Our Story

A brief history of Boys & Girls Haven  

 Many great stories rest on the shoulders of a mighty protagonist facing a difficult quest. For Boys & Girls Haven, that hero came in the form of Father James C. Maloney, a Catholic priest whose heart was moved by the hundreds of orphaned, abandoned, and abused young people with nowhere to turn in 1940s Louisville.

Children who were orphans or came from abusive or otherwise unsatisfactory homes were sent to orphanages until the age of 14, at which time they would, by law, be returned to their families or sent to foster homes. While girls were more easily placed in homes, teenage boys often had no choice but to move into a rooming house and make their way alone in the world.

  • 1937

    James Maloney returns to Louisville

    After being ordained in Rome, March 19th 1936, James C. Maloney returned to his home town of Louisville, Kentucky to celebrate his first Solemn Mass in his home parish, St. James.

  • 1940

    Chaplain at Ormsby Village.

    Father Maloney was appointed as Catholic Chaplain and Athletic Coach at Ormsby Village, a parental home and school for neglected children.


  • 1947

    A greater calling.

    During his time at Ormsby Village, Father Maloney noticed that young men over the age of 14 were falling through the cracks. He quickly sought to remedy the issue.

  • 1948

    Boys’ Haven breaks ground.

    Armed with little more than a conviction and a prayer, Father Maloney secured homes for nine boys in the basement of St. Raphael Church and in private boarding homes. Later that year, he began construction of Kelly Cottage, the first building on the now iconic Goldsmith Lane campus.


  • 1950

    Boys’ Haven gets its first residents.

    On August 27th, almost exactly two years later, these nine young men, a cook, and Father Maloney moved into Kelly Cottage.

  • 1954

    Boys’ Haven opens its second cottage.

    On November 6th, workman Leslie Bloomer began digging a foundation for Dempsey Cottage – Boys’ Haven’s second residence building.


  • 1955

    The Haven hosts an open house.

    The new residence accommodated 10-15 boys, elevating the total capacity of Boys’ Haven to 27.

  • 1957

    Edith Wilson is hired by Boys’ Haven.

    Edith Wilson

    Miss Edith Wilson, the Mother of Boys & Girls Haven, changed the lives of more than 2,000 children who passed through Boys & Girls Haven during her 34-year tenure. She began her career as a book keeper, but wore many hats on campus – surrogate parent, trusted confidante, paymaster, taskmaster, secretary, receptionist, nurse, chef, chauffeur and fund-raiser extraordinaire.


  • 2022

    Father Maloney’s Legacy

    Over the last 70+ years, the small home off Bardstown Road has evolved and flexed to continue meeting the needs of young people in the community, social services sector, and society. From its humble beginnings as a foster residence for young men, driven by the compassionate and earnest work of a priest, Boys & Girls Haven has blossomed into a nonprofit agency employing just under 100 staff members and serving more than 1,000 individuals through five core, therapy-based programs each year.