LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Shiloh House is a therapeutic treatment program. But even before it existed, it’s founders were coming together to change Colorado children’s lives.
“We wanted a safe environment that had structure, but it has to be a home-like environment,” said Steven Ramirez, CEO of Shiloh House.
Steven and Vicki Ramirez were house parents in a duplex that was opened up to serve as one home for up to 16 young boys who’d suffered emotional, behavioral, or family crisis situations. In 1985, the couple turned the duplex into the first Shiloh House.
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“I felt like very important is a routine, and very important is the consistency and the unconditional acceptance,” Vicki Ramirez told CBS4.
The couple raised dozens of boys in this extended family atmosphere, taking them camping, fishing and on vacation in other states.
“Our whole philosophy with all of our programs that we were in the community. I wanted them to learn how to interact in the community, and so we taught them how to be good neighbors,” Steven Ramirez explained.
John McDaniel was among the first young boys to come under the care of the Ramirezes. He landed at Shiloh House when he was 9-years-old, after his father abandoned him and his younger brother in a motel room.
“When I got here I thought the world was just crap,” McDaniel reflected.
McDaniel had suffered years of neglect and abuse.
“He was a quiet young man, I had a difficult time getting him engaging, but you could tell his mind was always thinking,” Steven Ramirez said.
Shiloh House was the first stable home McDaniel had ever known. He credits the Ramirezes for putting him on a new path.
“Steve and Vicki were the closest thing to a mom and dad to me, my whole entire life,” McDaniel told CBS4. “Steve and Vicki showed me and taught me that the world is how you make it.”
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At the age of 45, John has made his world into a success. He owns his own contractor business, and is surrounded by his own family.
“I got 9 kids, and that’s my priority, is my kids,” he said.
“If you accomplish nothing else in your life, the fact that you’re taking care of your children, which was not what was done for him, that’s a success to us,” Vicki Ramirez said.
The kind of success story that Steven and Vicki Ramirez have been writing for nearly 40 years.