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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
GIPS to require masks, child psychologist weighs in to require masks, child psychologist weighs in<p>​<em style="background-color:transparent;">​Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 9:30 PM CDT, By Diamond Nunnally </em><a href="" target="_blank" style="background-color:transparent;"><em>on</em></a><em style="background-color:transparent;">.​​</em></p><p>Earlier this week, Grand Island Public Schools announced face coverings would be required. On Thursday, they voted unanimously to make it an enforceable policy.</p><p>“It's a formal expectation, and it is enforceable," said Robin Dexter, Associate Superintendent for Student Services at GIPS.</p><p>Now all students, staff and teachers must wear face masks at all times. If kids don't wear them, then they will not be allowed in school. Students who are unable to wear masks because of health issues or religious reasons, must communicate with staff. They will either find the student another face covering or suggest opting for virtual classes.<br></p><p>The school district is working closely with the health department. Officials said wearing a mask is important in reducing the spread of the Coronavirus.</p><p>“If everyone in the classroom has a mask on and someone ends up testing positive, we know that everyone in that classroom was low risk because they had their mask on. So we don't need to quarantine them, we just ask them to observe their symptoms," Teresa Anderson, Director of the Central District Health Department.</p><p>It may be hard for kids to get used to wearing a mask, so parents should start preparing them now.</p><p>“We're going to talk about it in a way where the parents validate the kids feelings," said Carley Starling, a Clinical Psychologist at Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health Clinic in Grand Island. “They validate those fears but we also say this is why we're wearing the mask, so you can see your friends, so you can see your teachers."</p><p>According to Starling, the key to get kids adjusted to wearing masks, is by setting an example. Parents should wear masks around their kids to show them what will be expected at school.</p><p>“Modeling by parents is going to be the most important thing. If a kiddo has to wear a mask at school, we have to start practicing at home," said Starling.</p><p>The doctor also suggests role playing with kids who have special needs. Parents can wear a mask during their favorite activity or for example, play with it by putting it on a toy.</p><p>Every kid is different and must be taught based on their needs. Some children need parents to be more hands-on to help them understand and adjust. If a child is having a hard time getting used to this new normal, parents can contact a therapist at Boys Town Hotline at 1 (800) - 448-3000, or the Nebraska Family Helpline at 1 (888)-866-8660.<br></p><p>Watch the full story <a href="" target="_blank">here​</a>.<br></p>2020-07-20T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Stands for Racial Equality Town Stands for Racial Equality<p>Nearly a century ago, Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan spoke these profound words: </p><p>" I … see danger for all in an ideology which discriminates against anyone politically or economically because he or she was born into the 'wrong' race, has skin of the 'wrong' color, or worships at the 'wrong' altar."</p><p>Today, America is at a crossroads. The dangerous ideology of racism Father Flanagan described then continues to exist today. </p><p>At Boys Town, we share the sadness of so many mourning the senseless killings due to violence and racism. We also share the anger that is sweeping our nation as we unequivocally condemn all forms of racism, hatred, and injustice that tear at the seams of our society.</p><p>When Father Flanagan opened his first Home for Boys in 1917, he welcomed kids of every race, color, and creed. But his efforts to be inclusive and compassionate in his care of children went far beyond creating a place where they could grow and thrive. Father Flanagan also recognized and rejected the laws and customs that enshrined and reinforced institutional racism. He passionately attacked those unfair laws and practices, shining a spotlight on prejudice and injustice, and using Boys Town as a model for the incredible possibilities that existed when people of all colors lived, worked, and played side by side in mutual respect and equality.</p><p><strong>Boys Town has never wavered from the principles on which it was founded. As a passionate advocate of positive social change, we firmly stand with those individuals and groups who have dedicated themselves to the cause of racial equality and justice, and strongly support their efforts to bring about lasting, significant change. </strong><strong> </strong></p><p>We have recognized since our formation that it is not enough to simply avoid racist behavior as individuals. We all must work together proactively to create a more just, a more peaceful, and a more equitable society. We all must live by the values of diversity and inclusion more deeply in the days, months, and years to come. We all must strive to re-create a society in which everyone feels that they belong, that they matter, and that they are respected for who they are.     </p><p>People have rediscovered their voice, and their pain and anger are being felt and heard. Boys Town adds its voice to this rising chorus with the fervent hope that racism, injustice, and prejudice can finally be vanquished.     </p><p>God's Blessings,</p><p>Father Steven E. Boes<br>President and National Executive Director, Boys Town</p>2020-06-17T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Father Flanagan" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Flanagan_with_Boys_1942_682-rollup.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