“At first, we all missed our mother, but we were all very happy to sleep in our own beds and to have enough food that we were never hungry. I suppose that we could have been adopted or fostered out, but my mother was determined to keep us together. Noyes Home provided her with the opportunity. It became the only real home I ever had.”
– CHARLOTTE YTELL (1987)
Many have driven by the stately Noyes Home at 801 N. Noyes Blvd., St. Joseph, Mo., unaware of what’s really happening inside those doors. In fact, the brick mansion with breathtaking stained glass windows has remained a best-kept secret in Northwest Missouri for decades.
With the launch its first-ever capital campaign, the opening of the region’s only Crisis Nursery and new communications tools, that’s all about to change.
As former Noyes Home leadership said, the Noyes Home is a place for “good kids with bad breaks.” For more than 110 years, the Noyes Home has been a place where a child who is facing a family crisis feels safe, and can just be a child, until the family is able to get back on its feet. Over the years, children have come to the Noyes Home during times when the family couldn’t afford food, such as the Depression, or when a family faced a sudden move or hardship. It allowed siblings to remain together, and many say these were some of their happiest childhood memories.
Today, the Noyes Home is a place for families to begin finding solutions to poverty, unemployment, homelessness, job changes and other challenges. While family members talk about their next steps with professionals, their children are cared for with kindness and compassion — for a few days, or a couple of weeks, while they find a solution. In some cases, children come to the Noyes Home for a brief period while they await foster care. For some teens, the Noyes Home is a place to think, recharge and take positive steps toward improving a tough situation at home or school.
Originally named the “Home for Little Wanderers,” Charles and Serepta Noyes founded the Noyes Home out of tragedy and love. Having lost their children at an early age, the couple founded the home so children in need could have a loving home and named the Ladies Union Benevolent Association to oversee and manage its operations. The home has been privately funded since 1894, with the first community campaign underway now.
Today, the LUBA Board, staff and volunteers continue to carry out that vision in amazing ways and to invite the community to step inside and experience all that the Noyes Home stands for. The first Crisis Nursery is now open, allowing the Noyes Home to receive infants and toddlers at any time if their families are in crisis – and providing a critical first step to the tragedy of infant abuse and fatalities in Northwest Missouri.
The next time you drive by the brick mansion at 801 N. Noyes Blvd, remember that the Noyes Home has been quietly serving hundreds of children and families for more than a century with a safe, nurturing environment. Remember that some of the best memories of childhood have been shared here by many adults and Noyes Home alumni. Remember that community partnerships have been integral in opening the doors for brighter futures for many children facing homelessness, poverty or crisis.
Remember above all that the Noyes Home is a home.