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CEO Message

A Message from our CEO Brian Farragher

Hanna Boys Center Director Brian Farragher

At Hanna Boys Center, we believe that everyone—regardless of background—deserves the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.

Through no fault of their own, millions of children grow up in neglectful, abusive or traumatic environments, which inevitably shape the rest of their lives. One in six people—50 million Americans—have experienced significant childhood trauma and adversity, which turns out to be a leading cause of higher unemployment, violence, crime, incarceration, family dysfunction and, ultimately, societal burdens that we all bear.

For more than 70 years, Hanna has been a beacon of hope for thousands of young men needing a place to recover, learn and grow. The cornerstones of our program—faith, education and caring—continue to drive everything we do today.

The paradox is that while Hanna is a fortress of stability for our boys, ultimately our mission is all about change. Our goal is to help young people make difficult changes in their lives. Almost all the youth we serve have experienced years of adversity and toxic stress as the result of poverty, abuse, neglect, violence or family dysfunction. We now know that chronic exposure to stress and adversity can disrupt neurodevelopment and dramatically increase the risk of lifelong physical and mental health challenges.

The good news is that resilience is the antidote to trauma and adversity— and the most important ingredient in building resilience in youth is relationships with caring and committed adults.

At Hanna, our residential treatment center has no shortage of caring and committed adults. From our devoted Board, generous donors and volunteers, to our talented staff, our boys have a myriad of opportunities to connect with adults who care about them and are invested in their future. This is one of the hallmarks of Hanna: connections with caring adults that form the foundation for our solid outcomes.

Our results speak for themselves: Over the last decade nearly 75% of our graduates reported “positive outcomes,” about twice what a similar program for at-risk teen program population with no intervention would have reported.

Positive outcomes means our graduates are either employed or engaged in post-secondary education, have stable housing and relationships, have not experienced significant physical or behavioral health problems, and are not incarcerated, engaged in criminal or drug behavior, etc. Our extradordinary Follow-On Program, with dedicated staff that stay connected to and involved with our alumni, proactively monitors and supports the long-term success and life satisfaction of our graduates.

For those of you who have visited our campus in Sonoma, you know what a special place it is. In 2013, Hanna completed its first capital campaign, transforming the front half of our property with state-of-the-art sports fields, a beautiful auditorium, and an inspirational Legacy Center. These facilities underscore Hanna’s commitment to reaching out to the community at-large, providing resources for more children, families and community organizations looking for a safe place to play, learn and grow.

We estimate that Hanna hosts more than 40,000 community members on our campus each year, and this number is growing. With this growth comes a renewed dedication to serving at-risk youth in Sonoma County and the North Bay.

Through our expanding partnerships and community involvement, Hanna is reaching not just hundreds, but thousands of young people in northern California and beyond. As a thought leader in this area, we envision a world where youth-serving organizations everywhere have the awareness, resources and drive to help young people overcome the impacts of childhood trauma and go on to lead rich, productive, meaningful lives.

We hope you’ll join us on this journey!

—Brian Farragher, CEO