Russ, the 9th Boy: From Former Youth to Mentor

Picture of Written by Susanna

Written by Susanna

Communications Coordinator


Meet Russ

I’d like to introduce you to Russ. Russ was the 9th boy here at our Specialized Care program at our Ranch location– he was there in 1959! And for Russ, his time at the Ranch was transformative. So much so that he returns each year to give back to the youth currently in our program. 

Russ does this by offering woodworking workshops for our youth every year during which he teaches our youth about the basics of woodworking. In this most recent session, each youth made their own spinning tops and toy car. 

Healing through Woodworking

For Russ, creativity, especially in the form of woodworking, is something that has helped him break out of patterns of negative thinking. And because creativity has been such a healing outlet for him, he wants to encourage our youth to tap into their creative side as well.  

Additionally, Russ loves how creative projects can be used to learn how to handle mistakes in a healthy way. He says, “it’s kind of nice when things go wrong in the shop.” 

If he makes a mistake during his demonstration, he uses the opportunity to model to our youth how to handle a mistake. Russ explains, “I can show them that they don’t have to get upset when something doesn’t go right… you don’t have to be hard on yourself and worry about everything that goes wrong. It’s not easy – especially for those who have been in abusive environments.” 

“I’m one of the boys”

When asked why he decided to dedicate so much of his time to the boys currently in our Specialized Care program he said, “I’m one of the boys. That’s why. I wound up having a great life and I want them to realize they can too.” 

Russ is an inspiration to both the staff and our youth at Good Samaritan. The opportunity for our youth to meet and spend time with an adult who previously went through the program is a priceless opportunity.  

We are so grateful for his continued support and commitment to the youth in our Specialized Care program!