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After a Chaotic Childhood Journey, Teen Changes Course at Boys Town


Like so many youth who come to Boys Town Nevada, Josh was all too familiar with the foster care and juvenile justice systems.

Since age 4, he had been in 10 different placements while living in California and, more recently, in Nevada. 

That chaotic childhood journey finally ended in 2015 when then-14-year-old Josh moved in to the Boys Town Nevada Family Home Program. 

When he arrived, Josh was on probation and had been regularly skipping school. He also had been abusing drugs and had problems with authority figures and controlling his anger. His history of multiple placements and lack of stability only worsened these issues.  

But in his new Family Home, Josh finally found a steady, loving place where he could begin to heal and work on getting better.  

"Josh learned what a real family life looks like," said Donna Pacella, Development Director for Boys Town Nevada. "He calls the other boys in the home his brothers and looks to them as family. While here, he has learned how to better control his anger and express his feelings. He has worked hard and come a long way. We are very proud him."

Josh's biological family members who live in Las Vegas also have seen those great improvements in his behaviors. He regularly visits them and is slowly working toward building a strong family bond again.

At the Boys Town Nevada Board of Directors meeting in September 2016, Josh shared his story and talked about the hardships of growing up in numerous placements as a youngster. He said he finally found the right place with his Family-Teachers® and the love and care he received in their home. 

"Boys Town has provided me with support, helped me reconnect with my family, and I've learned skills that will help me be successful," Josh told the Board.  

One the most important things Josh said he loves about Boys Town is knowing he will always have the support he needs.

Recently, Josh was honored at the Boys Town Nevada Bi-Annual Awards Night, receiving the Jo Marshall Award that recognizes the Boys Town youth who achieved the greatest GPA improvement from the third quarter to the fourth quarter. Josh hopes to continue his academic success by pursuing a law degree after leaving Boys Town. 

"For a young man who struggled to even attend school, this turnaround is dramatic and very commendable," said Pacella.  

When Josh came to Boys Town Nevada, his once-difficult journey took a completely different direction. Now he's on a steady, smoother path toward a positive, brighter future.