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Hotline Delivers Gift of Safety to Battered Girl

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving isn't always a happy family time for many children. That's painfully clear at the Boys Town National Hotline ®, where, even during the holidays, we continue to receive calls from hurting kids, parents and families.

Celia, a young teen, joined those numbers one morning as she summoned up the courage to dial the Hotline number.

When the Hotline counselor answered, Celia tearfully poured out her story. A few days earlier, as she was sleeping, her mother's boyfriend entered her bedroom. He viciously beat Celia with an electrical cord, then threw her to the floor and stomped on her chest. The cord left red welts all over the girl's body and her chest was bruised and battered.

The counselor asked what had prompted the beating. Celia said her mother was upset over a phone call she'd received from school, and told her boyfriend to punish Celia.

Through her tears, Celia couldn't understand why her mother would encourage and allow this to happen, and how someone who is supposed to love and protect you could let you be beaten without stepping in to help.

Celia told the counselor she was at her aunt's house, and that her mother had just called her to come home. She was afraid to go because she knew the abuse was going to continue. When Celia put her aunt on the phone, the aunt confirmed that her niece's body was covered in bruises and she knew Celia needed help. The aunt didn't want to be the one to contact police because she feared that Celia's mom would retaliate against her.

Eventually, the Hotline counselor convinced Celia to provide additional information so that help could be sent. He kept Celia on the line while another counselor called the police in the girl's town. Officers arrived at the aunt's house a short time later. Before hanging up, Celia thanked the counselors for being there when she needed them most.

Police officers called the Hotline later to say that Celia was receiving medical assistance at a local hospital. They also said it was one of the worst cases of abuse they had ever seen. Celia actually had shoeprints on her chest from where her abuser had stomped her.

The mother and boyfriend were taken into police custody. Celia and her six siblings were placed in emergency foster care.

Every day, the Boys Town National Hotline receives calls from children like Celia who have been abused, neglected and abandoned, often by the very people they count on for love and support. And every day, our counselors save more kids by providing the compassionate help they so desperately need to escape their nightmarish environment.

Our donors play a key role in our mission to save children and heal families through our Hotline, which has received more than eight million calls since opening in 1989. Your generosity and support enables Boys Town to continue to provide this valuable, free service to children and parents who just can't solve their problems on their own.

The toll-free National Hotline (1-800-448-3000) is open 24/7, all year long. Kids, parents and families can call and speak with a trained counselor. Visit for more information. Teens who need advice or want to share challenges they are facing can visit the interactive Boys Town website,, and connect with counselors.