Founded by Judge Harry Osborne in 1916, Bonnie Brae has helped over 10,000 boys and young men overcome personal and family challenges, build new futures and become good citizens. The dream of such a haven took flight almost 100 years ago when the Judge questioned the effectiveness of locking up teen boys. He purchased a small working farm, named Bonnie Brae or “Beautiful Hillside” by its former Scots owner, and soon had 14 young boys as new residents.
With more boys being referred for help, Judge Osborne in 1921 purchased a much larger farm, in Bernards Township, New Jersey. This working farm provided young boys with employable skills as well as a safe and therapeutic environment for personal and social development. For many years the Bonnie Brae Farm for Boys was a working farm, where students milked cows and collected eggs.
As the years passed by, the farm animals and crops disappeared, but the mission remained. Bonnie Brae today is one of the pre-eminent residential treatment centers for boys in the United States. The campus holds the charm of past years, but also offers state-of-art facilities where students can learn and work towards becoming more productive members of society. While working towards returning to their home communities, our boys and young men work closely with their counselors and therapists to address the many challenges in their lives.
A visitor to campus in can expect to see young men busy in the high-tech TV/computer center, students learning culinary skills in the commercial style kitchen, as well as studying sustainability in the classroom. Bonnie Brae students are also encouraged to play instruments, join a sports team, play chess and try-out for the spring play or talent showcase.
Bonnie Brae residents also give back to the surrounding community by performing in a nationally recognized drum corps, working with Habitat for Humanity to construct homes and helping Bridges Outreach to feed the homeless in New York City.
The Bonnie Brae of today holds fast to its mission:
“Empowering youth and families to achieve small victories every through comprehensive care and education.”