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Following Her Dream Her Dream<p>​Safiya Thompson left Boys Town Central Florida in 2012, but her commitment to someday give back to the site as she pursues her dream of becoming a doctor is stronger than ever. <br></p><p>“I will give back to Boys Town as they have given so much to me and my family," she said. “I am grateful to have such a great connection to my Boys Town family." </p><p>Safiya spent about a year as a Boys Town Central Florida youth before graduating from high school and attending the University of Central Florida. At Boys Town, she learned skills like being assertive, dealing with frustration, increasing her self-esteem and dealing with conflict, all of which prepared her for the challenges she faced in continuing her education and eventually entering medical school. </p><p>Now in her second year of medical school in Antiqua, she will return to the United States to complete a practicum and begin practicing after taking the medical exam. During her last visit to the Central Florida campus, she gave an update on her journey. </p><p>“This is by far one of the hardest things that I have had to do, but I know I have what it takes, so I will not give up until I realize my dream."<br></p><p>Safiya's story is a great example of how Boys Town Central Florida gives young people the life-changing skills and tools they need to find success and make their dreams a reality. <br></p> <p align="center"> <img src="/locations/central-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/white-coat-photo.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:480px;height:326px;" /> <br> </p>2020-02-28T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/central-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/white-coat-2.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Foster families making a difference in kid's lives families making a difference in kid's lives<p>​<em style="background-color:transparent;">​​This article was posted on <a href="" target="_blank"></a> on Nov 20, 2019.</em></p><p><em> </em></p><p><span style="font-weight:600;">GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) -</span> Thousands of kids a year in the state have to be taken from their homes and they are put in with foster parents. Sometimes very suddenly. The need for foster parents is always a great one in central Nebraska.<br></p><p>Greg and Kindy Massing in Grand Island have fostered for several years. Greg works at Grand Island Senior High and even has taken in students he recognized.</p><p>"It's kind of funny because you know Greg seeing them in the high school probably had no idea that these were foster kids or these kids never had a home, these kids needed so much. They're like everybody else," Kindy said.</p><p>Boys Town in Grand Island helps facilitate some of the foster families and get them the proper training. They work with about 30 in central Nebraska and say finding homes for teens is the most challenging because there are some misconceptions about why kids are in foster care.</p><p>"It's because of something that happened in their home environment so it's not safe for them to be in their home with their biological family and so I think that's one reason why it's difficult to find foster homes for those older kids," Senior Director Megan Andrews said.</p><p>The Massing's have taken in teen boys before and have even become guardians of some. They say some are angry from the situations they come from and can have some behavior issues. But they work to lay ground rules and give them a positive place to grow like the teen they are caring for now.</p><p>"This year he's doing so much better and he's not skipping school, he's in school everyday. We let him drive, he drives a vehicle and he's just so mature," Greg said.</p><p>The family says fostering is rewarding for them to see the kids begin to trust them and improve in other places in their lives.<br></p><p>"There's a lot of challenging days. It's not all roses but everything you go through is so worth it just to know you've been able to be a part of their life and change their life in some way," Kindy said.​<br><br></p>2019-11-25T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Foster Families" src="/locations/central-nebraska/PublishingImages/foster-families.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
BU introduces master’s degree in child, youth and family studies introduces master’s degree in child, youth and family studies<p><em></em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>This article was posted on on Sep 10, 2019</em></a></p><p>A new master's program will introduce students to learning about child protection and juvenile justice completely through the screens of their computers.</p><p>Bellevue University will offer a Master in Science degree in child, youth and family studies beginning in October. It will have nine eight-week classes completely online.</p><p>David Hoppe, program director for behavioral science, child protection/juvenile justice and addiction continuing education, created the program because he saw a growing need in students ready to move onto graduate school.</p><p>"I looked around and there wasn't one online child protection or juvenile justice program I could find in the nation," he said.</p><p>"[I would be] writing recommendations for people to go other places like UN-L (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), which has a master's in child protection, but I was thinking, 'I think we can do this in Bellevue.'"</p><p>Hoppe said the question of will there be enough students interested in the program came up frequently when going through the approval and planning process. Though he expected around 10 students in the first semester, Hoppe already has more than 30 interested.</p><p>"There is a need specifically for people wanting to work in child protection and juvenile justice," he said.</p><p>The program is offered to anyone with a bachelor's degree, as Hoppe said he didn't limit it to one specific undergraduate major.</p><p>One aspect Hoppe made sure to exclude is requiring students to have an internship.</p><p>"My working adults, single mothers can't take off, quit their job and do an internship," he said.</p><p>Rather than a required internship, Hoppe will have students complete a project over the course of nine months with an agency.</p><p>"It's self-paced, it's finding an agency and identifying a problem in that agency and working with that agency to help solve that problem," he said.</p><p>Kristin Murray, a graduate student in the program, decided to get her master's because it focused on many of the human services jobs she already does.</p><p>"I've never taken fully online programs before, so it'll be new to me, but at the same time, it is really convenient and I'll be able to do things on my time," she said.</p><p>"I'm looking forward to getting more into the policy and procedure part of it. I'm big into finding out what things work and don't — I like to be part of putting programs together."</p><p>Murray, who works at Boys Town Duncan Day School in Duncan, Neb., said she plans on moving back to Omaha and working with Boys Town after receiving her degree.</p><p>The papers students write will be concise and in the style human services typically write in, and there will be no tests, Hoppe said.</p><p>"It's not a memorization program — this program is application," he said. "There will be lots of case studies — if you were in this situation and you were dealing with this family, what theories could you apply to this family?</p><p>"They will have read about the theories, watch videos about the theories and will apply that information to a case study."</p><p>In the field, Hoppe said there are many different careers people can take, and different agencies they can work for, such as Boys Town.</p><p>"It's not limited in any way," he said. "[They would go to] agencies that serve children, youth and adolescents."</p><p>Hoppe said it was important to add both the child protection and juvenile justice areas, because he wanted to give people more options in case they experience burnout in their careers after graduation.</p><p>Hoppe said he looks forward to the program's start.</p><p>"I'm hopeful we can have two or three successful starts this year and then we can use those folks as testimonials to show it is a viable program," he said. "It's giving students what they expected."</p>2019-10-04T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Effort to canonize Boys Town founder Edward Flanagan reaches key milestone to canonize Boys Town founder Edward Flanagan reaches key milestone<p>​The effort to have Servant of God Father Edward J. Flanagan canonized a saint took a step forward today with the presentation of the Positio to Congregation for the Causes of Saints, along with a letter of support from Archbishop George Lucas.<br><br><a href="" target="_blank">Read more in this article</a> published by the Omaha World-Herald on July 22, 2019. <br></p>2019-07-30T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Father Edward Flanagan" src="/about/PublishingImages/flanagan.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="Father Edward Flanagan" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/canonization.jpg" width="300" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Bikers ride across state raising awareness for children's mental health ride across state raising awareness for children's mental health<p><em>This article is written by Shannon Heckt. </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>It was posted on on May 17, 2019</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Motorcyclists rode across Nebraska this week to carry a message straight to the governor's desk the call for more mental health services for kids.</p><p>They call themselves the Eagle Riders and they started their ride in Scottsbluff earlier in the week.</p><p>"We know that we are doing something. We are helping educate so people can make informed decisions," Eagle Riders Stop Coordinator Holly Stevens said.</p><p>The letters they are carrying ask lawmakers to consider making mental health issues a priority when it comes to kids. Organizations like Boys Town help kids ages 10-18 who have behavioral and mental health struggles. But they aren't big enough to meet the demand.</p><p>"A lot of kids fall in the gaps of you know they might qualify for a certain level of service but they truly kind of need a higher level of service and sometimes those services are hard for kids to get," Boys town Program Director Deb Hulinsky said.</p><p>Boys Town can take in about 12 kids at a time and they serve most of the western two thirds of the state. Hulinsky said there needs to be an inpatient hospital for some of the more severe cases. But most of those kids have to go all the way to Omaha.</p><p>The Eagle Riders have been making this trip for 12 years. While they still hope for change, they are passionate about showing support for the kids.</p><p>"There is no words to describe what it is to see these kids faces when we pull in and the smiles on their faces and them just being supported," Stevens said.</p><p>They hope the law makers will help get more services available in the rural parts of the state and raise awareness of children's mental health.</p><p>Hulinsky said that mental health affects everyone in some way and that Nebraska needs a lot more services to meet the demand.</p>2019-06-18T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="EagleRiders" src="/locations/central-nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/eagle+riders.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent