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Changing Lives; Saving Lives

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Parts of Del’s childhood were so traumatic that some memories are completely blocked. It’s as if his mind erased the parts no six-year-old should ever have to go through. But he will never forget the moment that changed his life, when a program director at the Idaho Youth Ranch refused to give up on him.

Del Morgan is the Alumni Relations Coordinator for IYR and he previously served as the agency’s E-commerce Manager. He earned both positions because of his business knowledge and skills. But he got his knowledge about how IYR heals broken, hurting children from first-hand experience.

(**Watch Del's video interview and Success Stories from other IYR alumni at youthranch.org/ get-help/success-stories)

“My earliest childhood memory is of my mother’s boyfriend stripping me naked and beating me with a coat hanger from the back of my knees to the middle of my back,” Del said in a recent interview. “And the one person we were taught was supposed to protect us, our mother, was my biggest abuser.”

In drunken rages, his mother sometimes threatened Del and his stepfather with a shotgun. On one occasion she shot out the back window of the car as they pulled away. Del’s mom would go to bars for hours on end, leaving his little brother at home in his crib with a bottle and no supervision until Del got home from school.

Not surprisingly, Del tried to survive by running away. This landed him in the state juvenile system and a series of foster homes and group homes, but none of them could give him the help he so desperately needed. It was a long, hard road that finally brought him to IYR’s Ranch Campus at Rupert.

The Ranch’s program director managed to get Del to unleash the pain and anger he had bottled up for so long. When Del started throwing punches, the director “actually grabbed me in a bear hug. He held on so tight I thought he was going to squeeze the life out of me. The whole time he kept saying, ‘Go ahead and let it out. I am not going anywhere. I love you. I will not let you go.’”

“His actions and words finally brought my walls down just enough for a few people to finally get in”, Del continued. This began his path to a new, promising future and what would become a lifelong relationship with the Idaho Youth Ranch.

“When you donate your time or hard-earned dollars to the Idaho Youth Ranch, you are not just changing an abused child’s life,” he said, “You might be saving this child’s life. I know the Idaho Youth Ranch saved my life and I owe my life, my family and every success I have ever achieved to this organization.”

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