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Family Life Gives Teen a New Beginning at Boys Town Louisiana

Sometimes things happen ​in families that are beyond the control of parents and their children. Unfortunately, for the safety and well-being of every family member, a temporary separation is often the best option.

That was the dilemma Jenna and her family faced.

Amid family strife that threatened her safety and well-being, Jenna was removed from her home. Burdened by serious emotional and behavioral issues, the 14-year-old struggled in several placements. Eventually, she was referred to Boys Town Louisiana by her social services worker.

“After talking with Jenna’s worker on several occasions, we could see she was a good kid who just needed the kind of support Boys Town could provide,” said Orlando Petrie, one of the site’s program directors. “We wanted to give Jenna an opportunity.”

As part of a Boys Town Louisiana Family Home, Jenna immediately realized she was in a place unlike any other she had experienced.

“That was a turning point,” Orlando said. “Jenna really took to developing relationships in the family-style environment her Family-Teachers created. She started to build relationships with others in the home and bonded well with consistent, positive role models that she desperately needed.”

Those first few months at Boys Town Louisiana helped Jenna become more receptive to the care and therapy being offered. She also found a willingness to start making changes so healing could begin with her own family.

“She progressed to having family therapy sessions with family members,” said Orlando. “And she began to trust again.”

As Jenna approached her high school graduation, she worked with her Family-Teachers on setting long-term goals. Those goals included getting a job and saving money to help pay for college.

As part of the continuing support Boys Town Louisiana wanted to provide for Jenna, she was able to remain in her Family Home until she turned 18. Then she was to move back home while she attends college.

On the job front, Jenna was hired by a local movie theater to sell tickets and work in the concession stand.

“Jenna is an exceptional employee,” Orlando said. “Her boss reports that the customers love Jenna’s bright smile, eagerness to help and the great social skills she learned at Boys Town.”

Jenna has excelled at work and is doing well in the classroom.

“Jenna came to us angry and confused,” Orlando said. “Through allowing us to work with her and assist her with developing as a person, she’ll be leaving as a more mature person who knows what she needs to do to do well in society.”

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names and details may be changed, and stock photos may be used, to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.