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Nonprofit highlights needs in central Nebraska during Kool-Aid Days highlights needs in central Nebraska during Kool-Aid Days<p> <em>​This article is written by </em><a href=""><em>Kasey Mintz</em></a><em>. <</em><a href=""><em>Kasey Mintz (</em></a><em>> It was posted on <</em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Nonprofit highlights needs in central Nebraska during Kool-Aid D​ays (</em></a><em>> on August 20, 2022.</em><br></p><p>Kool-Aid Days is well known for supplying practically endless flavors of the beloved, Hastings-born soft d​rink, but the weekend long event also provides a time for people to check out the nonprofits in attendance.</p><p>This weekend, one organization highlighted the need of having more foster care parents in central Nebraska.</p><p>Boys Town is a nonprofit village based near Omaha, but they have offices in the Tri-City Area including ones in Grand Island and Kearney.</p><p>Representatives from Boys Town had a table at the indoor portion of the event, they were not only highlighting the services provided by their local offices, and letting people know that there is a big need for foster parents in the state.</p><p>One representative with Boys Town said events like this help get their message out.</p><p>“There is a huge need for foster parents, especially those who can help with teenagers, or kids with higher needs like behavioral needs," said Boys Town Representative Krysten Vance. “There's always that huge need so this helps us be able to put that need out in the community and get our information out. Some people want to foster but they genuinely don't know where to go."</p><p>Vance practices what she preaches when it comes to fostering and adopting of kids.</p><p>“I've been fostering since 2014, so eight years now. I adopted my daughter when she was 7 out of foster care and I'm currently fostering two other kids," Vance said.</p><p>Vance said that when it comes to fostering there are ups and downs, but it is rewarding to see the kids grow and learn that there is life past trauma.</p><p> <em>Copyright 2022 KSNB. All rights reserved.</em><br></p>2022-08-24T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/central-nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Kool-AId-Story.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Duncan Day School Celebrates 10 Years Day School Celebrates 10 Years<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">B</span><span style="background-color:transparent;">oys Town is all about helping kids, but did you know Boys Town also helps other school districts with their students?</span></p><p>Boys Town's <a href="/locations/central-nebraska/programs/Pages/day-school.aspx">Duncan Day School​</a> celebrated its 10<sup>th</sup> anniversary last year. During that time the school on the Boys Town campus has served 33 school districts, helping over 230 students. The student's accomplishments range from increasing their school attendance to earning enough credits to graduate.</p><p>According to Susan Uhl, Director of Duncan Day School, school districts reach out to Boys Town to assist with their students when they might need a fresh start.</p><p>“School districts reach out to our program when a student is struggling academically, behaviorally or both," Uhl said. “Students can be referred for numerous special circumstances. Some have school anxieties, some have been suspended or expelled, some have come in from other alternative programs and found they are more successful in a smaller setting."</p><p>Uhl said connections are important.</p><p>“We are able to make connections not only with the students, but also with their families," she said. “Many students and families tend to feel targeted by school staff from their districts, so we want to give them an opportunity at a fresh start. With the Boys Town Specialized Classroom Management model, we are not only able to provide a great deal of positive interactions, but also help students learn valuable life and social skills."</p><p>Uhl said while Duncan Day School utilizes many elements of Boys Town's education model, it is very different.</p><p>“The Day School is not a residential program, so it is hard for some parents and students to differentiate that piece when they hear Boys Town," Uhl said. “I often tell schools and families the best way to understand our program is to schedule a tour as we are not a lock-up facility and we are not an institution. We are a school, and when they take a tour they realize we are a special school program."</p><p>Uhl said since some students may need a higher level of care, Boys Town can also offer an In-Home Family Services Consultant who can help families in their own homes to continue the skills students are learning at the Day School.</p><p>“And, if a student and family are still struggling, we can help the family with seeking out other Boys Town programs that offer a higher level of care," she said.<br></p>2022-01-25T06:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
A four-day journey to Lincoln: Pony Express Riders stress importance of mental health, suicide prevention four-day journey to Lincoln: Pony Express Riders stress importance of mental health, suicide prevention<p> <em>This article is written by </em> <a href=""> <em>Jeff Bahr</em></a><em>. It was posted on <a href="" target="_blank"></a></em><em> on May 22, 2021.</em></p><p>Pony Express riders heading across the state picked up letters in Grand Island Friday morning — just like the old days.</p><p>The riders saddled up on motorcycles rather than horses. Seven motorcycles rolled into town as part of the 14th annual Pony Express Ride, which calls attention to children's mental health.</p><p>The Pony Express riders picked up letters written by two young people who receive assistance from Boys Town in Grand Island. They collected similar missives from other young people around the state and will deliver them today to the Capitol in Lincoln.</p><p>Carley Starling, who works at Boys Town in Grand Island, agrees it's important to support mental health funding for young Nebraskans.</p><p>The local letters were written by kids who have seen the positive impact that mental health treatment can have, Starling said.</p><p>It's important, “especially in rural communities, that we destigmatize mental health and mental health challenges," said Starling, a clinical psychologist who is director of the Boys Town behavioral health clinic in Grand Island.</p><p>There are many young people and adults right now who are experiencing mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, ADHD and autism, she said.</p><p>Many times people don't seek treatment until the problems are “causing severe trouble for them on a daily basis," Starling said.</p><p>Boys Town wants to help young people and families before those kids have to be removed from their homes, she said.</p><p>“We work really hard to wrap that whole family up and make sure we are helping at every level of their mental health challenges," Starling said.</p><p>Young people have struggled through the pandemic “just like everybody else did," she said.</p><p>Starling feels Boys Town “did a great job during the pandemic. We moved everything to telehealth and we kept seeing kids. We were doing it virtually, and we were grateful that the state allowed us to do that for Medicaid kids as well as (those with) commercial insurance."</p><p>Boys Town is reimbursed for behavioral health treatment for families with Medicaid.</p><p>By continuing to see kids and families during the pandemic, Starling believes Boys Town made a real impact on the young people “because it helped keep their symptoms lower."</p><p>The Pony Express riders have visited the Boys Town facility on Highway 281 before, when it was the Boys Town shelter. It's now a behavioral health clinic.</p><p>“We are really excited that come August we will have seven doctoral-level providers in our communities," Starling said.</p><p>Holly Stevens of Orleans, who leads the ride, said there are families across the state who are continually needing services. The riders advocate for funding, and pick up letters so that the voices of the young people can be heard.</p><p>“From a parent's standpoint, you can't be a fair-weather parent at any point in time. So we aren't going to be fair-weather advocates that come in and go," said Stevens, who handles promotion and is the site coordinator for the ride.</p><p>The journey, which began Wednesday in Scottsbluff, has 13 consistent riders. As the group approaches Lincoln, the total might swell to 50 or 75, said Stevens, who has been involved in the Pony Express Ride for seven of its 14 years.</p><p>Some of the riders were members of Eagle Riders, Legion Riders, Holy Ghost Riders and Bikers Against Child Abuse.</p><p>The Pony Express escort vehicle was driven by Irene Brayton of Shelton.</p>​ <p> <em class="ms-rteFontSize-2">​Photo credit: Jeff Bahr​</em></p><br><br>2021-06-07T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/central-nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/PonyExpress.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Dr. Carley Starling Leads the New Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic in Grand Island, NE Carley Starling Leads the New Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic in Grand Island, NE<p> <span style="background-color:transparent;">​With the stress and strain from the ongoing pandemic, mental health services are needed now more than ever. The new Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic in Grand Island, NE, led by Dr. Starling, is doing just that for the children and families in Central Nebraska communities.    </span><br></p><p>Dr. Starling, Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health for the Clinic, is a licensed psychologist with more than 12 years of experience working with children and families with a variety of challenges. Her doctorate is in clinical psychology with a concentration in neuropsychology.</p><p>We had a chance to visit with Dr. Starling about her role leading the new Clinic and some other aspects of her time at Boys Town.​<br></p><h2>Q&A   </h2><h4>Day in the Life</h4><p> <em>“A day in the life at the Behavioral Health Clinic is ever changing. As the Clinic Director, I never know what I might be doing from day to day. The things I can count on is seeing children and their families and training interns. Both of these things are passions of mine and part of my favorite daily activities. Additionally, I can be found working with community members to decrease the stigma of mental health and increase access to care. Phone calls with primary care physicians, schools and other providers are part of the day-to-day activities, assuring continuity of care. Meetings with individuals on Boys Town's Home Campus and national Executive Directors around the country guarantees clients in Central Nebraska are receiving the same quality of service Boys Town is known for at the state and national level."</em><em>       </em></p><h4> Advice</h4><p> <em>“Boys Town is full of phenomenal resources. My advice is to get to know the people that are around you and reach out to those resources for assistance or advice. As a new Boys Town employee, I have not found anyone who isn't truly interested in helping as best they can. Whether it is how to find a resource or an expert in the field, you are surrounded by the best of the best. Don't be shy to reach out and ask for what you need." </em>​<br></p><h4> Boys Town Is…</h4><p> <em>“Not just a place to work. Boys Town is a family. Once you become part of the family, your colleagues are no longer just 'people you work with.' They are individuals that become part of your lives, whether they are still a part of Boys Town or not. The COVID-19 pandemic is a good example of this. Boys Town made sure not only clients and families were taken care of but also their employees. As other companies made cuts, Boys Town pulled together and worked hard to make sure their employees were taken care of – mentally, physically and financially. Kudos to the Boys Town family for taking care of each other in such a trying year!"</em><em> </em></p><h4> Favorite Memory</h4><p> <em>“My favorite memory would be moving into our new clinic. When I arrived in Nebraska in November 2018, I was the only provider in the Clinic. Thankfully, Boys Town approved interns to be in the Clinic and I began supervising them in August 2019. Over the past two years, we outgrew our old location of four offices and no storage and, in December 2020, moved into our new space of seven offices, two observation areas and a huge amount of storage! Come August 2021, we will have three interns, one post-doc, one part-time psychologist and two full-time supervising psychologists. Watching the Clinic grow to meet the mental health needs in the community has been amazing." </em></p><h4> Challenges</h4><p> <em>“A challenge would be finding a good work-life balance. As the Clinic Director, I start early and work late. Part of that is my passion for the clients we serve. The other reason is there is more demand than our Clinic can keep up with. That is one reason I'm excited for our new psychologist to start in March. The challenge in Central Nebraska has been having enough providers for the caseload that has presented itself. We often have families waiting for services, as we have no space on our schedules and that is difficult for me. It hurts my heart to be unable to provide services within a week or two of their initial call. With the recent expansion and upcoming addition of providers, we are meeting this challenge head on and look forward to serving more families in a timely fashion."</em></p><h4> Best Perk</h4><p> <em>“Having multiple roles in the Clinic, I identify my perks in two categories. The first is as a provider; the other is as a supervisor for my students. The best perk as a provider is having a child do well and be so proud of themselves that they cannot wait to tell you about it! It's the big hugs and proud parents. It's a family that thought life would "never get better" for them and then it does. Watching teenagers grow and develop interpersonal skills. There's just nothing better! As a supervising psychologist, I love being able to watch interns start with little to no experience and grow into a provider that can work independently and have the same feelings of pride when a family is successful. Training the next generation of psychologists, watching them develop and have the same feelings of pride working with a challenging family and having success…that's definitely a perk!" </em> </p><h4> Professional Development</h4><p> <em>“I've only worked with Boys Town for two years and half of that was during the pandemic! I have enjoyed being able to join Home Campus for ongoing trainings, both in person and virtually, in order to continue to grow professionally. Having access to experts in the field like Dr. Pat Friman and Dr. Connie Schnoes has been instrumental in my professional development, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be around such brilliant minds."</em></p><p style="text-align:center;"> <em></em><img src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Dr-Carley-Starling-2.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />​​<br></p>2021-03-03T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Dr-Carley-Starling-1.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town expanding central Nebraska services Town expanding central Nebraska services<p> <em><span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:14.2667px;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">This article was originally written by Jeff Bahr and published in <a href="">The Grand Island Independent</a> on January 31, 2021</span></em><span style="color:#000000;font-size:medium;"></span><br></p><p>Because of the pandemic, mental health services are needed now more than ever. And Boys Town says it is ready to help families in central and western Nebraska with high-level assistance.</p><p>The longtime Grand Island Boys Town location, along Highway 281, is the home of youth care programs and a behavioral health clinic.</p><p>Boys Town does a lot to prevent youths from being placed outside of their homes, said Carley Starling, clinical director of the behavioral health clinic.<br></p><p>The youth care program consists of foster family services and in-home family services.</p><p>“We have a lot going on," said Megan Andrews, senior director of program operations for Boys Town in central Nebraska.</p><p>Starling said Boys Town is trying to “work with the family as a whole to keep the family whole" and intact.</p><p>The agency works with “families who are really, really struggling. And what we want to do is help alleviate some of that struggle," she said.</p><p>It doesn't matter if the problem seems “really big or really small. We want to be able to improve whatever's going on in their world, so that they're not struggling as a family anymore."​<br></p><h2> Services centralized, expanding</h2><p>In 2020, Boys Town closed its intervention and assessment program, commonly known as the shelter, in Grand Island.</p><p>Because of that closure, some people got the mistaken notion that Boys Town no longer operates in Grand Island.</p><p>But the behavioral health clinic has joined forces with the youth programs that already were being offered at the building.</p><p>The clinic, which used to be located on North Webb Road, moved to the West Wildwood Drive location in December.</p><p>It is greatly expanding its services, Starling said.</p><p>Boys Town works with families from a wide area, “from the South Dakota border all the way to the Kansas border and out past North Platte," she said. Telehealth has helped reach those families because it wasn't always feasible for them to drive.</p><p>Under the central Nebraska umbrella, Boys Town has offices in Kearney and North Platte and a day school in Duncan, which is near Columbus. The North Platte office offers in-home family services.</p><p>The Grand Island and Kearney offices both have in-home programs and foster family services. Those offices recruit, train and support foster families.</p><p>Doing outpatient therapy and assessments, the behavioral health clinic works with young people who have autism, intellectual disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other behavioral disorders. Some may be on probation.</p><p>Boys Town providers share their knowledge with parents, teaching them “how to help their kids be as successful as they can be," Starling said</p><p>“We see kids and families, and whatever struggle the family comes in with and whatever they need help with, we help figure that out with them so they can go home and be a successful family," she said.</p><p>Although most of the young people are older, Starling is working with the parent of an 18-month-old who was referred by a pediatrician for extreme behavior.</p><p>Right now, because of COVID-19, Boys Town uses telehealth to work with families. But the building will reopen its doors Feb. 15.</p><p>“So we're really, really looking forward to that," said Starling, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology.<br></p><h2> Foster homes needed</h2><p>Boys Town works with foster parents in Spalding, Broken Bow and other communities.</p><p>More foster homes are needed to provide kids with a safe, stable environment on a temporary basis.</p><p>It's been hard to find a foster home during the pandemic. It's also hard to find placement for older kids and groups of siblings, Andrews said.</p><p>During the pandemic, foster parents have received their training online.</p><p>Starling would like to see the stigma around mental health reduced.</p><p>During the pandemic, “mental health has been a really big issue for many, many people," she said. “Our referrals have gone through the roof."</p><p>“Mental health has always been a big issue," Starling said. But the isolation experienced by kids and adults during the pandemic has “really compounded the mental health crisis."</p><p>Many adults have experienced job loss, leading to financial problems. Kids have struggled with isolation — not being in school and being unable to see their friends.</p><p>“Many kids and families went from managing their mental health pretty well to being in crisis," Starling said. Often, those problems led to hospitalization.</p><p>Unfortunately, sometimes people have had “to wait to see us," Starling said.​<br></p><h2> Increasing staffing</h2><p>But the waiting period will decrease dramatically in March because two new providers will come aboard. The number will increase to seven by August.</p><p>When Starling came from Colorado to join Boys Town in November 2018, she was the only provider at the clinic.</p><p>The total now will consist of four doctoral-level, licensed psychologists and three interns who are completing their doctorates.</p><p>Those interns come from around the country. So Boys Town is “bringing in an extra resource for the community," said Andrews, who has been with Boys Town for 13 years.</p><p>Boys Town also offers Common Sense Parenting classes, which are funded by the United Way and free to the public. Those classes have been offered at Grand Island schools and the YWCA. Right now, they're provided online.</p><p>A clinic also is offered at St. Paul and at Hastings. Those clinics cut down on drive time for families served by Boys Town.</p><p>Andrews said the level of care provided by Boys Town is “hard to come across in central Nebraska."</p><p>Because of the high quality of care, families don't have to leave town to see specialists, Andrews said, adding that Boys Town is a “great resource" for kids and families.</p><p>“Our heart is into serving kids and families," Starling said. “That's what we do, and we're really, really good at it. I may be partial. I may be biased. But we are really, really good at our jobs."<br></p><p> <em><span style="font-size:10pt;line-height:14.2667px;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;"><br></span></em></p>2021-03-03T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/GI-BHC-outside.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Our Wish for 2021 Wish for 2021<p>​​​​​​​Dear Boys Town Central Florida Friends and Supporters, </p><p>This past year has been a challenge of historic proportions. While battling the pandemic and the many restrictions and barriers placed on our children and staff on campus, we have been successful in keeping our children safe and maintaining momentum towards their goals. Your contributions enabled us to fund additional positions and technology to support academic learning in each of our Family Homes which was a vital and an enormously successful endeavor. Our kids have excelled under this plan. Thank you!</p><p> During this time, we also quickly adapted and developed new, innovative ways to provide our services to meet the needs of families in our community. Our In-Home Family Services, Behavioral Health Clinic and parent training services have each continued to meet with families through video and telehealth platforms. These services have been essential during this difficult, stress-filled time in our families’ lives. We could not have achieved this so quickly and effectively without your help!</p><p> As we look ahead to 2021, there is hope. With that hope, there is much more work to be done as we gradually transition with our community back to normalcy. The effects of the pandemic, especially on our economy, will continue to create despair and setbacks for many. We must be ready to meet those needs.</p><p> In 2021, we will look to expand our outreach to children and families in need through parent training, In-Home Family Services, emergency shelter and our Behavioral Health Clinic. We foresee that times will likely become tougher before they improve, and it’s our mission and job to be there to assist. We hope we can depend on you to partner with us to make that happen!</p><p> We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Be safe.</p><p> Greg Zbylut<br> Executive Director<br> Boys Town Central Florida​<br></p><p style="text-align:center;"> <a class="btn btn-theme13" href="" target="_blank">Help us teach love in 2021</a></p>​<br> <style> .ExternalClass .bt .btn-theme13 { margin:10px 0; padding-right:30px; padding-left:30px; padding-top:15px; padding-bottom:15px; } </style>​<br>2020-12-23T06:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Central Nebraska Helps Kearney Youth Find His Way, and His Smile Town Central Nebraska Helps Kearney Youth Find His Way, and His Smile<p>Layne Hansen has been through a lot in 18 years. Unfortunately, most of it has been a challenge.</p><p>But thanks to Boys Town Central Nebraska, things are looking up for the Kearney youth, and it has already helped put a new smile on his face!</p><p>Layne has suffered through trauma his entire life. He lived with his mother until the age of four, then lived with his maternal grandparents until he was 11. At that point, he was reunited with his mother until he became a ward of the state this past February. He was then placed back with his grandparents.</p><p>Layne struggled through the moves. His behavior was poor, and he was noncompliant with school attendance. He suffered failing grades and negative peer association. </p><p>Despite all of this, Layne has always been a model youth to work with, according to his Boys Town family consultant, Alexa Swartz.</p><p>“Layne is very respectful, opens up and does everything asked of him during assignments and activities," Swartz said. </p><p>Chemical dependency and tough family situations have continued to plague Layne throughout his attempts at righting himself. His exposure to trauma within his family positioned him to become responsible as a caregiver to his younger brother, something he said he takes pride in.</p><p>Although Layne has had a very tough road in his young life, he has overcome several obstacles to make him as successful as he is today. He has had over 6 months of sobriety and completed a stable living environment at his grandparents. He has also held stable employment and is working with the Preparation for Adult Living Services (PALS) program to prepare him for independent living.</p><p>Layne also began attending school regularly. Although he still struggles with grades, he is working with an education program called Re-engage to help him next school year. Boys Town Central Nebraska has also helped him with independent living skills in finding and holding full time employment, money management, including opening a bank account, and helped him study for his driver's test.</p><p>Layne continues to work on relationship building, positive peer engagement and healthy relationships. He also showed ownership of the importance of his sobriety by requesting an alcohol ankle monitor.</p><p>Boys Town Central Nebraska has been there for him every step of the way.</p><p>A few years back, Layne had his tooth knocked out while wrestling with some of his peers. In 2019, his tooth was again knocked out by accident. Medicaid would not cover another partial tooth as it was not within their required timeframe for replacement. As you might imagine, Layne was self-conscious of his appearance. Without his front tooth, he said he missed his smile.</p><p>Boys Town's Swartz worked to find a provider in the Tri City region who could help. She found a Hastings dentist, Dr. Jessica Meeske, who was willing to help Layne with his situation. And, Dr. Meeske didn't stop with just replacing the tooth. Layne had not been to a dentist in several years and had lots of work that needed to be done to his mouth prior to the fitting. Dr. Meeske made arrangements for a Kearney dentist to help Layne with his situation and he recently completed the procedure. Layne now has his smile back!</p><p>Swartz said it is refreshing to see the progress the youth has made despite such difficult circumstances. She said Layne recently signed a lease for his own apartment for independent living. He will continue to go through the independent living program and transition to bridges to independence when he turns 19. Through DHHS, PALS and CNCAP financial assistance, Layne is paid ahead on rent until December. He also recently received a car through his foster care specialist that was donated specifically for him. Layne passed his driver's test and now has his license.</p><p>“Layne is now a very happy, confident young man," Swartz said. “And he is very grateful for all the help he has received. He's even mentioned that he might like to be an In-Home Family Consultant for Boys Town someday, due to all the support he has received from our services and program."</p>2020-07-29T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent