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100 years and counting

Saving Children, Changing Lives and Continuing to Make Holiday Memories at 100 Years and Counting

December 20, 2017     By Father Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

Boys Town History, Father Flanagan, Healing Families, Today's Family, Village of Boys Town

One hundred years ago, a dream became reality for a young Catholic priest.

On December 12, 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan founded his Home for Boys in downtown Omaha, providing a refuge for youngsters who had nowhere else to go.

It seemed unlikely at the time, but that one dream, nurtured by one man, would eventually grow into a place now called Boys Town and change the lives of millions. The patience, perseverance and prayer it took to make it happen were tested almost immediately.

Only days after opening his Home, Father Flanagan and the young lads in his care celebrated their first Christmas together. It was a difficult time because there was little money and nothing in the way of presents, decorations or a holiday feast.

But people of the community came through, donating what they could to ensure that the boys had a joyous holiday. The youngsters decorated a Christmas tree, opened presents and even had a family dinner, with a main course of sauerkraut donated by a local merchant. It wasn't perfect, but it began a tradition the boys looked forward to all year long. When things looked bleak and funds were tight, the boys' happy memories of Christmas would carry them through the tough times.

We may be in the 21st century, but the basic needs of kids haven't changed much. Family traditions and positive experiences go a long way toward helping a child heal from past hurts. Oftentimes, happy memories help kids stay upbeat and positive, even in the face of hardships and turmoil.

At Boys Town, we do our best to create those holiday memories for all the boys and girls in our care. Each of our Family Homes is filled with the warmth of the season as our kids put up decorations, sing carols, munch on goodies, open presents, and prepare and enjoy a big dinner. Our youth and their Family-Teachers® also attend worship services together, praying for peace and celebrating the birth of our Savior.   

Your generosity, support and prayers make all of this possible, and we thank you so much for your help. (To make a donation, please visit boystown.org.)  

From our Boys Town family to yours, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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