The holidays are a special time at Boys Town filled with family, fun and annual traditions like the Christmas tree lighting and Santa’s arrival on a fire truck. This year, the festivities were even brighter thanks to a sprinkling of Hollywood enchantment. Emmy® award-winning actor and producer, Jacob Young and his best friend, Trent Garrett, also an actor, producer and film industry expert, recently visited to bring a little joy to the youth who call Boys Town home.
Young and Garrett are co-founders of an organization called Next Generation Storytellers (NSG). NSG is an innovative, one-of-a-kind film program that brings the “magic” of Hollywood to underserved communities, casting a spotlight on potential talent and shaping narratives for successful motion pictures. NSG’s mission is to amplify young voices in these struggling communities to learn the transformative power of filmmaking through immersive programs and the help of industry professionals.
Young has been an avid supporter of Boys Town and its life-changing youth care and healthcare services since 2019. His collaboration and advocacy through commercials, social media and his podcast has led to a heightened awareness of Boys Town and the diverse programs and services it provides.
Young and Garrett’s recent visit allowed them to spend time touring the Boys Town campus and spending lunchtime with youth interested in the arts at the Boys Town Great Hall. They also were dinner guests at a Family Home, where they enjoyed a lively discussion about Boys Town’s varsity basketball and wrestling teams.
While at Boys Town, a special episode of Jacob Young’s podcast, Real Conversations with Jacob Young, that revolved around a conversation with Boys Town’s mayor and vice mayor, was broadcast from the living room of the historic home of Father Flanagan. Young and Garrett also made stops to visit with youth at the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center and a few classes at the Education Center.
Another highlight of the visit was a session with several Boys Town youth, where Young and Garrett spent time speaking with kids about overcoming life’s obstacles, what it is like to be a working actor and how they got their start in acting and producing. They also led the group in some small group acting exercises that resulted in lots of smiling and giggling.
The visit certainly was successful in spreading holiday cheer. In fact, several of the kids had some star-struck reactions when they saw Trent Garrett. As one youth said, “Wait? Are you the Dad from Disney’s Andi Mack show? I KNEW you looked familiar!” Another young girl was so excited by the experience that she started to cry.
“I’ve never experienced a community quite so encompassing,” said Garrett. “It’s just very uplifting. You can feel that in all the kids, all the staff, everyone. These kids are incredible, strong, grounded and lovely.”
Young added, “It’s not hard to love somebody. We have to be able to give that back to our children. Rehabilitation is possible and it’s happening at Boys Town.”
“We are so grateful for partners like Jacob Young and Trent Garrett, who not only help to spread the word about our work at Boys Town, but who also engage with our kids in a meaningful way," said Angie Powers, Executive Director of Home Campus. “Making the holidays special for our kids has always been our goal and we are extremely grateful to Jacob and Trent for their visit and the joy they brought to our campus.”