Roger and Tonya Boone are just two of Anderson University’s alumni who are making their local community a better place through their work at White’s Residential and Family Services, located in Wabash, Ind.
While attending AU, both Roger and Tonya immersed themselves in the school’s activities and academic opportunities. They both took advantage of the opportunities for Tri-S trips, athletics, and social clubs. Roger graduated with a concentration in athletic training, which ended up being the reason the two met. [Photo on left: Tonya and Roger with their son, Randy.]
“While I was playing softball I injured my knee,” said Tonya. “Roger was actually the one who nursed me back to health, and the rest is history.”
The couple also developed life-long friendships at AU. “We still keep in touch with our professors,” Tonya said. “Dr. Jim Scott was my lifeguard coach, and we still keep in contact today.”
Following graduation, the two became involved with White’s because of Roger’s mother and father, who worked there for more than 30 years. Roger became a house parent for a group of boys. Shortly after, Tonya said she felt God leading her in the same direction.
White’s serves as a residential and foster care facility for youth in sixth through 12th grade who have experienced trouble with the law or at home. The institute places the youth in foster homes throughout the community or state and also serves as home to some of them through the residential campus, which is a part of White’s High School. The 120 students who make up the high school are all from White’s residential facility. A majority of these students had behavioral or academic problems at other schools.
“The main challenge with these students is to keep them in school and motivated throughout the years,” said Roger. “Our goal is to help them achieve success through good grades, while gaining the necessary credits to graduate.”
Tonya is a special education teacher at the school and works passionately to build the students’ self-esteem. “The students are used to failure,” she said. “However, we need to build their self-esteem by showing them they are capable of so much more.”
“One of the most rewarding parts about our work is seeing a student who is used to failure have success, and seeing them get on the right path, with goals and dreams for their future,” Roger said.
Another aspect the couple cherishes about their jobs is the Christian foundation that the facility is built upon. “Students get introduced to the gospel who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity,” Tonya said. Roger agreed, “It’s a good place with a good vision, which feels like a family.”
Tonya said she can see similarities between the AU and White’s staff. “Just like White’s, AU has a great administration that truly cares about the students and professors who choose to teach because they feel as if it is their mission.”
A couple of years ago the Boone’s received a letter from a former resident at White's. “He wrote to thank us for never giving up on him,” Roger said. The student went to college following graduation, spending two years at AU. “He explained his gratitude and said that he would never be where he is today without the help of White’s, which meant the world to us.”
— Joseph Matas is a senior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Matas is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.