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Boys Town in the News

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Kara Neuverth
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Parenting Classes at Recovery Center Make Perfect Sense

It seems like Boys Town is always finding new ways to help families in need. This spring, Boys Town Iowa did its part to expand the reach of Boys Town’s mission by partnering with Jackson Recovery Center, providing Common Sense Parenting® classes to parents going through treatment for addiction.

Jeff Hackett, the Director of Community Engagement at Boys Town Iowa, realized the potential for collaboration when he heard from the treatment center’s Administrative Director that they were seeking an effective parenting curriculum. Reporting that he is “constantly” bragging about the positive impact of the Common Sense Parenting program, he made the connection naturally, and a plan was set into motion.

The partnership has been a win-win. The staff at Boys Town Iowa found that many concerns which are normally present when planning a parenting class were already handled, seeing as all of the participants were already living together for 90 to 120 days in a safe, structured home. The team at Jackson Recovery Center, who provide a “very intensive treatment”, adjusted the group’s schedule to create room for the first 7-week long session. Each week, Boys Town consultants visited the center for 2 hours, making sure to leave time for one-on-one Q&A.

Keely Heitland, a Supervisor of In-Home Family Services at Boys Town Iowa, noted that the participants are often eager to learn. “It’s really cool to see how excited they get,” she said, recognizing that the opportunity to make a fresh-start with both their own health and with their children is huge.

Debbie Orduna, Program Director of Boys Town Iowa’s In-Home Family Services, pointed out that this partnership is key in that it allows the parents to recognize that being a parent is just as important as being a recovering addict. She adds: “Our agencies working together are strengthening the success of these families’ futures by giving them tools to abstain from substances, and proven techniques to build good family relationships.”

The program, which received “rave reviews” from the first class of 15 participants, has just started their second round of classes with a group of the same size. Even participants who “bridge out,” or graduate, from the treatment center during the 7-week session are able to attend most of the classes.

Jeff, who first joined the Boys Town team in 1973 and returned in 2011 with more passion than ever, feels enthusiastic about the program’s potential. His hope is to provide these classes on a quarterly basis.

And it isn’t just Jeff who sees a bright future ahead. One participant, he remembers, took the time to express her gratitude on a comment card, writing: “My parents always told me they did the best they could without a manual… Now I have that manual.”

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