About Mountain States Children's Home

Our History

The beginning of Mountain States Children’s Home takes us back to 1960 when a group of men were led to start an incredible journey.

As with most great endeavors, when traced back to the very beginning, Mountain States Children’s Home began as a dream, nurtured initially by one individual. Elmer L. Richards served the West Cedar Church of Christ which was a small congregation in Denver of modest means but devout in its service to the Lord.

It had been Elmer Richards’ responsibility to work with the wayward youth. After taking children to children’s homes in other states, Elmer Richards presented a dream to the elders of establishing a Colorado Children’s Home. He saw an urgent need to serve the community’s children and families. From the planting of that small “mustard seed,” a plan began to grow. The elders; Bernard A. Byerley, James R. Harris, John C. Lewis, Elmer R. Richards, and James H. Sims, Sr. accepted this bold idea, taking on the challenge with a strong commitment to help children.

In October 1960, a delegation from the West Cedar congregation attended a Christian Child Care Conference in Lubbock, TX to research the possibilities and the hurdles of creating a home for children. Armed with new enthusiasm, the group returned to Denver to determine where they would plant the seed by purchasing land. A key requirement was established that the children’s home be located away from urban Denver, in a rural environment with room for expansion. They found a 155 acre farm for sale north of Longmont that would fit their requirements. The existing farm house was initially the only house on the property to shelter children but would also become the front office, storage area for food and clothing, and the superintendent’s home to perform administrative duties. Louis A. Nowlin was the minister at West Cedar but was selected as the first superintendent of Mountain States Children’s Home.

On Saturday, December 17th, 1960, the trustees of Mountain States Children’s Home signed the final papers taking possession with a new beginning to a great work for the Lord. The Mountain States Children’s Home founders raised money for the initial purchase by selling bonds and taking second mortgages on their homes. Today, through the commitment of those visionaries, all the donors, many volunteers, the multiple staffs, and board members over the years, the property and all of the buildings are owned free and clear.

MSCH has expanded over the years and now has 5 houses for children, a school, a donation distribution and storage area, several farm buildings, a farm manager’s home, the Don and Judy Winger Recreational Center, and an office for administration.  In 2021, another building was purchased in Berthoud to begin the Transitional Living Program for children who have completed their MSCH program goals and are stepping out into the world.  Young men and women from MSCH will receive guidance counseling and support.  A stipend is made available for room and board, schooling, and incidental costs as requirements are met through mutual agreement. 

The MSCH agency has remained a private, non-profit facility for children since its inception.

Mountain States Children’s Home has always received funding through private individuals, churches, service groups, businesses and corporations. The “friends” of Mountain States Children’s Home have provided hundreds of children and families new beginnings, giving them hope. When you donate or volunteer, you are a special part of helping create success for these special children.


Board of Directors

  • Bill Witt – President
  • Larry Leake – Vice-President
  • Dallas Saffer – Treasurer
  • Ryan Winger – Secretary
  • Don Osborn – Director
  • Paul Finley – Director
  • Carolyn McLean – Director
  • Ron Engelhart – Director

MSCH Staff


  • Randy Schow, Executive Director
    North Eastern State University – M.S. Counseling Psychology
    Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
    National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC)
  • Nick Mears, Assistant Director
    Oklahoma Christian University – B.B.A. Marketing Management

Therapeutic Counseling

  • Dustin Smith, Director of Professional Services
    Colorado Christian University – M.A. Counseling
    Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
    National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC)
    CrossFit Level 1 Trainer (CS-L1 Trainer)
  • Claire Mueck, Resident Counselor
    Abilene Christian University – M.S. Psychology
    Abilene Christian University – M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy
    Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)


  • Janice Schow, Director of Education
    M.S. Education
  • Abby Mears – Teacher
  • Jan Johnson – Teacher
  • Jacob Woodrow-Whited – Teacher

Front Office


  • Phil Crews, Public Relations
    Oklahoma Christian University – BA Mass Communications
  • Walter Williams – Director of Capital Advancement
    University of Nevada Las Vegas – B.A. Psychology


House Parents

  • John and Kathy Oberholzer – Relief House Parents/Campus
  • Matthew and Adriana Dietrich – House Parents/Campus
  • Clifford and Kristine Young – House Parents/Campus
  • Shelley Dodot – Relief House Parent

Mountain States Children’s Home Houses

MSCH House 5 Longmont, ColoradoHousing at MSCH is based on a family model of care where a house mother and father, along with their biological children, live with six placed children in a loving and nurturing home environment.


Students Learn Valuable Life Lessons

overview of MSCH property LongmontThe setting of Mountain States Children’s Home is a peaceful 155-acre campus that offers a secure and safe place for the children to grow. The farm raises livestock and has plenty of open space for the children to enjoy and learn valuable lessons.

There is a therapeutic effect on teenagers in this serene environment as they grow and begin to understand the loving care that they receive from house parents and staff.  They find that living in a large family made up of house parents, their children, and five other residents, they understand that all must take part in doing chores.  They learn that they must be responsible and supportive of other family members who are working on similar issues.

Campus School

campus school at MSCH ColoradoAn integral part of Mountain States Children’s Home is the campus school that was started in 1998.

In 2008, Mountain States Children’s Home completed a new school building allowing for an expanded library and media area, a gymnasium for physical education, a science lab, new textbooks and other areas for the students to work. The school was also built to accommodate student growth in numbers based on future plans to expand campus housing. Prior to the new building, the school was in the basement of one of the residential homes.

Winger Recreational Center

MSCH recreational buildingThe Don and Judy Winger Recreational Center is a part of the new school building completed in 2008. This building is used for sports activities and as a meeting place for groups that may come to volunteer or interact with the children. The Cross Fit program, basketball games, pickleball, and volleyball takes place in this building.

Kroenke Sports and the Denver Nuggets donated the basketball goals from the Pepsi Center to be used in this facility. Cross Fit Kul from Fort Collins donated the work out equipment. Dedicated volunteers take time to coach the children.

  • Mountain States Children’s Home will accept children regardless of their ability to pay.
  • MSCH takes no state or government funding.
  • Children improve an average of 3.7- grade levels in academic achievement in one school year while attending our on-campus school.
  • 100% of the children who remain in our program through their senior year graduate from a public or accredited school.
  • MSCH has a thrift store in Longmont.
  • Children at MSCH may experience love and hope for the first time in their life.
  • The counseling program, on average, eliminates more than 50% of the areas of therapeutic concern children experience in their first year of placement.
  • MSCH builds long-term relationships and becomes a second family for many children.
  • A contribution to MSCH made prior to December 31, 2023, entitles Colorado Residents up to a 50% tax credit with the state of Colorado.
  • Average length of employment for MSCH staff is 14 years.
  • MSCH is licensed to care for children as young as 3 years old up to 17 years old.
  • MSCH has a working farm to provide a natural source of food, offset costs and teach life skills.
  • The counseling program works not only with the child but also with the child’s family.
  • In 2020, MSCH began a Transitional Living Program for children, after high school graduation, who graduate successfully from the MSCH program.

MSCH Mission Statement

Mountain States Children’s Home Extends Christian services to wounded children in an effort to meet their physical needs, heal their emotional hurts, challenge their minds, and teach them moral principles, in order to reach the goals of reuniting them with their families or preparing them for independence. This is accomplished by utilizing a family model of care, strengthened by professional counselors and teachers.


The simplest and most common way to make a gift to Mountain States Children’s Home is by giving a monetary gift.  Not only are these gifts the simplest, but they are also among the most important. You may want to specify which project you would like to support or your gift can be undesignated.


Mountain States Children's Home