History

The YMCA Boys Home of Iowa opened in April of 1943. Hobart and Alta Ross, a Des Moines grocery store owner and food broker and his wife, were the founder and primary financial supporters of the organization. Hobart and Alta, along with some of Hobart’s business associates, were approached to create a home for disadvantaged boys. Hobart and Alta liked the idea of being able to help young people succeed and so they bought a working farm from the Waterbury family in 1942. They thought that teaching young people how to work would help them as they became adults.

Because the scope and array of programs have changed over the years to include off-campus programs and programs for girls, the name was changed in 1987 from YMCA Boys Home to Youth Homes of Mid-America. The motto, “When you get involved with helping youth you have to see it through, you cannot go part way,” has stuck with Youth Homes to this day.

For over 70 years, we have been committed to helping troubled young people and their families find their path to independence. By reinvesting the support we receive through the community, we’re helping to build a more positive environment for generations to come.