Girls haven't always been a part of the Boys Town story. In fact, it wasn't until 1979 when girls could benefit from Boys Town's life-changing care.
Today, girls make up about half of the youth population that receives care in the Village of Boys Town and at several of our affiliate sites.
In honor of Women's History Month, we are catching up with girls we have featured in the past, as well as some recent success stories.
After suffering through unspeakable abuse, Moniece Jackson fled from multiple foster placements, landed in juvenile detention and eventually found Boys Town North Florida in 2005. It was there that she began the healing process and found the strength to develop and pursue her dreams. After completing her treatment at Boys Town, she began her career as the resident director for Wisdom’s Wellspring in Tallahassee, Florida, a residential facility for young women who are at high-risk for dependency. While working full-time, she also completed her master’s degree in both Social Work and Public Administration. Today, she is working at Family Preservation Community Services in South Carolina where she recruits, licenses and trains foster care parents. In her first year on the job, she secured 15 new foster parents, more than doubling her original goal of six. In her spare time, Moniece has been working hard to develop her own non-profit called Intentional Hope, focused on helping youth ages 13-21 learn independent living skills to help them survive in the real world. She also aspires to someday write a youth self-help book that focuses on learning necessary independent skills to succeed in a complicated world. Hear Moniece tell her story in her own words.
“I have had many years working in the mental health and case management services field and Ms. James' tenacity, dedication to her family, and hard work were nothing less than awe-inspiring to me," said Chelsey Perkins, Care Coordination Consultant at Boys Town Washington DC, “I believe that if we had more Ms. Jameses in this world, it would be a better place."
In December of 2019, Ms. Trenisha James' unit in her housing development was deemed “unfit for human habitation," with a CO2 leak being the headliner on a list of safety issues that made it necessary for her family to leave their home. Unfortunately, that led to a lawsuit with the landlord, which ultimately was found in James' favor; however, the court findings were written in such a way that future renting became difficult. Add to that, the loss of her escrow because she moved out early, and James and her five children soon found themselves homeless. The James family was referred to Boys Town DC for Care Coordination Support. Through Trenisha’s hard work ethic, dedication to her family and support from Boys Town, she found new housing for her family and graduated from the DC Central Food Kitchen Program at the top of her class, receiving three awards: highest GPA, life skills award and sunshine award. Read more about the James family story.
Suffering from anxiety and depression while being bullied in school, Charlotte’s mother had her admitted into a mental hospital twice between the ages of 14 and 16. After becoming a ward of the state, she came to Boys Town and began a long road to recovery. “I didn’t fit in real good at first,” Charlotte said. “I had no idea what a family did, or looked like, so I kind of felt like an outsider. But after trying to run away once, I guess you could call it a turning point. My Family-Teachers® were very patient and they earned my trust. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Boys Town.” Today, Charlotte is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Therapist. Her determination after graduating from Boys Town in 1991 inspired her to attend college and finally graduate at the age of 39. In between, she had five children and battled through the ups and downs that so many Boys Town youth experience in their lifetime, which made her even stronger during that transition from high school to adulthood.
After the death of her father, Annie ran wild, becoming increasingly rebellious with each passing year. At her wit's end, Annie's mother eventually sent her to Boys Town. After struggling initially, Annie flourished in her new environment, excelling both academically and athletically, eventually going on to become mayor and homecoming queen. Last year, we caught up with Annie as she pursued her dreams working at a marketing firm in Kansas City, crediting much of that drive to her time at Boys Town: “Boys Town also taught me how to have goals for myself. So even today I know what some of the goals that I want in life and a lot of that came from having to work through it at Boys Town and knowing my true potential,” she said. See where Annie started and where she is today.
Growing up on the mean streets of Chicago, simply making it through the day alive and in one piece was a victory for young Lily. Thankfully, she found Boys Town, which gave her the tools and support she needed to succeed. And today, Lily is back in her hometown community of Chicago, helping kids who face many of the same challenges she faced so many years ago. She is currently working as a youth intervention specialist, also known as the Dean, for Chicago Public Schools. Lily is providing positive opportunities and experiences to the kids of Chicago through community events like Dia de los Muertos and Amor al Arte. See Lily’s full story here.