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Jen Standley Goes Above and Beyond to Assist Youth

Jen Standley

​Jennifer "Jen" Standley began her journey as a Boys Town employee in 2010 when she and her husband became Licensed Foster Parents. One year into their time as foster parents, the Standleys adopted a boy and his two adult siblings. Their adoption reunited the siblings for the first time in 10 years.

Now working as an Administrative Assistant for the Boys Town North Florida Family Home Program, Jen continues to make an impact on kids every day not only through her daily job duties, but also outside of work. From mentoring to teaching cooking classes, her passion for helping youth has been a blessing to all of the kids she helps.

"Jennifer Standley is a true Boys Town hero," said Development Director Dena Strickland. "She genuinely cares about our children, exemplifying our North Florida Culture of always 'Going the Extra Mile' to ensure our children are well taken care of. This is just one example of many and I am very proud of her initiatives – she is a true GEM!"

Jen has taken on many projects and roles to ensure kids have the life skills they need to become successful. This past summer, she taught two cooking classes to youth in the Family Home Program. The youth learned to make roasted buffalo chicken with yellow rice and broccoli, which turned out to be a fan favorite among both the kids and staff. Standley's cooking class, helped youth become more confident and self-sufficient.

"It fills my heart with pride and joy when I see our youth experience new things. There's nothing better than cooking a meal and having a youth ask for the recipe because they want to cook the meal they just ate," Standley said.

But Standley's kindness doesn't stop at cooking classes. Her most recent project is assisting with Boys Town North Florida's new state program called "Keys to Independence." This statewide program was created to assist youth in Foster Care with passing their exams and driving tests to obtain their Learner's Permits and later their Driver's License. Standley holds a study group at ART Town to help youth study for their driver's exams. Recently, three youth passed their Learner's Permit test from the DMV thanks to Jen.

"Because of the success of these three girls who passed their Learner's Permit tests, we constantly hear other youth asking Jen when she can help them," said Tonia Westerfield, Boys Town North Florida Family Home Program Director. "It's a beautiful thing to witness."

"Seeing their faces light up with excitement and seeing how proud and confident they were when they passed their tests is what makes what I do worth every moment," Standley reflected.

In addition to the Keys to Independence program and cooking classes, Jen also mentors Boys Town youth who have aged out of the system. She helps them with the transition to adulthood by providing advice and teaching valuable life skills.

"It brings me much joy to work with such a wonderful agency that shares the same philosophy as me," Standley said. "Kids matter! This is why I do what I can to help these youth who may not have every opportunity as other youth."