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Grant boosts St. Jude’s planned healing center

The groundbreaking for a new healing center for sex trafficking victims at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City could happen this year, in part due to a recent $3 million grant from Clark County.

“We are extremely grateful for the funds,” said CEO Christina Vela.

Vela said the nonprofit organization applied for the grant through the county. The money will go toward the proposed center, which will be built on 10 undeveloped acres of the ranch’s 38.65-acre property. It will have a maximum of 60 residents, six homes, an administrative and emergency shelter building and a multipurpose building that will include a school. It will be gated off from the rest of the campus and serve those 10-18 years old.

It is estimated to cost $15 million.

“Clark County is proud to support St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in its efforts to help child victims of sex trafficking,” said County Commissioner Jim Gibson in a press release. “We are saddened that there even needs to be such services, but until we can overcome this issue as a society, we will be there to help those who have fallen victim.”

Gibson’s district includes Boulder City.

Vela said with this grant, a matching grant from the Engelstad Foundation as well as financial support from the community has brought in approximately $10 million for the healing center.

“People give what they can and it means everything to us,” she said.

With the money raised and City Council’s approval of St. Jude’s master plan amendment for the project, Vela said they are well-positioned to break ground on it this year.

St. Jude’s has created a construction leadership team and plans to put out a request for proposal for a construction company in the next 30 to 60 days.

For more information about the healing center, go to http://stjudesranch.org/healing-center/

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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