Mother: About a month into 8th grade he gave me a note and basically it said that he was getting bullied, that he was very depressed and sad and that he wanted to kill himself.
Jacob: I hated going to school, hated being at home, just hated everything. I dealt with bullying a lot. Most of the time, the bullying was verbal. They'd just call me names or make up stories about me that weren't true just to make everyone laugh at me.
Mother: My son, he started getting bullied in grade school and it continued through middle school. It sent him into a downward spiral. It put him in a very deep depression that he couldn't dig himself out of. We started seeing counselors and psychologists and psychiatrists and they medicated him and kept medicating him, but that didn't fix it.
Jacob: At one point, I even went as far as cutting to just get my mind off it.
Mother: He started hurting himself. He had thoughts of hurting others. He ran away. It wasn't him. He wasn't himself for several years. His smile went away. He just was depressed and sad and lonely. You know, he couldn't function because they had just beat everything out of him. So really, it was just a matter of, "We can't do anything for him. We don't know what to do." It was the hardest decision I ever had to make but it was also the best decision I ever made. It saved my son's life.
Jacob: I was really nervous about going there because at that point, my self-esteem was so low that I literally thought that everyone would just start hitting me again. Like most people who go there, when I first got to Boys Town I really didn't like it but over time it grew on me. I saw what it was doing. I'd become happy and it ended up becoming just my home.
Mother: People would come up to me, family or friends that would see him on holidays and stuff and they just could not even believe that within the first month how he'd changed. Just to see him smile again. It gave him opportunities he would have never had elsewhere. I mean he was second-in-command at JROTC over 90 cadets. That was amazing. He had always wanted to join JROTC and he had the opportunity to do that. He became a leader.
Jacob: My goals so far are to get through college and start teaching and just take every day as I can.
Mother: If Jacob hadn't gone to Boys Town, I don't think he would have graduated high school. And if he hadn't gone to Boys Town, I don't think he would be going to college to be a teacher. All of that happened because of Boys Town, so I'm very thankful.
Jacob: If I hadn't gone to Boys Town, there would be a chance that I may not even be here right now.