Family Teaching Couple: It is their life, their lifestyle and their mission

Boys Town Central Florida annually celebrates the impact of its stellar Family-Teaching couples, our experienced residential care workers who embody the Boys Town Model. This year, we spotlight Trinity and Misty Mackley, who, despite being newcomers to Central Florida, bring 14 years of expertise from our North Florida branch.           

Their journey started in college with backgrounds in youth development and Bible studies. Trinity's pursuit of a Master of Divinity and Misty's focus on early childhood education were redirected in 2010 after Trinity was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, leading him to redirect from a career as a military chaplain to working for Boys Town.

Impressed by the organization's financial responsibility and consistent training, the Mackleys joined with a shared passion for making a positive difference in the lives of the youth they serve. The Mackleys recognize the significance of representing Boys Town and they actively engage in church and community activities that resonate with its mission.

 "We plug Boys Town in everywhere we go,” Misty said, showcasing their commitment to their role as Boys Town reps.

Misty is in the process of finishing a degree in behavioral science. She focuses on how every individual at Boys Town has room to grow!

Trinity and Misty are most passionate about teaching life skills to the children. They stressed the importance of instilling accountability, creativity and the joy of learning.

 "Teaching the youth different skills, especially in the kitchen, is something I enjoy.” Trinity said. “It sets them up for life and makes a difference."

The Mackleys also described their involvement in outdoor activities, including developing hiking trails with the kids just behind campus in the Black Hammock Preserve, promoting physical activity and teamwork. The trail will have four trailheads, named after each of the reverends who have dedicated themselves to our growing organization over the years!

The Mackleys feel there is an integral purpose behind the spiritual aspect of Boys Town, emphasizing the importance of a spiritual beacon in the lives of the children. They love that Boys Town's model incorporates science, love and spirituality; that the combination is crucial for the success of the organization.

They highlighted the challenge of dealing with kids from diverse backgrounds and experiences, including those who may reject or have trauma related to religion. Trinity recalled the well-known saying from Father Flanagan; “God doesn’t care how you pray, it's just that you Pray.” But ultimately it is a choice the youth make, and for the Mackleys, it’s always in the hands of their youth.

"It doesn't matter what religion they're going with, as long as they understand there's something bigger than themselves. The key thing about Boys Town is there are three foundational parts of what we do. We have the motivation systems in place and that's the science of it. And then you have the relational side which brings love and acceptance. The third important thing is the spirit, and this is why Boys Town is successful – the leadership realized it takes more than being faith-based. If we gave them just the science and the love, they may do OK; but when you have the glue, that is that spiritual component, that just really sets the foundation for them to go anywhere. But if you take any one of those away, it doesn't work. It’s those three fundamental things.           

The Mackleys expressed their desire to continue their legacy at Boys Town and their joy in seeing the positive impact the organization has had on their own children. They shared their daughter's intention to work in human services and their son's service in the Navy. They plan to continue their journey at Boys Town Central Florida, contributing to the lives of the youth they serve.

Their connection to Boys Town will never end, as they make it their mission to remain in touch with as many of our youth as possible. While over 120 youth pass through their doors, they always keep it wide open so they might return. The youths’ time here may be due to unfortunate circumstances, but each of our kids are deeply valued and connected with our Family-Teaching Couples. When you ask the Mackleys how they feel when their youth eventually leave Boys Town, they say "This is your home always, so you're welcome to come back, visit, have a meal.”                 

For anyone considering this line of work, Trinity emphasized the importance of understanding that being a Family-Teacher is a lifestyle, not just a job. He said, "It's a mindset. It's a lifestyle in which you can be a change agent for the kids, but you have to understand that there's a way to do that."