White Fields: A Place to Call Home

There
are some people who are simply called toward a certain duty. For Tom
Ward, CEO of SandRidge Energy, you might expect that duty to be a
business venture or major corporate challenge.

So
it may surprise you to learn that Ward and his family have taken on a
far greater challenge to help some of Oklahoma’s most abused and
neglected children at White Fields.

“This
is what my family believes is our calling. We were given the
opportunity to try to help these children and it’s really been our
goal and now there’s a number of other people who’ve decided this
is something they’ve been led to do,” says Ward who, along with
his son Trent, began researching ways to get involved in the issue of
child abuse and neglect in 2000.

Frank
Alberson knows firsthand the long and difficult journey the boys at
White Fields have taken to get there.

Born
to a drug addicted mother and alcoholic father, Alberson suffered
years of abuse, a failed adoption, severe burns and spent his teen
years at a military boarding school. He ended up attending Anderson
University where Ward’s son Trent was also studying. “He saw that
I had no family, and we became good friends. He invited me home for
Christmas and they kind of adopted me unofficially,” says Alberson.

This
friendship, along with six years of research by the Wards, led to the
opening of White Fields in 2006. Things came full circle when
Alberson first began mentoring a child at White Fields and then was
asked to come on board as the facility’s co-director.

The
White Fields campus sits amid the broad and beautiful expanse of a
wheat field not far outside of Edmond. The grounds have beautiful
buildings, a skate park, playground, basketball court and a two-acre
fishing pond.

What
is truly impressive are the programs and ideas at work within White
Fields’ walls. The children receive a wide range of services. With
individual therapy, group therapy, art therapy and personal
enrichment activities such as golf and bowling, they learn to heal
and grow as individuals.

All
of these programs ride on a continuum of care model. The innovative
aspect of White Fields is that they provide all of these services
under one roof and the program becomes a permanent home for the boys
that arrive.

“The
idea of permanency is really the solid foundation of White Fields,”
says Ward. “What we try to instill in our boys is that they’re
loved and they have a place to stay. They’re not going to be moved.
They can be a whole person and get well.”

White
Fields takes boys aged eight to 12 that are of the most serious cases
of abuse. All of the boys have been in other placements that have
failed. They currently have 13 boys in the program and the capacity
to hold 40. White Fields is a young organization and intentional
about growing slowly so they maintain the level of care they are able
to provide.

The
boys attend the facility’s accredited school until they are ready
to go into public school. Currently, five of the boys attend public
school.

As
they move through the program and become ready, the boys have the
opportunity to move into the facility cottages where they live with
house parents within a family setting.

Ultimately,
White Fields is offering these kids hope and a chance at a better
life. For Ward, and everyone else involved, this calling has become a
long-term commitment to the boys. “Our
goal is to continue to be a family to them as long as we can see in
the future,”
he says. For White Fields, home really is sweet.

In
addition to donations, White Fields is currently in need of three
male mentors and other volunteers. White Fields offers tours of their
program and facilities. Please visit www.whitefieldsok.com
for more information.

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