Real Life Children’s Ranch was founded in 1957 by the late James P. Fraser and his surviving spouse, Mary Ellen Fraser. The couple realized a desperate need for a Christian group home after two small boys were deserted at the Real Life Nursery School in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, which the Fraser’s owned and operated. The parents never returned for the boys at the end of the day.
After two weeks of frantic searching for the parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fraser decided to find a Christian Children’s home for the boys. All of the nearby homes were full, so arrangements were made to place the children in a county juvenile home. Upon seeing the conditions at the crowded juvenile home—which looked more like a jail—The Fraser’s found it impossible to leave the children there. This experience brought into sharp focus the intense need for homes for abandoned and abused children. After visiting his retired parents in Winter Haven, Florida, Mr. Fraser decided to locate a home where the children would have warm, year-round outdoor activities such as swimming, boating and fishing. After driving around Florida, he felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to build in Okeechobee.
Out of their passion to provide a stable family environment, the Frasers pioneered, developed, and provided the initial financing for Real Life Children’s Ranch. Mr. and Mrs. Fraser proved that God can turn a great tragedy into an even greater triumph.