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annual-basket-brigade-november-19thAnnual Basket Brigade November 19th!South Florida
Saturday, Nov 19, 2016

Join the Boys Town Basket Brigade and be part of a holiday tradition which ​has served the community for the past 25 years. During the event, 100 caring volunteers will pack 20,000 pounds of fixings, to help needy families celebrate Thanksgiving. Boys Town believes in helping children and healing families - the memories created at the holiday, are created in the kitchen, where children and parents come together to prepare the Thanksgiving meal. 

Due to the generosity of individuals and corporate sponsors, this event has fed thousands of families who would otherwise not share a complete Thanksgiving meal together. Every penny raised is used to purchase this special meal for families in need in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. Today, there are thousands of families who are unable to afford the fixings needed to prepare this meal, which is why each family will receive a basket that contains:

  • 1 15- to 17-pound turkey (frozen)
  • 1 5-pound bag of potatoes
  • 1 package of brown and serve dinner rolls
  • 2 cans of vegetables (peas, corn)
  • 1 box of stuffing mix
  • 1 can of cranberry sauce
  • 1 box of Jell-O
  • 1 bunch of bananas and a cookie tray (Our experience over the years has taught us pies and pie crust do not weather the assembly and delivery process well!)

Due to the limited capacity of this event, each volunteer must register online. Palm Beach and Broward County students may earn qualified community service hours by signing up for one of the many volunteer opportunities below. Volunteers have the opportunity to earn five or more community service hours for both their time packing food and their time fundraising. We understand that raising money takes time, which is why we are awarding not only your hard work of raising $30  needed to purchase food for a family, but also for the time spent in bagging and delivering baskets to children and families in need.

Work alone

Join or create a fundraisi​ng team​ and help raise funds to sponsor the cost of the meals. Each Basket Brigade Team consists of 10 volunteers committed to meeting a required cumulative team goal of $500. With 10 people raising $50 each, your team will meet the team goal before you know it! Each team member will receive five hours of community service hours for working together, organizing meetings, coordinating fundraising efforts and day of assembly and delivery time to accomplish their goals!

Of course, $500  is the starting point! You can set your goal higher and help feed even more needy families experience Thanksgiving. We will have incentives and acknowledgments for top fundraisers, so have some fun with your fundraising!

Unite with your team on November 19th  for an energetic food packing event and see the fruit of your fundraising efforts! There is no better way to celebrate the impact your team made by achieving your fundraising goal.


November 19, 2016


9-11 a.m.


Boys Town South Florida
3111 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33405

south-florida-employees-complete-nonprofits-first-rising-leader-programSouth Florida Employees Complete Nonprofits First Rising Leader ProgramSouth Florida
Monday, Jul 25, 2016

​​On June 17, LaToya Davenport, Director of Boys Town South Florida Program Support Services, and Lucia Stanfield, Director of Boys Town South Florida In-Home Family Services, graduated from the Nonprofits First’s Rising Leader Program. The Boys Town employees were 2 of 22 nonprofit workers to complete the training.

The program, launched in 2005, was developed to teach participants effective strategies when handling major leadership or organizational challenges in order to help them advance to the next level of personal and professional growth.

The Rising Leader Program spans six months, beginning in January with two consecutive days of training. February through May, the participants attend one day of training each month, with an evening networking event in February. In June, the program hosts an overnight retreat at a South Florida conference center, followed by the program graduation ceremony and celebration later that month.

The curriculum spans a variety of topics, including leadership and communication, negotiation, overcoming the five dysfunctions of a team, and leading change.

“I wanted to make sure that I seize every opportunity to develop as a leader so I can have as many tools in my tool belt, in order to serve my site and my team with the utmost quality and level of excellence that they deserve,” Stanfield said.

Stanfield walked away from the Rising Leader Program with ”a better understanding of the core function of other leadership styles, and how my leadership style can complement their, and vice versa.” This awareness will help her be more productive with her peers at Boys Town.

The program also includes service-learning, where participants spend 10-15 additional hours working on a service project with other members of the program. Davenport’s service-learning group “created a Board Orientation and Volunteer Manual (to include agency strategic plan, CQI plan, updated policies and procedures, and marketing/development plan) for Grandma’s Place, a local emergency placement shelter for children who are victims of abuse and/or neglect.”

Davenport frequently works with Boys Town South Florida’s Board Orientation and Volunteer Manual, so the development of the manuals for Grandma’s Place was something she was familiar with.

“It was quite simple, but just a tad bit different since they are an emergency shelter placement,” she said. “There were different law and contract requirements for both, but my past experience working with foster homes prior to coming to Boys Town was a tremendous plus and made the process go a lot smoother for me and my team.”

The service-learning project taught Davenport a lot about residential treatment facilities from an administration standpoint and how it coincides with Florida law, but she also learned a lot about herself as a leader.

“It taught me a certain level of patience in dealing with difficult situations and people and problem-solving skills I never knew I had,” she said.

Davenport also learned “how to work better in a team setting with different personality types.”

In Stanfield’s service-learning project, she worked with Diabetes Coalition, helping them host a Diabetes Symposium for Medical and Mental Health Professions.

“This experience taught me how to let go of control, and allow other leaders, professionals, and competent individuals do their part in the process,” Stanfield said.

The service-learning project allowed her to recognize individual strengths and learning styles of group members.

“It was very liberating,” she said.

For Davenport, the program gave her an opportunity to step back and look at the daily pressures of her job and look at the bigger picture. She was also able to learn new skills and enhance her preexisting ones.

“Paying attention to your own leadership development will not only make you a better leader but will also make your organization a better organization as well,” she said.

After graduating from the program, Davenport feels that she what she has learned “will help me to become more comfortable in my current role as Director of Program Support Services and with working within any part of the Boys Town organization.”

Stanfield believes that she will be able to “help my team develop into leaders by helping them embrace their individual strengths and leadership styles, so they, too, can grow into future leaders at Boys Town.”

boys-town-south-florida-helps-siblings-family-find-answersBoys Town South Florida Helps Siblings, Family Find AnswersSouth Florida
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Oftentimes, parents don’t know where to turn when their children are suffering from behavioral or emotional problems.

Michael and Jodie Shechtman are grateful the turn they eventually took led them to Dr. Chris McGinnis and his staff at the Boys Town South Florida Behavioral Health Clinic.

“Dr. Chris (McGinnis) and Boys Town are 100 percent directly responsible for changing my daughter’s life, my son’s life and our family life,” Michael said. “Thank God we found Boys Town!”

The Shechtmans began their relationship with Boys Town South Florida several years ago when son Holden was experiencing some behavior and immaturity issues.
Jodie grew extremely concerned, especially when Holden would get upset and tell her, “I wish I was dead.”

Thanks to a referral from a family friend, the Shechtmans contacted Dr. McGinnis, who quickly scheduled an initial appointment with Michael and Jodie at the Boys Town clinic. He also met briefly with Holden alone to assess the situation.

Quickly, things changed.

Two nights later, Jodie and Michael asked each other if they’d heard Holden say anything about hurting himself.

He hadn’t.

Michael credits that 10-minute meeting with Dr. McGinnis for putting his son on the road to recovery. Several sessions later, Holden was more confident and dramatically better behaved.

“He became a LOT more mature,” Michael said. “Jodie joked around that Dr. Chris must walk on water because she cannot understand how he could have impacted our son’s life and our family’s life so dramatically. And literally overnight.”

A year and a half later, 10-year-old Holden was doing well and hadn’t made any more self-harm statements.

After the success Dr. McGinnis had with Holden, the Shechtmans decided to ask him for help with their older daughter, Delaney.

Since she was a first-grader, Delaney had shown signs of anxiety. Seeing a classmate become sick during class triggered her first severe stretch of anxiety attacks. These attacks continued as she got older, and usually were set off by the same occurrence -- seeing someone get physically sick.

During these bouts, Delaney didn’t want to go to school or eat. Michael and Jodie had their daughter see several therapists, but any improvement in Delaney’s condition was only temporary.

Then, after Delaney had an attack in band class at school and was unable to return to the class for two months, Michael and Jodie contacted Dr. McGinnis.

“I sat in the initial meeting with Dr. Chris and Delaney,” Michael said. “She was very shy and guarded, as she normally is. He read her like a book, though. As guarded and quiet as she was, when she walked out of the first session, you could see the tension just lifting off her shoulders.

“Two days later, she sat in her band class for the first time in two months! After the second session, she hasn't missed a band class once. The guidance counselor at school was amazed. She said she had never seen a turnaround with a student like that in her 30 years. Dr. Chris had gotten through to her like no other therapist ever had. Something clicked and she was able to understand and learn to deal with her anxiety head on.”

In the six months following her Boys Town sessions, Delaney showed remarkable progress. She was promoted to an advanced band class by her teacher and received an award for excellence in band. She also starting playing on a softball team and decided to learn how to pitch, a position that requires her to take on more responsibility and pressure.

Now 13, Delaney walks with an extra skip in her step and is much more confident.

The Shechtmans give all the credit to Boys Town South Florida and Dr. McGinnis.

“I don't want to say Dr. Chris has ‘cured’ Delaney, because I don't think anxiety is something that will ever go away for her completely,” Michael said. “It's just who she is. But she now openly talks about it. She now controls her anxiety. Delaney is now aware of the triggers. It is truly remarkable, the night and day difference.”

To learn more, call our Behavioral Health Clinic today at 561-612-6056.

This is a solicited testimonial from a family whose work with Dr. McGinnis and the Behavioral Health Clinic had concluded. The family provided their full consent to use their story and actual names.

spotlight-on-boys-town-south-floridaSpotlight on Boys Town South FloridaSouth Florida
Monday, May 2, 2016

​​​​​Boys Town ​South Florida was recently featured on the CBS12 News program Spotlight on Business. Watch the video below to see Boys Town South Florida Executive Director Amy Simpson discuss Boys Town programs and services.​

See the original article on

primary-project-helps-struggling-student-play-his-way-to-improvementPrimary Project Helps Struggling Student Play His Way to ImprovementSouth Florida
Monday, Mar 7, 2016

His name was Emmanuel; he spoke more Creole than English.

Shy yet spunky, and a bit short-tempered, the kindergartener was one of several dozen students in his Palm Beach County elementary school who needed assistance.

Emmanuel’s adjustment to kindergarten was difficult. He didn’t engage in activities or connect with his classmates. His bashful personality and limited language skills accounted for some of his detachment. But not all.

According to his teacher, Emmanuel also struggled to connect with classmates who spoke Creole. On the playground, he usually played by himself. On the few occasions when he did participate in group play, it often ended badly.

Emmanuel didn’t make it easy for others to be his friend. When he was frustrated or mad, he lashed out physically – hitting, biting and kicking. Oftentimes, those on the receiving end of his anger were left shaken and surprised. Most didn’t realize how upset he was; he never verbalized his feelings before going off.

Fortunately for Emmanuel, his school offered Primary Project, an early intervention and prevention effort for students who struggle to adjust to school, feel insecure or have limited social skills. Developed by the Children’s Institute and provided through Boys Town South Florida, this innovative program uses play to build a child’s self-confidence and improve social and learning skills. Nationally, the program is in over 2,100 schools.

Boys Town Child Associate Katherine Ryan, who facilitates the program at Emmanuel’s school, said students qualify for Primary Project based on observations that measure areas like behavior control, peer social skills, and others.

For three months, Emmanuel met with Katherine once a week for 40 minutes in the school’s playroom, which was filled with toys, arts and crafts, dress-up clothes, cars, trucks, blocks and a kitchen center.

“Our program is unique because it’s based on child-led play,” explained Katherine. “We only respond to what the student says or does. Emmanuel was able to come in and make his own decisions about what he did in the playroom.”

During their playtime, Katherine reinforced and built on Emmanuel’s existing strengths. Research shows child-led play programs produce a range of positive results for young children, including improved relationships and greater focus in the classroom and at home.

Those benefits didn’t escape Emmanuel. After just a few sessions, his teacher reported an immediate change in Emmanuel’s behaviors. The hitting stopped, and he exuded confidence. Emmanuel also found his voice.

Instead of impulsively lashing out, Emmanuel verbalized his feelings – appropriately. He engaged in classroom activities, confidently raising his hand and happily sharing his thoughts and ideas. His reading skills went from below grade level to above, and his English proficiency improved, too. Outside the classroom, he even organized games on the playground. His newfound confidence and friendlier behavior led to new friendships.

It was a dramatic transformation for the young boy, who went from distant and detached to joyful and fully engaged, both socially and academically.

According to Melissa Campos, Boys Town’s Primary Project supervisor, the collaborative relationship between the school district and Boys Town makes this type of successful intervention possible. “Having Primary Project in the schools is an incredible tool for supporting student learning,” she said.

Boys Town South Florida currently offers the Primary Project program in a dozen elementary schools in Palm Beach County, all of which are nationally certified by the Children’s Institute.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.

boys-town-south-florida-volunteer-receives-champion-of-service-award-from-governor-rickBoys Town South Florida Volunteer Receives Champion of Service Award from Governor Rick Scott South Florida
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016

Patrick Hopkins, a dedicated teen volunteer for Boys Town South ​Florida, was recognized by Florida Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman with one of two Champion of Service Awards on Thursday, January 21st. Boys Town South Florida nominated Hopkins for the award.The second award was given to Eddie Mae Bennett.

Governor Scott said, “I am honored to recognize Patrick Hopkins and Eddie Mae Bennett for their commitment to helping their fellow Floridians. It is exciting to present them with the Champion of Service Award today for their inspiring service and support of those who need it most in our state.”
Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman said, “Eddie Mae Bennett and Patrick Hopkins illustrate the diverse service opportunities that exist in Florida’s communities. From a high school student serving food to needy families in South Florida to a longtime volunteer who served North Florida students for over 25 years, Eddie Mae and Patrick are inspirational service leaders.”

Read more about the winners community service below:
Patrick Hopkins, West Palm Beach – Patrick Hopkins is a junior at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach. This past year, Patrick served as Chair of the Boys Town South Florida’s “Thanksgiving Basket Brigade,” an annual event that distributes Thanksgiving food baskets to more than 300 Florida families. Patrick first volunteered in his community as an elementary school student by filling baskets with food and delivering them to families in need. Patrick is also an active member of the Palm Beach League of Cities youth delegation and volunteers for the Literacy Coalition Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee. Read his story.
Eddie Mae Bennett, Leon County – Ms. Eddie Mae Bennett started volunteering at John G. Riley Elementary School in Leon County in 1977. She served as a teacher’s aide for ten years before supporting students involved in jazz, symphonic, and marching bands at Belle Vue Middle School and Godby High School in Leon County. Ms. Bennett also served as a Foster Grandparent at Sealey Elementary for 25 years, retiring in 2015. She has also regularly volunteered at her church, including helping with maintenance and administrative duties.

friendly-competition-helps-feed-hungry-this-thanksgivingFriendly Competition Helps Feed Hungry This ThanksgivingSouth Florida
Monday, Jan 4, 2016

Sometimes, competition really can be friendly.

That was the case in South Florida recently, when Boys Town South Florida was the beneficiary for a tennis event that doubled as a fundraiser. On Saturday, November 15, local community members of all ages joined together for an afternoon of games and entertainment at the Pro World Tennis Academy.

Many Boys Town families were present, as were some tennis pros, including the current world record holder for fastest serve. Fortunately for guests, however, the playing was all for fun, as kids and adults alike enjoyed complimentary classes offered by ChaCha Tennis as well as music, drinks, and a silent auction.

Amy Simpson, Executive Director of Boys Town South Florida, says Boys Town was grateful to be involved with the event, which was put on with the help of multiple organizations. “It was a wonderful event. We want to thank the team at Compete 2 Give, as well as Cha Cha Tennis, Fit Food Fun, and Pro World Tennis Academy for putting it on. The money will go to good use.”

And what better way to spend the proceeds than to help feed the hungry? Boys Town used all money raised to support the 24th Annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade, a Boys Town tradition of fighting poverty and hunger over the holidays. With the help of volunteers and community members, the Boys Town South Florida team was able to ensure that those who needed it most had all the ingredients for a full thanksgiving meal.

Again, Boys Town wishes to express its gratitude and holiday cheer to all those involved with the event. Thanks to their help, the tradition of feeding the hungry for the holidays was a success once again, and the Boys Town mission is alive and well in South Florida.

every-basket-we-prepare-every-delivery-we-make-gives-hope-to-a-family"Every Basket We Prepare, Every Delivery We Make Gives Hope to a Family"South Florida
Hopkins with his mentor and Boys Town South Florida Development Director, Dr. Noemi Coltea.
Friday, Sep 11, 2015

Teen Volunteer ​Leads with Heart, Drive to Do More

Cardinal Newman High School junior Patrick Hopkins knows that to make an impact in the community, you have to get involved. This year, the 16 year old is Chair of Boys Town South Florida Thanksgiving Basket Brigade, an annual event that gives Thanksgiving food baskets to more than 300 underprivileged families.

Hopkins has seen first-hand the impact this event has on families in need in the West Palm Beach community. “I first became involved when I was in elementary school and we helped fill the baskets with food and delivered them to the homes of families in need,” explains Hopkins. “When I delivered the baskets, I could not believe how grateful families were to receive a meal and how that one meal made a difference in their lives. That was when I realized that I wanted to get involved in helping my community.”

As Hopkins has grown, so has his service to the community. He is an active member in the Palm Beach League of Cities youth delegation and he does volunteer work for the Literacy Coalition Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee. Even as he’s added activities to his already packed schedule, he never forgot about the joy he gave and felt when delivering Thanksgiving baskets.

“Every basket we prepare, every delivery we make gives hope to a family,” says Hopkins, whose goal is to increase the number of baskets delivered to families by 10 percent this year. Hopkins himself has been saving money from odd jobs he’s done throughout the year to ensure enough money is raised to reach this goal. “When I stop and think of all of the people in the world that need help, I feel overwhelmed. However, when I think that I was a small part of helping 300 families in my community, I feel blessed and am inspired to continue my involvement.”

boys-town-helps-mom-son-overcome-challenges-prepare-for-schoolBoys Town Helps Mom, Son Overcome Challenges, Prepare for School South Florida
Fenise (left) and her son Jeff with their Boys Town Home Visitor Joliette Saintil (right).
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

For ​Fenise and her son Jeff, participating in Boys Town South Florida’s Parent-Child Home Program was as much an education for mom as it was for her 2-year-old toddler.

The program is designed to enhance the development of young children when they are 2 or 3 and prepare them to make the transition to school when they reach age 4. A Home Visitor makes frequent visits to the child’s home and uses books and educational toys to guide the child and his or her parents through learning activities.

When Jeff and Fenise first started the program, Jeff was not speaking yet and had behavioral issues such as spitting and biting. The Home Visitor, Joliette Saintil, also was working with several other family members besides Fenise, which led to some inconsistency in the learning activities. An additional challenge was that no one in the home seemed to be reviewing the activities with Jeff between home visits.

But Joliette stayed with it and eventually her efforts began to pay off. Two months into the program, Jeff began repeating words, imitating animal sounds, following directions and fostering a true love for the books and toys used in the program. Joliette’s role-modeling of program activities also had a positive impact on Fenise, who became more actively involved and more loving toward Jeff during the home visits.

At the end of the first year of services, Jeff was able to identify objects, animals and actions in pictures as well as answer questions in two-word phrases.

Everything seemed to be on track for Jeff and Fenise. Then disaster struck.

Fenise and Jeff were involved in a serious car accident, leaving both injured. It t was a month before doctors cleared Jeff to return to normal activities. By then, Fenise and her son had moved in with a family member who had two children of her own. 

As Joliette resumed her home visits with Jeff, she noticed that the toddler didn’t seem to be the same child who was making such good progress when services were disrupted by the accident.  She soon realized Jeff was picking up some undesirable behaviors from the other children in the home.

Fortunately, Joliette was able to voice her concerns to Fenise and convince her that moving Jeff to a new environment would be in his best interests.  A short time later, Fenise and Jeff moved in with Jeff’s grandmother, who had been very supportive of the boy.

As Joliette continued her visits at the grandmother’s home, Jeff made more progress than ever. By the time he graduated from the program at age 4, he was speaking in complete sentences and was able to start conversations on his own, and Joliette was confident he would thrive in preschool and kindergarten. Best of all, Fenise realized how far Jeff had come and how much she had learned about parenting her son and helping him to get ready for school.

Even though Fenise and Jeff faced many setbacks throughout their journey, both have grown in ways they could never have imagined.  And Fenise could not be more grateful for the patience and encouragement Joliette brought to the family and the positive impact Boys Town had on their lives.

The Parent-Child Home Program provided by Boys Town South Florida is coordinated by the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County and funded by the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Florida.

boys-town-helps-put-familys-happy-ending-within-reachBoys Town Helps Put Family’s Happy Ending within Reach South Florida
Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015

Lisa was finally going to have everything she always imagined.

She had often dreamed of a storybook life, surrounded by her loving family and living in a house with a white picket fence. When the 18-year-old fell in love with her boyfriend and became pregnant, she thought it was just the beginning of her happy journey.

But not long after their son Joshua was born, Lisa’s dreams began to turn into a nightmare.  

Lisa had quit school after her junior year, so without a high school diploma, she wasn’t able to get a job. With no steady employment, buying a house was out of the question.

She tried to stay optimistic, but her seemingly great boyfriend disappointed her as well. Finding his marijuana pipe stuffed in Joshua’s diaper bag told Lisa he wasn’t ready to be a father.

So Lisa and Joshua moved in with her mother, hoping to regroup and start over. But as Joshua got older, his behavior got progressively worse. At age 2, he was out of control, throwing violent tantrums and sending Lisa into a spiral of depression.

One particularly bad day, Joshua’s defiance in a toy store pushed Lisa over the edge. She began to hit her son. A bystander stepped in to stop her and the authorities were contacted.

While Lisa was fortunate to maintain custody of Joshua, the incident made her realize her life was completely out of control. She gladly accepted a local agency’s referral to Boys Town South Florida.  

Lisa soon was working with Jennifer, a Family Consultant with Boys Town’s In-Home Family Services Program ®. During home visits with Lisa, Jennifer immediately recognized that the young mother was caught in a vicious cycle. Lisa wanted to work to support herself and Joshua, but her lack of education made it difficult for someone to hire her. Even if she found a job, it would be hard for Lisa to find someone who would watch Joshua because of his frequent tantrums. And then there was Lisa’s depression. Some mornings, she felt so defeated she couldn’t even get out of bed.

Though Lisa’s challenges were daunting, Jennifer was undeterred.

She introduced Lisa to a multitude of different parenting techniques that would help her discipline Joshua more effectively. As Lisa gained confidence in the parenting abilities, she genuinely began to enjoy her relationship with her son again and Joshua’s behaviors changed for the better.

Jennifer also helped Lisa begin to find joy in life again by discovering her own self-worth. She helped Lisa find a job, work on getting her GED and make arrangements for friends and relatives to babysit Joshua when needed. Jennifer also introduced Lisa to a therapy program, where she began treatment for her depression.

Lisa and Joshua still have a long road of healing ahead. And Lisa’s dreams now are of being a good mother for her son and making a good life for her family. With the continued help of Jennifer and Boys Town South Florida, Lisa is determined to make those dreams come true.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names and details may be changed, and stock photos may be used, to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.

mother-son-credit-boys-town-for-helping-them-find-peaceMother, Son Credit Boys Town for Helping Them Find Peace South Florida
Wednesday, Jun 24, 2015

As Sharon filed the police report against her son Jack, she was overwhelmed with confusion and hopelessness. What had led her only child to this terrible place of anger and violence?

Jack and Sharon had their ups and downs, like any mother and son. But as Jack grew older, his anger became harder to manage. He was no longer just a kid who occasionally got upset with his mom. At school, he often was in trouble for fighting with fellow students and threatening teachers, and had been suspended several times.

What was most difficult for Sharon to cope with was how Jack treated her. His behavior at home had increasingly become more dangerous and threatening, escalating from yelling profanities at her to a particularly intense fight that ended with Jack hurling a vase at his mother (and thankfully missing her).

After that fight, Sharon had the police arrest her son for domestic battery. It was one of the hardest things she ever had to do, but she felt there were no other options, knowing that Jack’s aggressive behavior had reached a breaking point.

That’s when Boys Town South Florida stepped in.

Sharon was referred to the site’s Care Coordination Services program, and Nick, a Boys Town Consultant, began meeting with her and Jack. Nick discovered that Jack had never had any form of therapy or treatment to help him work through his anger management issues.

Nick immediately scheduled a psychiatric evaluation for Jack, which helped guide Boys Town in providing ways for him to cope with his anger. Jack then started meeting with a Boys Town therapist and started taking medication that helped keep his anger in check.

While Jack’s road to rebuilding his relationship with his mother, his friends at school and his teachers has been a long and ongoing journey, Boys Town has helped him move away from the terrible place he was in to a better place today. Sharon finally has her loving, kind-hearted son back, and Jack now thrives in school, no longer getting in trouble or being disruptive in class.

When Jack initially went to court on the domestic battery charge, a judge placed him on probation with certain requirements Jack had to meet. At a later court hearing, after Jack began receiving Boys Town services, the judge was pleasantly surprised at the progress the boy had made. The judge gave a lot of credit to Boys Town’s Care Coordination Services and especially to Nick for helping Jack find a positive way to cope with his anger and repair the damage he had caused in different aspects of his life. Since he was doing so well, Jack was allowed to complete his probation while remaining at home.

As Jack started his first year of high school, Sharon saw a reality she never thought could exist in their family. She now has a loving relationship with her son as he excels in the classroom and builds healthy friendships with others.

On every journey, there are two roads a person can go down. Sharon could not be more thankful that Boys Town led Jack down the right one.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.


teen-rises-from-depths-of-depression-with-boys-towns-guidanceTeen Rises from Depths of Depression with Boys Town’s GuidanceSouth Florida
Friday, Jun 19, 2015

What could happen in a child’s life that would make hurting herself or even committing suicide seem like the only answers to her problems?

That question is even more perplexing when the child is a teenage girl with many talents, from being a star tennis player to excelling as an accomplished painter.

For Kristen, this was the reality she faced as she battled depression, struggled to get through high school and continually fought with her parents.

Kristen’s parents, Tony and Louise, loved their daughter and desperately wanted to find a way to help her. But navigating the mental health system isn’t always easy. It wasn’t until they turned to Boys Town South Florida and its Care Coordination Services program that they began to have hope for Kristen.

From the first time they met Samantha, their Boys Town Consultant, Tony and Louise felt at ease and confident that Kristen was in good hands. Samantha began meeting with  Kristen weekly and connected her with a therapist who helped her work through the negative, harmful emotions that were consuming her.

The therapy sessions helped Kristen immensely, especially at home, where things were calmer and more positive.  She also was able to return to her tennis team and start painting again, two passions that had fallen by the wayside because of her depression.

But Kristen was still struggling in school, so much so that her guidance counselor didn’t think she would graduate with her class.

Samantha worked tirelessly with Kristen’s family and the high school to try to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for the teen. When progress was slower than expected,  Samantha set up a psychiatric evaluation for Kristen. The evaluation revealed that Kristen’s skill level was far below where it should be for her grade level.

This became the catalyst for accelerating the IEP, and soon Kristen was in smaller classes, receiving individual attention from her teachers. This new learning environment proved to be a key to academic success, and by the end of her senior year, Kristen had completed her coursework.

More importantly, her parents realized that the many other issues Kristen had been dealing with were dissipating. Professional help, combined with their daughter’s new-found self-confidence, were empowering her to work through the issues of depression and its harmful symptoms.

On graduation day, her family watched proudly as Kristen, smiling from ear to ear, walked across the stage to receive her diploma. It was a moment that, at one time, had never seemed possible.

Today, Kristen is attending art school to pursue a career in painting. Tony and Louise always knew their daughter had so much potential. They also know now that without Boys Town’s help, she would never have had the chance to realize her dreams.

Through her determination, her parents’ support and Samantha’s commitment, Kristen created her own masterpiece of hope and healing.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.


boys-town-south-florida-helps-family-find-a-path-of-healingBoys Town South Florida Helps Family Find a Path of HealingSouth Florida
Friday, May 22, 2015

Change is hard for any family.

For Jose and Maria, change had to happen if their family was to stay together.

And change did happen, with assistance from Boys Town South Florida.

The process started when the couple and their two kids were referred to Boys Town’s In-Home Family Services ® program by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Jose and Maria had a history of domestic violence, and in one incident, Jose pushed Maria to the floor. She suffered swelling and Jose was arrested.

Jose also had a history of drug abuse and would become physically aggressive when he was under the influence.

Complicating matters, Maria suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after surviving an attack by a robber. She had nightmares and was afraid to leave the house. Her fear got so bad that if someone knocked on the, she would hide in a bedroom closet.

When a Boys Town South Florida Family Consultant began working with the family, there were small but immediate results.

Both Maria and Jose committed themselves to the program, vowing to make changes that would stop the physical and emotional battles between them and make their home safer for the children. They didn’t miss a single meeting with their Consultant over the 10 weeks they received counseling.

Jose also entered a rehab program and began attending church. Growing closer to God was a big factor in his recovery process and as he became less dependent on drugs, he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The Family Consultant also saw the couple begin communicating better and quieting the verbal and physical portion of their past relationship. They became better role models for the children and they all began to pray and eat together as a family.

The best news is that Maria received professional counseling for her PTSD and no longer has the fear and nightmares that haunted her. She now goes out in public without problems and has begun to trust again.

“I thank God and Boys Town for all the help we have received in keeping our family together,” Maria said. “We have learned to cherish and appreciate our family and children. The Boys Town staff helped us make positive changes and move on positively. Their support was amazing. The skills we learned helped us change.”

Maria said those skills might seem simple to some, but to her and her family, they were huge.

“The Boys Town Family Consultant gave us great advice,” she said. “She told us how we should treat each other and show respect for each other. She also taught us what being a family meant. We took that advice and put effort into making positive changes. We now know what a healthy relationship looks like. It feels wonderful.”

For Jose and Maria, their journey of healing continues. But they can now see how changing their lives is changing their future for the better.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.


dr-jennifer-scheuchenzuber-joins-the-behavioral-health-clinicDr. Jennifer Scheuchenzuber Joins the Behavioral Health ClinicSouth Florida
Dr. Jennifer Scheuchenzuber has joined the Boys Town South Florida team.
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

Boys Town South Florida is pleased to welcome ​Dr. Jennifer Scheuchenzuber as a Postdoctoral Fellow who joined the Behavioral Health Clinic on Dec. 15, 2014. Prior to working at Boys Town, Dr. Scheuchenzuber worked as a school psychologist in Indiana for eight years and completed her Ph.D. in School Psychology in 2006.

Dr. Scheuchenzuber is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) and a Florida Licensed School Psychologist. She previously worked for a special education cooperative serving three school districts near Terre Haute, Indiana, where she worked with preschool through high school students with academic and behavior issues. Dr. Scheuchenzuber also served as an adjunct professor at Indiana State University.

From her experience as a school psychologist, she decided to seek fellowship training in Behavioral Pediatrics with Boys Town and participated in pre-service training in Omaha before returning to South Florida. Dr. Scheuchenzuber works under Dr. Chris McGinnis, Director of Behavioral Health, who was trained by Dr. Patrick Friman.

“I shadowed my supervisor, Dr. Chris McGinnis, before taking on my own clients,” said Dr. Scheuchenzuber. “I am now doing clinical assessments, family therapy, individual therapy, and psychological testing as well as having regular meetings with my supervisor in order to obtain the hours required to be a licensed psychologist.  I am really excited to be a part of the growing Behavioral Health Clinic in Boys Town South Florida and to have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the children and families we work with. I also hope to contribute to expanding our clinic by training future practitioners in the effective methods that Boys Town uses.”

“We are so fortunate and glad to have Dr. Jen Scheuchenzuber join our clinical staff,” Dr. Chris McGinnis said. “Her enthusiasm and commitment to her work are infectious and she is helping Boys Town to ambitiously build the Behavioral Health Clinic while maintaining the highest standards of client care.”

"We are beyond thrilled to have Dr. Scheuchenzuber on our team,” said Dr. Noemi Coltea, Development Director, Boys Town South Florida. “She will add great value to Boys Town and all the children and families we serve here.”

Dr. Scheuchenzuber has two children — a six-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. “Most of my free time at home involves them,” said Dr. Scheuchenzuber. “We like having family movie nights and going to new places on the weekends. Our favorite is going to Lion Country Safari!”

basket-brigade-provides-meals-to-familiesBasket Brigade Provides Meals to FamiliesSouth Florida
Monday, Jan 5, 2015

Boys Town South Florida teamed up with community partners like the Junior League of the Palm Beaches and Florida Power and Light on Saturday, Nov. 22 for the 24th Annual Basket Brigade. Over 100 volunteers from businesses ​public and non-profit sectors, helped by forming an assembly line to fill baskets with fixings for a complete Thanksgiving dinner.

Each year, the event brings together volunteers that want to make a difference in lives that often are forgotten. One volunteer, Patrick Hopkins, a 15-year-old sophomore honor student from Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Florida, has been volunteering at Boys Town South Florida for almost two years. He was inspired by what he saw and wanted to do more to help troubled children and families in need, right here in his own back yard.

“I volunteered last year for the Basket Brigade and delivered baskets and knew this was a great opportunity to be involved in my local community,” said Patrick. Boys Town recognized his vision and passion to serve his community and asked Patrick to become the Junior Chair of the event, which he gladly accepted. “As the junior chair, I was able to dive in and assist with many different aspects of the event, from tracking the county-wide need, to working on distribution, product placement and even fundraising efforts related to the campaign. Preparing 300 food baskets takes a lot of time and coordination and it was a lot of fun to go to the local grocery chains and order 400 turkeys! To be a part of such an enormous effort within our community is very rewarding.”

Thanks to Patrick and the other volunteers, 300 underprivileged families in the West Palm Beach community received baskets containing boxed stuffing, potatoes, dinner rolls, a frozen turkey, canned fruit, and a cookie tray among other items. For these families, just the necessity of warm food can bring back the priceless joy of a full tummy. And for volunteers like Patrick, it means the opportunity to support his community and organizations like Boys Town South Florida.

“Patrick is a natural born leader who selflessly and intentionally added value to our children, our campaign and most importantly, to our community”, said Dr. Noemi Coltea, Boys Town South Florida Development Director. “If our next generation of leaders follows his lead, our future is in good hands”.

“Having the opportunity to volunteer at Boys Town is very rewarding because I am a part of a team of professionals and have the chance to see first-hand how this charity serves the community,” said Patrick. “Dr. Coltea is a great role model by giving me assignments that give me perspective on the practical day-to-day operation of a charity. I feel like I am part of a team — a really great team!”

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