By Jonathan Dale
Valley Women Writer
3:48 PM PST, February 17, 2012
Victims of abuse are vulnerable. They are scared, saddened, and in need of caring hands and loving smiles.
Thousands in the Imperial Valley have been in this position and have found a measure of solace in Betty Jo McNeece, Betty Young and the facilities named after them.
The 74-year-old McNeece and 90-year-old Young are being honored for their more than 25 years worth of outstanding effort with the county receiving home and adjacent school.
The county’s original receiving home opened in the 1950’s, McNeece says, in the old Juvenile Hall in the city of Imperial.
The home was eventually moved to the old county hospital where the current Volunteers of America reside next to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.
“I was working out there with juvenile hall girls; they called the program Little Sisters,” McNeece remembers. “Betty (Young) came into the picture at that point,” she adds.
The year, the women believe, was about 1985 when they began working together.
“She was looking for volunteers to help with Los Niños, which is what the receiving home was called at the time,” Young says.
Back then, the Los Niños facility had just 15 beds, limiting the number of displaced children who could be helped.
“So often it was physical abuse with many of the children,” Young says. “Increasingly it was sexual abuse.”
“It was as if everything you wouldn’t want to happen to your community did,” she adds.
Read more about McNeece and Young in the January/February 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press