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the-more-you-give-the-more-you-have-fatbraingives-toys-to-foster-family-servicesNewThe More You Give, The More You Have: FatBrain Toys Gives Toys to Foster Family ServicesNebraska
FatBrain Toys Gives
Monday, Jul 24, 2017

​​​​​​​​​​There are over 3,300 children in the Nebraska foster care system. We at Boys Town know that this is a time where children are vulnerable, confused and hurting. These children often have nothing but the clothes on their backs, and it is our job to carry out the Boys Town mission and make these children feel comfortable so we can lead them on a path to healing. Having even just one toy during this transition can mean the world to a child within the foster care system, and that's why it was such a privilege to be a part of the Fat Brain Toys #FatBrainGives campaign!

Throughout the month of May, Fat Brain Toys partnered with Delivering Good, Inc to give back to children in need. For every toy bought from their selected donation list, they donated a toy directly to charities that are dedicated to keeping kids safe. This year Boys Town was selected as one of the organizations that received toys through the #FatBrainGives campaign! Their goal was to donate 10,000 toys to children in the Omaha area who need it most.

Now, with the campaign concluded, the #FatBrainGives campaign met their goal and raised 10,000 toys for four organizations dedicated to giving back to the community. Out of these, a total of 2,500 toys will be donated to Boys Town Foster Family Services.

"Certainly any donation to Boys Town Foster Family Services is vital," said Matthew Priest of Boys Town Foster Family Services. "A move for a child can be very traumatic. Giving our children a sense of normalcy, with belongings and comfort items they can call their own, is very important. Foster Care is a community-based program and we are so appreciative of community partners such as Fat Brain. Together we are making our communities stronger and healthier."

The #FatBrainGives campaign is one that will play an important and pivotal role in a child's healing. Thank you to Fat Brain Toys and Delivering Good, Inc for the generous and to all who have dedicated their time and resources to support Boys Town Foster Family Services.

boys-town-iowa-receives-45000-for-in-home-workBoys Town Iowa receives $45,000 for in-home workNebraska
Thursday, Jul 20, 2017

This article is written by Tim Johnson. It was posted on nonpareilonline.com on July 19, 2017. 

Boys Town has been awarded a $70,000 grant from United Way of the Midlands that will help fund programs in Iowa and Nebraska.

Boys Town Iowa received $45,000 of the grant for its In-Home Family Services, and Boys Town received $25,000 for its Ways to Work program in South Omaha, a press release from Boys Town stated.

"We are very grateful for the continued support of United Way of the Midlands," the Rev. Steven Boes, Boys Town president and national executive director, said in the release. "This grant allows us to continue to offer important services to families in need of them."

The funding for Boys Town Iowa represents a renewal of an annual grant the In-Home Family Services program first received in 2015, according to Debbie Orduna, executive director of Boys Town Iowa. Boys Town Iowa has worked with almost 100 youth since it partnered with United Way.

Boys Town Iowa has 50 family services consultants scattered throughout the 30 western Iowa counties the program serves, Orduna said. The consultants work with families on behavioral and parenting issues, often after a referral by a school, and are available 24 hours a day to help families manage crises.

The staff works closely with parents and school officials to design a service plan for each youth. The goal is to give parents the tools they need to be successful and keep children safe and in their own homes.

"Oftentimes, families being referred to us, there are pretty complex issues," she said. "We're able to go in, conduct an assessment and provide direct services, but also to make sure they have access to other services they might need."

Boys Town Iowa will collaborate with FAMILY Inc. of Council Bluffs to provide health education, transportation to appointments, health screening and preventive oral health services to children that Boys Town consultants will refer, according to the release.

Boys Town Iowa also serves many families through its Common-Sense Parenting classes and Hope 4 Iowa crisis line, Orduna said.

Boys Town, in partnership with Heartland Family Service, now offers Ways to Work at the South Omaha Boys Town office. The Ways to Work program will provide small, short-term, low-interest loans to 40 to 50 low-income families on a yearly basis, as well as financial education, one-on-one credit and financial coaching and case management throughout the life of the loan.

Boys-Town-celebrates-100-years-with-alumni-supporters-in-OmahaBoys Town celebrates 100 years with alumni, supporters in OmahaNebraska
Monday, Jul 17, 2017

​​​Hundreds of Boys Town alumni from all over the country reunite in Omaha to celebrate 100th anniversary.

This story is written by Chinh Doan, KETV Anchor/Reporter. It was posted on ketv.com​ on July 14, 2017.

Hundreds of alumni from all over the country are in Omaha this week for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

Alumni said it's a family reunion and a reminder of the impact Boys Town continues to make on countless lives.

Mike Silvers and John Silvers are brothers and Boys Town graduates from the 1970s who traveled to Omaha from out of state to participate in the anniversary festivities.

John Mollison, Boys Town alumni director and class of 1964 graduate, has spent months organizing the week's events for former students and their families.

Mollison said it's a homecoming honoring 100 years of caring for America's children and families.

"It worked for me and my generation and it's working for today's kids and their generation," said Mollison.

He said the alumni and current students will always share a special bond.

"Boys Town is a place where anybody can be successful and come from any type of background, from anywhere around the world, and become who they want to be because they have people here who care about them," said 17-year-old Jason Landin, a current student and mayor of the Village of Boys Town.

Both staff and students said the legacy of its founder, Father Edward Flanagan, lives on through social change and a focus on quality care and preventative programs.

"We've taken the technology of helping kids outside their home and placed it in front of millions of America's homes through the internet, through our 800-number and our parent training and even an intervention called 'in-home services,' where we really are one-on-one mentoring a troubled family so that the child can stay at home and be successful and live their dream," said Rev. Steven Boes, Boys Town's fifth executive director.

Mollison told KETV NewsWatch 7 the oldest alum present at the celebration is 100 years old, which is pretty fitting for the anniversary.

For more information on the centennial anniversary, visit its website.​

Chronicle-Father-Flanagan's-Home-for-Boys-is-going-strong-years-laterChronicle: Father Flanagan's Home for Boys is going strong years laterNebraska
Monday, Jul 17, 2017

This video is by Maggie Cunningham, KETV Digital Media Manager. It was posted on ketv.com​ on July 15, 2017.

video_graphic_KETV.jpg​​​

An in-depth look at the history, evolution and future plans for Boys Town and Father Flanagan's Home for Boys.

boys-town-has-large-presence-at-college-world-seriesBoys Town Has Large Presence at College World SeriesNebraska
Boys Town Color Guard at College World Series
Monday, Jul 10, 2017

​There is one special time of the year where people from across the country flock to the middle of the United States and bond over their shared love of America's past time. The College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska draws hundreds of thousands of people together to celebrate achievement in the game of baseball. This year, Boys Town had a special place in the College World Series, including an opportunity to perform on the field, an opportunity to have a booth in Baseball Village and an opportunity for the youth and families of Boys Town to attend the College World Series.

The Boys Town Color Guard and Voices has participated in the National Anthem Ceremonies of the College World Series for over 20 years; while other presenters must audition each year for a spot, Boys Town is awarded a special spot in these ceremonies. This year the Voices of Boys Town sang the National Anthem during game 9, accompanied by a video on the scoreboard honoring Boys Town's 100 year celebration.

In addition to these presentations, Boys Town was chosen for the Flying Flags Charity event. The organizers of Omaha Baseball Village host this event as a way to recognize local nonprofits, while also raising the flags for the teams participating in the College World Series. This year Boys Town was chosen to tell the community about our organization and what we do for the community. Boys Town then raised the flag for Florida State University, who's a great supporter of Boys Town North Florida.

If fans wanted to learn more about Boys Town they were able to head over to Baseball Village to view our booth. This presented the perfect setting to reintroduce fans to Boys Town and its mission. Employees at the booth were able to talk about Boys Town programs, show off Boys Town baseball memorabilia and encourage the CWS fans to visit the Village.  

"The Boys Town display at Baseball Village is a wonderful baseball-related collection of artifacts," said Herb Hames, Senior Development Director, Nebraska/Iowa Region. "The College World Series is the biggest sports event in Omaha and I love that Boys Town has been involved and that our kids get to attend it."

That's right, each year Boys Town is the recipient of hundreds of general admission tickets by the Directors of the College World Series Board. Hames has been involved with the College World Series for 28 years as the volunteer ticket chairman, which gives youth the opportunity to get off campus and enjoy a night of baseball and making memories with their brothers, sisters and Family-Teachers.

As a special gift, Boys Town's Vice Mayor also presented a copy of our 100 Year Anniversary book to Jack Diesing, Chair of College World Series Inc, and Ron Prettyman, Managing Director of Championships and Alliances for the NCAA.

"This is an exciting year for Boys Town and we're so grateful to the event organizers for recognizing the importance of our centennial and providing us with the opportunity to share Father Flanagan's dream with baseball fans from across the country," said Melissa Farris, Boys Town Marketing Specialist. "None of it would have been possible, however, without the support of dozens of employees and their families who volunteered at our exhibit at the Omaha Baseball Village or were involved in other College World Series events to represent Boys Town."

tough-choice-pays-off-for-tj-Davis-who-has-become-leader-on-the-football-field-at-Boys-TownTough choice pays off for Ti’jaih Davis, who has become leader on, off football field at Boys TownNebraska
Monday, Jul 10, 2017

TJ FootballTi'jaih Davis arrived at Boys Town in June 2014 from a rough neighborhood in Baltimore, mainly for two reasons. First, he wanted to avoid the violence and distractions of his hometown. Second, he wanted to be a positive influence on his family.

The decision was not easy for Davis and his mother, whom he left in Baltimore when he was 14. But it has proven to be a good one.

Davis, entering his final year as a Boys Town quarterback and defensive back, accepted a scholarship offer in late June to play in the secondary at South Dakota State. He picked the Jackrabbits over an offer from fellow FCS school North Dakota. He also had interest from North Dakota State. It's unlikely that any of the schools would have been aware of Davis' football abilities had he stayed on the East Coast.

And he might not have achieved as much.

"In Baltimore there is a lot of violence and not many opportunities to be successful and achieve the goals you set for yourself," he said, thinking back on his decision at 14. "This would get me out of all of the distractions and away from the crime in Baltimore."

Now he wants to parlay his full scholarship into a degree and be in position to help his family financially.

"I wanted to set myself up to be financially stable and support myself, my family and make sure that no one in my family has to struggle," he said.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Davis, who also goes by T.J., has started at defensive back since arriving at Boys Town as a freshman. As a junior, he started playing quarterback and set single-season school records for passing yards and touchdowns.

He's also grown into a leader of the Boys Town community, elected by students as vice mayor for the 2017-18 school year.

Chris Nizzi, Boys Town's new football coach, has been impressed.

"Ti'jaih understands that leaders need to be humble and workers first," Nizzi said. "That has been an important piece to the beginning of our workouts in the summer and hopefully going into our season. We are very eager to see how he grows as a quarterback, defensive back, football player and young man in our football program."

Davis didn't know what to expect from Nizzi but said he has been impressed with his new coach.

"He has done a whole lot for me that I didn't expect from a coach," Davis said. "He has held us accountable and teaches us discipline. He has been a big factor in getting me out there in front of coaches."

"At Boys Town you just have to keep your head up and stay disciplined," he said. "Here you are going to make a lot of mistakes even though they seem like the smallest mistakes in the real world. They hold you accountable for everything."

Leaving home and being away from his family for three-plus years has been hard, but he realizes that it has helped him achieve a new perspective.

"With your actions you can help a lot of other people because when someone sees someone else doing something (good), they believe they can do it," Davis said. "No matter what is going on, you can't stop and can never let up."

 

boys-town-and-lincoln-electric-partnership-supports-youth-developmentBoys Town and Lincoln Electric: Partnership Supports Youth DevelopmentNebraska
Lincoln Electric
Monday, Jul 3, 2017

​Without roads to drive on, mechanics to fix our cars, welders to build our bridges and plumbers that come to our rescue, where we would we be? The fact of the matter is tradespeople are essential to our society, yet many still believe that trades are a secondary option or are less than compared to other jobs. Jim Clements and Lincoln Electric, the world's largest provider of welding and cutting equipment, are both doing their part to destigmatize trade jobs and provide Boys Town youth with the skills and knowledge necessary to have successful trade careers once they're out of the system.

Jim Clements began his career at Boys Town in the housekeeping department in 2001 and immediately fell in love with the work and support that Boys Town provides. In 2010 he returned with his wife and served as a Family Teacher for five years before working as a hotline counselor and, finally, finding his place as the vocational teacher at Boys Town High School.

Now, as the Technical Trades Instructor, Clements dedicates his time addressing the stigma surrounding trade jobs and inspiring youth to follow their passions regardless of what society has to say. "I have always been a firm believer that skilled tradespeople are the backbone of our society," said Clements. "Teaching trades to our students gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment that many of them have never experienced. Having a part of that and knowing that the classes I run for these kids might be the catalyst for a lifelong career is humbling and rewarding, and it's probably the biggest reason I get up every morning and come to work."

Lincoln Electric originally took an interest in Boys Town after hearing that the welding program needed equipment. After learning about Boys Town and the youth that come through the program they knew that they wanted to partner with Boys Town and generously donated a multi-process welding machine, a plasma torch, a TIG welder and a number of their high-quality welding helmets. "The fact of the matter is that we simply could not have made this class work as well as we have without these generous donations," said Clements.

Boys Town supports the idea that trades are not a secondary choice and can be viable careers for the youth. With the rising cost of tuition at four-year universities, more people are beginning to understand the value of trade careers. With passionate teachers like James Clements and companies like Lincoln Electric who are dedicated to supporting welding education for Boys Town youth, we are ensuring that our students are going out into the world one step ahead of the competition.

"My students have heard me say this a thousand times: Going into skilled trades should be considered a victory, not a consolation prize. For too long we have let the universities convince us and our kids that the question to be asked of our future is 'are you good enough for college, or will you get stuck doing manual labor?'" said Clements. "My humble opinion is that maybe it's time for us to turn that philosophy on its head and start asking our kids if they have the skills to become something as important as a tradesperson."

Boys Town: Trade Life
Watch the video below for the full story of Boys Town's new welding program and the involvement from Lincoln Electric. This video originally appeared on www.arcmagazine.pub.

during-wwII-boys-town-housed-japanese-americans-escaping-forced-internmentDuring WWII, Boys Town housed Japanese-Americans escaping forced internment. The homes are coming down, but the story enduresNebraska
Japanese Americans
Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017

This article is written by Blake Ursch, World-Herald staff writer. It was published on Omaha.com  on June 26, 2017.

Until recently, a handful of small, white homes surrounded a tree-shaded cul-de-sac amid farmland west of Boys Town — a picture of the midcentury American Dream.

The scene, now visible to those driving near 144th Street and West Dodge Road, looks very different today. Trees are now stumps, heaped in the middle of the street. The homes have been reduced to piles of concrete, splintered wood and twisted metal. Some are leveled entirely, and others are smoldering ruins after controlled burns conducted last week by the Boys Town Fire Department.

The houses and surrounding buildings are giving way to a $1.2 billion entertainment, residential and retail district, currently being developed by Noddle Cos. Some pieces of the other structures will be incorporated into the new development. But the homes are to be cleared.

They were simple dwellings built for simple reasons. The homes were completed in the early 1940s, meant to house extra hands who would be needed to work the farm as Boys Town grew. In later years, they were home to children and caregivers on campus. After a time, they stood empty.

But hidden in their past is another story. Decades ago, shortly after they were finished, these homes would come to represent something important — security, comfort, welcome — for a group of people who had all three taken from them.

During World War II, some of these houses sheltered Japanese-Americans escaping forced internment on the West Coast. They came here at the urging of legendary Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan, who found them jobs on campus or helped them establish new lives in cities outside of Omaha.

In total, more than 200 relocated Japanese-Americans spent time at Boys Town during the war, said Tom Lynch, director of community programs at Boys Town. Some were just passing through, moving on to other opportunities. About 30 stayed on campus, living and working as barbers, bus drivers, farmhands, typists and gardeners.

After the war, some remained at Boys Town or settled elsewhere in Omaha. Their children and grandchildren still live here today.

"Boys Town was good to (my father) and our family, so we just stayed there," said Roger Oshima, 61. His father, Mike Oshima, came to Boys Town during the war and worked there in various roles — a carpenter, a locksmith, captain of the fire department — for more than 50 years.

But Mike Oshima had a life before he came here. He was a commercial fisherman in Long Beach, California.

Then, on Dec. 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. And Mike Oshima's life, along with those of about 120,000 other Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, would change forever.

***

"Instructions to all persons of Japanese Ancestry," begins a flyer dated May 3, 1942. "Pursuant to the provisions of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 33 ... all persons of Japanese Ancestry, both alien and non-alien will be evacuated from the above area by 12 o'clock noon, P.W.T. Saturday, May 9, 1942."

The forced internment of Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast was signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942. Those affected were moved to temporary assembly centers, and later to 10 War Relocation Camps in seven states, allowed to bring only what they could carry. Families were registered and given tags to identify themselves and their possessions.

Mike Oshima and his family were moved to the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California. In later years, he never talked much about his experience, his son said. When he did, he spoke of having his fishing vessels confiscated and of knowing he would most likely never return to his home in California. Before he left for Manzanar, he later said, he grabbed an ax, entered his home and destroyed the place.

In Los Angeles, James and Margaret Takahashi had begun to worry.

"After Pearl Harbor ... people were getting angrier. You kept hearing awful rumors. You heard that people were getting their houses burned down. And we were afraid that those things might happen to us," Margaret later wrote.

The family, including the couple's three children, would be forced to an overcrowded, makeshift detention center at the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, California. Eventually, they were moved to a camp in Amache, Colorado.

For many families, it was an agonizing, confusing experience.

"We didn't feel Japanese. We felt American. That was the way we were raised," Margaret Takahashi wrote.

Stories like these didn't sit well with the priest in Omaha.

"I see no disaster threatening us because of any particular race, creed or color," Flanagan said around this time. "But I do see danger for all in an ideology which discriminates against anyone politically or economically because he or she was born into the 'wrong' race, has skin of the 'wrong' color or worships at the 'wrong' altar."

And so, as the internment began, Flanagan began to work with a Catholic organization in Los Angeles, the Maryknoll Fathers, to bring people out of the internment camps to Boys Town. His motives were practical as much as they were altruistic: Many on his staff had left to join the war effort, and Flanagan needed new workers to oversee the 400 boys on campus.

He wrote letters to the War Relocation Authority, outlining his open positions. To secure their release, Flanagan had to prove that any Japanese-Americans at Boys Town would be legitimately employed, and therefore supervised.

"They were basically on parole," Lynch said.

On an order form issued by the relocation department for a farmhand, Flanagan lists housing available: "If man is married, there will be an eight-room completely modern house. Electricity and water bills will be paid for. His salary will be $100 per month."

The homes described, those currently being demolished, were brand-new, Lynch said. And they may have seemed like palaces to someone coming from Manzanar, where detainees slept in stiflingly hot barracks, or from Santa Anita, where there were 30 people to every one shower.

***

By the end of 1943, there were 10 Japanese-Americans living at Boys Town. More would come later.

Mike Oshima arrived in Omaha in 1944. The previous year, he had seen an advertisement for a laborer position and persuaded camp authorities to recommend him to Flanagan.

The Takahashis also arrived after James wrote to Flanagan. James, a professional gardener and landscaper, was made supervisor of the grounds. He wrote back to other Manzanar detainees and, with Flanagan's help, brought 20 others to Boys Town.

Not everyone supported Flanagan's efforts. One of the biggest critics was Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron.

Bowron thought one man in particular was too dangerous to be let out of the camps. That man, Patrick Okura, was a psychologist who had been a personnel examiner for the City of Los Angeles before being forced out of a job and into a filthy room at Santa Anita. Newspapers accused Okura of being a spy.

Flanagan wrote to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover about Okura's case: "Either these people are guilty of subversive activities ... or they are not. If not — they are trying to be decent American citizens."

Okura eventually was allowed to go to Boys Town and helped more than 200 more detainees leave the internment camps.

Though many arrived at Flanagan's campus, only a few dozen stayed. Those that did were sheltered, somewhat, from the racial tensions that were flaring in other parts of the country. They celebrated weddings, like that of Ray and Barbara Uchiyamada in 1944. They tended victory gardens. The boys who exhibited prejudice against their new neighbors, Lynch said, were quickly reprimanded.

Off campus, Omaha generally was more tolerant of Japanese-Americans than other parts of the country at the time, said Kimi Takechi, 99, who moved here before the war, in 1937.

"They were very good to us," Takechi said of city residents. "There was very little bad feeling that we could feel."

Flanagan helped those passing through Boys Town find jobs elsewhere, often in the Midwest, Lynch said, which the government probably considered less vital to national security than the West Coast.

Some, like Katsu Okida, went on to serve in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed almost entirely of soldiers with Japanese ancestry.

Okida was killed in 1944. Flanagan wrote his family in Colorado, telling them that a special Mass would be said at Boys Town in his honor.

***

The West Coast reopened to Japanese-Americans in early 1945. The following year, President Harry Truman officially terminated the War Relocation Authority.

But by that time, many who were forced out were reluctant to return, having built lives in other places.

The Takahashis returned to California in 1947. Margaret didn't want to leave, she later wrote, but her husband "wanted to be his own boss."

"The evacuation did change our philosophy," she wrote. "It made you feel that you knew what it was to die, to go somewhere you couldn't take anything but what you had inside you. And so it strengthened you."

Okura worked as a psychologist at Boys Town for 17 years. He served as a psychologist for the State of Nebraska until 1970, when he moved to the Washington, D.C., area to take a job at the National Institutes of Health. He would become a civil rights leader, fighting for the rights of Japanese-Americans.

Before he left Nebraska, he founded the Omaha chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. The group still serves as common ground for Omahans of Japanese ancestry, helping them connect and celebrate their cultural traditions.

Mike Oshima retired from Boys Town in 1998, after raising his family on the grounds. He served under three more executive directors after Flanagan's death in 1948.

"My dad was very loyal to Boys Town," said Oshima's daughter, Terry Burdett. "He appreciated the opportunities Father Flanagan gave him."

Today, there are few remnants of Omaha's link to the internment. Soon the last traces of the homes in the cul-de-sac will also be gone.

But those who know the story don't need them to remember.

cws-beavers-share-advice,-pick-up-new-fans-at-historic-boys-townCWS: Beavers share advice, pick up new fans at historic Boys TownNebraska
copyright Mark Ylen, Mid-Valley Media
Friday, Jun 23, 2017

This article is written by Bob Lunderberg. It was posted on gazettetimes.com on June 20, 2017.

Twelve hours after dismantling LSU in a showdown of college baseball superpowers, Oregon State players filed off the team bus outside Skip Palrang Memorial Field House Tuesday morning.

The Beavers were about to meet dozens of eager Boys Town students, some of whom witnessed their recent 13-1 victory at the College World Series. Jack Anderson, Drew Rasmussen and Adley Rutschman gave opening remarks under a banner listing Boys Town High's numerous state championships while students and faculty soaked in every word.

Players then fielded a variety of questions, ranging from the team's fastest runner (consensus: Preston Jones) to their reasons for choosing OSU (coaches, program history and family environment were the most common responses). When asked to identify the team's best player, Nick Madrigal was handed the microphone and sheepishly said "we're all equal."

The Pac-12 player of the year's endearing answer to a light-hearted question epitomized the Beavers' (56-4) prowess on and off the field. The response also resonated with many students who have been given a second chance at Boys Town.

"They are a very successful team and they've been through a lot of challenges this season," said Ti'Jaih Davis, a Boys Town senior from Baltimore. Davis competes in football, basketball and track for the Cowboys.

"It's great to have them come talk to us and motivate us to do what they're doing when we're in the position that they're in. It's inspiring to see."

Davis is one of about 250 high school students at Boys Town, a non-profit organization that is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Founded by Catholic priest Edward J. Flanagan as a boys orphanage — girls have been admitted since 1979 — Boys Town now has 12 campuses throughout the United States in California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, D.C. Its national headquarters are in Boys Town, Nebraska, a 1.36 square mile village surrounded by Omaha, about 12 miles west of TD Ameritrade Park.

"I just feel fortunate that these guys would bring us into their home," said OSU sophomore outfielder Steven Kwan. "This is a great place to be and I think it's interesting where people are from. Some of the kids introduced themselves from Maryland, Georgia, Florida. It was really cool talking to and getting to know all of them."

Many famous athletes have toured Boys Town over the years, including Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. Mother Teresa, Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush have also visited.

The organization's mission statement is "changing the way America cares for children, families, and communities by providing and promoting an integrated continuum of care that instills Boys Town values to strengthen body, mind, and spirit."

The Nebraska campus features an on-site high school and residential treatment centers for children (ages 5 to 11) and adolescents (ages 12 to 18).

"We get kids here from all across the country," said Boys Town High Associate Principal and Athletic Director Paul Blomenkamp. "There are residential treatment centers all over, but Boys Town is unique because it is the only one that has a high school on the campus. They live here, they get treatment, but they also go to school here."

Instead of leaving campus, Boys Town students are able to compete in 11 sports with their peers. OSU practiced at the Cowboys' baseball field on Sunday after opening the CWS with a 6-5 win over Cal State Fullerton.

Deacon Jones, a two-time Olympic competitor in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, graduated from Boys Town in 1954. He went on to run cross-country at Iowa, becoming the first African-American to win the NCAA championships.

Current Denver Broncos linebacker Shaquil Barrett also attended Boys Town. Barrett, like Davis, came to Nebraska from the rough streets of Baltimore.

"Back home in Baltimore it's nothing but gangs, shootings, killing and drugs; that's it," said Davis, who has been at Boys Town for about three years. "So the only thing for us back home is to get into sports and basically just stay occupied and stay away from all the bad stuff that gets you off your mission of what you want to do.

"Everybody wants to make money, but it's about your choice of how you're going to make money. There's a positive way and a negative way, so I chose the positive way. My parents and my coaches got me to Boys Town so I can worry about one thing instead of a million."

Davis, a quarterback and defensive back, currently holds Division I offers from North Dakota and South Dakota State. With a big senior season, he hopes to attract even more attention.

His dream school? Clemson, the defending national champions.

"I just have to keep working," Davis said. "Have to keep getting faster, getting bigger, stay on my mission."

After speaking to the students, basketballs were brought out and games ensued.

Lengthy bump lines formed at a few of the hoops while others casually hoisted up jumpers. OSU's players, who are three wins away from the greatest season in college baseball history, got to learn even more about their newest fans.

"We hit the jackpot this year with Oregon State," said Herb Hames, the campus' Director of Development and a volunteer ticket chairman for the CWS. "They're an incredible team."

cinco-de-mayo-parade-honors-south-omaha-heritageCinco de Mayo Parade Honors South Omaha HeritageNebraska
Cinco de Mayo Parade Honors South Omaha Heritage
Tuesday, Jun 20, 2017

​The South Omaha Cinco de Mayo parade and celebration is one of the largest in the Midwest. The parade features floats, marching bands and other entertainers marching along the historic 24th Street in South Omaha. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the France-Mexican War. The celebration honoring the history of South Omaha, Mexican heritage and culture began in the 1930s and has continued to be held annually since its start.

This year's celebration extended over five days. It began on Wednesday with a historic exhibit and moved into Thursday and Friday with a Miss Cinco de Mayo pageant as well as musical performances, then extended into Saturday with the annual parade, carnival and fiesta and finally concluded on Sunday with Mariachi Mass, performances and the carnival.

The Boys Town South Omaha office participates in the parade and sets up a booth every year to show their support within the community. About 80 adults and youth volunteered their time to help with various aspects of the Cinco de Mayo celebration on May 5, 2017. Volunteers helped set up floats, pass out promotional items and run the booth at the event.

Many youth from the Boys Town Family Home Program volunteered their Saturday to pass out informational pamphlets, balloons and candy during the parade down 24th Street. Youth also assisted with the booth by giving away donated toys, stuffed animals and books, passed out additional informational pamphlets and encouraged children of all ages to participate in the bean bag toss game while cheering on all those who participated.

"Boys Town's participation in Cinco de Mayo reflects not only our partnerships within the South Omaha community, but also an opportunity to share Father Flanagan's mission with our families, friends and the community." Chris Miller Director of South Omaha Operations said. "I'm thankful for all of the organizational support from Boys Town's families and volunteers to help make this event so successful."

boys-town-awarded-grant-from-omaha-community-foundation-Boys Town Awarded Grant from the Omaha Community FoundationNebraska
South Omaha Location
Friday, Jun 9, 2017

Boys Town is able to carry out its mission of Saving Children, Healing Families® through the support of the community and generous donors who believe in our mission and the impact we have on the children and families we serve. Boys Town recently received an investment from the Spring Fund for Omaha, a grant from the Omaha Community Foundation reserved for large non-profits, totaling $25,000 that will be dedicated to uplifting the clients of the South Omaha Initiative.

The Fund for Omaha is a grant from the Omaha Community Foundation, a foundation that facilitates charitable giving, simplifies the philanthropic process and gives donors more financial flexibility. The Omaha Community Foundation aims to connect people who care about the community with people and nonprofits who are doing their part to make Omaha the best it can be. This grant was awarded based on organizational strength, understanding of needs for the Omaha population, strength of strategy and management of resources in order to optimize performance of the organization.

"This is very important for Boys Town because it gives community validation for the Boys Town strategic plan to focus on prevention of children and families entering the juvenile justice and child welfare systems," said Melissa Steffes, Boys Town Community Engagement Development Officer. This investment will be used to strengthen more South Omaha families and keep more children safe through the Boys Town South Omaha Initiative, which aims to provide support in a high needs Omaha community.

"We are thrilled to have the Omaha Community Foundation's investment in the Boys Town South Omaha Initiative where we are committed to the timeless values of our founder, Father Edward Flanagan, who believed that all children deserve safety, stability and a family's love," said Steffes.

Going forward, the Spring Fund for Omaha will have a profound impact and benefit for the South Omaha community, and for that we are grateful to the Omaha Community Foundation.

bt-unveils-inclusive-statue-for-100th-anniversaryBoys Town unveils inclusive statue for 100th anniversaryNebraska
New Statue
Wednesday, Jun 7, 2017

This story is written by Erin Hassanzadeh. It was posted on ketv.com   June 6, 2017.

After 100 years of serving children and families, the vision of Boys Town is still shifting and adapting. The new bronze statue on its campus is a reflection of that change.

"Having a young lady appear on our statue is all part of that -- to reflect the fact that we serve children and family today at Boys Town," said Thomas Lynch, the Boys Town director of community programs.

"Boys Town is about families now and not just about boys," said Matthew Placzek, the statue artist.

Dozens, including Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, attended Tuesday's reveal.

The statue was loosely inspired from a picture of two former Boys Town youth.

"We didn't want to make it just an exact portrait of two people but kind of the bond between all the children here at Boys Town," said Placzek.

"Boys Town means a lot to me. They've helped me since I've been here since the sixth grade. They helped me learn and grow a lot and made into the guy I am today," said Jason Landin, the Boys Town mayor.

The piece, titled- "The Work Continues," is 7 feet tall and was crafted in Omaha. It was cast in bronze in Colorado before returning to the Boys Town campus. The statue it replaced will now be in the Boys Town Hall of History. The public is encouraged to come see the new statue anytime.

packed-full-of-hopePacked Full of HopeNebraska
Packed for hope
Thursday, Jun 1, 2017

The Junior League of Omaha recently partnered with Boys Town Foster Family Services for their "Project Hope Pack" campaign to benefit youth Foster Care. The purpose of this campaign is to provide children bags filled with comfort items as they enter foster care. This assimilation can be very difficult for many, so providing youth with items such as toiletries and personal items can help ease this sometimes tough transition.

"One of the goals for our children is stability and the least amount of trauma possible during their foster care transitions. Often times, children arrive in our program with only the clothes on their back." Matt Priest Director of Boys Town Nebraska Foster Family Services said. "We appreciate the support of Junior League of Omaha through their Project Hope Pack with providing these care kits. Every child will receive a back pack with comfort items they can permanently call their own, which we believe can make a child's move to a foster home a bit easier."  

Over 100 bags were donated to Boys Town Foster Family Services and will be distributed to youth as they enter Foster Family Services. Boys Town extends a thank you to Junior League of Omaha for their Project Hope Pack initiative.

boys-town-block-party-encourages-a-safe-violence-free-summerBoys Town Block Party Encourages a Safe, Violence-Free SummerNebraska
Block Party
Thursday, Jun 1, 2017

This story is written by Taylor Berth. It was posted on ketv.com on May 26, 2017.

Friday marked the last day of school for Omaha Public Schools students. Boys Town held its fourth annual block party in celebration and in hopes of getting kids involved during the summer months.

The Ames Avenue Boys Town office hosted the block party, which included food, face painting, games and bounce houses. The event was also held in conjunction with Harmony Week, which is designed to highlight the importance of taking part in positive alternatives to violence to ensure a safe summer.

The problem is "Kids running around late at night, doing bad things, doing drugs," said the Rev. Steven Boes, national executive director of Boys Town. "I think there are many alternatives to that and if parents involve their children, they have less chance of that happening. Keep the kids busy with sports, with going to church, with activities during the summer, getting out and seeing Nebraska and seeing all the delights around Omaha, the fun things to do."

Vendors were also present at Friday's block party, some offering financial counseling, access to job applications and mental and physical health information. Herb Hames represented the FBI as a volunteer with the Omaha Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

The association has an outreach program for the FBI and community.

"Down time is troubling time," Hames said. "You've really got to work with the environment and such to keep them busy doing fun stuff. There are a lot of great organizations in Omaha that do just that. In this day and age when all the news is bad, bad, bad, it's nice to look at the good in people and it's nice to understand that this is still a great place."

Staff members at the Boys Town Ames Avenue location work to support kids and families through behavioral health services, the Ways 2 Work auto loan program and through consultants who work with the families in their own homes.

bt-seniors-looking-to-succeedBoys Town Seniors Looking to SucceedNebraska
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This article is written by Andrea Braswell. It was posted on 3newsnow.com on May 21, 2017.

Seniors smiled in their caps and gowns as they greeted family after receiving their diplomas.

Some say they are now looking towards the future.

"I'm excited to continue my studies in Criminal Justice and run track and cross country."

Many students say Boys Town helped lead them in the right direction.

"It's pretty incredible just like how far I've come since I first got here, and how much I've matured since I first got here."

Sadie Johnson is adopted, her mother says seeing her progression is heartwarming.

"I feel very proud of everything she has accomplished."

"She's heading to Wayne State for an art degree, she has earned scholarships and monetary awards."

These students were at risk before coming to Boys Town, staff says they are now heading down the right path.

"Our kids have overcome an awful lot and they come from all parts of the country."

"They are all at risk kids that have done their best and they are all taking the next step on their journey into life."

Some seniors call it bittersweet as they step into their future and have to part ways with close friends. 

"I got to know a lot of people and they've become my family and it will always be that way and always stay that way."

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