John Gunckel noticed the rowdy behavior of the young boys who sold newspapers in the streets of downtown Toledo as he went to work each day. He felt if given a little help, these boys could develop the "other half" and become productive citizens.
On December 25, 1892, Gunckel invited 102 of these "ruffians" to a Christmas dinner. With the support of local newspapers and several prominent businessmen, he helped the boys organize the Toledo Newsboys' Association. The group's mission was self-improvement. The boys ruled themselves according to a few basic guidelines: no swearing, no stealing, no shooting craps, no smoking, and no drinking. The punishment if caught violating rules was forfeiture of their membership card in the organization.
Within a year, the organization grew to 250 with members from all areas of the city. As part of their growth, the Newsboys developed a program of cultural enrichment, including Sunday afternoon lectures and music. This led to the development of the Toledo Newsboys' band. Toledoans began to notice a positive change in the behavior of the boys.