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Making-Family-Dinner-More-Than-a-MealMaking Family Dinner More Than a MealNebraska
Thursday, Sep 22, 2016

​​​​This article is written by Jenna Jaynes. It was posted on wowt.com on September 19, 2016.

A new study out shows only 57 percent of families eat dinner together regularly, while 71 percent say they wish they had the time.

According to Boys Town licensed psychologist Amanda McLean, family dinner can be far more than just a meal. It's a time for families to come together and develop some positive interactions.

But with busy schedules, it can be difficult.

She suggests starting by just adding a few meal times a week by ​setting a time and a place to meet. If everyone is eating meals in different rooms, it doesn't help with that togetherness.

Plus, she said there needs to be some expectations, like no electronics or distractions.

By limiting distractions, kids can learn some big life lessons like manners, eating right and contributing to a family.

"I think it's important for kids to know that they're part of the family and have to contribute to the family and so they do this through chores, meeting daily expectations and that can be incorporated in the meal time," McLean said.

She suggests having older kids help with the cooking so they can learn how to prepare a meal. Then have the younger ones help with setting and clearing the table and doing the dishes.

However, McLean stressed the importance of positive interactions. It's easy to scold your child when they don't do the chores, but we often forget to praise them for their work.

McLean said we need at least five positive interactions for every one negative one. The dinner table is a great place for that.

In fact, studies show that children who eat dinner with their families are far less likely to be depressed, consider suicide or have an eating disorder.

They're also far less likely abuse drugs or alcohol. Not to mention, they're more likely to do better in school.

Plus, there's a big health benefit. Eating together means parents can decide the meal, which means kids will eat more fruits and vegetables. They're also more likely to eat the right portion and try new foods.

"Those children have better outcomes in their decision making skills and in terms of their eating habits and in terms of their academic progress as well," McLean said.

And if there's absolutely no time in your schedule for family dinner time, then you need to look elsewhere in your day to have those quality moments.

"If that scheduled time isn't an option because of busy schedules then they can provide that throughout the day with their child," McLean said. "So that comes through praise, showing affection, catching your child being good and just having positive interactions throughout the day."

If you're having concerns with your child, you can contact Boys Town's Behavioral Health Services for help at 402-498-6540.​

Teen-Puts-Heart-and-Mind-into-Achieving-Her-DreamsTeen Puts Heart and Mind into Achieving Her DreamsNebraska
Cheerleading was one of the many activities that helped Jenni gain self-confidence and grow as a person at Boys Town.
Monday, Sep 19, 2016

​​Slight in stature but strong in character, Jenni Ruiz is a ​survivor.

A 2016 graduate of Boys Town High School, Jenni spent a year and a half as a resident of the Family Home ProgramSM in the Village of Boys Town, Nebraska.

The experience proved to be both healing and inspiring.  

"I really enjoyed Boys Town," Jenni said. "I enjoyed the support I received, the help from teachers and just the motivation people gave me. They inspired me to try my hardest to be someone in this world."

Jenni's appreciation for Boys Town today is a complete reversal from when the South Omaha native first arrived on campus.  

It was a midafternoon when Jenni's mother picked her up from school, presumably, Jenni thought, to take her to a medical appointment. But when the drive ended, Jenni wasn't at the clinic. She was standing outside the Boys Town Admissions Office.

"I wasn't expecting it to happen," Jenni remembered. "I was mad; furious really. I didn't even get to say goodbye to my younger brother and sister."

The trip to Boys Town was the result of months of Jenni sneaking around and skipping school and a souring attitude that had broken the mother-daughter relationship. Jenni and her mother rarely spoke, and it was a tumultuous time.

Not only had Jenni made many bad choices, she also had been robbed of her optimism and innocence: a family acquaintance had sexually assaulted her, further deepening her feelings of isolation and aimlessness.  

While Jenni's shock at suddenly becoming a "Boys Town kid" slowly subsided, her first month on campus wasn't easy.

"I didn't know anyone, and it was awkward to sit in the classroom trying to get caught up on all the assignments the other kids had already done," Jenni recalled.

But continued support and guidance from Family-Teachers® Joey and Heather Butler eventually helped Jenni shed her insecurities.

"We really pushed Jenni to go beyond what she thought she could do," explained Heather. "Building her self-confidence helped Jenni open up and start trusting again." 

With encouragement from the Butlers and the other girls who lived in her Family Home, Jenni got active in campus life. She joined the soccer team and cheer squad, and ran cross country. She buckled down in the classroom, garnering academic awards and becoming a member of the National Honor Society. Her positive attitude and work ethic also earned Jenni Boys Town's "Competing with Character" award, given annually to a student-athlete who exemplifies good character both on and off the playing field.  

Jenni credits her success to all the positive adults and peers who pushed her to try her best and never give up. She says the lessons learned at Boys Town helped her emotionally rebuild her family relationships, too.  

"Now my sister and brother look up to me. I talk to them about staying in school and away from bad influences," she said.

No longer burdened or haunted by the past, Jenni's excited for the future. She was awarded a full-ride, two-year scholarship to a community college, and plans to pursue a criminal justice degree with hopes of joining the FBI.  

"It feels great to know that if you put your heart and mind into something, it can be achieved," Jenni said.​​

Boys-Town-Program-Always-Up-to-Rebuilding-ChallengeBoys Town Program Always Up to Rebuilding ChallengeNebraska
Monday, Sep 12, 2016

​​This article is written by Kelly Connolly. It was posted on wowt​.com on September 12, 2016.

Friday nights are a little different at Boys Town, having to build a different team every year.

"Our kids come from all over the country and our average stay is 18 months for our young men,"said head football coach Kevin Kush. The athletes arrive during the summer and are expected to play in the fall. "Football's a great opportunity to do things right and that's what we use football for, to build a better young man."

Not only does the coach sharpen their football skills, he teaches the things that really matter. "I've learned a lot from this team, compete with character, ​fighting for each other," said junior Tijaih Davis. "It's a family thing."

There is a special meaning when student athletes put on that Cowboy jersey. "I've only played last year with Boys Town and just in that one year I've gained a lot of relationships with the coaches and teammates and it's just a great experience overall," said senior Cameron Christoffensen.

"We have low tolerances and high expectations in our program," said coach Kush. With a winning record and being state runner-ups in 2008, what they're doing at Boys Town is working.​

mother-teresa-in-omaha-humorous-inspiringMother Teresa in Omaha: Humorous, InspiringNebraska
Mother Teresa with the late Msgr. Robert P. Hupp, executive director of Boys Town, on her 1976 tour of the Boys Town campus.
Friday, Sep 2, 2016

​​This article is written by Roger Buddenberg. It was posted September 1, 2016 on catholic​voiceomaha.com.

Mother Teresa, the nun about to be declared a saint in honor of her humility and fearless devotion to the poor, left several other positive impressions when she visited Omaha in 1976.

"We had a lot of laughs. … She had a good sense of humor," said Bill Ramsey, a retired spokesman for Boys Town, one of the sites Mother Teresa visited during her two-day stop.

Now 86, Ramsey then was a nervous chauffeur, the person appointed to make sure the tiny Indian nun arrived at her stops on time. She repeatedly tried to put him at ease.

"Bill, don’t worry about that," she told him again and again as he fretted that the streams of people she stopped to talk with were trashing the schedule.

"She moved very slowly because she talked to everyone," he said.

"I was worried about getting her back to the airport on time" for her flight out, he said. "She didn’t have a real sense of timing" and paid no attention to the clock.

Mother Teresa spent about 40 hours in Omaha that May, touring Boys Town and accepting the Father Flanagan Award for Service to Youth, visiting two groups of cloistered nuns, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and the Poor Sisters of St. Clare, and speaking to a downtown luncheon crowd.

She stayed overnight at the Poor Clares’ monastery, then located near 29th and Hamilton streets. The abbess at the time, Sister Mary Clare, said Mother Teresa struck her, too, as a down-to-earth person.

"We had a chair re-upholstered" for the occasion, in gold fabric, "a nice chair for her to sit on," said the former abbess, now 87. "But she took me by the arm and had me sit in the chair."

While chatting with her fellow nuns after morning Mass, "about where her sisters were and a little about her life," Mother Teresa abstractedly stirred sugar into a glass of water instead of her coffee, said Sister Mary Clare. But, the former abbess said, when the other nuns tried to clear the mistake from the table, Mother Teresa insisted the glass remain. She simply drank the sweetened water instead of coffee.

At Boys Town, the visitor from India "was amazed by the village," how it was organized, said Tom Lynch, who oversees the home’s Hall of History museum.

Mother Teresa, he said, toured building after building, even the basements, and helped break ground on a new research center, now the home’s lakeside headquarters building.

"It was very inspirational to the kids. … She was a role model," he said. "She dealt with people nobody wanted, like Father Flanagan did, the people society had given up on and ignored." (The cause for sainthood for the Boys Town founder is under study now at the Vatican.)

Mother Teresa arrived in Omaha May 5, and the next day spoke to about 500 people at the downtown Hilton, accepting the award from Boys Town and telling the crowd:

"The boys do not need pity but love and compassion. Give your hands to serve them and your hearts to love them."

After the luncheon, Ramsey was fretting about getting his guest to the airport on time – and she once again threw a delay into the timetable by asking a favor:

Could she have the candles from the Hilton’s tables? She would like to take them back to her home for the poor in India, she explained.

But they are half burned, Ramsey said.

"Yes, but they are half good," she replied.

The candles were gathered and put into sacks supplied by the hotel. The plane didn’t leave without her.

"She must’ve known something I didn’t know," Ramsey said.

us-mint-unveils-boys-town-commemorative-coinsU.S. Mint Unveils Boys Town Commemorative CoinsNebraska
Copyright Brendan Sullivan / The World-Herald
Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016

​​​​​This article is written by Courtney Brummer-Clark / World-Herald staff writer. It was published August 23, 2016 on omaha.com.

Father Edward Flanagan’s mission is now commemorated in currency.

Designs for coins celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Boys Town were unveiled Tuesday.

Rhett Jeppson, deputy director of the United States Mint, joined Boys Town officials and other dignitaries for the ceremony at the Boys Town Music Hall. Students, families and staff filled the auditorium.

“This literally took an act of Congress to get done,” said Dr. Dan Daly, executive vice president and director of youth care at Boys Town.

Last year, Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to produce a series of coins commemorating Boys Town’s 100th anniversary in 2017. The legislation was sponsored by current and past members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford attended Tuesday’s ceremony, along with Mayor Jean Stothert and former lawmakers Ben Nelson and Lee Terry. Ashford praised Congress’ bipartisan efforts to allow the coins to become a reality.

“There are a lot of issues that divide Congress, but when you tell them about Boys Town, there is no divide,” he said.

In 2015, a team of artists traveled to Boys Town to gather ideas. Three designs were selected by the mint and will be featured on gold, silver and clad (layered metal) coins.

“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 organizations to give comfort and purpose to children in need, and recognizing the significant contributions of Father (Edward) Flanagan,” Jeppson told the audience.

The heads side of the $5 gold coin features a portrait of Flanagan, Boys Town’s founder. Inscriptions include “Boys Town Centennial,” “In God We Trust,” “Fr. Edward Flanagan,” and “Liberty.” The tails side, which says “The Work Will Continue,” depicts an outstretched hand holding a young oak tree growing from an acorn. This design represents “the potential of each child helped by Boys Town to grow into a productive, complete adult,” Jeppson said.

The gold coin was designed by artist Donna Weaver.

The heads side of the silver $1 coin depicts a young girl sitting alone under the branches of an oak tree, looking up. The empty space around the girl is “deliberate and meant to show the child’s sense of loneliness, isolation and helplessness,” Jeppson said. Inscriptions include “When You Help A Child Today ... .”

The tails side depicts an oak tree offering shelter and a sense of belonging to the family holding hands below it, including the girl from the other side. It is inscribed with the words: “... You Write the History of Tomorrow."

The silver coin was designed by artist Emily Damstra.

The heads side of the clad half dollar depicts a boy holding the hand of his younger brother in 1917, ​walking toward Father Flanagan’s Boys Home. The 1940’s-era tower represents what would become Boys Town. Inscriptions include “Saving Children.”

The tails side depicts a present-day Boys Town homes, where children are schooled and nurtured. “Out of these homes come young adults who graduate from high school and the Boys Town program,” Jeppson said. Inscriptions include “Healing Families.”

The clad coin was designed by artist Chris Costello.

The mint will issue no more than 50,000 gold coins, 350,000 silver coins and 300,000 clad half dollar coins.

The price of each coin will include a surcharge: $35 for each gold, $10 for each silver, and $5 for each clad half dollar coin. Revenues first will cover production costs. Some revenue also will go to Boys Town, which will use the money to provide services.

The coins will be available in 2017; the mint will announce the exact date.

boys-towns-teddy-allen-prepares-for-star-studded-senior-yearBoys Town's Teddy Allen Prepares for Star-Studded Senior YearNebraska
Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016

​​​'I chose to come here for a reason'

This article is written by Josh Planos. It was published August 22, 2016 on ketv.com.

Teddy Allen wanted to know where the cameras were and why they weren't rolling.

Not in a bellicose way, mind you, nor even with a hint of irritation; he was just curious, perhaps a tad perplexed.

This isn’t uncommon: As a reporter for a local TV station, someone who doesn’t appear on air, working in an industry that doubles as a sea of often recognizable faces, the act of interviewing someone is altered fairly significantly. See, there sat a much-talked-about high school athlete, who spent the summer garnering scholarship offers for his craft at about the same pace he poured in buckets, dressed to the nines; on a breezy mid-August Wednesday, he donned a pastel-purple collared shirt and khaki slacks. Maybe he even woke up early for this obligation -- yet another interview with yet another journalist for a player getting increasingly comfortable with both. He sat next to his head coach, Tom Krehbiel, who was draped in business casual. They were flanked by two bright-eyed school representatives, dressed nice enough to get into any restaurant in the city.

I wore shorts and a light-blue short-sleeved shirt.

They were expecting cameras -- and there wasn't a single red light blinking back at any of them.

I stumbled over a repeated mumbling apology; clearly something was lost in translation.

People -- collegiate athletic departments, coaches, players, fans -- want to hear from the pride of Boys Town, which is what brought me to him.

But Allen, though, one of, if not the top basketball player on the Nebraska high school circuit, won't have to wait much longer for cameras. He might do well to savor the time not having to address them, not having to worry about them covering and dissecting his every move, because that clock is rapidly winding down.

****

Like many who flourish within its framework and structure, Allen was firm when he declared he's no longer the same person who first came to Boys Town. Gone is the boy who arrived in Omaha, nearly 1,400 miles from home. "As a person," he said, "I'm not the same as I was. I wasn't a bad kid; I just didn't have as open a mind to things that I do now."
What's changed, I asked.

"For me as a person, probably just calmer, smarter, more mature."

He understands the outside perception of his new home: Boys Town, a sanctuary for the at-risk, the neglected, those in need of help in some degree.

"Boys Town isn’t a place for bad people," he whispered with a genuine, spirit-lifting smile, nearly quoting Father Flanagan verbatim. "It’s a place for people who just want opportunities and an environment where they can thrive.

"It’s not what people think it is."

What "people think it is" varies, but high school athletics seldom bring out the politically correct -- or even accurate -- descriptors of a place where staff members work diligently, exhaustively, every single day, to save another generation of youths.

"I’ve heard everything, like from student sections, from people around the country. Like, ‘You’re a bad kid. What’d you do?’ Like, it’s nothing like that. I’ve not met a bad kid since I got here."

He speaks like a living, breathing made-for-TV commercial, which makes sense considering he's been nothing short of A Success Story since he arrived in mid-August of 2015.

"If you're trying to grow as a person and set yourself up for success, this is a really great place to come," he said. "I chose to come here for a reason."

When he was a freshman at Desert Ridge High School in Arizona, Teddy dunked for the first time during a water break.

"I had no bounce freshman year," he said, laughing, "but I was tall so I was on varsity."

His teammates made fun of him for not being able to sky over the rim. So one day he soared while his friends rested.

"Couldn't dunk for like two months after that, but I dunked that one time," he said.

Teddy became a standout player almost overnight, becoming the team's second-leading scorer while netting better than 50 percent of his looks from beyond the arc. His sophomore year, he earned honorable mention All-State while scoring better than 18 points and grabbing better than six rebounds per contest.

However, grade troubles were frequent, he told Husker Online's Robin Washut, and led to his father, a Nebraska native, recommending a move.

As far as basketball aspirations were concerned, the move was nonsensical on paper; players like Richard Jefferson, Mike Bibby and Channing Frye cut their teeth in Arizona high school gyms. But Nebraska? Four players ever who attended Nebraska high schools played more than six years in the league. Those numbers are even slimmer at Boys Town.

As Allen put it: "You don’t see athletes coming through here."

After not being allowed to play through Christmas, he made his debut in January against Scotus Central Catholic, the state runner-up the year prior. Allen had 32 points for a Boys Town club that was 3-4 at the time. Scotus went on to win the state title.

Less than two months later, Larry McBryde, an 18-year-old senior from Erwin, North Carolina, and a starting guard on the team, died from cardiac dysrhythmia associated with cardiac fibrosis. He was found dead on the floor of his private room. Larry had enough credits to graduate, so Krehbiel framed his jersey and sent it home to his family along with his diploma. The school still hasn't fully processed the incident, and plans to honor him again this season.

One day later, the team was to play Wahoo in the C1-5 subdistrict semifinals.

With heavy hearts, tear-stained cheeks and little sleep, Krehbiel rallied his team.

"The last thing I asked our team before we left for the game was just to stay in the moment, make the game important,’’ Krehbiel told the Omaha World-Herald. “It was OK to make this game important and then come back to grieving later."

Allen, one of McBryde’s closest friends on the team, donned a black long-sleeved T-shirt that read, “R.I.P. Big Brother."

Then he dropped 31 points on Wahoo, snapped their 12-game winning streak and ended their season.

****

Sitting in a conference room tucked inside the Skip Palrang Memorial Fieldhouse, a wry smile draped across Teddy's face when I mentioned one of his final, major high school hurdles: the ACT.

"That's a long test," he said. "It's a grind."

A tutor is helping him with math -- "It's not my easiest subject," he admitted -- ahead of the standardized test, which is scheduled for Sept. 10.

He's asking around -- for tips, motivation, advice, anything, really.

"I'll be prepared for it," he confidently said. "Just prepare and pray about it."

A good-enough score on the test could lead to more Division 1 offers, something Allen isn't short on but wouldn't mind seeing more of. Before moving on, he stretched his back and leaned back in his folding chair.

"I want to only take it one time."

****

When the season ended, Allen didn't wait long to pick up a basketball. After some conversations with Krehbiel, he decided to try out for the Omaha Sports Academy Crusaders. For some, that's when the show really started: on the AAU circuit.

Over the course of a few days in Las Vegas, Allen, who was only sitting on a few offers at the time, received scholarship offers from Iowa State, George Mason, Virginia Tech and DePaul almost instantaneously. He poured in 30-point performances, tallied up double-doubles and made scouts pay attention.

"Those guys are cool," he said of his teammates. "I didn’t really know any of them going into the season, but we grew real close over those nine, 10 tournaments we played or whatever. A great organization. Best in Nebraska.”

"We hand-picked the Crusaders and that coach, just for a lot of different reasons," Krehbiel said. "Nothing bad towards anybody else. We were very pleased with how that all turned out. They played in tournaments that allowed him to be seen and then he took full advantage of all that. He had a great experience. He was coached well, whether he likes it or not all the time (laughs)."

During the summer, Teddy put a ball off the glass and dunked it himself off the rebound -- a self-thrown alley-oop, a move mostly reserved for dunk contests and video games. His coach pulled him immediately.

Asked what he'd do with a breakaway this season, he smiled. "I'll put it off the glass. We'll see if he gives me some leniency on that."

Entering this season, he's sitting on around a dozen offers, from bigger programs like Cincinnati, West Virginia and Texas Christian, and smaller ones like South Dakota State and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Creighton and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are reportedly quite interested in the burgeoning stud.

"He’s considered seven," Krehbiel said of Teddy's offers. "Now, there’s more, but there’s some that are going to be turned down. There’s six or seven out there that he’s weighing.”
Worth noting: Allen's brother, Timmy Allen, who attends Desert Ridge, is a talented prospect, too. The brothers are only one year apart, and Timmy holds offers from Creighton, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Arizona State, and a few others. The one offer they have in common? DePaul.

Would they consider going to the same spot?

"It’s easily a possibility," Teddy said. "It’s something we talk about. We both aren’t like prioritizing our recruitment on that, but it’s a topic of discussion."

Fit is everything, and Teddy acknowledged that since it's a basketball scholarship being mulled over, he has a basketball decision to make.

"I just look at it like, where am I going to fit best? What's going to set me up best to maximize my potential in college so I can play at that next level?"

****

Teddy is quite tall in person.

He grew up being the tallest player on almost every court he stepped on and, at 6-foot-6, he remains one of the taller players in Class C-1 basketball.

He grew up in the post, a bruiser who could corral rebounds and find opportunities on the glass.

"Growing up, like, up until fourth grade as a post has literally shaped my game," he said. "Like, all these coaches I’m talking to, they really like the versatility in my game. And being able to do that just stems from how my coaches played me when I was young."

But he isn't about to walk into a college gym and helm the low block; he'll be a wing, albeit one with more refined back-to-the-basket moves and an impressive rebounding prowess.

"He’s learning to be more of a play-maker," Krehbiel said. "How to incorporate other people into his game. He was clearly very good with the ball in his hand last year and could really score when he wanted to. Now, when teams run two and three people at him, he’s learning how to be a play-maker, how to share the ball, what’s the right play.

"The thing he needs to work on and continue to work on is to move without the ball, play the game in other areas without the basketball in his hand, and he’s learning how to do that."

Asked who his game mirrors in the NBA, Teddy immediately mentioned Carmelo Anthony, the 6-foot-8, nine-time NBA all-star currently playing for the New York Knicks. "Score any type of way," he said. His favorite player has long been LeBron James. "I'm not going to say LeBron," he said when asked about his NBA composite, "because that's the G.O.A.T. I wouldn't disrespect him like that."

While his highlight reel is littered with splices of him attacking the rim, his ball-handling and defense will be refined over the upcoming season. After earning first-team All-State, while averaging better than 26 points and 12 rebounds per contest a season ago, one would expect Teddy to become complacent, or at least acknowledge the ceiling of potential improvement is considerably smaller than others. That's not his style.

"There's a lot of room for improvement," he said. "I would expect to blow those numbers out of the water."

"He's fun to be around," Krehbiel said when asked what the Omaha community should know about arguably the city's top basketball talent. "Fun to coach. I think the sky’s the limit.

"You know, he asked me a couple weeks ago when he got back, he said do I think he can play in the NBA? And he’s always on that, ‘I’m going to play in the NBA, coach. I’m going to play.’ Yeah, yeah. Well I told him that how far he’s come in a year should show us all that he can accomplish anything that he wants to. He’s done all this work -- some of it basketball, but a majority of it in the classroom, just in his personality and behavior, to set himself up to where it is a possibility to go make a living doing this game and something that he loves. That needs to be respected."

Teddy, it appears, is ready to take flight.

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

​​​This press release was published on usmint.gov 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 "...you 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.

 
spartannash-presents-grants-to-boys-town-habitat-for-humanity-of-omaha-on-behalf-of-winnersSpartanNash Presents Grants to Boys Town, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha on Behalf of Winners of ‘Perfect Picnic’ ContestNebraska
Tuesday, Aug 23, 2016

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

SpartanNash recently presented $1,000 and $500 grants to Boys Town and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. The donations were part of the Perfect Picnic Challenge, which coincided with the grand re-opening celebrations of eight newly renovated and rebranded Family Fare Supermarkets.

For the Perfect Picnic Challenge, SpartanNash teamed up with local nonprofit organizations as well as Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for the Culinary Arts to highlight the fresh, local ingredients and cost savings ​available at the new and improved Family Fare locations.

MCC student chefs Angela Nichols and Aaron Fox joined SpartanNash representatives at the Family Fare Supermarket located at 14444 W. Center Road to present the donations to Boys Town and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha.

“Throughout the entire renovation and grand re-opening process, we wanted to keep our focus local, where relationships matter,” said Rich Myers, SpartanNash regional operations director. “The Perfect Picnic Contest was a celebration – of our new Family Fare stores, our store guests, the talented students at MCC and of the good work being done by our partners in the Omaha community. Boys Town and Habitat for Humanity are both making a lasting impact, and together with Aaron and Angela, we are proud to support those efforts through these grants.”

Eight MCC students were challenged to develop a menu for their “perfect picnic” – including a sandwich, salad and beverage – sticking to a budget of $20 to feed a family of four. Store guests could then visit ShopFamilyFare.com to vote on their favorite food-and-drink combinations between July 20 and 27.

Each student was paired with a local nonprofit organization, giving them a chance to have $1,000 and $500 donations made to the partner charities in their name.

More than 550 votes were cast, with Nichols’ Cajun BBQ picnic chicken, creole mustard vinaigrette smashed potato salad and iced café au lait taking first place.

Boys Town – which was founded in 1917 to give at-risk children the family, support and care they need to overcome their circumstances and realize their potential – received a $1,000 grant from SpartanNash and Nichols as a result.

“We are thrilled to have been chosen to be part of SpartanNash’s Perfect Picnic Contest. Congratulations to Angela for winning this contest,” said Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director. “Spartan Nash has been such a great partner to Boys Town, and we look forward to being able to use this money for our nutrition program at Boys Town High School.”

Fox’s buttermilk fried chicken with honey mustard sauce, herbed potato salad and peach mango sweet tea claimed second place. His $500 donation from SpartanNash went to Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, which builds simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with local families.

“Habitat Omaha is pleased to partner with SpartanNash as we both work to make our community stronger and help local families thrive,” said Kathy Roum, Habitat Omaha’s senior director of development and marketing. “We are thankful to Aaron for sharing his talents and wish him much success in his culinary aspirations.”

Fox was also the winner of the paneled vote competition held at MCC on July 19. The 17-year-old high school student and aspiring baker was awarded $500 for his picnic-themed creations.

SpartanNash owns and operates 14 Family Fare locations in Omaha as well as three Supermercado Nuestra Familia stores. Since Spartan Stores merged with the Nash Finch Company in November of 2013, the newly formed SpartanNash has invested more than $30 million into its retail grocery operations in the greater Omaha market.

SpartanNash also operates a large distribution center in Omaha.

us-mint-officials-set-to-unveil-boys-town-centennial-coin-designsU.S. Mint Officials Set to Unveil Boys Town Centennial Coin DesignsNebraska
Boys Town's founder, Father Edward Joseph Flanagan, left, visits the White House. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.
Thursday, Aug 18, 2016

​​2017 Commemorative Coin Program Features Three Coin Denominations

This article is written by Paul Gilkes, Coin World. It was published August 18, 2016 at coinworld.com.

Collectors will learn at 10 a.m. Central Time Aug. 23 what designs will appear on the obverse and reverse of the 2017 Boys Town Centennial gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar.

U.S. Mint officials will join Boys Town representatives on the facility's Nebraska campus outside Omaha to conduct the public unveiling.

Final design approval, after ​recommendations are made by the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and input received from U.S. Mint and Boys Town representatives, is at the discretion of the Treasury secretary or designee. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has delegated that responsibility to Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin.

Designs were recommended from 10 pairs of obverse and reverse designs for the gold coin, 22 pairs of designs intended for the silver dollar and 13 pairs marked for the copper-nickel clad half dollar.

The design unveiling ceremony is scheduled to be staged at Boys Town Music Hall, 13715 Flanagan Blvd., in Boys Town, Neb. Dignitaries slated to attend are:

  • Rhett Jeppson, principal deputy director, United States Mint
  • Cordell Cade, mayor of Boys Town
  • Kymani Bell, vice mayor of Boys Town
  • Dan Daly, executive vice president, director of Youth Care, Boys Town
  • Jerry Davis, vice president of Advocacy, Boys Town

The enabling legislation, Public Law 114-30, calls for the production and release combined in Proof and Uncirculated of 50,000 gold $5 coins, 350,000 silver dollars and 300,000 copper-nickel clad half dollars.

Surcharges of $35 will be added to the purchase price of each gold coin, $10 for each silver dollar and $5 for each copper-nickel clad half dollar.

Net surcharges, after the U.S. Mint has recovered all of its production and association costs, are legislated to be paid to Boys Town to carry out Boys Town’s cause of caring for and assisting children and families in under-served communities across America.

boys-town-foster-family-services-named-community-organization-of-the-nightBoys Town Foster Family Services named Community Organization of the NightNebraska
Friday, Aug 12, 2016

​​​For the past five years, Boys Town Foster Family Services has been chosen by the Omaha Storm Chasers to be recognized as Community Organization of the Night at Werner Park. This event is a great opportunity to promote non-profit organizations within Omaha to residents and recognize them for their hard work and outstanding contributions to the community.

This year, on July 17, the Omaha Storm Chasers offered ​Boys Town Foster Family Services the chance to yet again be named Community Organization of the Night. Boys Town was given the opportunity to connect with the community and promote the positive work they do in the Omaha and surrounding areas. As Community Organization of the Night, Boys Town Foster Family Services was able to hand out information on Foster Care and 900 water bottles which proved to be very useful in the July heat.

Matthew Priest, Director of Foster Family Services, was interviewed on the field before the game and during the third inning in the broadcast booth. He was also honored with the task of throwing the first pitch to start the game.

“Despite the warm weather and my first pitch soaring above the catcher’s head, our foster families had a wonderful time and it was great exposure for our program. We appreciate the partnership of the Omaha Storm Chasers and look forward to planning future events!” Priest said.

In attendance among the 4,867 were 100 foster parents and children from Boys Towns Foster Family Services. Boys Town provided foster parents and children with tickets to attend the baseball game and a free lunch to enjoy.

The event helped communicate the need for foster parenting in the community and the process of how to become a Boys Town Foster Parent. “Foster Care is a great way to make a difference in the lives of children and families in your own home,” Matthew Priest said.

Boys Town would like to thank the Omaha Storm Chasers for providing us with the opportunity to spread awareness of our programs and services.

If you are interested in being a Foster Parent, please call 402-498-3036 to learn more.

for-more-than-26-years-sharon-martin-has-been-the-lifesaving-ear-on-the-other-end-of-theFor More Than 26 years, Sharon Martin has Been the Lifesaving Ear on the Other End of the LineNebraska
Copyright Kurt A. Keeler
Monday, Aug 8, 2016

This article ​is written by Dan McCann as a Special for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska. It was posted on omaha.com on August 7, 2016.

Almost a decade later, Sharon Martin, 66, still remembers the call and the caller vividly: a teenage boy caught in an emotional riptide of failing grades, divorcing parents and his own recent breakup. A handful of sleeping pills – that was his plan. En route to make the purchase – but desperate for a lifeline – he dialed the Boys Town National Hotline.

Sharon, a specially-trained crisis counselor, picked up and surrounded the boy with support.

“I called back later that day and talked to his mom, and she said, ‘You saved his life ... We’re going to get to family counseling. Everything is going to change from here on.’ It was one of the best calls I ever had.”

For more than 26 years – and for thousands of people in turmoil – Sharon has been a steady, reassuring and life-saving voice on the other end of the line; a woman dedicated to others, fearless about wading into the complexities and messiness of life.

“We really do listen, and we really do care,” she says. “Every day when I leave here, I want to feel like I made a difference in a person’s life, even one person. If I’ve done that, then I’ve done what I needed to do.”

The Boys Town National Hotline, supported, in part, by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s charitable giving to Boys Town, is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Callers to the hotline range from exasperated parents to teens dealing with bullying to adults wrestling with varying mental health issues. Some callers just need an ear willing to listen. Others benefit from social service referrals.

“People who are in serious crisis, many times they’ll call and say, ‘I’m really depressed and I’m feeling suicidal.’ That call can last an hour-and-a-half. We may end up having to involve police,” she offers.

Sharon began serving as a crisis counselor in 1990 when the Boys Town National Hotline was brand-new. It was, to her, a natural extension of the Boys Town family teaching she and her husband had done for 13 years prior.

“I love helping people – and I really mean that,” she says. “Knowing that I am listening and caring enough to be in that conversation can make a huge difference in the life of a person who is struggling and feels like they have no one to turn to.”

A lot has changed during Sharon's tenure. Counselors have computers now, and those in need of assistance can text or chat online. What hasn’t changed are the skills necessary to be effective.

“You have to be a caring person. You have to be a good listener,” she says. “You have to be patient. Patience is a huge component of working here, along with empathy.”

Sharon embodies that blend, and the community has taken notice. Earlier this year, Project Harmony honored her with its Kids First Award for her commitment and distinguished service to children in the community.

“Sharon has a great ability to build rapport with hotline users, leading to best case outcomes,” says supervisor Diana Schmidt. “Her calm demeanor is reassuring to callers; her nonjudgmental manner is refreshing.”

Sharon is equally complimentary of her co-workers.

“Honestly, the hotline is like no place I’ve ever worked. The people here and the supervisory staff are amazing. They are the most caring group I have ever seen in one building. That’s another big reason why I stay.”

Sharon forewent full retirement last year, dialing back to part time instead. She now can spend more time with her five grandchildren and pursue additional avenues of outreach. She volunteers as a “mentor mom” at Bethlehem House, an organization that offers a safe and nurturing home to pregnant women who are in crisis. More proof that for Sharon, “not my problem” is not an option.

“If people would just extend themselves a little more and show how much they care about each other as we do here on an everyday basis, we’d have such a better world. I just strive every day to come in here and say, ‘This is the first day of the rest of my life’ and to make it count for somebody.”

“Faces of Fearless” is a storytelling series in Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s “Live Fearless” campaign celebrating people living their very best lives and inspiring others to do the same.

recruitment-stock-rising-for-boys-towns-teddy-allenRecruitment Stock Rising for Boys Town’s Teddy AllenNebraska
Teddy Allen, a senior at Boys Town, is considering multiple scholarship offers.
Thursday, Aug 4, 2016

This ​article is written by Stu Pospisil / World-Herald staff writer. It was posted on omaha.com on August 3, 2016.

Not much could top the high-major men’s basketball offers Boys Town’s Teddy Allen has been receiving.

But for Allen and the Cowboys, it was the news Tuesday that the Nebraska School Activities Association has granted his hardship waiver to play this season.

“We got the paperwork back this morning,’’ Boys Town coach Tom Krehbiel said. “We are excited to say the least.”

Allen, a 6-foot-5 small forward from the Phoenix area, will be a senior. He enrolled a year ago at Boys Town and became eligible for the second semester. He made the All-Nebraska second team and Class C-1 first team after averaging 26.6 points and 12.3 rebounds.

On the summer circuit, his play with the Omaha Sports Academy Crusaders has moved him up recruiting boards across the country.

Krehbiel, who met Monday with Allen, said the schools Allen is considering offers from at this point are Iowa State, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, DePaul, Cincinnati and UNO.

“He really likes coach (Derrin) Hansen and the staff is why (UNO is) still in play,’’ Krehbiel said.

Creighton and Nebraska haven’t offered, the coach said, “but they seem really interested.”

Allen has been on college lists since he attended Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Arizona, where he averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds as a sophomore in 2013-14. Boys Town listed him last year as a junior.

“Ask coach Krehbiel or anybody who’s coached me, I have supreme confidence in my game and where it can take me,’’ Allen said. “I’m not saying I’m surprised by these offers because I’ve put in the work, but it’s a dream come true to receive offers from some of the best programs and doing it from here. Nebraska isn’t traditionally a place like that.
“There’s two others in the state with (Power Five) offers and now three with me. It’s cool to put on for Nebraska and Boys Town.”

Senior forward Aguek Arop of Omaha South, who’s been pledged to NU for two years, is one. The other is 6-7 junior Ed Chang of Papillion-La Vista, whose offer from St. John’s in June followed those last winter from CU and NU.

Allen’s OSA 17-and-under team made the quarterfinals of the Fab 48 summer tournament in Las Vegas. In five games, he scored 38 points twice and averaged 30.0.

Krehbiel said Allen was playing well in June when Boys Town was in summer leagues and camps going against Class A schools.

“When he went on the road in July with OSA, we expected him to have the summer he did,’’ Krehbiel said. “My assessment, he can score in any conference. Now he might give up 30, but can score anywhere.

“He’s worked to improve his shooting and conditioning. His body is so different than what you saw at the end of districts. He’s down from 230 to about 215, and it’s a good 215. He’s worked hard in the weight room.”

Krehbiel said Allen’s defensive issues stem from the “want-to” of playing on that end of the court and respecting the opponent.

“His defense is at least good enough right now that college coaches aren’t worried about it,’’ Krehbiel said. “They’ve focused on how versatile and put-together he is and see a high level for him. He is really tough to stop.”

Allen is working hard elsewhere on the Boys Town campus. He’s taken summer classes, some of which he said will count toward NCAA clearinghouse requirements.

Krehbiel said Allen also has completed prep work on the ACT. His first testing will be in October.

“I think there will be more offers coming once he gets the ACT score,’’ Krehbiel said.

He said he had to shut off his cell phone because he was getting so many calls and texts about Allen while he was coaching his daughter’s team in Denver.

It was intentional, Krehbiel said, that Allen played for OSA. Its coach, Jim Simons, is an assistant at Omaha Westside and widely known in Omaha’s coaching community.

“We purposely put him in that club with that coach,’’ Krehbiel said.

Allen said how he played in Las Vegas may have benefited his OSA teammates as well. Reaching the final eight in the invitational’s top bracket gave Nebraska better respect, and “I heard some of my peers got offers from the success I had.”

There’s another Allen coming up behind him. Younger brother Timmy is a 6-5 junior small forward who averaged 21 points last year at Desert Ridge. He has college offers that include Nebraska, Creighton, Arizona State and UCLA.

Krehbiel said he believes the brothers will look for separate paths.

Teddy Allen said he has the support system to handle the ever-intensifying recruiting process.

“I don’t think it will be super-hard,’’ he said. “I have my coaches, my stepdad and mom. It’s not super-easy to reach me here.

“I’m just trying to do my part, staying with my nose in the books and getting in the gym. Control what you can, like coach Krehbiel says, and all will work out.”

jennifer-nguyen-represents-boys-town-at-sister-cities-summit-in-dublinJennifer Nguyen Represents Boys Town at Sister Cities Summit in DublinNebraska
Monday, Aug 1, 2016

​​​Boys Town’s 115th Mayor, Jennifer Nguyen, received an exciting opportunity when she was invited to the All Ireland and United States Sister Cities Mayor’s Summit in Dublin, Ireland, April 21-24, 2016.

The summit was the first of its kind and brought together 200 United States city mayors, business, education and youth leaders from the 60 cities that are the “sisters” of cities in Ireland. As Mayor of Boys Town, the sister city of Boys Town Founder Father Edward Flanagan’s birthplace, Ballymoe, Ireland, Jennifer was invited to not only attend but to also speak at the summit.

During her speech, Jennifer focused on the history of Boys Town and the positive impact of the program upon her life and the thousands of other residents over the past 98 years.
While attending the conference, Jennifer also had the opportunity to meet many of Ireland’s leaders, including President Michael D. Higgins and First Lady Sabina Higgins, and Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhálaigh. 

In addition to attending the conference, Jennifer and her Family-Teachers, Scott and Kimberly Kavanaugh, also took-in the Irish sites and culture. They visited Father Flanagan’s hometown and his house, stopping to visit with the Collins family who now own the property of Father Flanagan’s birthplace. They even attended a “football” game!

Boys Town is proud to share a connection with Ireland and to be able to show the work we do with children and families. Thanks again to the Sister Cities Mayor’s Summit for inviting Jennifer!

fifth-annual-blue-water-bash-brings-in-record-breaking-amountBoys Town Okoboji Event Has Record Breaking Success and Honors Local Family for ContributionsNebraska
The O'Brien Family was honored with the Wave Maker Award for their continuous support of Boys Town.
Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

​Another successful year means Boys Town kids will see improvements at the 50-year-old Okoboji camp. More than ​$100,000 was raised at this year’s Blue Water Bash which directly benefits the camps renovation project.

The O’Brien family, from the Spencer area, was recipients of the Wave Maker Award for their outstanding support of the Boys Town mission. The family has given their generous support and has helped get the lake community involved in raising money to update the Boys Town facilities at Okoboji. The family grew up visiting their lake cottage that is close to the Boys Town home.

“My dad had a heart for Boys Town. Boys Town was always one of his favorite causes,” said Mary Ann O’Brien, award recipient. “He was so proud of my sister Peg and my cousin Mike Wilson and their dedication as employees and advocates of Boys Town for the past 20+ years. Over the years, as my siblings and I grew, he especially loved to see the kids at the camp each summer in Okoboji having fun in the water and playing basketball late into the night.”

The first phase of renovation provided living quarters for the camp director and cook. The next phase starts in 2017 with work on the outside of the home.

“Although the camp was donated to Boys Town, it takes tremendous effort and money to restore and operate it each year,” said Herb Hames, Boys Town Development Director. “The event helps with projects, staffing, food, supplies and equipment. We are so thankful to the O’Brien family and the entire community that has helped us over the past 5 years.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s event.

nebraska-passport-2016-hall-of-history-shares-the-boys-town-storyNebraska Passport 2016: Hall of History Shares the Boys Town StoryNebraska
Copyright Nebraska Tourism
Monday, Jul 18, 2016

​​This article is written by Todd von Kampen, World-Herald Correspondent. It was posted on on omaha.com on July 17, 2016.

Though he died nearly 70 years ago, Boys Town’s famous founder still commands special attention on the campus of his beloved ministry for troubled youth.

The story, teachings and keepsakes of Monsignor Edward J. Flanagan (1886-1948) await visitors to the Boys Town Hall of History, which opened 30 years ago in the former grade school dining hall on the campus off 137th Street on the West Dodge Expressway.

Next year marks the centennial of establishment of Flanagan’s original home for homeless boys. Four years later, he bought the rolling, forested Overlook Farm that remains Boys Town’s main campus and national headquarters.

The 10,000-square-foot Hall of History’s physical and audiovisual displays tell not only of Flanagan’s national and worldwide impact but also of the evolution of child care in America.

Its most famous artifact remains the Oscar won by Spencer Tracy for playing Flanagan in the 1938 movie “Boys Town” filmed on the campus — and later shipped by Tracy to Flanagan unannounced.

Other highlights include a mini-theater in the front half of the bus in which Flanagan drove Boys Town athletic teams to games; alumni stories and artifacts; audio and movie clips of Flanagan and prominent visitors, such as President Harry S. Truman; and mannequins showing one boy carrying another on his back — depicting the famous Boys Town slogan “He ain’t heavy, Father … he’s m’brother” — as well as Flanagan with a boy. About the statue

A new symbol — a statue of an older boy carrying a littler girl on his back; the young man black, the girl white — will be at the entrance next year when Boys Town celebrates its 100th anniversary. (Boys Town has been admitting girls since 1979.)

Its first symbol was of a single little boy with outstretched arms. When that plaster of Paris statue disintegrated in Nebraska’s weather in the early 1940s, Flanagan opted for a successor statue with one brother carrying another. That version underwent additional changes in the 1970s, with the littler boy looking forward instead of having his head slumped over.

The statue from the ’40s is in the visitors center; the ’70s statue will be moved to the Boys Town Hall of History.

Need to know
Website: www.boystown.org; click on About and then History
Phone: 402-498-1122
Address: 14057 Flanagan Blvd., Boys Town, NE 68010
Admission: Free
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

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