Boys Town Logo
Boys Town Logo

Throughout its more than 100-year history, thousands of boys and girls, each with their own unique story, have come to call Boys Town home. Many of them arrive filled with heartache and pain, or have suffered neglect and loss. Others feel broken without the hope of a better life. That all changes when they are welcomed into the community of Boys Town.

Helping children and families heal and grow in body, mind and spirit is Boys Town’s guiding mission. Last year alone, we helped more than half a million kids nationwide through the life-changing programs and services we provide. We know that by changing lives today, we are helping to ensure brighter tomorrows.

At Boys Town, we give children love, a family, a support system and people who hold them accountable. We help them to heal and instill in them a strength of character. In the process, an amazing thing happens. They start to feel a genuine desire to help others in need by giving back and they have the strength and drive to accomplish it. Tyler Simmons, a 2012 Boys Town Alumni, is a prime example of giving back to improve the lives of others. 

Tyler knows the hardships of life first-hand. Growing up in New York, he endured horrible living conditions and very little support from the adults in his life. His spark of hope came from playing football, where his coaches took note of his situation and connected him with Boys Town. At Boys Town, he found a home, where he thrived both athletically and academically. After graduation, he went on to receive both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and felt called to return to his NYC community to give back to others, just as he had been helped. 

Today, Tyler serves as Director of Physical Preparation for a New York non-profit called About U NYC, where he works with student athletes from Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx in situations like his own experiences growing up. His goal is to help them to overcome adversity and develop to their full potential. In his role, Tyler shares the core values of community, leadership, discipline and accountability that he learned at Boys Town to mentor youth. “It’s about so much more than sports,” said Tyler. “We want our kids to have a higher sense of community and the opportunity to level up from their circumstances. In fact, we want them to have more opportunities than they ever thought possible.”

Tyler credits Boys Town for giving him a greater appreciation for life and an understanding of the importance of giving back to others. “Giving back allows you to multiply the help you have received,” he said. “It’s the sharing of that love and support that makes the world go around.”   

We are proud to share Tyler’s story. His life exemplifies why Boys Town’s impact cannot be measured solely on the kids we help, but by the communities of others our Boys Town kids lift up in the lives they go on to lead.

Tyler: 16 years ago, I was living in a shelter home in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

15 years ago, I was living in East River Projects in Harlem, going to train sessions with Coach Alex, just hoping for a chance to go to college.

14 years ago, I was sleeping on the subway with a lot of drive and not a lot of resources, but a lot of hope to make this dream become a reality. 

13 years ago, I was 17 years old, standing in front of NFL Athletes,  and thousands of people at a banquet all the way in Omaha, Nebraska. That night I shared my story of overcoming adversity by finally receiving the resources necessary to become a non statistic of my circumstances. A homeless, fatherless kid from an impoverished neighborhood, attending poor performing public school systems. 

I graduated Boys Town High School on time and went on to play sports in college at the NCAA division two level and achieve my bachelor's degree and then my master's degree with multiple gold standard certifications in my respective field of strength and condition. 

Noted. 13 years later, I'm back in New York City as a coach, mentor, and director within About U. Work I'm doing today is overseeing a portion of a nonprofit 'cause I felt obliged to the youth in the city who are going to similar struggles, who are more limited in resources that are following a similar path that I may have traveled, and helping them navigate to the next, the next steps in their life. It was very, very important to me that I contributed to the places that helped me out and multiply the opportunities that I was given. What drives me every day, used to be my past, right, and always feeling like this weight on me to make it out from my circumstances and that still gives me a little bit of my drive. But what drives me more than anything is the kids I work with on a day-to-day basis. Looking around and seeing how enthusiastic they are, how much energy they give, even when they sometimes might not want to come and study and might not want to come and train and, you know, do what they have to do, but they get it done. And it just reminds me of a place that I was once at when I was super ambitious as a kid. 

Alex: I met him at the age of 13 and from that point on, I realized there's just so much potential in Tyler, but there was a lot, that was going on outside of just the sporting arena. He, he had so much, so much passion, so much energy, but not a, a clear pathway and immediately once Boys Town presented itself, he was the first candidate that I, I thought of. He, you know, just had all of the sort of intangibles to take on that responsibility or opportunity and maximize and that's exactly what he did. 

Tyler: I’ve been blessed to be able to help more Boys Town kids, uh, whether that is through referring them to Boys Town or just simply training them here in New York City and bridging that gap, that was bridged for me  years ago. And I couldn't be prouder of them for following through and trusting me to help them become better citizens in the world. Whether that was simply through sports training or if it was through a little bit of the mentorship and, and guidance I was able to provide them over the years.  There are a lot of major highlights, but what I see and what I'm most proud of is all of the kids that have leveled up from their circumstances that could not dream of being in the positions that they are today.