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News From Boys Town Central Florida​

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Boys-Town-Central-Florida-Hosts-30th-Anniversary-PicnicBoys Town Central Florida Hosts 30th Anniversary PicnicCentral Florida
Friday, Oct 14, 2016

​​About 150 past and present Boys Town Central Florida staff, youth and board members gathered on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at a picnic in celebration of the site's 30th anniversary. Throughout the afternoon, guests were able to enjoy a variety of activities, food and live music while appreciating the beautiful Florida weather.  

A BBQ dinner was grilled by the Oviedo-Winter Springs Optimist club for all attendees to enjoy. Staff and youth also participated in an assortment of games and contests. They even had the opportunity to win raffle prizes and battle it out in a trivia contest. Tug-of-war, balloon toss, a pie ​eating contest and even a dessert baking contest were among the activities for guests to participate in. A frozen t-shirt contest was perhaps the most interesting.

"Contestants each received a frozen balled up t-shirt and the first to open and put it on won," explained Jackie Nitti, Community Engagement Coordinator.

While all of these events were fun, the fan favorite was the dunk tank. Greg Zbylut, Executive Director; Troy Dunberger, Director of Program Operations; and Terry Knox, Development Director, were the lucky Boys Town Central Florida employees chosen to participate in the dunk tank.

"The kids and staff had a blast trying to dunk the management team," Nitti said. "Fortunately, it was a hot day, so they didn't mind going under over and over."

Boys Town Central Florida has plans to hold similar employee celebration events in the future to bring staff and youth together.

Thank you to those who volunteered to make the picnic a success and congrats to Boys Town Central Florida on 30 years of helping youth and families in the surrounding community!​

united-states-mint-unveils-designs-for-boys-town-centennial-commemorative-coinsUnited States Mint Unveils Designs for Boys Town Centennial Commemorative CoinsCalifornia, Central Florida
Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016

​​​This press release was published on August 23, 2016.

Designs for coins commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Boys Town were unveiled today during a ceremony at Boys Town Music Hall in Boys Town, Neb.

"Each time a person looks at any one of these unique designs, it will spark an interest in learning about the history of Boys Town, acknowledging the extraordinary efforts made by this organization to give comfort and purpose to children in need, and recognizing the significant contributions of Father Flanagan," said United States Mint Principal Deputy Director Rhett ​Jeppson.

Jeppson was joined by Boys Town​ representatives Cordell Cade and Kymani Bell, mayor and vice mayor, respectively; Dan Daly, Executive Vice President, Director of Youth Care; and Jerry Davis, Vice President of Advocacy.

Public Law 114-30 authorizes the Mint to mint and issue no more than 50,000 $5 gold, 350,000 $1 silver, and 300,000 half dollar clad coins with designs emblematic of the centennial of Boys Town. 

The gold coin obverse (heads) features a portrait of Father Flanagan.  Inscriptions include "BOYS TOWN CENTENNIAL," "IN GOD WE TRUST," "FR. EDWARD FLANAGAN," "LIBERTY," and "2017."  The obverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart.

The gold coin reverse (tails) features an outstretched hand holding a young oak tree growing from an acorn.  As ​stated in the idiom "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow," this design represents the potential of each child helped by Boys Town to grow into a productive, complete adult.  Inscriptions include "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "THE WORK WILL CONTINUE," "FIVE DOLLARS," and "E PLURIBUS UNUM."  The reverse was also designed by Weaver and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz.

The silver $1 coin obverse features a young girl sitting alone and gazing upward into the branches of an oak tree looking for help.  The empty space around the girl is deliberate and meant to show the child's sense of loneliness, isolation, and helplessness.  Inscriptions include "BOYS TOWN," "When you help a child today...," "IN GOD WE TRUST," "LIBERTY," and "1917-2017."

The obverse was designed by AIP Designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna. 

The coin's reverse features an oak tree offering shelter and a sense of belonging to the family holding hands below it, which includes the girl from the obverse.  Inscriptions include " write the history of tomorrow," "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "ONE DOLLAR," and "E PLURIBUS UNUM."  The reverse was also designed by Damstra and sculpted by Menna.

The clad half dollar obverse features an older brother holding the hand of his younger brother in 1917.  They walk toward Father Flanagan's Boys Home and the 1940s pylon representing what would become Boys Town.  Inscriptions include "BOYS TOWN," "1917," "2017," "IN GOD WE TRUST," "LIBERTY," and "Saving Children."  The obverse was designed by AIP Designer Chris Costello and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Renata Gordon.

The coin's reverse features a present-day Boys Town neighborhood of homes where children are schooled and nurtured by caring families.  Out of these homes come young adults who graduate from high school and the Boys Town program.  Inscriptions include "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM," "Healing Families," and "HALF DOLLAR."  The reverse was also designed by Costello and sculpted by Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.

Pricing for the Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coins will include surcharges-$35 for each $5 gold coin, $10 for each $1 silver coin, and $5 for each half dollar clad coin-which are authorized to be paid to Boys Town to carry out its cause of caring for and assisting children and families in underserved communities across America.

The Mint will announce the release date and additional pricing information for the Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coins prior to their release in 2017.

boys-town-iowa-in-home-family-services-supervisor-heads-to-central-florida-to-assistBoys Town Iowa In-Home Family Services Supervisor Heads to Central Florida to AssistCentral Florida
Monday, Aug 15, 2016

​​At the end of June, Keely Heitland, Sioux City’s In-Home Family Services Supervisor, traveled to Central Florida to assist the site’s In-Home Family Services (IHFS) program while their supervisor, Erica Vagle, is on maternity leave.

“I was excited to volunteer,” Heitland said. “I was intrigued by the idea to observe another site and how they deliver IHFS using the Boys Town Model."

While in Florida, Heitland has a similar role as she does in Iowa. She is supervising four consultants, providing consultation and support, as well as attending intakes and visits for observations to ensure quality services are provided.

“One of the things we say about using evidence-based practices is that our model should be replicable, which means that whether you are in Iowa or Central Florida, we should be using the same interventions and strategies and our hallmarks and model elements should be clearly consistent across the services we offer,” Bethany Lacey, Director, In-Home Family Services, Boys Town Central Florida, said.

”Having someone like Keely step in temporarily to fill our need has been a huge asset,” Lacey said. “She may not be familiar with all nuances of Central Florida, but she knows the model and she knows families and staff. A family in need is a family in need no matter where they live.” 

It has long been common practice for Boys Town to share staff between Family Home and Intervention and Assessment Centers.

“If one site is low on staff, it often happens that another site will send staff to help out,” Lacey said.

However, it isn’t as common for In-Home Family Services. Lacey’s hope is that what they’ve accomplished can be replicated and that other sites can use the lessons they’ve learned on how to organize such an experience.

Heitland also attends internal and external meetings in Vagle’s place, which “has allowed me to learn about other programs to assist Iowa in developing their site.”

Central Florida has a smaller IHFS program but offers more services within the continuum of care. The biggest difference Heitland has encountered is the “application of [the in-home services]” and how it “takes in consideration the many different consumers, grants and contractors” the site is working with.

“Florida’s programs are more preventative versus reactive,” she said, citing an example of working with families before they are court involved. “Florida also has the ability to provide multiple services within the Boys Town continuum and does well linking them.”

“I have enjoyed further learning about and observing the services within the continuum and hope to bring this knowledge back to Iowa to assist us in further grants and contracts,” she said.

boys-town-central-florida-supports-first-responders-in-wake-of-tragedyBoys Town Central Florida Supports First Responders in Wake of TragedyCentral Florida
Friday, Aug 5, 2016

In light of the recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida, Boys Town Central Florida decided to come together and honor those who were at the center of the disaster. The week following the attack on Orlando’s Pulse Night Club, Central Florida’s management team collaborated to honor and thank first responders for their service to the community in its time of need.

“The Pulse tragedy could have easily divided our Central Florida Community, but instead it brought us closer and made us stronger. Seeing volunteers line up to give blood and donations, the outpouring of support from all over the country, and differences set aside was inspiring.” Boys Town Central Florida Executive Director Gregory Zbylut reflected on the tragedy. “Our staff and youth wanted to play a part and we wanted to teach our youth how to do that.  We also want to recognize our North and South Florida sites that were quick to offer their support in the form of cards for responders and encouragement.”

Large thank you baskets were delivered to nine different police stations, fire stations, ERs and to a local LBGT Support Organization. Kids from both Boys Town Central Florida and Boys Town North Florida programs sent hand written cards thanking the responders and show their appreciation for their service to be included in the baskets filled with snacks, candy, coffee mugs and other small gifts.

Youth from the Central Florida location were then able to help Zbylut, Troy Dunberger, Senior Director, Program Operations, and other ​Boys Town Central Florida staff members deliver the baskets to these different locations across Orlando. 

“The first responders and LGBT Support Organization were very appreciative of the thank you baskets,” said Jackie Nitti, Community Engagement Coordinator at Boys Town Central Florida. When the staff members and youth arrived at the fire station, they were able to spend time with the firefighters, receive tours of the building and the fire trucks and even had the opportunity to shoot the water hose.

“The youth really enjoyed getting to learn more about their community and showing appreciation to the first responders.” said Nitti. “People from so many different communities really came together to show their appreciation.”

central-floridas-orange-county-office-celebrates-its-first-birthdayCentral Florida's Orange County Office Celebrates its First BirthdayCentral Florida
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

April 30, 2016 ​marked the one-year anniversary of Central Florida’s grand opening of its Orange County office. In its first year alone, the office has served more than 500 children and families in the Orlando community, including:

  • 288 parents through 28 Common Sense Parenting classes,
  • 167 youth through In-Home Family Services
  • 48 new families in its Behavioral Health Clinic

“For years we have served children and families from Orange County, but until last year we could never truly say we are part of their community,” said Greg Zbylut, Central Florida Executive Director. “This new office location will continue to provide preventative services to strengthen families and minimize abuse and neglect. We are proud to say we have a foothold in West Orlando.”

In recognition of the work Boys Town does within Central Florida, the City of Orlando and Orange County have proclaimed April 30, 2015 as Boys Town Central Florida Day. Congratulations to the Central Florida staff on an outstanding first year in the Orange County office!

30000-granted-by-disney-to-boys-town-central-florida$30,000 GRANTed by Disney to Boys Town Central Florida Central Florida
Monday, Apr 4, 2016

Boys ​Town Central Florida is excited to announce that it has been chosen once again as a recipient of the Disney Grant. This year’s grants totaling $5.6 million were given to 120 nonprofits throughout Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties, with the specific focus area of strengthening children, families, and communities.

Executive Director Greg Zbylut and Board Chairman Keith Britton were honored to attend the awards breakfast this year and receive the coveted “Mousecar” statue.

“The Disney grant is an excellent example of collaborating to make a difference for the children and families of Central Florida. Our partners are crucial to our mission,” said Zbylut.

“I am excited that we are receiving this grant for a second time,” said Terry Knox, Boys Town Central Florida Development Director. “Disney believes in our mission and the work we do with children and families.”

Boys Town Central Florida will use this generous grant to help fund the In-Home Family Services®program in Seminole and Orange counties, providing trained family consultants to help parents improve their parenting skills and find positive solutions to common family problems.

Boys Town wishes to extend a big “Thank You” to Disney for this grant in recognition of the work we do for children and families in Central Florida.

record-breaking-year-for-candy-cane-5kRecord-Breaking Year for Candy Cane 5KCentral Florida
Tuesday, Jan 12, 2016

Records are​ made to be broken. With 515 runners, Boys Town Central Florida’s Candy Cane 5K was the most successful one to date.

Holiday cheer filled the air on December 12 while costumed runners gathered by the starting line. Decked out in their holiday best, the runners enjoyed warm-up stretches led by Orlando Health and were cheered on by “Kingston” the Orlando City Mascot.

“Twenty-fifteen was the most successful race thus far,” said Jackie Nitti, Community Engagement Coordinator. “It was a beautiful morning, and we had over 30 sponsors participate and show their support.”

Kids enjoyed a free “kids zone” complete with crafts, face painting, balloon animals and snow! Special appearances were made by Elsa, Snow White, Bat Girl, Batman, Spiderman, and Superman. A holiday 5K wouldn’t be complete, however, if Santa wasn’t waiting at the finish line!

Boys Town Central Florida was able to raise more than $10,000 to help with their continuum of services. A big thank you to all of the sponsors and participants who made this year’s Candy Cane 5K such a huge success!

boys-town-central-florida-receives-60000-grantBoys Town Central Florida Receives $60,000 GrantCentral Florida
Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015

Boys Town Central Florida was recently awarded $60,000 through the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund, a McCormick Foundation fund. The grant will help Boys Town Central Florida advance the work of its Intervention and Assessment Program, Family Home Program and In-Home Family Services Program.

“Boys Town Central Florida is very grateful for the strong partnership with the Sentinel Family Fund,” said Terry Knox, Boys Town Central Florida Development Director. “Their support has helped us reach more youth and families in Central Florida.” Boys Town Central Florida has been able to serve nearly 2,000 at-risk youth and families each year with the support from the Sentinel Family Fund.

“Without support from community organizations like SFF, Boys Town would not be able to do the life-changing work that has helped so many become successful citizens,” said Knox.

central-florida-youth-find-a-unique-way-to-give-backCentral Florida Youth Find a Unique Way to Give BackCentral Florida
Friday, Jul 24, 2015

For Boys Town Central ​Florida Family-Teachers Gregory and Shannon Showalter, finding an activity that their entire household would enjoy was a challenge.

“In our house, we have a very diverse group of young gentleman,” said Gregory. “We tried many projects and discovered that they all liked walking the many trails that Florida has to offer.”

After noticing many bikers on the trail, the family began to discuss ways they could earn money to purchase their own trail bikes. This was during the holiday season, and rather than spend their allowance money on something they wanted, like new bikes, the boys decided to donate their money to “Christmas Bikes for Kids”, a local non-profit that Boys Town Central Florida partners with. The Christmas Bike Program is an organization that has provided over 4,000 bikes to underprivileged children in Central Florida over the past 14 years.

The boys’ generosity didn’t go unnoticed, however, when they awoke Christmas morning to find five brand new mountain bikes in front of the Christmas tree. “Christmas Bikes for Kids” had in-turn donated bikes to the youth.  

“One of our youth commented that he had never had his own bike before,” said Gregory. “He didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.”

Helmets on, the crew started out on their first bike ride. While the ride was fun, the youth couldn’t help but notice all of the trash left along the trail. One youth thought it would be a good idea to volunteer to clean the trail and since the group had been searching for a community service project.

“After researching, we found that we could adopt this trail and clean it every Sunday,” said Gregory.

And that’s exactly what they did. Adopting the trail perfectly combined the boys’ love of the trail with their community service obligation. Now, every Sunday, the Boys Town Central Florida youth in the Showalter home walk the trail, picking up trash and keeping it clean for the other trail walkers and bikers.

boys-town-continues-expanding-into-communitiesBoys Town Continues Expanding Into CommunitiesCentral Florida
Monday, Jun 8, 2015

Keeping in line with Boys ​Town’s Strategic Plan to focus on communities and community engagement, Boys Town Central Florida has expanded and opened an office in Orange County at 2813 S. Hiawassee Rd., Ste. 204, Orlando, FL.

Each year, Boys Town Central Florida serves hundreds of children and families in the Orange County area. The new office will allow the site to serve more than 1,000 children and families in the area within the year, as well as open the door to new community partnerships.

“The new office will allow Boys Town Central Florida to provide support to area children and families through parenting classes, behavioral health services, and trained family consultants. All of these services will be available right in their own backyard,” said Greg Zbylut, Executive Director of Boys Town Central Florida.

To better serve more children and families in such a high-need area, Boys Town Central Florida has partnered with other community organizations, such as:

• Community-based Care of Central Florida

• Ounce of Prevention Fund

• O’Neill Foundation



maizie-the-therapy-dogs-special-effect-on-boys-town-central-florida-youthMaizie the Therapy Dog’s Special Effect on Boys Town Central Florida YouthCentral Florida
Buster and Tisa Wible with Maizie at the Christmas Tree Lighting
Friday, May 15, 2015

Maizie the therapy ​dog brightens up youth at Boys Town Central Florida’s shelter. Always cheery with her tail wagging, youth excitedly run towards her when she arrives every week.

Buster and Tisa Wible first brought little Maizie home from the breeder at nine-weeks-old. A Goldendoodle, she is a cross-breed/hybrid dog obtained by breeding a golden retriever with a poodle. Now five-years-old, Maizie never ceases to amaze her owners. “We knew she would be excellent as a therapy dog,” said the couple. “Her loving personality was obvious right away so we had our minds set from the beginning that this was something she should try.”

Initially the Wibles thought that the visits revolved around the youth playing games with Maizie, but what they observed was that often the youth wanted to just hold and talk to her. “They seem to crave non-judgmental, puppy love,” explained Buster. “Basically, it's about them having a furry friend who comes to visit every week. With so many youths and only one dog, we try to make sure everyone has some one-on-one time with her!”

The smiles and squeals when youth see Maizie show the significant impact she has. “We have seen amazing transformations, where shy or un-responsive youth become talkative and outgoing. We provide a guest book for the kids to sign each time we visit. Interestingly, some write messages explaining how much they love her. We've seen youths that were afraid of dogs at the beginning of the session, change to holding her on their lap and hugging her by the end of the session!”

The youth enjoy their time tremendously with her and of course Maizie loves all the attention! Maizie and the Wibles were awarded the Community Support Partner award at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. “With her dedication every week with our youth, helping them cope and being a healing beacon in their life is our honor,” said Aleundro McCray, Director of Intervention and Assessment, Boys Town Central Florida. “Thank you Maizie!”


highlighting-employees-instrumental-to-the-behavioral-health-clinic-teamHighlighting Employees Instrumental to the Behavioral Health Clinic TeamCentral Florida
Sandy Cuello, Jason Gallant and Carmen Rodriguez.
Wednesday, Apr 8, 2015

The Boys Town Central Florida Behavioral Health Clinic has experienced great growth in the past two and a half years since opening. The growth has largely been a function of the supportive, hard-working, and caring support staff. The clinic was fortunate to have the assistance of Carmen Rodriguez and Jackie Nitti from the outset.​

While juggling numerous site responsibilities, these two individuals contributed significantly to the growth of the clinic albeit through networking, outreach, client services and billing. In June 2014, Boys Town Central Florida hired Sandy Cuello. Since arriving, Cuello has been a staple force for the Behavioral Health Clinic. The hard work and dedication from these individuals to the clinic is undeniable.

“They provide a safe and comforting environment for these families when arriving at the clinic,” said Dr. Jason Gallant, Director, Boys Town Central Florida Behavioral Health Clinic. “Many families have come to know these three on a personal level. That means so much in cultivating comfort in the families and ultimately success of the clinic. The growth and sustainability of the behavioral health clinic would not be possible without the support, dedication and hard work of these three women — their work is truly laudable. We are fortunate to have exemplary, first-rate staff who are a perfect union of hard work and passion.”

Meet two of the women below and experience their personal journey in becoming an instrumental part to Boys Town Central Florida’s Behavioral Health Clinic.

Sandy Cuello has over 30 years in billing and collections and seven years of experience with psychiatric hospital work. She previously worked at Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health in West Palm Beach, Florida. “I was thrilled when Boys Town Central Florida called looking for me,” said Cuello, Behavioral Health Clinic Clinical Assistant, Boys Town Central Florida.

Cuello’s favorite part about her job is working with the Dr. Jason Gallant and the children. “They are our future,” explains Cuello. “Working for Dr. Gallant is truly a blessing. Dr. Gallant has so much compassion for children and families and it is reflected in his work. He truly loves his families and it’s rewarding to be a part of the experience. Being able to work with the continually growing clinic and knowing that every individual helped is immeasurable!”

Cuello is a mother of four children and grandmother to two grandchildren. “I’m a caregiver at heart both in work and with my family,” said Cuello. “When I’m not working, I’m with my family. I have parents and a nephew to take care of and I know that my passion for giving is directly correlated to my work and will always be my number one priority.”

Carmen Rodriguez has been with Boys Town Central Florida since 1998. She started as the Business Assistant, transitioned into Medicaid Billing Specialist, and now Business Manager. When she first applied to Boys Town, Rodriguez had been working from home while raising her son. Initially, she didn’t know much about Boys Town. “Once I applied and learned more about what Boys Town did, I was impressed to know that we had such an impacting organization in our city working to help the families and children in our communities,” said Rodriguez, Boys Town Central Florida Business Manager.

Rodriguez’s work week is always changing and evolving. “I work with new employees on background screenings, HR-related information, travel, pre-service training, updating personnel files, billing and other duties as assigned,” explained Rodriguez. “To positively impact those around me whether adults or children — knowing that the job I do is making a direct impact on the outcome to Boys Town is what I love about my job.”

Working at Boys Town has been very rewarding to Rodriguez. “Boys Town teaches me to work as a team and to finish tasks with a strong work ethic,” said Rodriguez. “I believe God has allowed me to be part of a bigger vision at Boys Town as we work together to help children obtain hope and prospects for the future. Impacting those around me with a positive attitude and understanding that no matter what happens in our lives, God will be there supporting us.”

Carmen enjoys spending time with her family. “I have been blessed with a loving and supporting husband, wonderful children, and beautiful smart grandchildren — whom I love very much,” said Rodriguez. “I enjoy spending my time with them — going to church, vacations, learning and having fun. Thank you Boys Town for being my second home.”

boys-town-helps-bring-dramatic-changes-to-quarrelsome-familyBoys Town Helps Bring Dramatic Changes to Quarrelsome Family Central Florida
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Boys Town Central Florida works with families of every make-up – from two-parent to absent parent, from single-child to multiple-sibling.

These families also face every type of challenge – parental stress, poor communication, financial hardship, medical issues, behavioral aggression, abuse and addictions.

But no matter how different or difficult their situations may be, these families all share a common desire – to be happier, healthier and whole.

That was true of the Elliott family, who sought help from Boys Town Central Florida’s In-Home Family Services ®.

“We hoped the program could help us have more structure in our household,” explained Trenton Elliott, who learned about Boys Town from a close friend. The dad of two wanted less arguing and more responsibility from his kids.

Trenton’s 15-year-old daughter Tessa had become defiant and stubborn. She didn’t want to do chores or homework, or properly care for herself. A diabetic, Tessa wasn’t diligent about taking her medications, eating healthy or staying active, regardless of Dad’s warnings.

Younger brother Ethan was emotionally immature. He did whatever he wanted and copped an attitude anytime Dad disciplined him.

A lack of structure in the home, coupled with Dad’s empty threats and lots of yelling, left everyone on edge. The family dynamic had devolved into an unproductive, unending cycle of demand and admonitions, screaming and ignoring. That was the situation facing the Boys Town Family Consultant who began visiting the family every week.

To help Trenton, Tessa and Ethan start repairing their relationships and communicate more respectfully, their Consultant emphasized skill building. Tessa learned how to better manage her time, make healthier food choices and show respect. Ethan was taught calming strategies so he could control and manage his sometimes out-of-control emotions and behaviors.

Simply teaching Tessa and Ethan new skills wasn’t enough, however. Both had to be motivated to replace their old, disruptive behaviors with what they were learning. To encourage these behavioral changes, the Family Consultant had Dad write a “Skill of the Day” on a whiteboard every day. When they used the skill, Tessa and Ethan earned positive marks. If they had enough marks at the end of a week, they were rewarded (sleepovers proved popular). It didn’t take long for the pair to realize that listening to Dad instead of always arguing made their lives easier and more fun.

The Consultant also mentored Trenton and his fiancée Molly on effective parenting strategies. He started by highlighting the positive things they did and then built on that foundation to address areas where they could do better, such as communicating their expectations more clearly and consistently.

The Consultant was particularly impressed by Molly’s commitment and enthusiasm. She took an active role in the family, not wanting the whole burden of disciplining or correcting the children to fall on Trenton’s shoulders. The couple learned how to work as a team and their consistency paid off.

With patience and perseverance, the Elliotts found a new groove. Now they’re no longer stuck in the rut of hollow threats and shouting matches. Tessa watches her diet and manages her diabetes, and Ethan has dialed down his attitude. Both are thriving and more respectful.

Trenton and Molly continue to practice the lessons they learned and have absolutely no regrets about seeking “outside” help.

“It was such a great program,” Trenton said. “I just wish we had done it a long time ago!”

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.


boys-town-saves-mother-and-son-from-homelessness-and-helps-them-build-a-new-stable-futureBoys Town Saves Mother and Son from Homelessness and Helps Them Build a New, Stable FutureCentral Florida
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Roberta and her young son Diego were terrified and losing hope. They were on the verge of being evicted from their apartment and desperately needed help.

Roberta suffered from serious physical and emotional disabilities. She had grown up in an abusive and often violent home, and her condition was so severe she was not able to work. Roberta depended on various sources of financial assistance, but there just never seemed to enough money to cover the rent and other expenses.

A local program that helps struggling families knew of Roberta’s plight and referred her to Boys Town Central Florida. A Consultant with the site’s Care Coordination Services program was soon working with Roberta and her son.

The first issue they addressed was their immediate housing situation. Roberta was behind on her rent, but the Consultant helped her connect with a funding resource in the community that enabled her to get caught up and remain in her apartment. They also worked on trying to increase the assistance she was receiving through Medicare and Medicaid.

The Consultant also helped Roberta learn new budgeting skills that could help her avoid this kind of problem in the future.

The next challenge for Roberta and Diego was to find professional assistance for their emotional trauma. Roberta’s past abuse often led to overwhelming and debilitating bouts of depression. Diego also was dealing with trauma that resulted from being abused by Roberta’s former boyfriend.

Roberta and Diego also started receiving in-home therapy from a mental health counselor.

At the same time, the Consultant taught Roberta skills for coping with their depression.The plan of action they developed provided Roberta with confidence and comfort.

A huge breakthrough occurred when the Consultant helped Roberta reconnect with members of her family. Once they understood how serious her problems were, they immediately pitched in to help out with financial and emotional support.

Seven months after starting services, Roberta and Diego were doing much better. Roberta is no longer racked with constant worry about being evicted or becoming homeless. Both she and her son have benefited greatly from counseling, and Diego is doing well at home and in school.

Thanks to Boys Town, Roberta’s hope and faith have been restored, and she and Diego are a stronger, happier family.

“I am so appreciative of everything they have taught me, the support I was given and the future I will have,” Roberta said. “I will always be grateful.”

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.


boys-town-helps-family-leave-fear-behind-discover-hope-and-healing-aheadBoys Town Helps Family Leave Fear Behind, Discover Hope and Healing AheadCentral Florida
Friday, Mar 20, 2015

Imagine living in fear of your child.

Even for the strongest parent, the worry and constant conflict would exact a tremendous toll — depression, anger, frustration and exhaustion.

This was a way of life for Kate Abel and her family. 

Kate’s son Blake had a long history of dangerous and threatening behaviors. By age 15, Blake faced criminal charges related to his verbal and physical aggression, drug use, mental health issues and academic problems. 

The teenage boy had created a reign of terror at home for his mother and two siblings, and the family lived in a constant state of anxiety and fear of what might happen next.  

Kate loved her son and was desperate to find the help Blake needed. She also was worried about keeping her other two children safe. But as Blake’s behavior continued to worsen, the family’s situation became so toxic that even Kate felt threatened.  

Finally, Kate reached her breaking point. She wanted Blake out of the house.

As a last resort, Kate believed her only option was to have her son placed in a locked detention or psychiatric facility.  

But shortly after Kate started that process, Boys Town Central Florida entered the picture.  

The family became involved with Boys Town through a Child Protective Services referral. Kate had made CPS aware of Blake’s unmanageable behaviors, saying she was desperate for help. She didn’t want to give up on Blake, but she didn’t know what to do on her own anymore. 

Blake soon began receiving services at the Boys Town Central Florida Intervention and Assessment Center. At the same time, one of the site’s Family Consultants began working with Kate and her family in their home, providing intensive in-home services based on the Boys Town Common Sense Parenting® curriculum.  

After two months of Boys Town services, the family had made significant progress in rebuilding relationships and solving problems. Kate learned positive parenting techniques, and the Consultant helped Kate connect with the mental health resources Blake desperately needed for his anger issues. 

Meanwhile, Blake was learning new skills at the Intervention and Assessment Center that were helping him change his negative behaviors and get his life back on track.  

The powerful combination of Kate’s commitment to saving her son and her family and Boys Town’s life-changing assistance eventually led to Blake being reunited with his mom and siblings. And the positive changes in the family have continued. 

Since returning home, Blake has stayed on his path of healing. He is getting along great with his mother and siblings, and no longer engages in substance use or aggressive behaviors. His schoolwork has improved and he has a job. The teen also has stayed out of trouble and is following instructions, staying calm, accepting decisions and even willingly doing chores at home. Most importantly, the fear that once gripped the family is gone. 

Thanks to Boys Town’s support and a mother’s love for her children, the Abel family is happier and stronger than ever.    

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.


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