Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

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Since 1927, The Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home in Woodland Hills has provided a loving, supportive residence for boys who needed support from the local community.

Renamed the Pacific Lodge Youth Services (PLYS) in 1942 it provides shelter, safety and therapy to adolescent boys, ages 13-18, who are experiencing psychological, emotional, or behavioral problems.

In 2017, Pacific Lodge Youth Services was acquired by Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services. According to the Optimist website, “Given the similar histories and populations served, this has proven to be an excellent match for both organizations.”

Recognizing Pacific Lodge’s long history of dedicated service dating back to 1927, Optimist retains the name of Pacific Lodge as a division of their agency.

During all those years, there has always been a dedicated core of kind and generous volunteers to reach out and fund the Lodge and recognize it as a vital resource for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

In order to honor those who regularly give their time and money to the organization, the Pacific Lodge Youth Services held its Seventh Annual Autumn Luncheon on Saturday, November 3, in Woodland Hills to celebrate its many generous donors and volunteers.

This year, the volunteers created a lovely fall festive affair in the spacious gymnasium, including a silent auction, a holiday gift boutique, and a delicious pasta buffet.

During the luncheon, there was outstanding entertainment performed by Victor and Judy Guardia singing classic Folk ballads from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Emcee JT Taylor introduced a former resident, Ken Herbs, who spoke about how Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home likely saved his life. He spoke of his troubles growing up in L.A. in the 1970s and how he was ultimately saved by the organization.

“Sometimes there are things that happen to kids that color their lives,” Herbs said in an emotional account of his time at the Lodge. “Most people don’t know what it is like being locked up alone. Since then, I have built a life through God and real estate…and we hope to bring Alumni in line with the kids coming through the process. I’m a complete success; I am married and have kids, largely because of the Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home.”

After Herbs spoke, three shy young men, Jorge, Brandon, and Juan, took the stage and presented their heartfelt and beautiful poetry, which was a highlight of the event. The Messenger Mountain News is proud to publish them here.

To close the program, Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield presented the volunteers with proclamations recognizing their service to the PLYS and to the community as they seek to raise about $1.2 million annually to fund the program.

“I love having the Lodge in my district,” Blumenfield said. “I want to give a heartfelt thank you to those who help put a face on [the organization] and the transformation that happens here.”


PLYS was founded in 1923 by the Protestant Welfare Association of Los Angeles County as the Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home in Spadra, California (near modern-day Pomona), where adolescent males could begin to rebuild their lives. 

In 1927, Milo Bekins of the Bekins Moving & Storage family deeded 42 acres of property in Girard (now known as Woodland Hills) to Pacific Lodge, whose name was officially changed to Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home in 1942 and dropped its religious affiliation. It became a 501 (c) (3) in 1950.

As the needs of Los Angeles County changed, the name of the agency was changed to Pacific Lodge Youth Services in 1993 to better reflect the diversity of the programs being offered to young adults in the juvenile justice and foster care systems. Residents began to be court-ordered to come to the Lodge and receive treatment for a specified amount of time. 

In 2010, the Lodge opened an off-campus Substance Abuse Clinic in nearby Canoga Park; established its Supervised Independent Living Placement program for youths aged 18-21 with the creation of Ben’s House in 2011; and received an L.A. County contract in 2012 to provide Outpatient Treatment Services through a Group Home Aftercare Program.

In 2015, the PLYS program plan has been approved for the Transitional Housing Placement Plus Foster Care Program (THP-Plus), paving the way for The Lodge to begin offering transitional housing to transition-aged youth at scattered sites throughout Los Angeles County.


Pacific Lodge Youth Services, 4900 Serrania Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364. Phone: (818) 347-1577, Fax: (818) 883-5452, Email: info@plys.org.



By Jorge

My Dream could be miles & miles away.

But that ain’t keeping me from losing patience.

So I be realistic so the outcome is today.

If we ever come down, don’t worry…

We singing sweet songs, changing frowns.

No more eyes teary.

As we’re lifted, perspective keeps me up.

Up above more than sad ever was.

Pleased to be cherished, and the cherished is love.

So many acting wrong.

Showing nothing to be strong.

You turn the wrong way.

Most consume hate.

That doesn’t ever stay.


Her Eyes

By Brandon

Her eyes full of tears ‘cause her baby boy’s been getting in trouble.

She always called me her little man, even before I grew my stubble.

Heart broken when she found out all I wanted to do was hustle.

Casing’ out ‘cause sometimes my eyes glorified my struggle.

Every time I left the house momma would make sure she said ‘I love you.’

And ‘Boy think twice about everything you gon’ do.’

Sometimes I thought her words were bull, but now I know her love is true.

Momma, I promise to make a better life for you and me.



By Juan

On my mind today, I think about my future, wonderful things that I could accomplish and imagine. I feel bad that I can’t be at home.

Being with my family is all I want, but if you want to have a future then think of what is best.

Yeah, I have disappointed my mom by doing a lot of bad stuff.

I could see her suffering, but I also see myself helping her.

Yeah, that is what’s on my mind today.


Annemarie Donkin

Annemarie Donkin is a journalist who wrote for The Signal in Valencia, CA and was the Managing Editor for the Topanga Messenger from 2013 to 2016. She is thrilled to write for the Messenger Mountain News to continue the tradition of excellent community newspapers. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel throughout California, read, watch movies and keep bees.

1 Comment
  1. During 1960-61 I was very good friends with one of your residents by the name of Harold Pirie.
    I am curious as to whatever became of him…I hope he was happy and successful in life.

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