Lila B. Bjorklund

Founder, 10/28/1914 - 4/25/2002

Lila B. Bjorklund's achievements are many and varied. But they all express her commitment to fairness, compassion, and real, practical assistance.It was not enough to be concerned about troubled children - she put a roof over their heads and taught them responsible behavior.

It was not enough to found a program for troubled girls - she also managed it, 40 - 50 hours a week, without financial compensation, for over 25 years.It was not enough to build one group home - she built four.

It was not enough to build four group homes - she opened 40 foster homes to care for younger victims of abuse and neglect.

It was not enough to provide a safe home for over 200 children a year - she instituted a program to teach their parents to help them, so they could remain with their families, and together they could heal and learn to live with mutual respect and caring.

With Lila, as long as there were troubled children, she could never do enough. A quick list of her accomplishments gives us a picture of her unparalleled service:

  • Founded Utah Girls' Village, which later became Utah Youth Village.
  • Worked for better detention facilities and juvenile courts as Chair of the Salt Lake Council of Women. She is a member of their Hall of Fame.
  • Chaired the Utah State Board of Education where she worked with Title IX (nine) and its effect on girls in elementary and secondary education.
  • Served as President of the PTA, where she pioneered their Critical Issues Conference.
  • Initiated legislation mandating testing of all newborns for PKU, enabling thousands of children to lead full, healthy lives.
  • Influenced legislation on child abuse and neglect, driver's education, school lunches, and educational funding.
  • Co-founded the Intermountain Specialized Abuse Treatment Clinic for victims of sexual abuse.

Lila served on over 40 organizations, task forces, and committees, including the Governor's Committee on Children and Youth. She has received numerous honors, including the national JC Penney Golden Rule Award, the national Thousand Points of Light Award, and many local awards including the Utah Women's Achievement Award, the Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Commission on Volunteers, and the Child Advocate of the Year Award from the Utah Chapter of the Association to Prevent Child Abuse.

Her greatest satisfaction in life was the genuine love the children at Utah Youth Village felt for her. Even in her wheelchair, Lila attended each graduation from the Village and gave the child a handmade quilt.

Lila gave her own furniture, money, books, goodies, gifts, clothes, and anything she had to youth in need. She ruined two cars hauling building materials to that first group home, and for many years, Utah Youth Village's offices were in Lila's home. One Village youth, whose family had abandoned her, held her wedding reception at Lila's home. Long after the youth left the Village, Lila kept in touch with them and continued to give them love and support.With Lila, there is no better quote with which to honor her than her own: "Help one child, help generations to come."

Gary L. Crocker

Chairman of the Board

Gary L. Crocker is a self-made man, a nationally recognized entrepreneur, and a man with a deep conviction to serve mankind.

He is President of Crocker Ventures, LLC, a venture investment firm focusing on healthcare and medical technologies. He is the current Chairman of the Board for Merrimack Pharmaceuticals and the former Chairman of the Board for ARUP Laboratories in Research Park and past President and CEO of Research Medical, Inc., which he founded in 1983. Forbes magazine recognized his firm for six consecutive years as one of "America's Best 200 Small Companies." He was one of the original investors in Theratech, Inc., and served as Vice President for Business Development for Sorenson Research. He was awarded Utah's "High Technology Entrepreneur of the Year" in 1994 and "Utah's Entrepreneur of the Year" in 1999.

Gary has served as the Chairman of the Board for Utah Youth Village for twelve years, leading the Village to unprecedented growth in its ability to serve Utah's abused, neglected, and troubled children. His dedication to the Village's program for troubled families, Families First, led to a major gift which is enabling the Village to serve hundreds of struggling low-income families. Additionally, he and his wife Ann, made a major gift to Utah Youth Village's Alpine Academy Education Center, providing a spacious and inspiring place for young girls to learn academically and grow socially.

Gary is the Vice Chairman for the University of Utah Board of Trustees. The Crockers recently contributed a major gift toward the renovation of Ft. Douglas, underwriting the renovation of a home on the Officers Circle which will eventually house 12 outstanding math and science students.

Gary is also a member of the President's Leadership Council at Brigham Young University, in which he played a pivotal role both as a major donor and as a volunteer leader in their recent capital campaign.

He also served as President of the Board for the Utah Opera Company, where he introduced their highly successful Med Night. He is a former trustee of the Deseret Foundation's Heart-Lung Research Institute.

size="2">Gary earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree from Harvard College, where he garnered magna cum laude honors in economics. He and his wife, Ann, have seven children and were honored with the Next Generation Spirit of Giving Award at the Utah 2001 Philanthropy Day.

Eric W. Bjorklund


Eric W. Bjorklund has been President and CEO of Utah Youth Village for over twenty-five years. In those years, it has grown from one group home serving eight girls into one of the largest and most reputable providers of services to children in Utah.

He graduated with honors from the J. Ruben Clark School of Law at Brigham Young University and practiced law in the Salt Lake area before joining Utah Youth Village full-time.

Eric has been an ardent advocate for Utah's children by serving as past President of the Utah Youth Providers Network and as a member of various statewide committees including: the Governor's Commission on Women & Families; the Governor's Initiative on Families Today; the Utah Division of Family Services Out of Home Care Advisory Committee; the Utah State Bar Committee on Children; and the Coalition of Utah Families.

He is the past Chairperson of both the Governor's Initiative on Families and the 8th Annual National Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect. He is the past President of the Utah Coalition of Child Advocates. He was named the Utah Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. He and his wife, Sylvia, have five children and 11 grandchildren. He is the son of Village Founder, Lila Bjorklund.

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