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2 Brothers With Big Hearts Turn Ranch Into Youth Farm In Rifle

RIFLE, Colo. (CBS4) - The Don Kriz Youth Farm in Rifle is a haven for children in need. They can learn about farming and raising animals. It's a ranch where they can feel safe.

It was started by Ken Kriz as a way to honor his late brother, Don -- a man he calls generous and loving. The Kriz boys made their money in concrete, but they always had a soft spot for young people.

Don Kriz Youth Farm (2)
(credit: CBS)

According to Ken, Don helped some kids go to college, he helped others buy their first homes and even start a business. When Don died, Ken turned their 31-acre ranch in Garfield County into a refuge.

"It is a place for kids to come and to get away from a lot of violence and things like that," Ken Kriz told CBS4's Kathy Walsh.

Seven years ago, Paul and Stephanie Straw moved onto the farm with their four children. They care for the horses and give local 4-H kids a place to raise their animals. And the Straws gladly open their doors to children in crisis.

"I guess foster care is something that I have always wanted to do," said Stephanie, who spent time in a foster home herself. "They just took in all of these children from different situations and truly desired to help. It just impacted me -- it really did."

Don Kriz Youth Farm (1)
(credit: CBS)

In seven years, the Straws have fostered close to 30 children. Four have become family. They adopted Christian in 2011.

"Her situation was pretty bad, it was a bad deal," said Paul.

In 2012, they adopted three young brothers born to alcoholics. According to Stephanie, when the youngest was born, his blood alcohol was twice the legal limit. But now, all three boys are doing wonderfully.

"They've been tested for gifted and talented. They're so incredibly smart. They're just thriving," Stephanie said.

There is no "season of giving" for the Straw family. They offer safety and stability every day, happy to help kids grow and dream.

"How many lives are they going to affect?" asked Stephanie. "How many lives are they going to change because some people who didn't know them loved them unconditionally."

The Don Kriz Youth Farm was made possible by two brothers with big hearts. Ken thinks Don would be proud of what he's done. He is certain his brother is looking down from Heaven and approves.

Additional Information

Donations can be sent to:

Don Kriz Youth Farm
P.O. Box 1699
Glenwood Springs, CO

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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