, feeling. Thanks to your commitment to Boys Ranch, our young people know the hopelessness of personal loss doesn’t have to be a permanent condition.

Dan Adams
President and CEO
Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch

Dan Adams served as Boys Ranch President and CEO from 2004-2021.
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