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Syracuse Junior High Student Council Keeps 15-Year Boys Town Streak Alive Junior High Student Council Keeps 15-Year Boys Town Streak Alive<p>For the second consecutive year, COVID-19 kept the Syracuse Junior High Student Council from making its annual Spring trip to Boys Town. But, just like the previous year, that didn't stop the group from keeping its streak alive.</p><p>Due to the extraordinary and unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, this spring's tour had to be canceled. But while student council sponsor Sallie Agena and her students couldn't be on Home Campus in person, they made sure the part of the visit they felt was very important – a donation to Boys Town – continued.</p><p>Over the past 14 years, the Syracuse Junior High Student Council has generously given a total of $6,500 to the Home. This year, Agena delivered a check for $500 to keep the school's streak of supporting Boys Town alive, and it pushed their 15-year total to $7,000.</p><p>"It is up to our kids to decide where they want to go for their yearly field trip, and where they want to donate the money they have raised over the school year," Agena said. "Ever since our first visit back in 2007, Boys Town has left an impression on our students. They have learned what Boys Town does for children – children that they have learned are just like them. And, they have learned a lot about the Home. Most importantly, they brought that message back to their classmates and it has created a great feeling for Boys Town."</p><p>Over the years, the group would visit a Family Home, Wegner Middle School and the High School, Palrang Field House, the Hall of History, the Headquarters building and Dowd Chapel. A highlight of the tour was a personal meeting and taking a group photo with Father Steven Boes, Boys Town's President and National Executive Director.</p><p>This year, Agena wrote a letter to Father Boes and said she and the Syracuse students are excited to see Boys Town's new Education Center in the future.</p><p>"Your organization has been nothing but a great giver that has helped countless numbers of children and families by giving them hope for a better future," Agena wrote. "The services provided at Boys Town are valuable and necessary. What an exciting project to ensure that all of your students receive the education they so deserve." </p><p>Agena said one thing that always stays with her students is the social skills Boys Town youth learn and use as part of their daily care. </p><p>"When every Boys Town child makes eye contact, introduces themselves and shakes your hand, it leaves a lasting impression," she said. "Every year on our ride home, our kids comment on how the Boys Town youth are nothing like they expected. It gives them a special feeling of what is happening on your campus." </p><p>Agena said she hopes her group can resume its visits next spring. </p><p>"Hopefully, next year the conditions will allow for us to continue this wonderful opportunity for our students," she said.</p>​<br>2021-07-22T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Syracuse Donation" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Syracuse-Donation.jpeg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="syracuse donation" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Syracuse-Donation.jpeg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Gavin Smith Signs with Peru State Cross Country Smith Signs with Peru State Cross Country​<p> <strong>​Peru State cross country coach James Cole recently announced that Gavin William Smith (Omaha, Neb.) signed his national letter of intent to run cross country for the Bobcats this fall.</strong><br><em> </em><br><em>This article was written and posted by Peru State Athletics </em><a href=""><em>Tuesday, May 25th 2021.</em></a></p><p>Peru State cross country coach <a href=""><em>James Cole</em></a> recently announced that Gavin William Smith <strong>(Omaha, Neb.) </strong>signed his national letter of intent to run cross country for the Bobcats this fall.<br> <br>Smith is the son of Crystal and Douglas Smith. He has recently graduated from Boys Town High School in Omaha.<br> <br>The co-captain, national honors society member, and peer minister, Smith, had a great high school career. He was a two-time state qualifier for the Nebraska School Activities Association Class C Cross Country Championships. This past fall, Smith finished 18<sup>th</sup> overall with a time of 17:24.4. The previous fall, Smith finished 65<sup>th</sup>with a time of 18:41.2.</p><p>Smith received some awards and accolades throughout his high school career at Boys Town including MVP of the cross country team and earning the Boys Town Competing with Character award, which is awarded to one female and one male every year.<br> <br>Smith had a 3.9 GPA and will receive the Chancellors Scholarship in addition to his cross country scholarship. He plans on majoring in pre-nursing in the fall.<br> <br>Coach Cole commented, "Gavin holds the school's boys 5k record with a 16:41.9 set at their 2020 C-1 District meet at DC West. He is currently competing in track and field in the one mile and two mile and doing very well. All the while, Gavin has stayed humble and I know he will be a great addition to the PSC roster."​<br></p>2021-06-10T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Peru state" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/peru.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="Peru State" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/peru.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Brush With Law Becomes North Omaha Family’s Blessing With Law Becomes North Omaha Family’s Blessing<p>Games, gossip, good food and bad movies. Just your average teenage slumber party… until a few of the girls snuck out to a nearby convenience store and attempted to run off with a bottle of booze. The party was over when police arrived.</p><p>Seventeen-year-old Mara and her friends landed in the juvenile justice system. The Douglas County Juvenile Assessment Center referred Mara and her family to Boys Town so they could receive appropriate intervention services. The family benefitted </p><p>from several Boys Town programs, including In-Home Family Services and LIFT Together, which empower struggling families by providing them the counseling, guidance, skills and resources they need to thrive.</p><p>For Mara’s mom, Lizette, the intervention was a much welcomed blessing.</p><p>Her daughter’s brush with the law was just one of multiple challenges the family faced. Lizette worked long hours, seven days a week, leaving her little time to supervise and parent Mara, 15-year-old Ella, and baby Noah. The girls were often left to parent themselves while also caring for their little brother. The burden and stress were simply too much.</p><p>Lizette and Mara had a particularly fraught relationship. Neverending arguments and constant shouting had left them angry, frustrated and exhausted. Their conflicts always erupted around the same issues: Mara’s failing grades and Mara’s pregnancy.</p><p>There was much turmoil and heartache in the home when the Boys Town Consultant arrived to help Lizette and her children. The Consultant worked quickly to identify community resources the family could tap into for extra support, such as an early child development program and a mentorship program for Mara and Ella. In addition, the Consultant’s warm and reassuring presence gave the sisters the courage to join teen support groups where they talked with peers experiencing similar struggles. The girls realized they weren’t alone and found renewed hope.</p><p>One of the biggest stressors on the family involved school. During the height of the pandemic, Mara struggled with the logistics and discipline required for remote learning. She was failing all her classes. When in-school instruction resumed, Mara was scared for her safety and the safety of her unborn child. Several classmates had threatened her, so she refused to go back.</p><p>The Consultant reached out to the Omaha Street School, an alternative education program for at-risk youth, and helped Mara enroll. The school’s smaller environment, support systems, individualized attention and therapy services were exactly what the expectant mom needed. Mara now “loves” school. The Consultant also helped Mara and Ella establish homework routines and a structured learning space at home so they could more easily focus on their studies.</p><p>As for Lizette, despite her demanding schedule, she eagerly put into practice the parenting skills the Consultant taught her. Lizette adopted time-management strategies and communication techniques that allowed her to engage more successfully with her daughters and school staff.</p><p>Throughout the intervention, the family drew courage and strength from their faith which carried them through the hardest days. And as they experienced more success in school and at home, the family’s confidence grew. They felt empowered and wanted to continue to learn and grow, which led to even more success. Lizette praised Boys Town for her family’s transformation.</p><p>“Boys Town gave me, as a single mother, a lot of support and hope, built my faith and blessed me,” Lizette said.</p><p>Today, the family bonds remain strong. While heated arguments occasionally pop up, they’re far less intense and the family now has the skills and tools to reach resolutions. Most importantly, Lizette and her children have progressed from thinking they can’t to knowing they can!</p>​<br>2021-06-07T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
FFS Employees Set Up Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention Month Campaign Employees Set Up Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention Month Campaign<p>April was Child Abuse Prevention Month and recently Boys Town's Foster Family Services set up pinwheels to bring awareness to child abuse prevention. <br></p><p> In 2008, Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA) introduced the pinwheel as the new national symbol for child abuse prevention. Base on their research, a pinwheel implies whimsy and childlike notions and serves as a physical reminder of the great childhoods we want for all children. </p><p> This campaign is sponsored locally by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and blue pinwheels can be found all around the Omaha Metro area during the month of April. Foster Family Services employees worked hard to place 1,000 blue pinwheels on Boys Town's Home Campus last month as part of the campaign. </p><p> <img src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/FFS-Employees-Set-Up-Pinwheels-for-Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month-Campaign/Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month2.jpeg" alt="Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month2.jpeg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px 10px;width:332px;height:441px;" />"Boys Town Foster Family Services is proud to support th​e Pinwheels for Prevention campaign in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month," said Matt Priest, Director of Foster Family Services. "We all have the duty to protect children and we believe in safe and nurturing environments for all children. Healthy families contribute to a healthy community." </p><p> Boys Town is very thankful for all of the Foster Family Services employees and all of the hard work they put in daily to provide a safe and healthy environment for children in the foster care system.​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​</span></p>2021-05-13T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Child abuse prevention" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month.jpeg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Seniors Get Send Off Parade Town Seniors Get Send Off Parade<p><em>This article is written by Jon Kipper. It was <a href="" target="_blank">posted on April 30, 2021 on</a>.</em></p><p>It was a day to celebrate the Boys Town seniors.</p><p> The seniors packed classic cars, firetrucks and whatever else they could find to parade around campus Friday afternoon. </p><p> It was a day to reflect for Vivica and Hazakiah Williams, twins who came from New York. </p><p> “You’re surrounded with a lot more people that like encourage you to go to college and make good decisions, and like, even if you’re not going to college, have a better future for yourself and have plans and always set goals...always make plans and everybody just wants to see you succeed,” said Vivica Williams. </p><p> “It hasn’t really set in yet, but I feel accomplished. I know there is a lot of things that I wouldn’t be able to do if I hadn’t come to Boys Town. Being able to see myself grow up and actually see myself change is for the better," said Hazakiah Williams, who struggled with school in New York before coming to Boys Town around two years ago. </p><p> Both are going off to college, as is Hailey Holm who was struggling in Iowa before coming to Boys Town four years ago. ​<br></p><p> "They’ve given me so many opportunities to be a leader and to do things that I never thought possible or couldn't have found elsewhere. It’s just amazing how much confidence they give to each student that comes here,” said Holm. </p><p> Holm is now getting a full ride to Creighton, thanks to the US Army, but she won’t forget her experience at Boys Town. </p><p> “Boys Town told me I could do anything I can set my mind to,” said Holm. </p><p> The seniors will officially graduate on Saturday.<br></p>2021-05-07T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Maddie Hagan of Papillion, Nebraska Elected 121st Mayor of Boys Town Hagan of Papillion, Nebraska Elected 121st Mayor of Boys Town<p>BOYS TOWN, Neb. – Boys Town youth today elected Maddie Hagan of Papillion, Nebraska, the 121<sup>st</sup> mayor of the Village of Boys Town. Jay Ballard of Baltimore, Maryland, was elected vice- mayor. </p><p>Maddie Hagan is 17-years-old, and her campaign theme was: we are better together through discussions, encouraging, and being kind to everyone. “Boys Town has changed the trajectory of my life," said Hagan. “I want to be an encouraging leader and lead the campus towards a more inclusive and proactive Boys Town."  </p><p>Maddie plays for the Boys Town soccer team, competes for the cross-country team, and has been on the honor roll for each quarter. Maddie has a strong faith and shares this and her kindness with others in her role as a Peer Minister. After graduation, she plans to go to college and potentially become a mental health specialist. Her Family-Teachers are Kyle and Jodi Skartvedt. </p><p>Jay Ballard is captain of the Boys Town Football team and captain of the wrestling team. He also is on the National Honors Society and wants to be a peer minister. After graduation, he wants to enroll in a four-year college and play football. His goal is to become a physical therapist. His Family-Teachers are Zachary and Alexis Myers. </p><p>Father Edward J. Flanagan conceived the self-government system at the Village of Boys Town in 1926 as a tool for its citizens to build character, citizenship and a sense of community. The process was made famous in the 1938 Academy Award-winning movie “Boys Town," where Mickey Rooney's portrayal of Whitey Marsh, a tough young boy who turns his life around and becomes Mayor of Boys Town.​​<br></p>2021-05-06T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/2021Mayor_08.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
After a traumatizing separation, 7-year-old boy finds security in Boys Town Foster Home a traumatizing separation, 7-year-old boy finds security in Boys Town Foster Home<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">F</span><span style="background-color:transparent;">or a young boy named Jonhy, who had irrepressible joy and optimism, the moment was confusing and frightening. His devoted father was being deported, and Jonhy had to move into the home of an aunt he barely knew.</span></p><p>The stability of this new living arrangement proved fleeting.   </p><p>Jonhy's aunt had her own children to care for, and the burden of having another little one to feed and clothe was too overwhelming. She quickly relinquished guardianship, and Jonhy had to pack his meager possessions and prepare for an uncertain future in foster care.</p><p>Jennifer and Steven Scott were newly licensed Boys Town Foster Parents. They had provided respite care (short-term, temporary foster care) to children whose foster parents needed time away, but the Scotts had never had an official placement. Jonhy would be their first, and it didn't take long for loving bonds to form.    </p><p>The Scott's 8-year-old son Parker became fast friends with the 7-year-old, and the two laughed, played and behaved like brothers. Jennifer's parents, who also lived in the home, took on the role of surrogate grandparents, offering emotional support and serving as valuable role models to Jonhy.  </p><p>The love and security provided by the Scotts were exactly what Jonhy needed. He missed his parents terribly and sometimes broke down in tears, longing to be reunited with them in Guatemala. Despite geographic and technological challenges, the Scotts ensured Jonhy maintained regular contact with his family. They used instant messaging and social media apps that allowed Jonhy to connect with his parents and relatives back home.</p><p>The Scotts understood the goal was to eventually reunite Jonhy with his family in Guatemala. But until the legal and administrative obstacles could be resolved, they were determined to provide him with a sense of normalcy and stability.</p><p>“Jonhy is a very active boy, so we got him involved in bowling and gymnastics," Steven said. “He was very flexible, so gymnastics was something he was very good at. At school, he also enjoyed recess and PE class, as well as reading." </p><p>Holidays also provided an opportunity to offer a sense of comfort. The Scotts made a special photo book for Jonhy as a keepsake to remember his time in their home. “He told us that was his favorite Christmas present, even over all the toys he received," Steven said.</p><p>After sixteen months in the Scott home, Jonhy's reunification plan was finalized and it was time for him to return to his family. </p><p>“We always knew that reunification was going to be the end result, and Jonhy always wanted to return to Guatemala because he missed his parents a lot," explained Jennifer. “So that eased the sadness of letting go, and helped our son Parker say goodbye, too." </p><p>Steven, Jennifer and Parker joined Jonhy on a flight to Guatemala City. They witnessed the moment when Jonhy and his parents set eyes on one another. Jonhy sprinted toward them for a long-awaited embrace, an unforgettable moment Steven said was simply “great."</p><p>Jonhy left an indelible mark on the hearts of the Scott family, and while they miss his rambunctious spirit, they take comfort knowing the little guy is exactly where he is meant to be… with his family.</p><p>May is National Foster Care Month, and the need for foster parents is growing. To learn more about Boys Town Foster Family Services<sup>®</sup> and how you can change the life of a child by becoming a Boys Town Foster Parent, please call 531-355-3036.<br></p>2021-04-23T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Johny" src="/locations/louisiana/PublishingImages/Johny-Success.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent