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The Boys Town Legacy Lives On

Jackie Tinguee - Boys Town

​​​Raised in the housing projects of New Orleans, Jackie Tinguee can put herself in the shoes of youth at Boys Town.

“When I was young, my mom would kick me out for the night and I'd sit on the porch," Jackie said. “It was not easy."

When Jackie became a parent herself, she realized that parents need more support and to be more involved in their child's development. She became very involved in her child's school and soon found her way to Boys Town Louisiana's Intervention and Assessment Services program to care for those kids who, like her when she was growing up, had been kicked out with nowhere to go.

At the Intervention and Assessment Services program, Jackie and her colleagues care for abused, neglected, runaway and delinquent youth of all ages. They remove these kids from dangerous situations, assess their needs and begin to work toward family reunification or other permanent care.

Jackie has been a Youth Care Worker at the Intervention and Assessment Services program for 12 years. In her own ways, she brings the spirit of Boys Town's founder, Father Edward Flanagan, into practice every day in her work there.

“Rehabilitation needs greater emphasis, punishment less.”

​The first skills Jackie teaches to incoming youth are following instructions, greeting and showing concern. “At Boys Town, we want to teach kids to have better decision-making skills so they can eventually return home to their parents," Jackie said. For many kids, this is the first conversation where someone has truly listened to them. Oftentimes, when they initially arrive at Boys Town, they are jaded from previous experiences at other juvenile facilities and have their guard up.

“I have yet to find a single boy who wants to be bad.”

“When a youth comes to the program, it's an introduction for both of us," Jackie said. “I talk to them a lot and meet them where they are. Every character is different. I relate to them and try to convey that we all make mistakes."

“It costs so little to teach a child to love, and so much to teach him to hate.”

Jackie's favorite part about working at the Intervention and Assessment Services program is cooking for the kids. “They are happy to see me come into work because they know dinner will be good that night," Jackie said. “I love to see their reactions when they enjoy something. It's a pat on the back from them to me!"

This is just one of the ways program staff work to set routines for incoming youth, build relationships with them and give them something to look forward to, even if it is as simple as a home-cooked meal.

“The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God's work, not mine.”

“If there's one thing you should know about Intervention and Assessment Services, it's that our program works!" Jackie said. “We love what we do. We show up every day to do our best, because children are factors for us. Boys Town is something that needs to keep going whether I'm here or not, because we can change children for the better."​