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.