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a-mothers-grit-and-determination-sets-positive-example-for-her-sonsA Mother’s Grit and Determination Sets Positive Example for Her SonsNevada
Brothers Erick (left) and Adrian have been inspired by their mom’s tenacity and love.
Friday, Jan 27, 2017

​​Her marriage was a fairytale until it wasn't. Infidelity, manipulation and verbal abuse had created a toxic home life for Claudia Chavez and her children. She had to make a choice: stay or go?

She chose to leave.  

Claudia mustered the courage to seek a new start for herself and her young sons, Adrian and Erick. With no financial support from her estranged husband, Claudia worked two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. It was an uncertain and demanding time, but Claudia didn't complain. Instead, she went to counseling to heal emotional scars and enrolled in parenting classes to be a better mom.

She also didn't hold onto grudges.  

Claudia wanted her boys to stay connected to their father, so she often hired him to babysit. This warm gesture, however, wasn't rewarded.      

Her ex-husband remarried, became a stepfather and then ignored Adrian and Erick. It felt like a second divorce to 8-year-old Adrian, and he lashed out.

Jealous and angry, Adrian took his sadness out on his little brother, his mom and his teachers. There were fights, arguments and tears at home and in school. His grades went into freefall. Adrian was so out of sorts and disruptive, school officials referred the family to Boys Town Nevada In-Home Family Services® for support and counseling.   

When services began, Claudia was apprehensive. She feared it would antagonize her ex and dash any hopes of reconnecting him to his children, said Boys Town Family Consultant Yoly Smith, who worked with Claudia's family. 

To overcome Claudia's resistance, Yoly patiently listened to the family's concerns and praised Claudia for being a positive role model. The family quickly felt more at ease, and for the next six weeks, they embraced the Family Consultant as one of their own.

Yoly taught Claudia parenting skills, including how to correct misbehaviors, set appropriate boundaries and use praise to reinforce and encourage her sons. Yoly also taught Adrian and Erick helpful social skills so they would know how to channel their feelings in healthier, more helpful ways.

The skill teaching had a profound effect on the family, especially Adrian. His daily disruptions at school diminished to the point where he went weeks without a single incident. At home, there was much less tension and far fewer arguments.

"Yoly showed us new ways to seek opportunities," remarked Claudia. "We've grown so much and have a new way of seeing the world!"

The boys are thriving and although they are not as connected to their father as they once were, they are happy. Claudia continues to work hard and be a provider. She recently began a new job that has expanded her professional opportunities, giving the family more flexibility and financial freedom.

With a fresh perspective and boundless courage, Claudia and her sons have reclaimed their future.​

boys-town-a-beacon-of-hope-for-troubled-youthBoys Town: A Beacon of Hope for Troubled YouthNevada
Thursday, Dec 29, 2016

​​​​​​​This story aired on CBS Sunday Morning and was posted on cbsnews.com on December 25, 2016.

"There's no place like home." Rarely is that truer than this time of year. Our Christmas Cover Story is all about a very special home for some very needy children, as reported by Tony Dokoupil:

Right near the midpoint of America, ten miles outside of Omaha, Nebraska, there's a town that sits between childhood and whatever comes after.

"These young people are about to become citizens of the most famous village in the world," said Father Stephen Boes at a swearing-in ceremony.

In this town, almost every kid is at a crossroads -- and the goal of all the grown-ups here is to help kids leave Boys Town behind.

"I do solemnly promise … that I will be a good citizen."

Eighteen-year-old Chase Pruss, from Dodge, Neb., was sworn in here six months ago --  arriving, like a lot of the kids, straight from jail.

"I took the school safe," he said.  "Just for money. For Beer money. And gas money. And buy cigarettes."

Two more break-ins followed, and Pruss ended up arrested in front of his bewildered parents. "My mom was crying, my dad was crying," he said.

He had run through four different schools, stolen and lied.

And he faced 80 years in prison, ​until a judge helped get him into Boys Town. "I ​​had that mindset of, "I never want to ever ​put myself in the position where I could land myself back in an orange jumpsuit," Pruss said. "I never ​wanted my ​jail ID ​number to say ​who I was."

Andre Harris (right) in class at Boys Town. CBS News

Seventeen-year-old Andre Harris came to Boys Town the same way.  Nearly three years ago, back in Amarillo, Texas, he stole a car, and ended up in juvenile detention.

"I didn't feel like I was gonna amount to anything after that," he told Dokoupil.  

Frankly, he didn't think he'd amount to much before jail, either. College seemed out of reach. He can't remember hearing someone say they were proud of him.

Dokoupil said of Boys Town, "More felons per capita here than any town in Nebraska."

"Probably!" Harris laughed. "But we're all doing our best to change."

Almost every week here at Boys Town, new boys (and since 1979, new girls, too) are sent by social workers, judges and desperate parents. Most of the kids have been unable to live anywhere else without getting in trouble.

And Boys Town is their last chance.

"A lot of people would say they're bad kids," Dokoupil said. "Is that how they see themselves when they get here?"

"Some of our kids do," replied Tony Jones, one of Boys Town's "family teachers." "They see themselves as, you know, on the bottom of the totem pole."

And how do they change that mindset? "You show them that this is your decision. This is your life."

Jones and his wife, Simone, run one of 55 homes on campus. Eight Boys Town children live there like a family, alongside the Jones' three biological kids.

"Every single young man that has come through my home has now become a part of my family," Jones said.

This is a large part of what makes Boys Town so powerful; all 360 kids living here have paid Boys Town parents like Tony and Simone.

"It's a professional, full-time Dad, brother, uncle, cousin -- whatever my boys may need me to be at that particular time in their life, that, then, is who I become for them," Jones said.

Tony Jones and his wife, Simone, and three children share their home with eight Boys Town students. CBS News​

He began at Boys Town as a boy himself. He was born to a shattered family in Detroit. "I can recall my brother and I standing at a bus stop, and it was in the dead of winter. And we only had one pair of socks to share between the two us," Jones laughed.

But then a priest gave the Jones brothers a chance to change their lives at Boys Town. "It was a total transformation," he said.

Dokoupil asked, "Where do you think you would be if you had said no to Boys Town?"

"Oh, two places: I would either be incarcerated, or I would be dead."

Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town. CBS News

The Jones story is typical of a hundred years of stories at Boys Town, which began in 1917 as Father Flanagan's Home for Boys. The most beloved clergyman in America, he created arguably the most famous reform school in the world.

Of his charges, Father Flanagan said, "His bruised and tortured heart and mind must be nursed back to normal health through kindness."

You may remember a 1938-Oscar winning movie about the place starring Spencer Tracy. But what you probably don't know is it's a real town, with a real post office and police department.

At about $65,000 per student per year, Boys Town is comparable to a top private college -- and it's mostly taxpayers footing the bill.

But taxpayers pay for prisons, too -- more than $39 billion a year nationally. Boys Town says it can help keep those prison cells empty, while nearly doubling the chance that these students will graduate from high school.

Dokoupil asked Jones, "How do you avoid coming in and being just another person telling them all the things they're doing wrong?"

"By telling them all the things they're doing right," Jones replied. "That's how you help kids change. It's being able to say, 'Hey, young man, you did a good job this morning getting up.'"

"It almost sounds like a joke."

"Well, you know something? That little praise goes a long way."

That little praise goes all the way back to Father Flanagan's ​founding idea: "There are no bad boys."

And if that all sounds too pat to be successful … well, the results say otherwise.

When asked where he would be without Boys Town, Chase Pruss replied, "I'd be in lockup." As did another.

And if that all sounds too pat to be successful, just listen to the results. Tesharr said, "I've been here for a short amount of time. But since my first day I didn't feel like I was in a place where I couldn't leave. I felt like I was home."

Of course, the Boys Town way does not work for every child who comes here; there are failures. But for Chase's parents, Dan and Trish, it's been nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

Dokoupil asked them, "Who was Chase before Boys Town and who is he today?"

"He was dishonest, disrespectful, a thief," said his mother. "And now he is the Chase that I always wanted him to be."

For Andre Harris, the change has been no less dramatic since stealing that car. "It's not even the same person," he said.

And how is he different? "My actions, the way I speak. I've grown up. I've become a young man."

He's a school leader now … a star on the track team … and he's just found out he's headed to college next year.

But first, he's headed to Amarillo for the holidays … a place he hasn't seen in nearly three years. It's a place that Boys Town has been preparing him for since the very day he made his grand theft exit:

It's home.

"This is my Christmas gift," Robert Harris told Dokoupil. "This is all I wanted!"

Andre Harris is welcomed by neighbors back home in Amarillo, Texas. CBS News
holiday-celebrations-at-boys-town-nevadaHoliday Celebrations at Boys Town NevadaNevada
Christmas stockings
Thursday, Dec 29, 2016

​​​At Boys Town Nevada, there is no shortage of events being held to honor the holiday season. The Family Home Program holds multiple events throughout the months of November and December. One of the site's larger events is a decorating day at Family Homes. Community organizations, staff members and Boys Town children work together in order to prepare all the homes with decorations for the holidays.

Children from the programs are also able to participate in a Secret Santa within their homes, due to the generous donation of gift cards from Bank of America, attend dinner at PF Changs where they are given $250 worth of Nike clothing and shoes, and listen to UFC Fighters share their inspirational stories. Youth can also attend the annual Wyndham Christmas Party where they are provided dinner and presents and are also given tickets to see the Speedway Glittering Lights Drive through at the Motor Dome.

Many other events such as toy drives are sponsored by different organization. A Target registry is made for In-Home Family Services children and donors are able to purchase a toy for a child directly off of their Christmas wish list. Boys Town Nevada is opening a new Behavioral Health Clinic in January and held a toy drive to fill the toy room within the clinic. The Golden Nugget Casino generously donated enough toys to fill the entire room which resulted in Boys Town Nevada dedicating the toy room to the Golden Nugget.​

teen-celebrates-christmas-returning-to-home-that-changed-his-lifeTeen Celebrates Christmas Returning to Home that Changed His LifeNevada
Wednesday, Dec 28, 2016

​​This story is written by Jonathan Cisowski. It was published on lasvegasnow.com on December 25, 2016.

The Boys Town of Nevada continues to make a difference for at-risk youth and provided a Christmas reunion for one family.

The program has given at-risk children and families support along with the education they need to succeed. A ​recent graduate stopped by to spend Christmas with those he say has now become his second family.

8 News NOW reporter Brittany Edney has the story.

View video

teens-turnaround-takes-off-at-boys-town-nevadaTeen's Turnaround Takes Off at Boys Town NevadaNevada
Adan shows off his certificate for reaching the Achievement level of the Boys Town motivation system, the highest level possible
Tuesday, Sep 6, 2016

​​Adan Perez used to be a rebellious ​youth, running away from home and running into all kinds of trouble.

Today, Adan is a Runnin’ Rebel at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, the first member of his family to graduate high school and attend college.

Adan’s path to success was a long and difficult one. Fortunately, it ran through Boys Town Nevada.

Adan had been involved in the juvenile justice system since 2010 and had spent a year in a secure detention facility before he became a resident of the site’s Family Home Program. Like many youth who come to Boys Town, Adan had an extensive history of delinquency – substance abuse, gang affiliation, possession of a weapon, property destruction, truancy and running away from home. He also had been in 20 out-of-home placements during his younger years.

But Boys Town Nevada was different. Once there, Adan made a choice – a choice to change.

The Boys Town Family Home Program provides a structured, family-style living environment where youth have an opportunity to turn their lives around by learning social skills, finding success in school and building healthy relationships. In every Family Home, a trained married couple called Family-Teachers® helps youth create a foundation for success as productive adults.

Adan worked hard to achieve the personal and behavioral goals that were set for him by his Family-Teachers, Danny and Annora Holland. In school, he maintained a high grade point average and actively participated in choir and the track team.

Thanks to the efforts of the Hollands and other staff members, Adan also successfully reached the highest level of the Boys Town motivation system, making him a positive role model for other youth in his Family Home.

And Adan’s run of successes didn’t stop there. 

After graduating from high school, Adan applied for admission to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and the University of Nevada-Reno. He was accepted by both colleges and chose UNLV; he recently moved into the campus dorms and started fall semester classes.

Adan earned over $6,500 in scholarships to help fund his college costs. He was selected for a Leadership Conference scholarship and accepted the award during an NBA Summer League game at UNLV between the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also is an active member of a youth council for a local nonprofit organization that helps homeless high school students, and was recently selected to chair a successful community project sponsored by the council.

Additionally, Adan works at a local restaurant, using the opportunity to demonstrate the new skills he learned at Boys Town Nevada. He continues to hone his independent-living skills and is becoming familiar with the Las Vegas bus system, with the help of Boys Town Aftercare Specialist Tasha Leaver, so he can easily commute to and from work.
It’s a busy schedule, and it keeps Adan on the run. But now, the teen knows he’s headed in the right direction.

united-states-mint-unveils-designs-for-boys-town-centennial-commemorative-coinsUnited States Mint Unveils Designs for Boys Town Centennial Commemorative CoinsCalifornia, Nevada
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.

 
boys-town-nevadas-ufc-night-kicks-off-fight-weekBoys Town Nevada's UFC Night Kicks off Fight Week Nevada
UFC Fighters
Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016

​​Nearly 100 Boys Town Nevada youth and families gathered July 6, 2016 to enjoy Chinese food and listen to UFC fighters speak about their personal lives. UFC Night has become something the Nevada site looks forward to, thanks to Boys Town Nevada Board Member Tony Sgro. Sgro developed a partnership with UFC’s Reed Harris and Panda Express to host this successful event.

The partnership with UFC began over a decade ago and has since provided Boys Town Nevada with inspiring events twice a year where UFC fighters share their stories and interact with the youth. This year, famous fighters Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, and Johnny "Hollywood" Case delivered speeches to the audience.

Each fighter discussed their upbringings including: how they overcame obstacles through determination, hard work and staying focused, and how these values helped them on their path to becoming UFC fighters. The fighters then related this back to how the youth shouldn’t let their obstacles keep them from achieving their goals and how they can also overcome obstacles through determination, hard work and by staying focused.

“The youth were captivated by the stories of each fighter,” said Lesly Johnson, Boys Town Nevada Development Coordinator. “Just looking at their faces- they were intensely listening and their faces lit up.”

After the presentation, the youth had the opportunity to take photos with the fighters and receive signed autographs. They were also given gift cards and UFC T-shirts.

“Boys Town Nevada is really appreciative of UFC for coming out and doing this for us twice a year.” Johnson said. “Especially during fight week when the fighters are so busy; we really appreciate that they took time out of their busy schedules to come and talk to the boys and girls of Boys Town Nevada.”

impact-las-vegas-donation-benefits-common-sense-parentingImpact Las Vegas Donation Benefits Common Sense ParentingNevada
Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

​​On June 6, ​2016, Boys Town Nevada was chosen as a $23,000 grant winner from Impact Las Vegas. This grant was awarded to Boys Town Nevada above 76 other Nevada nonprofits to support its Common Sense Parenting® (CSP) program. Boys Town Nevada and Impact Las Vegas share a similar goal of improving the community which is what makes their partnership so strong.

Impact Las Vegas is a nonprofit organization modeled after Impact 100, an organization created in Cincinnati, OH in 2002. Since the organization’s origin, it has spread to 30 cities across the United States, including Las Vegas, and 5 across Australia. Impact Las Vegas is made up of 23 philanthropic women whose main goal is to create a greater impact in the community by pooling together their individual donations to create one large gift. The amount of $23,000 donated to Boys Town Nevada is the collective donations of $1,000 from every member of the organization.

“Boys Town Nevada’s application was very well done. It was very thorough- explaining exactly how many parents and families it would impact in the community,” Maureen Romito, President and Founder of Impact Las Vegas said about the organization’s final decision, “It made us feel like we could make a big impact in the community.”

Common Sense Parenting is a research-based six-session, 12-hour course that teaches parents techniques to help build strong, healthy relationships with their children. Boys Town Nevada has been teaching CSP in the Las Vegas area since 1991 to promote stronger family bonds. This program differs from any other parenting programs in the Las Vegas area due to the Boys Town Continuum of Care where families in need of additional services outside of CSP have the resources available to them. In addition, most CSP classes are available at elementary schools as part of Boys Town Nevada’s Community Engagement Initiative, which make classes easier to attend.

The $23,000 grant from Impact Las Vegas will benefit more than 1,530 parents through the purchasing of books and course materials and assist Boys Town Nevada as they expand their partnership with Clark County Schools in hopes of serving more than 6,000 families over the next four years.

“The Las Vegas community is blessed to have generous organizations, like Impact Las Vegas, who care so passionately about their community that they invest their time, talents, and treasure,” said Denise Biben, Boys Town Nevada Executive Director. “Boys Town Nevada is honored to have been selected to partner with Impact Las Vegas as we invest in the future of our city by investing in its parents!”

Interested in taking our parenting classes? Learn more ​about CSP!

boys-town-nevada-celebrates-a-landmark-anniversary-at-the-journey-of-hope-galaBoys Town Nevada Celebrates a Landmark Anniversary at the Journey of Hope Gala Nevada
Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016

​​​Boys Town Nevada celebrated its 25th anniversary at the 12th annual Journey of Hope Gala on Friday, May 6 at the Venetian Resort, Hotel, and Casino in Las Vegas. Approximately 380 guests attended the event, including President and National Executive Director Father Steven Boes and Bob Batt from the Boys Town National Board of Directors.

The evening began with a private cocktail reception for special guests, honorees, and major sponsors of the event, followed by a cocktail reception, silent auction, cash call, live auction, dinner, and program. The guests, dressed in formal attire, enjoyed evening entertainment by a jazz quartet from the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. Guests were also inspired by guest speaker and Boys Town alumna Christiana Martin.

Each year, the gala honors someone who has made a significant impact on children in our community. The 2016 Hope Award Recipients were Diana Bennett and Scott Menke, co-founders of Paragon Gaming. As President of the Bennett Family Foundation, Diana Bennett supports various youth and women’s organizations throughout the Southern Nevada area such as Three Square Food Bank, Noah’s House at the Shade Tree Women’s Shelter, Communities in Schools, Child Focus and The Children’s Heart Foundation. Mr. Menke is also very involved in the community. He is a supporter and past president of the Children’s Heart Association and supports Boys Town Nevada and Three Square.  

In total, the event raised approximately $400,000, which will help Boys Town continue to meet the needs of Nevada’s children and families.

“This year’s Journey of Hope was an incredible culmination of 25 years of commitment to the more than 15,000 children served in Nevada,” said Denise Biben, Executive Director, Boys Town Nevada. “The evening was attended by more people, received more auction items, and raised more than in any previous year. Our development team, led by Donna Pacella and incorporating our dedicated board, did a fantastic job of choreographing an outstanding celebration!”

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a success!

boys-town-nevada-highlights-positive-changes-with-its-youth-awards-nightBoys Town Nevada Highlights Positive Changes with its Youth Awards NightNevada
Thursday, May 12, 2016

​​Praise ​is an important and ​key element of the Boys Town Model, and on April 25, Boys Town Nevada took praise to the next level at its Youth Awards Night. Held twice a year, the Youth Awards Night recognized youth for their outstanding academic and behavioral achievements. Additionally, youth voted on peer awards, while the Boys Town staff were honored for their dedication to the mission.

This tradition has grown to become a beloved ceremony for Boys Town Nevada. The 47th bi-annual event held on April 25 welcomed 90 guests, bringing current youth, alumni, family members, and staff together to praise each other’s achievements.

“While most of our society focuses on what teenagers, especially those at-risk, do wrong, we celebrated all the wonderful things they are doing right!” said Denise Biben, Executive Director, Boys Town Nevada. “For many of our kids this is the first time in their life they’ve received public praise and been made to feel special. Every kid should have those moments, and last night we made sure our kids did.”

Home awards for the evening included:

  • Highest GPA by Family Home
  • Best School Citizenship by Family Home
  • Good Samaritan Award
  • Flanagan Award

Youth voted awards included:

  • Best Greeter
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Most Likely to Become Famous
  • Most Likely to Become a Family-Teacher
  • Most Positive Male/Female Role Model
  • Outstanding and Significant Progress Award

Superstar Youth Awards were also given out to recognize Family-Teachers’ biological children who selflessly share their parents with the Boys Town family.

Boys Town Nevada looks forward to the next Youth Awards Night to be able to showcase even more progress and achievements.

denise-biben-named-executive-director-of-boys-town-nevadaDenise Biben Named Executive Director of Boys Town NevadaNevada
Denise Biben, Boys Town Nevada Executive Director
Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015

Boys Town is ​pleased to announce that Denise Biben has been named Executive Director of Boys Town Nevada. Denise brings strong credentials to her new role, including 15 years of experience at Boys Town in a variety of positions.
 
“Denise is well prepared and well-credentialed to assume the responsibilities as head of Boys Town Nevada – not the least of which is having a strong familiarity with the program,” said Dr. Dan Daly, Boys Town Executive Vice President and Director of Youth Care. 

As Executive Director, Denise will oversee all operations at Boys Town Nevada, ensuring the nearly 25-year-old site continues to grow and spread the Boys Town mission in Nevada. As Denise transitions from her previous role of Senior Director of Fidelity Operations at Boys Town, she is excited to work with and support the talented staff in Boys Town Nevada. “ I am looking forward to working with the staff members to set a clear vision, communicate everyone’s part in achieving that vision, and to develop and support the staff that are changing lives every day,” she said. “We have an awesome team in Boys Town Nevada and I look forward to joining them in serving the kids and families of Las Vegas.”

Denise began her Boys Town career at Boys Town California as the Director of Program Operations, presiding over all of the site’s programs. She moved to a national leadership role in 2006. In January 2014, Denise assumed the role of Senior Director of Program Fidelity which requires leadership over Fidelity Consultants who support all of Boys Town’s locations across the country.

In January Denise officially took on the role of executive director and notes that this is a great time to join the Boys Town Nevada team. “There are a number of exciting opportunities and challenges in Nevada right now and I can’t wait to see where we can go as a site,” she said. Denise already has two main objectives she looks forward to working on – advocacy and increased community engagement.   
 
“In Nevada, the current system provides very little funding to support their children we serve in our Family Home Program and it severely limits the length of time we have to help them learn the skills they will need to be successful.  So, we will continue to advocate for what we know is best for kids,” Denise said. “We also have a fantastic opportunity to continue our community engagement initiative with the Clark County School District and to expand and hopefully replicate what we’ve learned with the first four schools.”
 
“The most exciting thing, though, is to see what can be accomplished in Nevada,” added Denise. “The community is ready, the need is there; we have an extremely talented team, and an engaged and connected board, and some great partners. The opportunity to truly impact a system and to improve the lives of kids and families is incredible.”

Denise received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Centenary College of Louisiana and her Master’s degree in Counseling from Louisiana Tech University.

boys-town-nevada-gives-teen-runaway-a-new-direction-in-lifeBoys Town Nevada Gives Teen Runaway a New Direction in Life Nevada
Friday, Oct 16, 2015

Aeryn’s teen years were filled with chaos and turmoil.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family with little guidance or support, Aeryn made one bad choice after another. She got caught up with the wrong crowd, abused drugs and was chronically truant at school.

When Aeryn did attend school, she barely managed to maintain a “D” average. Her attendance was so erratic, she eventually just dropped out. With no structure at home and no one supporting her, Aeryn’s life spiraled out of control.

Frequent arguments with her family led Aeryn to run away for long periods of time. But life as a runaway proved disastrous. She got in trouble with the law and was arrested several times.

Aeryn was already on probation when she was picked up for stealing. Standing before a juvenile court judge, she was charged with grand larceny. The judge, who was familiar with Boys Town Nevada, believed the site’s residential program offered the best, and perhaps the last, opportunity for Aeryn to get her life back on track.

Aeryn was immediately placed in one of the site’s Family Homes, a jarring change for a young lady who was accustomed to living by her own rules. But the highly structured, family-style environment turned out to be both a rude awakening and a welcome rescue.

The new surroundings brought limits and responsibilities, and required an immediate attitude adjustment for Aeryn. That wasn’t easy, but the teen slowly warmed up to her Family-Teachers®, who listened and provided unconditional support. Their calm, reassuring presence enabled Aeryn to think more clearly about her choices and the direction of her life.

With patience, structure and teaching from her Family-Teachers, Aeryn began to take responsibility for her actions and her emotions. She learned self-control strategies as well as decision-making and life skills that empowered her to think through her feelings instead of impulsively lashing out or running away.

Aeryn also recommitted herself to her education. She returned to high school with a more positive attitude, determined to make up for lost time. In the classroom, she successfully put into practice many of the skills she learned at Boys Town. She worked diligently on her studies, even taking additional coursework so she could get back to her grade level. Her determination and perseverance paid off as she upped her grades to a “B” average and graduated with her class, something she never dreamed was possible.

“Boys Town was like a savior,” Aeryn said. “I probably wouldn’t have graduated. I wouldn’t have gone to college. Probably wouldn’t even talk to half my family anymore.”

Today, Aeryn continues on her road to success. She’s balancing college and a job, has her own apartment and has reconciled with her family. She also takes advantage of Boys Town Aftercare Services, a program that advises and guides graduates like Aeryn who are transitioning to adulthood and a life of true independence.

innovative-boys-town-nevada-outreach-program-rescues-familyInnovative Boys Town Nevada Outreach Program Rescues FamilyNevada
Maria and her daughters received support from Boys Town Nevada.
Thursday, Oct 15, 2015

Emotionally ​spent and financially broke, Maria Regalado was caught in a whirlwind of despair and devastation. In her words, life was “like a tornado.”

“I had no job. My power bill was due. My rent was due. I was ready to be evicted,” explained the mother of two. “I had more problems than answers.”

Maria was in jeopardy of losing everything, including custody of her school-aged daughters, Aimee and Athziry. The recovering addict had already experienced the loss of an older son when her parental rights were terminated because of drug abuse. That history, which also included involvement with Child Protective Services, had Maria feeling especially vulnerable.

Although now clean and sober, Maria had reason to worry.

Her daughters’ school attendance was abysmal, and their truancy raised red flags with teachers. School officials were so concerned, they referred the family to Boys Town Nevada, which had staff at the school to assist struggling students and at-risk families like the Regalados. (The girls’ school is one of four in Las Vegas participating in Boys Town Nevada’s Latin School-Based Collaboration.)

A Boys Town Consultant met with Maria, assessed the family’s situation and identified their needs… which were many.

Maria was the family’s sole provider and struggled to obtain the most basic necessities. Emotionally troubled, she had difficulty holding down a job. With little money, the cupboards were often bare and the nutritional needs of the girls suffered. The home also had no furniture, so there was no desk or table where the girls could study or do their homework.

A lack of money, with all its associated burdens and limits, was only one obstacle. Parenting was another.

Maria struggled to maintain her sobriety. When overcome by stress, she turned harsh and overbearing or aloof and distracted. There was no normalcy, consistency, rules or routines for the girls.

To stabilize the family’s situation, the Boys Town Nevada Consultant connected Maria to a local food bank where she could stock up on healthy breakfast and dinner staples. Boys Town also helped Maria buy furniture so the family could live in a fully furnished home.

With the Regalados’ most immediate physical needs addressed, the Consultant turned her attention to their emotional needs.

The Consultant helped Maria find therapy that addressed her mental health issues and supported her addiction recovery. Maria also attended Boys Town Common Sense Parenting ® classes, where she learned how to use effective discipline, communicate more effectively with her daughters (as well as with their school) and create structure in her home.

Today, the Regalado family is stronger than ever. Mom is drug-free and pursuing full-time employment while continuing therapy. She’s also tapping into local services for additional support. Aimee and Athziry are regularly attending school and, most importantly, are living in a safer and more stable home.

The intervention efforts were intense and not always easy for Maria, but she is grateful for Boys Town’s help, describing it as a “blessing.”

“I have a new outlook on how I can redirect my daughters and my family,” Maria said.

las-vegas-youth-travels-to-dc-to-advocate-for-kidsLas Vegas Youth Travels to D.C. to Advocate for KidsNevada
Friday, Sep 18, 2015

A former ​Boys Town Nevada Youth recently took part in a congressional briefing in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 17.  Seventeen year old Aeryn was in trouble with the law before coming to Boys Town, she has since turned her life around and now she’ll be part of a briefing that will inform others about the needs of other at-risk children.

Aeryn provided insight for an overview of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and the ways in which it diverts youth from juvenile justice system involvement, saves taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, promotes safer, stronger and healthier youth, families and communities. The legislation expired in 2007, but there is a movement to reauthorize the bill.

“Today, the JJDPA remains the only law that sets out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system,” said Howard Olshansky, Boys Town Nevada Executive Director. “It codifies what we have come to think of as common-sense: kids, even when they come into conflict with the law, should be treated as kids, and we hope Aeryn can help put the need for this law to be reinstated in perspective.”

The new bill strengthens and updates the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), which has provided states and localities with federal standards and supports for improving juvenile justice and delinquency prevention practices and contributed to safeguards for youth, families and communities for more than 40 years.

Now nineteen years-old, Aeryn lives in her own apartment, attends college and works part-time. She’ll continue to work with Boys Town, as she earns her college degree, but she’s well on her way to a bright future.

youth-inspired-by-father-flanagans-missionYouth Inspired By Father Flanagan’s MissionNevada
Monday, Aug 24, 2015

Father Flanagan’s mission ​to help the youth of America has inspired many people nationwide for nearly one hundred years. Cameron Garemani is one of many who work to achieve Father Flanagan’s dream of improving the lives of kids every year. What started as the need to complete charity hours for school, has turned into Cameron’s lifelong desire to serve Boys Town.

Sixteen-year-old Cameron Garemani attends high school in Southern California. When his school required the kids in his class to fulfill a service hour requirement, Cameron began a quest to find a charity that he was passionate about. His mother, Kristin, is close friends with Denise Walsh, a Boys Town Nevada Board Member, who educated Cameron about the many different programs Boys Town has to offer.

Inspired by the mission of Boys Town, Cameron became involved with Boys Town Nevada’s Journey of Hope Gala in 2014. He personally solicited more than $4,000 worth of auction items for the event but Cameron’s work did not stop there. The day after the gala, he toured the Family Homes. It was there that he realized that the boys and girls in the homes were teenagers just like him, and his desire to help became even stronger. As the time to start gathering items for the 2015 Gala came around, Cameron was already hard at work. He more than doubled his fundraising from the previous year, raising nearly $10,000 in solicited auction items and cash donations through fundraising events he hosted.

In honor of his efforts, Father Steven Boes, Boys Town Executive Director, named Cameron an Honorary Citizen of Boys Town, saying, “It is truly touching when young adults exemplify compassion and support for others.  Your dedication to Boys Town Nevada says a lot about your character and leadership abilities.”

When asked how his work with Boys Town has given him a different perspective of the world Cameron said, “It helps me to see how many problems there are in families all around the United States and how easy it can be to fix these problems with the amazing programs that Boys Town has created.”

As Cameron begins his senior year of high school in the fall, he plans to remain involved with Boys Town. He will serve as the co-chair for the Journey of Hope 2016 Gala, determined to make it the most successful event yet. Even once he graduates high school Cameron intends to continue his work with Boys Town in some capacity, as Boys Town is a charity that has “touched his heart.”

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