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The people of Utah should be proud to know of an organization that has made tremendous strides here in our state. Utah Youth Village is celebrating its 25th year of helping abandoned, abused and neglected children.

The Village was founded in 1969 by Lila Bjorklund, a caring and sharing person with special talents that have changed the lives of troubled youths. The Village was founded when Lila, a former school board member, and associates met in her home to discuss the lack of public facilities, particularly for troubled or abandoned young girls.The apparent and immediate needs of neglected young girls necessitated taking some girls into private homes, pending the eventual completion (with private funds and donations) of two "cottage" homes in Kearns. Several other homes were subsequently acquired, currently providing homes for 70 girls and boys. The services of the Village extend into participation with the state social services foster care program.

The mission of the Utah Youth Village is "to improve the lives of troubled, ungovernable, abused or neglected children and youth," and it enjoys an 85 percent success rate. This is in comparison with a 35 percent success rate for traditional treatment. The integrity of the board and staff members has enabled the Utah Youth Village to achieve leadership status and accreditation in the nationally recognized "Teaching Family Model" and to maintain its standards of excellence.

Jack Smith

Board member and Tooele County unit director

The Salvation Army