Childhelp Merv Griffin Village Celebrates 30th Anniversary

This last weekend I had the honor to attend the annual Christmas party at the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village.  Since opening its doors in 1978 as one of the nation's first residential facilities soley dedicated to the healing treatment of severely abused and neglected children, the village has received international recognition for innovation and excellence. Located on 121-acres in Beaumont, Calif., the Village provides hope and healing to children who have been assigned to the village by the state, and for many is the last step before a psychiatric institution.  The Village is staffed by a nurse, medical assistant and a medical transporter as well as teachers, therapists, case managers, and physicians.  Children typically live at the village between three months and two years at which time most of the children are able to succeed in less intensive settings.  The Childhelp Merv Griffin Village  is able to accommodate 80 children at a time, and it is always at capacity.

Enrichment programs provided to the children of the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village include art therapy and ranch therapy, where children care for horses, llamas, donkeys and other animals to experience emotional growth and healing.  The newest program in the Village, the Wilderness Program, uses outdoor activities and challenges to help the children develop in areas of leadership, group interdependence, awareness and personal accountability.

The annual Christmas program, which is emceed every year by actor John Stamos, is a wonderful event and the highlight of the year for many of the residents.  Among the attendees in the at capacity crowd were Childhelp founders Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson; actor Dave Coulier, who shared emcee duties; actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr; actress and Childhelp National Board Member Joyce Bulifant; and Childhelp staff, donors, special friends of the village and even Santa Clause.

Originally opened as the Village of Childhelp West, the Village was renamed to the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village last year in honor of the late entertainer Merv Griffin.  Griffin was a long time supporter of Childhelp and donated his 192-acre Wickenburg Inn and Dude Ranch in Arizona to Childhelp to serve as a refuge for abused children.

To read more about Childhelp's residential treatments centers, click here.


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