The Home for Little Wanderers, Boston, MA is not the quaint little New England orphanage that I once pictured and which its name seems to connote. Quite the contrary. When a close relative took employment with “The Home” it motivated me to look beyond the almost naive sounding name of this Boston based organization and what I found frankly astounded me.
To begin with the Home for Little Wanderers has a history nearly as long as that of our nation, having been founded in 1799. It first operated as an orphanage, but overtime “the Home” as it came to be called, became an amalgamation of 4 formerly independent child and family service groups in the Boston area. Of these four, one of the largest was The New England Home for Little Wanderers ” which itself dated from 1865. It seems that even though Massachusetts was not the actual site of any major military confrontations during the Civil War, it certainly lost its share of fathers and in some instances children were orphaned as a result of war. In New England the business community stepped up and created a home for these children as efforts proceeded to help find them more permanent living arrangements.
The continued expansion of The Home has produced results that are nothing short of amazing. Today the Home employs some 600 workers at numerous sites devoted to the delivery of special and intensvie services to meet the needs of local children and their families. In 2010, the Home for Little Wanders can proudly claim to be the oldest and the largest non profit, private child and family care establishment in New England and among the largest in the nation.
As much as I was surprised by the sheer age and current size of the Home I was even more surprised by the wide variety of services it offers. Many people visualize The Home for Little Wanderers as a large scale center for adoptive services. Certainly the Home does pursue the work of an adoption agency on a daily basis providing services for the adoption of infants and working to find suitable foster homes for children until permanent adoption becomes an option. But this is only a part of what the Home does to improve life for children and families in the Boston and New England area.
Through its network of outreach sites The Home for Little Wanderers extends a hand to many who are struggling simply to address the physically and emotinally taxing situations of their existence. For example The Home offers pre-school outreach programs to children and families, residential programs for older children who have a wide range of academic, emotional and physical challenges, after school programs that provide support to children and families and even support for those who have finished high school and need support to transition to college or adult independent living. Indeed this is no simple adoption agency or facility where kids are warehoused. The Home for Little Wanderers is really like many small beehives of activity going full force to make life better for the most at risk young people and families in our larger community here in New England.
At the end of the day all programs are directed in some way to complete what the Home sees as its mission. According its website the Home works to provide “healthy emotional, mental and social development of children at risk, their families and communities”
You can help this non-profit wonder worker through donations. But you can also help by committing your time or encouraging your company or organization to donate time to serve in volunteer functions throughout the Home’s system
For complete information and contacts visit the website for the Home for Little Wanderers.