Continuum of Care: Transitional Living Program
For now, two apartments on the south end of Kinloch Price Boys Ranch sit empty, occupied only by furniture, a desktop computer and appliances. Soon, though, the properties resting on Woodlawn in rural Valley Center, will bustle with the presence, purpose and promise of teenage boys eager to show they can transition from their at-risk years to adulthood. Helping them is a former college baseball right-handed pitcher, Jeff Busenitz, who now spends his days at the boys’ ranch coaching youth life-skills and sharing his faith as he installs Youth Horizons’ first Transitional Living Program (TLP). The TLP is designed to be a new service at the ranch, a bridge from boyhood to adulthood as residents make the move from foster care to independent living. The group boarding home concept gives selected boys an opportunity to practice independent living skills such as meal planning, house cleaning, property maintenance, holding a job, and money management, while decreasing their need for supervision. TLP residents will remain in the program until they are ready to function as independent adults.
TLP residents must meet certain requirements. They must be at least 16 years old, hold a job, enroll in a school (or work toward a diploma), and demonstrate a knowledge of life-skills. They must also adhere to rules prohibiting violence, illegal substances, weapons, unexcused school absences and other forbidden activities.
Busenitz will supervise TLP residents. During a recent tour of both apartments, he seemed up to the task as he discussed his passion for youth mentoring. It’s a calling. One he developed after playing college baseball at Tennessee Temple University (1998-2003) and throwing for the Aces in an independent league (2004). These days, Busenitz is going the distance for YH boys wanting a TLP program. Recently, due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, he pitched the program to a State of Kansas official during a meeting at a park in Salina. Youth Horizons’ request is under review. For Busenitz, the TLP is a tool for his most important mission: sharing his faith.
“Sure, we want to help them make that transition, right here at the ranch,” he said. “I also want to teach them about the heart of God. Some of our boys have a false, perverted, twisted view of God because of the pain they’ve experienced. We want them to know that he wants to protect and love them.”