I came to O’Connell Youth Ranch in 1989 with a goal of working with kids. I wanted to have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. What a revelation! Not only did I have the opportunity to teach them, but I learned from them as well; their struggles, their needs, their joys, and their desires for a more positive life.
I began my venture late in life. After 20 years of working with youth groups, directing summer youth camps and being an active member of my church, I felt a real need expand my horizons even further. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Social Work and began my adventure in Lawrence at DCF (then SRS). After two years, I felt the desire to work with youth on a more personal level. The opportunity presented itself for me to become of part of the O’Connell Youth Ranch Family. This was the best decision I could have made for my career life!
Through my 25 years of being 1st the ranch Social Worker and later Director I can always be assured that every day is a new day and I learn something new with each day. The greatest reward on this job is to be able to witness personal change in the life of a young man and THEN to have him knock on my door – sometimes – as much as 10 years after they have left our family to say, “Hey, Ms. Deanie. I knew you would still be here and I just wanted to stop by and tell you how I am doing.” And then, I have the joy of hearing another successful story!!!
I love this ranch family!
Check back for Andrea’s full bio!