Since 1957 Morning Star Boys’ Ranch has been serving this region by providing professional care, guidance, and hope to children, teens and families. We work with our residents to nurture their social, moral, educational, and emotional needs; while working with parents to address environmental changes that will facilitate whole family healing.



On August 5, 1956 a magnificent endowment from the estate Mrs. Antonia Heckett of Davenport, WA was put to its intended use, when the Spokane Dioceses broke ground on a home for troubled boys. This would become Morning Star Boys’ Ranch. Just six months later, in January 1957, the first boy came walking up the hill to the not quite finished Ranch house and said he’d heard about Morning Star Boys Ranch and he needed some help. On that cold winter day Morning Star opened their door to the first of more that 1,300 young men in need.

The mission of the ranch has remained the same for nearly six decades: Provide a safe, supportive and caring environment where boys in trouble can find compassionate help and encouragement in order to become healthy and productive adults.

  • 1971 the Morning Star Ranch complex grew, when 224 acres of the Glenrose Prairie on Spokane’s South Hill was purchased.
  • 1976 the Glenrose Prairie Ranch complex was opened and was ready to accommodate 33 boys in the new constructed Murphy House. The property also had a gymnasium, photography facilities, arts and crafts rooms and a library.
  • 1982 Morning Star’s signature horse programs got updated with the construction of the Pete Dix Memorial barn and with it the addition of new corrals and fencing.
  • 2006 With 50-years of service and dedication to the Ranch, he helped build, Father Joseph “Joe” Weitensteiner retired as Ranch director.
  • 2006 Morning Star Foundation was founded to help ensure the mission of the Morning Star Ranch and the legacy of Antonia Heckett live on in perpetuity. Today the Morning Star Foundation raises money to ensure that no boy, no family, is turned away from Morning Star because of an inability to pay for services.
  • 2009 The Ranch reorganized as a self-standing 501c3 public charity.
  • 2011 With the recognition that the problems our children and families face today, the Moring Star mission needed to expand to service those needs. To answer that call Morning Star Community Services was opened on the campus of Morning Star Boys’ Ranch. Today both organizations work side by side in trying to help children and families in crisis both, at the Ranch and in the community.


Whole Family Healing: Working hand in hand with our sister agency, Morning Star Community Services, Morning Star Boys’ Ranch is at the forefront in addressing some of the most challenging issues facing families in our community today. Issues such as: Adverse Childhood Effects Syndrome, Childhood Maltreatments, as well as Fetal Drug and Alcohol Effects, we are aware that to help the Boys, we must work to heal the families. That is why reunification of child and family, whenever possible,  is our ultimate goal. When reunification is not possible, we work with a very select group of foster families, who are certified through us, and commit to a true family-like unification.

  • Reunification of child and family in a healthy, loving and thriving environment is our ultimate goal. We work with both child and parents to achieve this goal.
  • While at the Ranch we work with the boys and their families, offering parent education programs, family enrichment opportunities and individual and family counseling.
  • When reunification is not an option, our foster care certification program and wrap-around services ensures that kids needing to be unified with a family are placed in safe, caring, permanent placements and that the foster families have access to all the services they need to transform from wanting to help, to having a family.
  • Educational Support: The importance of education moving these children past the trauma faced in their lives is paramount. By creating a program with strong focus on education provides Moring Star residents and clients the skills they need to excel in the future.
  • Morning Star Boys’ Ranch hosts a comprehensive, in-house, remedial literacy program. The goal of which is to closely assess each resident’s ability level and to methodically bring them forward in a program and at an academic pace best suited to their needs.
  • Morning Star Boys’ Ranch enjoys a strong partnership with Spokane District 81 schools, their administrators, and faculty. Significant care is provided to ensure each student is engaged in the best learning environment, to ensure the highest possible educational outcomes.
  • Tutors and educational support personnel are on hand daily to help Ranch residents with schoolwork.
  • Morning Star’s commitment to education does not end when a child leaves. An endowed scholarship fund provides assistance to help former Ranch residents cover costs associated with further education after high school.


John Hindman, LICSW – Executive Director


BEN1_1Ben Lister – Program Director


Larry White – Facilities Manager


Linda Lawhead – Bookkeeper


Becky Backstrom – Case Manager
Julia Furfaro – Case Manager
Tyler Layton – Chef
Mackenzie Naylor – Case Aide Program Assistant
Kate McCloskey – Equine Coordinator
Kate McCaslin – Chief Operations Officer
Kim Morin – Director of Quality Assurance & Public Relations
Annika O’Neill – Foster Care Licensor
Wes Patterson – Office Coordinator
Kurt Ramsrud – Program Coordinator
Devin Rodgers – Case Manager
Ryan Rodriguez – Case Aide Program Manager


A dedicated team of Residential Counselors & Case Aides