Chamber Member of the Week: Boulware Mission

The Boulware Mission officially celebrated its 100th anniversary on Sunday. The Mission offers a comprehensive program that assists individuals with employment skills, financial literacy, general education, substance abuse treatment, healthy living, general life skills, faith-building, and more.

Milton Boulware developed the idea for the mission over a century ago out of a desire to help the poor, show Christ’s love, and provide a safe after-school program for children. Originally called the Gospel Center Mission, the board of directors elected to change the name to the Boulware Mission in July of 1963 in honor of the founder’s birthday. 

As times changed, so did the mission, evolving to meet the greatest needs of the community. 

“It has provided shelter services, a soup kitchen, after-school child care, senior citizens’ programs,  Sunday School classes, a clothing closet, and more,” said executive director Leigha Taylor. “About 16 years ago, drug and alcohol addiction was recognized as one of the greatest needs facing the community and a licensed treatment program was added to the list of services offered on-site.”

Today, the ultimate goal is for clients to develop self-sufficiency under the guidance of a case manager. Through the many programs offered at the mission, individuals are provided with the tools they need to become independent, contributing members of the community. 

While the milestone anniversary brings much excitement to the organization, it’s the many success stories along the way that make it all worth it.

“It is awe-inspiring to think that one woman’s dream to help others has grown to be such an essential part of our community and to look back on the number of lives that have been changed over the past 100 years,” Taylor said. “We’ve seen countless individuals who came to the Mission at rock bottom and were given a second chance at life. It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of that.”

Taylor added that the mission attributes much of its success to the support of the community. The United Way partner relies heavily on donations from individuals and organizations, as well as their many volunteers. 

“From seeing that we have the funding to operate, to serving as volunteers, to providing opportunities and programming for our clients, this community has made what we do possible,” Taylor said. 

Their flagship fundraiser, Dancing with Our Stars – Owensboro Style, will return to the ballroom on Aug. 7 this year. The reveal of this year’s dancers will take place on June 3 at Old National Bank downtown and stream on their Boulware Facebook Page. 

“Tickets and voting will go live on June 3,” Taylor said. “We also plan to hold a reunion event later in the fall in celebration of our 100th anniversary. We hope that former clients, volunteers, and friends of the Mission can join us.”

Those who wish to help can make a monetary or in-kind donation either in person or through the Boulware website

“The clients, staff, and board of directors are so very thankful to this community for their support,” Taylor said. “We look forward to what the next 100 years will bring.”

By John Kirkpatrick The Owensboro Times