10 June 2003

new life

New Life Youth and Family Services is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, having been founded in 1953 by Walter Haman, a secret service agent and bodyguard to presidents Roosevelt and Truman who left his position in order to found a Christian home for wayward boys. With the purchase of a 71 acre property in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania--generously sold far below market by John Clemens--Haman began New Life Boys Ranch, taking a handful of boys into his home along with his own two sons, Walt Jr. and Jim.

Since that time the institution has expanded to a large residential facility for delinquent and dependent boys (ages 11-17), as well as providing day treatment services to both boys and girls. An occupational skills building was constructed in 1984 providing automotive, woodshop, mechanical drawing, computer, and graphic arts classrooms. New Life has also expanded into two neighboring counties providing local day treatment services, early intervention programs, visitation oversight, alternative education contracting with local school districts, truancy prevention, and diagnostic and assessment services to shelter and detention centers.

My father has been working at New Life for the past 37 years (since he was 26 years old) as a teacher, pastor, principal, and currently, as executive director of educational services. I began volunteering at New Life during the summers when I was still in junior high, acting as a teacher's aide, and later was employed there full-time during the summers for 10 years, teaching art history and technique every summer and, during various years, providing classes in social studies, English, elementary German, Latin, and philosophy.

Even after 50 years New Life continues to provide faith-based multi-services to its clients and their families, ministering the love and healing of Christ effectively and maintaining a continual witness to the wider communities it serves.