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National Mission Institution

David and Margaret Youth and Family Services: Here's to Another 100 Years!

Vintage photo; dozens of smiling kids in the back of a  feed store truck driven by 3 adults in the cab.
Courtesy David and Margaret Youth Family Services

By Kathy Wessels, New World Outlook

This article originally appeared in the January-February 2011 issue of New World Outlook, celebrating of 100years of mission service. It is used with permission.

David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, located in La Verne, California, has been meeting the needs of at-risk children, youth, and families since 1910.

The original home for children was established as an orphanage by the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Henry and Hannah Wolf Kuns of La Verne donated an old hotel on 17½ acres of land, naming it for Henry Kuns' parents and Hannah and Henry's son. For years, much of the land was used as a working farm, helping to feed the children and support the agency's expenses.

In 1925, Henry Kuns donated more land, along with funds to build a larger and safer children's facility. This all-concrete building, located on the main campus, is known as the Whitney Building, named for David and Margaret's former executive director, Henry "Bud" Whitney. Today, it houses administrative and program offices.

At age 100, the agency now serves more than 1,200 clients annually, offering a comprehensive range of services. David and Margaret continues as a home for children through its residentially based program for adolescent girls. Other family services provided to the greater La Verne area include a foster-family agency, adoption assistance, mental-health services, family preservation and support, treatment for children with learning disabilities, and a transitional living program for youth. Besides school- and community-based education and mentoring programs, the agency also offers a chemical-dependency program, certified by the State of California, providing therapy for residents recovering from substance abuse.

"... I cherished the year and a half I lived among many unique, fascinating, and at times rebellious young personalities. It was never boring ...."

The specialized Joan Macy School was opened on the campus in 1989. It now serves many of the agency's residents, as well as students referred from surrounding school districts.

Join David and Margaret Youth and Family Services in celebrating its centennial. For more details about events throughout the year and ways to contribute to the agency's work, visit "Celebrating 100 Years of Caring" at the website, www.DavidandMargaret.org.

Kathy Wessels is the Director of Development for David and Margaret Youth and Family Services in La Verne, California.

Our Clients Say It Best...

"My name is Debra O. and I was a resident at David & Margaret in 1996. I am now married, have three children of my own, and live in Florida. While I was a resident at D&M, I attended a program in the Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) that helped with my learning problems. I recently called, wanting to know if there was an LEC in Florida where I could send my own six-year-old daughter for help with her own learning difficulties."
–Debra O., former resident of David and Margaret Home

"My name is Bob McGaughey. My brother Leo and I lived at David and Margaret in the early 1960s while our mom, Sonia, finished her teaching degree at UCLA. She was a divorced, struggling mother of four on welfare, determined to be self-sufficient. I'm very proud of her and later cherished the year and a half I lived among many unique, fascinating, and at times rebellious young personalities. It was never boring. Leo always said it was the favorite part of his youth. Our campus at D&M is more beautiful now than ever. At 100 years old, it offers many more services and opportunities to our young residents than in the past. Now we are able to help the whole family!

I have served on the finance committee of David and Margaret Youth and Family Services and I have been a proud board member. Please join my wife Betsy and me in giving generously. With your help, we can keep D&M going into the next hundred years! I'm so grateful that David & Margaret was there for me."
–Bob McGaughey, former resident and board member

"My name is Renee F. and I was at David and Margaret in 1989. When I was placed there, my sister had just died and I was angry, fighting with everyone. I am still in contact with staff in Lowery Cottage and appreciate all they did for me. Someday, I'm going to write a book for young girls on how to overcome problems. I am 34 years old, happily married, and the mother of four children. I am just starting school to become a psychiatric technician so I can help people the way I was helped."
–Renee F., former resident

"Thanks for opening my eyes. When I walked into David and Margaret, I wanted to leave. But as the days went by, I realized it was an amazing place to be. I want to thank you not only for allowing me to be here but also for my birthday presents and for sheltering me during my time of need."–an emergency shelter client

"The Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) has changed me so much. It has helped me control and cope with my anger in a better way. When I first started at LEC, everything that came out of my mouth was bad words and a bad attitude. But now my attitude in school is better. I don't go off on people as often. It's easier to follow directions in school and in the cottage."–a young woman in our residential program

"I have my own apartment and am working so that I can be independent and successful some day. I also want to get a car so I don't have to take the bus or ride my bike all the time." –a participant in the youth emancipation program

"I'd recommend ADAM [Alcohol and Drug Interaction and Anger Management classes] to future students because, for an hour, you can get a lot out of it. People open up and relate to you. I learned about the triggers or feelings associated with anger. It also made me realize how dangerous being a passenger in a drunk driver's car can be.  I would never get into the car with someone who has been drinking." –a graduate of Alcohol & Drug Intervention and Anger Management classes

Last Updated: 04/17/2014

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