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David Newton
Alex Boye sings "Lean on Me" with a West Ridge Academy choir.

WEST JORDAN — Alex Boye, pop-star phenomenon turned Mormon-Tabernacle-tenor, was the featured entertainer at a fundraising gala on Friday for West Ridge Academy, a West Jordan youth rehabilitation boarding school.

“When students come to West Ridge they learn that they can change. They are not bad people, they have just made poor decisions. By the time they graduate, they are often better equipped to face life than those kids who have not attended West Ridge,” said Boye.

Boye began the night by joining with a student choir in a heartfelt rendition of “Lean on Me.” He later sang a medley and other songs which included audience involvement. Boye closed his performance with a mime dance which incorporated some of his favorite inspirational quotes.

“There is a healing spirit here and I am grateful to be a part of it,” Boye told the audience.

Allen Proctor, a long-time licensed clinical social worker at LDS Family Services, was also honored during the evening with a Legacy of Hope Award in recognition of his oversight at West Ridge since its inception. Proctor was lauded by his son, Dave Proctor as well as by West Ridge’s executive director, Ken Allen and by Bishop H. David Burton, the presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Proctor is one of those professionals whom you only meet a few times in your life. He has touched and changed so many lives through his work and he never has a personal agenda," said Burton.

Burton also emphasized that the LDS church “has been and continues to be a long-time supporter of the outstanding programs at this academy.”

“Much of the furniture at the academy is donated from Deseret Industries and much of the food served at their cafeteria is provided by the Bishop’s Storehouse,” said Burton. “West Ridge has made such a difference in the lives of so many young people and I have seen that the effects are long lasting.”

More than 300 people attended the fundraising event, including all the current academy students who were involved in every aspect of the gala from set up to tear down.

“We are in the business of saving souls here, and when you do that, you change generations,” said Ken Allen as he concluded the night.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds for the evening were donated to scholarships for families that may not otherwise be able to place their teens in West Ridge programs.

West Ridge Academy, known as the Utah Boys Ranch until 2005, provides clinical services, education and other programs for teens, both girls and boys, who are identified as "at risk." Until 2005 the Utah Boys Ranch was male-only. In early 2005 it opened new, separate facilities for girls and changed its name to West Ridge Academy.

The Utah Boys Ranch was founded by Lowell L. Bennion and a group of his associates in 1964. Since their founding, they have helped more than 25,000 teens.