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Boys Town Block Party Encourages a Safe, Violence-Free Summer

Block Party

This story is written by Taylor Berth. It was posted on on May 26, 2017.

Friday marked the last day of school for Omaha Public Schools students. Boys Town held its fourth annual block party in celebration and in hopes of getting kids involved during the summer months.

The Ames Avenue Boys Town office hosted the block party, which included food, face painting, games and bounce houses. The event was also held in conjunction with Harmony Week, which is designed to highlight the importance of taking part in positive alternatives to violence to ensure a safe summer.

The problem is "Kids running around late at night, doing bad things, doing drugs," said the Rev. Steven Boes, national executive director of Boys Town. "I think there are many alternatives to that and if parents involve their children, they have less chance of that happening. Keep the kids busy with sports, with going to church, with activities during the summer, getting out and seeing Nebraska and seeing all the delights around Omaha, the fun things to do."

Vendors were also present at Friday's block party, some offering financial counseling, access to job applications and mental and physical health information. Herb Hames represented the FBI as a volunteer with the Omaha Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

The association has an outreach program for the FBI and community.

"Down time is troubling time," Hames said. "You've really got to work with the environment and such to keep them busy doing fun stuff. There are a lot of great organizations in Omaha that do just that. In this day and age when all the news is bad, bad, bad, it's nice to look at the good in people and it's nice to understand that this is still a great place."

Staff members at the Boys Town Ames Avenue location work to support kids and families through behavioral health services, the Ways 2 Work auto loan program and through consultants who work with the families in their own homes.