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bt-graduate-teddy-allen-quickly-heating-upBoys Town graduate Teddy ‘T-Sauce’ Allen quickly heating up at West VirginiaNebraska
Teddy Allen
Friday, Jan 19, 2018

This article is written by Rich Kaipust, World-Herald staff writer. It was posted on on January 15, 2018.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins knew from recruiting Teddy Allen and his previous conversations with the player that he was sure of himself. Allen already had a nickname given to him by his future teammates in Morgantown.

It was no surprise then that Allen has been stop-me-if-you-can from the start, or that the Boys Town graduate had never given a thought to having to wait his turn as a freshman.

It may not sound practical to some, considering Allen was coming from the Class C-1 ranks in Nebraska and that he was joining a program that won 28 games and made the NCAA Sweet 16 last season.

"I never thought about that," Allen said. "For me, it wasn't an option. I just knew coming in that I was going to work. I wasn't going to let myself not be there.

"It's up to you. All you got to do is work, and bring what you can bring, and you'll be on the floor."

The result of that focus and belief — and a lot of talent — has put Allen in the thick of Mountaineer operations heading into an ESPN Big Monday game with No. 12 Kansas.

The 6-foot-5 forward was averaging 9.7 points and 3.4 rebounds before two scoreless games last week. He scored at least 14 points in six of the Mountaineers' first 15 games as West Virginia (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) climbed to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25, the highest ranking for the program since the 1959-60 season with Jerry West.

Allen started Big 12 play by averaging 19.0 points and making 24 of 34 shots (70.6 percent) in wins over Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Oklahoma — the latter two leading to Big 12 newcomer of the week honors Jan. 8.

"Teddy does not lack for confidence, and I think that's probably the biggest thing," Huggins said. "Teddy's very confident in what he can do, and then once he had some success I think he has more confidence. I think with Teddy, it's all a state of mind."

Allen said he clicked with his future West Virginia teammates during a recruiting visit — when current senior Jevon Carter was his host — and arrived last summer to hear them calling him "Sauce," or "T-Sauce."

"I don't know where they came up with that," Allen said, laughing. "I think it had something to do with how I act, or something. I just run with it."

Allen then stayed with his normal approach to the game, though he knew he wasn't going to be putting up numbers similar to his senior season at Boys Town — when he averaged 31.6 points and 13.0 rebounds a game as a World-Herald All-Nebraska pick.

"I feel like Hugs and the other coaches and my teammates encourage me to always just do what I know how to do," he said. "This is the best players I've ever played with or against, so it was going to be different, but what I do is not going to change. It's what they recruited me to do."

As Boys Town coach Tom Krehbiel has watched Allen drive, slash, absorb contact and score, he nods at what he sees. Krehbiel thought it might take his former star a little longer to settle in at such a high level.

"They have done a tremendous job of defining for him places on the floor where he can score, and he's taken advantage of that," Krehbiel said. "And he's doing the other parts of the game that will keep you on the floor."

Allen also is toeing the line, something he knew would go with playing for Huggins.

When a Jan. 1 game included Allen flexing after one basket and wandering over after another to tell Huggins his defender couldn't guard him, Huggins got his attention by telling him a technical foul would mean sitting two games. As "Teddy Buckets" started to replace "T-Sauce" as his nickname, Huggins took to briefly calling him "Teddy No-Buckets" when he was missing free throws and had a few off practices.

Huggins regularly rides Allen about his shot selection.

But when asked if he has had to remind himself to stay humble as things have started happening for him, Allen said "the team's success is humbling to all of us."

"It just feels like a blessing to be a part of it," Allen said. "It's not just about one person. We wouldn't be here if we just had one person. Everything feels good — the weight room is high energy, practice is high energy, around campus it's high energy — and people are proud of the team.

"Hugs always emphasizes: You're not playing for yourself, you're playing for the people of West Virginia."

Krehbiel said the reports from Huggins and West Virginia associate head coach Larry Harrison have been good. Allen said his two years at Boys Town, after coming from Mesa, Arizona, matured him and prepared him for the discipline necessary at the highest levels of Division I play.

As he was looking at his next step, Allen also wasn't going to shy away from an intense and relentless coach like Huggins.

"I think that's the only way he'd survive, is to have those demands put on him," Krehbiel said. "And, really, that style of coaching doesn't bother him. It even drives him.

"I'm not an easy guy to play for. So Teddy is kind of used to it, and thrives on it, really."

Krehbiel said the Boys Town experience was great for Allen, who arrived in Omaha "stressed out and struggling in life" — and weighing 275 pounds because of some time away from basketball.

"He looked like a bowling pin," Krehbiel said.

But he was an immediate factor after becoming eligible at the semester break his junior year, averaging 26.6 points and 12.3 rebounds a game before his big senior season. He played at 230 pounds his final year and is now 220. Krehbiel said West Virginia wants him around 205 next season and able to defend shooting guards.

Next season is the least of his concerns, though, as West Virginia was stealing the national spotlight before a 72-71 loss Saturday at Texas Tech stopped a 15-game winning streak.

Allen saw a dip in his minutes last week with the return of junior Esa Ahmad from suspension, and foul trouble also hurt him against Baylor. But any letup would go against what put him in position to play — and what West Virginia coaches warned him it would take.

"They said the players here work hard, and we take pride in the fact that we're the hardest working team in the country," Allen said. "To me, that seemed like a way that I can maximize my potential as a player, personally, and compete for a title. If you're the hardest working team in the country, you're going to be there."

bt-helps-teen-learn-to-love-himselfBoys Town helps teen learn to love himselfNebraska
Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018

Sara Lopez was having trouble with her 16-year-old son Miguel.

"He did not want to go to school, he did not listen to the school teachers or the school counselors." said Sara

That was until Sara went to Boys town for help, after that everything changed.

Miguel had perfect attendance at the Omaha Steet School and his grade-point average was over 3.0

"He learned to love himself, and because of that he was able to learn how to express his feelings," said Sara

"He was able to communicate what he was feeling to be able to make changes within himself."

Regina Costello, the Director of Community Support Services at Boys Town, says that they have several programs on their South Omaha campus.

"We have care coordination services this program provides assessments for families they come in usually referred by South high school or mars middle school and we do a screening process we talk to them about what their needs are"

Sara hopes Miguel's success story inspires others.

"There's a place that can help you when your having difficulty or problems with your kids"

boys-town-marks-a-century-of-serviceBoys Town marks a century of serviceNebraska
Father Edward J. Flanagan
Thursday, Dec 28, 2017

​​This is a World-Herald editorial. It was posted on Om​ on December 24, 2017.

This year, Boys Town's ​services helped more than 2 million people across the nation. That's an inspiring achievement for an institution that started from such humble beginnings under a young Irish immigrant priest searching for a way to meet the needs of disadvantaged children.

A century ago this month, Father Edward J. Flanagan borrowed $90 from a friend, Omaha lawyer and businessman Henry Monsky, to rent a Victorian-style boardinghouse at 25th and Dodge Streets.

It was Omaha's first Home for Boys.

From that small beginning, this Omaha institution has grown into national recognition, helping generations of young people move into productive adulthood.

This year, Boys Town's services helped more than 2 million people across the nation. That's an inspiring achievement for an institution that started from such humble beginnings under a young Irish immigrant priest searching for a way to meet the needs of disadvantaged children.

Flanagan's concept for Boys Town centered on a innovative approach. In contrast to many institutions at the time, Flanagan's focus wasn't on negatives and penalties. It was on positives — encouragement of each boy and enrichment through education and activities.

Farm activities were added to the mix once the home relocated in 1921 to Overlook Farm, 10 miles to the west, and took on the formal name Boys Town. Boys raised some of their own food in a vegetable garden and enjoyed new opportunities for outdoor sports — baseball, football and track.

The 1938 movie "Boys Town," for which actor Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his portrayal of Flanagan, brought the Boys Town story to a national audience.

At the conclusion of World War II, President Harry Truman fittingly asked Flanagan to advise overseas governments about the care of children orphaned by the conflict. Flanagan died on that mission during a trip to Berlin in 1948.

In the decades since, each subsequent director has helped Boys Town, which began admitting girls to its residential program in 1979, reach new achievements.

In 2017, Boys Town staff, researchers and administrators, backed by generous philanthropic support, are making major contributions to our country's well-being. Among the examples:

» The toll-free Boys Town National Hotline, (800) 448-3000, helps by putting young people into contact with trained mental health counselors. The call volume from 2012 to 2016 increased by 12 percent to more than 179,000 — an indicator, mental health expert say, of the country's increased need to address issues relating to teenage suicide.

» Boys Town National Research Hospital specializes in childhood deafness, visual impairment and related communication disorders. The hospital, with locations near Creighton University and on the Boys Town campus, and its clinics serve more than 45,000 child patients each year.

» The Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research conducts advanced research to improve intervention methods for children with behavioral and mental health problems. Researchers work at Boys Town National Research Hospital-West, on the Boys Town campus.

» Boys Town in recent years has focused much of its work on in-home care, building strong connections with neighborhoods and looking to the needs of families as a whole. More than 90 percent of children served by Boys Town now receive support in the home. Boys Town has locations in six states and the District of Columbia. During 2016, its youth care, health and other child and family support programs served more than 508,000 children nationwide.

A century after Father Flanagan took his first humble steps to create a Home for Boys, his vision continues to inspire. Generations of young people have achieved a better future thanks to the foundation he laid.​

bringing-mother-and-daughter-togetherBringing mother and daughter togetherNebraska
Joni Wheeler
Friday, Dec 15, 2017

This article is written by WOWT 6 News. It was posted on on December 13, 2017.

Joni Wheeler loves taking time to be close to her daughter Destiny. The distance between them now seems small but there was a time when it felt like an unbridgeable gap.

"She was diagnosed with a number of mental health issues when she was six and so there were always behavior problems destructiveness and she didn't have any empathy. So she didn't know how to relate to others," said Joni.

"My relationship before Boys Town with my mom was constant arguing throwing stuff kicking walls not listening to her at all," said Dest

After years of struggle the family turned to Boys Town. Destiny entered treatment for six months and then spent a year in a group home. Destiny says it changed her life.

"Before I didn't know where I was going. I wasn't paying attention in school. I wasn't getting along with my family and I didn't have a lot of friends and through Boys Town they taught me how to be sympathetic and have empathy for other people and just getting along with people in general," she said.

It all payed off – today Destiny is heading for college and her relationship with her mom is much better.

"After Boys Town I was able to talk to her and care a lot for her. More than I did before," said Destiny.

"It's amazing. This is what it should look like, a mother and a daughter. So I love it," said Joni.

Destiny is now studying at UNO. Her goal is to become a physician's assistant.

bt-celebrates-100-years-with-time-capsuleBoys Town celebrates 100 years with time capsuleNebraska
Friday, Dec 15, 2017

This article is written by Jake Wasikowski. It was posted on on December 12, 2017. 

A big celebration for an Omaha landmark helping get kids on positive paths. Boys Town officially opened 100 years ago.

Tuesday morning, Boys Town filled a time capsule that will stay in Father Flanagan's office for 100 more years until being opened. It includes a key to the City of Omaha, Boys Town coins created by the U.S. Mint, and an ornament and wooden craft that were made by students who have learned through the Boys Town system.

It was started in 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan as an orphanage for troubled boys and continues to serve youth.

"It's amazing. Father Flanagan just seems like he is here every day with us. He said right before he died that, 'The work will continue you see because it's God's work and not mine.' And we really believe that, that we're doing Father Flanagan's work, even today," Father Steven Boes said.

Staff and alumni also walked from the old German-American Home to the current campus — it's the same route 200 residents took in 1921 when they moved.

Mayor Jean Stothert proclaimed Dec. 12 "Father Flanagan Day" to commemorate the occasion.

helping-foster-parents-and-kids-at-btHelping foster parents and kids at Boys TownNebraska
Foster Parents and Boys Town
Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

This article is written by WOWT 6 News. It was posted on on December 6, 2017.

Being a foster parent can be a challenge, but there are experts at Boys Town to help guide parents as they help children.

Sharon Schwartzkop has been a foster parent for several years. When she started out she wasn't sure she would measure up until she learned she wasn't alone. That's where Marcus Johnson comes in. His job is to provide guidance and support to Sharon whenever she needs it.

"I couldn't imagine not having support from Boys Town. I couldn't imagine doing it without the support," said Schwartzkop.

Marcus says Sharon is a natural. He said, "It's the spirit of service that she brings. It's a joy to work with her each and every day."

Sharon says foster parenting provides a lot of gratification;

"I think the biggest gratification that we get out foster parenting is – you're gonna make me emotional when I say this – is seeing the success of the children."

Marcus has been there supporting her all along the way. He was so impressed that he nominated her for the Foster Parents of the Year award and she won.

"I was ecstatic and I was trying to not cry so she wouldn't cry but that didn't work out," Marcus told 6 News.

"I basically eat breathe and sleep foster parenting and I love to do it," she said.

And if Sharon needs help when Marcus isn't available, Boys Town will make sure she gets the support she needs. Boys Town provides this service to over a hundred foster families at any given time.

bt-marks-100-years-rebuilding-youngsters-livesBoys Town Marks 100 Years Rebuilding Youngsters’ LivesNebraska
Father Flanagan with Boys in 1942
Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

The Catholic organization founded by Father Edward Flanagan in the middle of the prairie continues to serve families.

This article is written by Joseph Pronechen, a Register staff writer. It was posted on on December 8, 2017.

"There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking," Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town in Nebraska, famously said.

At first, some scoffed at his optimism, but his words proved perfectly true as Boys Town flourished and grew: So much so that on Dec. 12, 2017, Boys Town will celebrate its 100th anniversary serving children and families.

By 1939, everybody in the country knew about the Irish priest when actor Spencer Tracy won the "Best Actor" Oscar for portraying the priest in the 1938 movie Boys Town. But that award was minor in comparison to the tributes modest Father Flanagan received from scores of boys who went on to prove that, as he said: "There is nothing the matter with our growing boys that love, proper training and guidance will not remedy."

The founder's statement has proven true countless times during these past 100 years.

According to Father Steven Boes, who became the fifth national director in 2005, Boys Town has directly served more than 392,000 children — and families — from the time it opened in Omaha with six boys Dec. 12, 1917.

Success Stories Abound

One graduate is John Mollison, Boys Town Class of 1964.

"Boys Town gave me the stability to have a normal life," he told the Register. "Prior to coming to Boys Town at the age of 11, I lived in 15 different places, and my father was rarely present in the family."

But things took an upward turn once Mollison arrived. "At Boys Town I learned that with hard work I could do anything and that people could believe in me."

As a result, after graduating, he went to college, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and flew a combat tour in Vietnam as a weapon systems officer in the F-4 Phantom. His last assignment was as commander of the 55th Support Group at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, before he retired as a full colonel.

Mollison married and raised a family of two sons who followed him into the Air Force.

"As Boys Town was there for me," he explained, "I made it a priority for me to be there for them. That is a very powerful lesson I took from my almost seven-year stay at Boys Town."

So powerful was his childhood experience that Mollison remains connected to the organization. For 10 years, he served as vice president for human and physical resources, and for the last nine he has been the senior adviser for alumni matters, working with hundreds of alumni from all generations and keeping connected with many of today's graduates.

"We share a common heritage and legacy and view ourselves as a very large extended family as a result of our common experience," he said. "Boys Town's life lessons stay with you throughout your entire life."

Fascinating History

On Dec. 12, 1917, 31-year-old Father Flanagan borrowed $90 to rent a home in Omaha to begin to help troubled boys. Six youngsters from juvenile court were the first residents. By the next spring, as the courts sent more boys, or people referred them, Father Flanagan had to move Boys Town to a vacant building across town to accommodate all of the newcomers.

Success from the start in helping troubled youth meant that by 1921 Boys Town needed even more space. So the facilities were moved to Overlook Farm, 10 miles from Omaha. Six years later, famous people like New York Yankees' sluggers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig visited Boys Town.

In 1935, Boys Town was named an incorporated village and began a student government program. Young resident Tony Villone was elected Boys Town's first mayor. A year later, Boys Town became a municipality, with its own fire and police departments, post office and schools.

So strong were the bonds formed at Boys Town that, in 1942, with World War II raging, many of the graduates serving in the war officially listed Father Flanagan as their next of kin. As a result, the American War Dads Association named him America's "No. 1 War Dad."

In 1948, after 31 years as national director, during a child welfare mission of mercy to devastated areas of Germany after the war, Father Flanagan died of a heart attack while in Berlin at the age of 61. He was buried at Dowd Memorial Chapel at Boys Town.

"The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God's work, not mine," Father Flanagan had said. By 1950, with a major expansion finished, Boys Town grew to 900 boys. In 1974, the Family Home Program replaced dormitory living. Today, the home campus in Nebraska has 70 of these family homes. In 1976, St. Teresa of Calcutta visited Boys Town and was presented with the "Father Flanagan Award" for her service to young people.

A year later, what would eventually become Boys Town National Research Hospital opened in Omaha. By 1998, its researchers discovered the gene accountable for Usher syndrome, a condition that produces a combination of blindness and deafness.

In 1983, the model of "Boys Town USA" was developed to bring its proven principles to sites around the nation. Today's nine sites, counting the Nebraska home campus, are open in places such as Washington, D.C., Orlando, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

Father Boes pointed out that, last year, Boys Town USA directly cared for more than 30,000 children across the country. And to date, the organization's national hotline, launched in 1989, has answered more than 10 million calls.

Another Major Step

"The poor, innocent, unfortunate little children belong to us, and it is our problem to give them every chance to develop into good men and good women," said Father Flanagan.

That phrasing anticipated a step taken decades later, in 1979, when Boys Town received girls into the program. In 1991, Sarah Mohn was the first girl elected mayor. Boys Town made all the difference in their lives, too.

Kim Warner (then Kim McGiffin) graduated in 2004 from the home campus after she was sent to Nebraska from her home in Boulder City, Nevada.

"At first, for me, Boys Town was a place where I was able to run away from my problems back home. I thought that going across the country away from old influences and surroundings I would dazzle everyone with my personality and my vices wouldn't follow me," Warner told the Register. "I was wrong."

She described her experience: "Boys Town welcomed me with open arms and with loving certainty that I was going to do great things — all of me. They didn't say, 'Oh, you lie? Cheat? Steal? You have drug issues?' No, you leave those at the door."

Warner explained that when the "honeymoon phase wore off" and she couldn't help being her old self again because it was all she had known, "Boys Town was calm and loving, and yet held their ground and demanded better. They held me accountable when I did wrong or didn't do my best, and they did so without yelling or threatening."

She wondered how they could be so calm, relating, "My 'family teachers' didn't get worn down by my attempts to intimidate, humiliate, belittle or manipulate them to get myself out of working hard or to avoid facing tough issues. They stayed with me. They wore me down with love. I eventually was literally so exhausted from trying to buck the system that wouldn't buck that I waived my hands and said, 'Okay God, you win. I'll try doing what these people say. I don't think it will work, but I'm going to try ... just to prove them wrong.'"

She recalled how she then "tried to do it the Boys Town way. It was hard work — emotionally, mentally, physically." She remembered running in the snow — which she had never seen before — in track clothes. Boys Town pushed her beyond limits she never thought she could go, yet she did, successfully.

Warner emphasized how Boys Town instilled in her a desire and awareness that everyone should continually be striving to be better in everything, and that outlook helped her finish college and become a teacher and a good parent. She has four children and at one time also had two foster children.

"When I'm at my best in my marriage and parenting and communicating, that's Boys Town in me," she highlighted of her life-changing time there. She'd love to take her family on vacation to Boys Town to live and experience what she did, "to give them the amazing, life-changing experience I was so blessed to have. Boys Town is my home."

Ever-Fresh Flanagan Philosophy

Looking back over the years during this centennial celebration, Father Boes, who considers it an honor to follow in Father Flanagan's footsteps, observed how he sees the founder's philosophy working 100 years later.

"His love of the kids, his vision for a better system of care and his spirituality inspires me," he said. "Father Flanagan's unique genius was the ability to simultaneously engage his heart and his head to find lasting solutions to the social problems of kids in his day."

"The foundation of his approach is that he made room in his heart for those hurting street kids," Father Boes said. "He then engaged his intellect by examining Catholic theology and applying it to his situation. The Catholic Church teaches that God's grace remains at our core despite all the sins we pile up on our souls. This notion of 'Prevenient Grace' allowed him to create a radical new approach to troubled kids. In my time as national director, those same principals have guided the hope and healing at Boys Town."

Among those principles, Father Flanagan said he never thought taking in all races and creeds was remarkable. He said they are all God's children and he had to protect them to the best of his ability. At the same time, he said, "A true religious training for children is most essential if we are to expect to develop them into good men and good women — worthy citizens of our great country."

Father Boes observed that Boys Town "is unique in the U.S. because we not only provide innovative, research-based, effective care for kids, but we advocate for changes to the system of care." That includes "a focus on advocacy in order to keep kids first as they enter into the system of care."

Looking ahead to the next 100 years, Father Boes stressed Boys Town will continue to fight for hurting kids "using our head and heart. We will continue to make room in our hearts for kids. We will also use our heads to create and advocate for innovative, research-based and effective systems of care so that every kid in the U.S. can be healthy in body, mind and spirit."

Also in the next 100 years, sainthood is a prospect for Father Flanagan, as his canonization cause continues.

In 2013, he was named a "Servant of God," and in 2015, the diocesan phase of the cause was completed and sent to Rome.

In any event, what Father Flanagan said and proved over and over remains true at Boys Town: "A boy given the proper guidance and direction — kept busy and constructively occupied during leisure or free time — will prove my statement that there

from-trades-to-riches-profiting-from-past-mistakesFrom Trades to Riches: Profiting from Past MistakesNebraska
Trade Life
Monday, Dec 4, 2017

This article is written by Jim Clements. It was posted on on November 28, 2017.

Spray painting walls and hotwiring cars are not experiences most business leaders look for in job candidates. But a new focus at Boys Town is not only teaching at-risk kids how to overcome past mistakes but also to learn – and profit – from them.

Of course, helping at-risk youth conquer daunting obstacles is nothing new. This December, Boys Town celebrates 100 years of providing love and support to neglected children.

Many students come to our community because they have lived in a world without parental affection, without structure or boundaries. Many act out because they are bored and simply seeking attention; others have faced unthinkable abuse and neglect.

And while our overall mission of helping kids build happy, healthy and successful futures has stayed the same over these 100 years, the means by which we do that have changed with society.

Nowadays, a lot of kids are told their whole lives that they need to go to college and are made to feel inadequate when they don't have a shot. At Boys Town, many of the students grew up in environments where they never even had a voice telling them about college.

That's why classes teaching trades – like automotive, welding and electrician skills – are the perfect tools to capture the attention of otherwise distracted students while conveying some of life's most important responsibilities. Kids who used to spray paint in the streets can use their talents in a productive environment. As a more extreme example, I've seen kids who used to hotwire cars learn to fix an engine. We take their real-life experience and apply it toward a positive end.

New research has found that a college degree no longer guarantees a higher income. Trade school is seen as an increasingly viable option to fix the country's income gap, as well as an answer to the competitive challenges found in a world driven by artificial intelligence. 

When Father Flanagan started the school in 1917, places like Silicon Valley were still farm country. Today, they're growing and harvesting ideas. But the reality is that technology companies across the country – and the globe – do not have enough workers with hands-on experience turning ideas and drafts into reality.

What's more, companies need employees who not only have the technical capabilities but also have the "soft" skills of success: punctuality, work ethic, team-orientation and a positive attitude. Knowing a skill will help you land a job. But respect for others will help you keep it.

Trade classes help students uncover a talent they already have while demonstrating that they can have fun in school. Students have to work together to solve real-life, hands-on problems, not theoretical ones. Many of our students don't even realize that what they're doing – and enjoying – is a learning experience.

The lessons they learn spill over the class time – with kids behaving better outside of class so that they can participate in the class.

What's more, trades can actually help students in other classes where they may be struggling. I have a student who decided that math isn't for him, and yet can figure out all the angles in his head while building. That's called applied math.

Finally, students learn that there's an option to go to higher vocational education schools and that they can have a successful future, with or without a college degree. This option opens the eyes of many students and gives them opportunities they never even dreamed were possible.

Jim Clements is the Trade Instructor of Mechanics, Carpentry and Welding at Boys Town High School, Nebraska.

Ways-to-Work-Helps-Families-With-Transportation-and-Credit-ChallengesWays to Work Helps Families With Transportation and Credit ChallengesNebraska
Friday, Dec 1, 2017

​​This article is written by Debroah (Van Fleet) Newcombe. It was posted on on November 17, 2017.​

Ways to Work is a nationwide program designed to help people with credit challenges become more financially stable with small, low-interest loans. 

Virginia Ayers, Program Coordinator for Ways to Work-Boys Town, says in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area, the program is co-administered by Boys Town and Heartland Family Service. 

Ayers says the majority of their applicants need the loan money to purchase a car.  She says the program's lender is Pinnacle Bank, and the loan maximum is $8000 at 6% interest.   

"And when they find a car that is good on gas, low on repair costs, hasn't been in any accidents, not a salvage title, then we can move forward to have the vehicle inspected. So, I have the vehicles fully inspected; I do the research on-line to find out if it's a good vehicle, and if it is good, then we move forward with setting up a close with Pinnacle Bank."  

Ayers says being able to buy a car often enables people to move forward in their careers or accept a better job.

She says to qualify, applicants have to have meet certain income guidelines, have worked at least 20 hours a week for 6 months, have dependent children at home and have challenged credit. She says they also have to participate in a financial literacy class covering topics like budgeting and credit management.

For more information on Ways to Work-Boys Town, the number is 866-213-4239.​

knicely-done-heartland-family-service-honoreesKnicely Done: Heartland Family Service HonoreesNebraska
Wednesday, Nov 29, 2017

This article is written by John Knicely. It was posted on on November 16, 2017.

Every year, the week before Thanksgiving, Heartland Family Service, recognizes members of our community who are quietly making a difference.

The annual Salute to Families was held on Thursday at Happy Hollow Country Club.

Sean and Anne Rich have faced challenges with their family. Their fourth child was born with Down syndrome, a hole in her heart and pulmonary hypertension. Today that little girl is healthy and happy.

Sean and Anne also adopted another daughter in 2015, who was born with gastroschisis. They were honored with the Challenged and Successful award.

Tony and Simone Jones have been employed at Boys Town for 20 years and have three biological children. Over the years they have worked with more than 200 children and families. They were honored with the Commitment to Family award.

The Community Service award was presented to Dr. Viv and John Ewing. John served on the Omaha Police Department and currently is the Douglas County Treasurer. Viv is the VP of Human Resources at Nebraska Families Collaborative. Their daughters,

Christina and Alexandra, also have extensive community service.

Scott and Karla Cassels were honored with the Leadership Family award. Together they have helped with many causes in the Omaha community. Some of the organizations they have contributed to included the Joslyn Museum, Heartland Family Service and Creighton Prep. Karla is also a board member of Friends Forever with the Nebraska Humane Society.

The Family Advocate award was presented to Penny Parker, Executive Director of Completely Kids. Penny has headed the organization for the last 25 years, focusing on children living in poverty and giving them hope.

Penny survived serious challenges from two strokes she suffered at age 25, one of which paralyzed her left side.

"You know it's interesting when you're 25 years old and you have a stroke that is totally unexpected," she said in an interview with WOWT 6 News.

Heartland Family Service with well deserved honors for members of our community.

Knicely Done!

decades-ago-the-movie-and-its-stars-captivated-locals-far-from-hollywoodDecades ago, ‘Boys Town’ — the movie and its stars — captivated locals far from HollywoodNebraska
Boys Town Movie Premiere!
Thursday, Oct 19, 2017

This article is written by Blake Ursch, World-Herald staff writer. It was posted on on October 18, 2017.

The movie stars arrived by train, flashing winning smiles for waiting photographers. Around them, thousands of adoring fans cheered.

It was a glitzy scene, straight out of the Golden Age of Hollywood. And here it was, happening in Nebraska.

On Sept. 6, 1938, more than 15,000 people packed Omaha's Union Station to watch the arrival of Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, here for the premiere of their movie "Boys Town."

Now, almost 80 years later, the Durham Museum, housed in the former train station, is commemorating the premiere as part of its new exhibit "Let's Go to Town for Boys Town: 100 Years of Saving Children, Healing Families," which traces the history of Father Edward Flanagan's famous children's home.

The exhibit includes several items from Boys Town's Hall of History, some of which have never been seen by the public.

A weathered film canister, displayed in a glass box, is one. The canister once held a roll of nitrate film, an original print of the 1938 movie, said Thomas Lynch, director of community programs at Boys Town.

Since nitrate film has been known to be spontaneously combustible, the canister on display at the museum is empty. The film is housed safely at Boys Town.

"We didn't want to blow up the Durham Museum," Lynch joked.

The movie, which stars Tracy as Flanagan and Rooney as one of the priest's troubled residents, brought Boys Town world fame. It was a critical and commercial hit, earning Tracy an Academy Award for his performance.

And nowhere was it more celebrated than in Omaha.

The movie captivated the city during the summer of 1938. Film crews shot on location at the Boys Town campus and at Union Station over several days in June. When the film made its world premiere in Omaha in September, thousands turned out to greet the stars. The audience, the World-Herald reported, surpassed even those of past visits by presidents.

At the train station, the stars were escorted by a dozen Omaha police officers. They met with then-Mayor Dan Butler, along with the mayor and city council of Boys Town and the reigning queen of Aksarben. A banner billowed over the crowd: "Let's go to town for Boys Town." A replica now hangs in the Durham.

Actress Maureen O'Sullivan, who attended the premiere, said the greeting exceeded any she had ever experienced.

The following night, the film debuted at the Omaha Theater, on Douglas Street between 15th and 16th Streets. People clamored for a look at the stars, flooding the streets outside the theater and crowding nearby rooftops. A powerful searchlight, visible for miles, scanned the sky.

"This thing makes a Hollywood premiere look like a dying hog," Tracy reportedly said.

Flanagan received the strongest applause from the crowd, the newspaper reported. He thanked the city for turning out in droves and for making Boys Town possible in the first place.

The movie itself didn't disappoint either.

"We who know what Boys Town is and to whom the name Father Flanagan is not strange may be too close to the trees to see the forest," wrote one World-Herald film critic. "Then Hollywood discovers Boys Town, sees in it material for a picture, makes that picture and brings back to us something we have lived with and yet never known — the story of Boys Town."

After the movie's release, Lynch said, enrollment at Boys Town exploded. But, perhaps surprisingly, donations plummeted as audiences assumed the children's home received some share of the film's profits. Tracy, who gave his Oscar to Flanagan, wrote letters urging supporters to continue donating to Flanagan's cause. One such letter is on display at the museum.

Today, 79 years later, the film still generates publicity for the children's community, said Lauren Laferla, Boys Town spokeswoman. The film is often shown on television around Christmas, and it crops up in movie trivia, ensuring that the Boys Town name continues to spread.

The movie also still has a presence on campus, said Lynch. It is screened for new residents coming to live at Boys Town.

"We want to show them they're part of the history of Boys Town," Lynch said. "Being a resident, this is their heritage. It's like any family. You want to pass on your history to them."

"Let's Go To Town for Boys Town: 100 Years Of Saving Children, Healing Families"

Dates: Now through Jan. 21

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

Regular admission fees apply: $11 for adults, $8 seniors 62 and up, $7 children 3 to 12, children under 2 are free.

For more information: 402-444-5071 or

durham-museum-will-display-100-year-history-itemsDurham Museum Will Display Items from Boys Town's 100-year History Through Jan. 21Nebraska
Copyright of Kent Sievers, The World-Herald
Friday, Oct 13, 2017

This article is written by Blake Ursch, World-Herald staff writer. It was posted on on October 13, 2017.

The black leather briefcase bears three letters: EJF.

Father Edward J. Flanagan used this bag to carry letters and documents when he traveled Europe and Asia, visiting impoverished children in the years following World War II.

The bag is one of several Boys Town artifacts on display at the Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., as part of the museum's new exhibit "Let's Go To Town For Boys Town! 100 Years of Saving Children, Healing Families." The exhibit opens to the public Saturday and will be on display through Jan. 21.

The collection celebrates the upcoming 100th anniversary of the founding of Boys Town. On Dec. 12, 1917, Flanagan began his legendary children's home with five boys in the rundown Byron Reed Mansion at 25th and Dodge Streets.

Photographs and objects displayed at the Durham trace the story of Boys Town's rise. Visitors can see a stone from the original mansion, Flanagan's vestments and a flag, given to Flanagan by the City of Baltimore, commemorating the 800 former Boys Town residents who were killed in World War II.

The exhibit also includes an original poster and memorabilia from the 1938 film "Boys Town," starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. The Durham hosted the world premiere of the film the year it was released, said Thomas Lynch, director of community programs at Boys Town.

"The movie is really special because it put Boys Town on the map," Lynch said.

Some of the items on display at the Durham, such as Flanagan's vestments, are usually packed away for safekeeping at the Boys Town Hall of History, Lynch said.

Jessica Brummer, spokeswoman for the Durham, said organizers are hoping the exhibit exposes Boys Town to an audience that may not have visited the campus on West Dodge Road.

The time of year is fortunate, she said: The museum is always busiest during the holiday season.

"Being able to have this on display for visitors during this time is wonderful," she said.

state-farms-generous-donation-aids-driving-education-for-boys-town-youthState Farm’s Generous Donation Aids Driving Education for Boys Town YouthNebraska
Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017

​State Farm's mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams and on September 22, 2017, Boys Town staff and youth held a special ceremony to thank State Farm for helping future young drivers.

Before the first football was thrown for the game on Friday, the insurance company presented a check for $15,000 on the Boys Town football field. The donation that State Farm has given will go toward helping Boys Town provide driver's education to the youth. "Car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers," said State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Kelly Pargett. "State Farm is proud to stand alongside Boys Town to change that narrative and to help in their mission of caring for children and families and making our communities safer."

Every year, approximately 75 Boys Town juniors and seniors take driver's education at Cornhusker Driving School. Through hard work and dedication, those who completed the course were all given certificates of successful completion. "We are very grateful for this generous grant from State Farm," said Father Steven Boes, Boys Town President and National Executive Director. "Boys Town students and all high school students can greatly benefit from safe driving skills."

Thanks again to State Farm for their generous donation to Boys Town. Our youth truly appreciate the opportunity to learn the skills they need to be safe drivers.

boys-town-trade-program-helps-students-see-their-futuresBoys Town Trade Program Helps Students See Their FuturesNebraska
Boys Town Trade Classes
Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017

This article is written by Michael Snow. It was posted on on October 10, 2017.

A good career does not always require a 4-year college degree. Boys Town educators know that. They say the key to a secure future could be in trade.

For some students like Teshar Roque, college is not always the best option – or even possible.

"I'm much a hands-on learner. I don't like to be in text books too much," he said.

Trading in textbooks for a set of tools could be the path to a successful career.

Boys Town says learning a trade will get Teshar and others on the right path.

"We're teaching them a career skill so when they leave hear they are able to feed their families and live in the kind of home they want to live in. Where they want to live in. We are enabling them to have a life," said trades teacher Jim Clements.

Teshar is in the small engine class. Right now, he's working on building a Go Cart from scratch.

"So what Mr. Clements does for us is we spend 10 or 15 minutes talking about our projects and how much time we have to clean up the shop. Then we come out and the sky is the limit," he said.

One of the most popular classes is the automotive class where students are taking an old car apart and then rebuilding it.

"I'm doing something that some people don't even get the opportunity to do. Some schools don't even have this type of stuff," said student Ty Jones.

"I'm not someone who didn't have their future planned out and this is something that has given me a clear path to take," Teshar told 6 News.

Boys Town is looking to add more programs including a culinary arts program as soon as next year.

This is the third year of the trade programs. Boys Town is working with shops around Omaha to set up students with internships and jobs directly out of high school.

boys-town-nebraska-collects-large-donation-for-foster-family-servicesBoys Town Nebraska Collects Large Donation for Foster Family ServicesNebraska
Foster Care Donation
Friday, Sep 29, 2017

​On September 12, 2017, Matthew Priest, Director Boys Town Nebraska Foster Family Services, met with Kid to Kid store owner Jerry VanWagoner to accept a generous donation of 3,000 items.

The items that were collected consisted mostly of clothes from newborn to school age, which will be placed in the program's Foster Care Closet for families and children to use. "The Foster Care Closet is a space full of free items for Boys Town Foster Parents to utilize for the children in their care, "said Priest. "Not only does this help children who often come into care with minimal belongings, but foster parents appreciate the Foster Care Closet as one of the many supports unique to Boys Town Foster Family Services."

While this is the first time Boys Town Nebraska Foster Family Services has worked with Kid to Kid, the program is always receiving support and contributions from the community through other stores, individuals, and work projects. A wide range of items have been accepted in order to provide comfort for the children, ranging from blankets to photo albums.

"These items are given to children to call their own and can help with the transition to and from foster care, "Priest said.

Boys Town Nebraska Foster Family Services serves about 260 children per year and currently works with 90 foster homes. The program helps provide the necessary care that kids of all ages need in order to have a happy and healthy life. Every donation makes a difference and Kid to Kid made a tremendous impact for both children and foster families.

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