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Boys Town Helps Family Rebound, Rebond Town Helps Family Rebound, Rebond<p></p><p>Sometimes life throws more challenges and obstacles at a family than the parents and kids can handle.</p><p>That was the situation a mom, a stepdad and their teenage daughter faced when mental health issues and the teen's out-of-control behaviors threatened to unravel their home.</p><p>Fortunately, a referral to Boys Town Nebraska from the daughter's high school, Omaha South, put the family on a positive path to recovery. (Omaha South partners with LIFT Together with Boys Town<sup>SM</sup>, a community-based initiative that offers comprehensive family- and school-based programs to generate community-wide impact.)</p><p>A Boys Town Family Consultant began working with the family in their home, first addressing the daughter's behavioral issues: verbal aggression; negative interactions with adults and classmates, school absences, low grades, depression, substance use and running away from home. As part of the intervention, the teen got a part-time job and began using Omaha South's positive intervention classroom (PIC). In this program, students who have been suspended can work with staff members to make up school assignments, stay current with homework and prepare to return to the classroom once the suspension is over.</p><p>The Family Consultant then helped arrange mental health services for mom and her daughter. Mom and the stepdad also completed Boys Town's six-week Common Sense Parenting® class, where they were able to build on their parenting strengths and learn new skills.  </p><p>When the Family Consultant started working with the family, the mom was desperate for help because she felt she had lost complete control over her daughter. In addition, mom's self-esteem was very low. At the end of the program, mom was able to set expectations for her daughter's behavior and give consequences to reinforce positive behaviors and correct negative behaviors. They both learned how to stay calm when talking about issues, and then work together to resolve them. All of these changes have helped the daughter be more respectful of her parents and have enabled mom and stepdad to become more confident in their parenting.</p><p>Every family has its tough times. Boys Town Nebraska is always there to help.​<br></p>2020-09-22T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Zapata Takes Pride in Finding a Way to Help Children, Families in South Omaha Takes Pride in Finding a Way to Help Children, Families in South Omaha<p></p><p>Versatility has become a strength for Jose Zapata in his role as a Parent Trainer in Boys Town's Lift Together program in South Omaha.</p><p>But who would have known that being able to play a little basketball and making someone laugh would help get through to kids and parents and point them on the path to success?</p><p>Zapata has used both in his ever-changing roles at Boys Town. And he is more than willing to try more if it helps him reach his goal of helping kids and families.</p><p>Zapata says he has had the opportunity to learn and grow at Boys Town with many professional development opportunities provided while training for each new position he has held.</p><p>He started as an Assistant-Family Teacher, working with youth living on campus. The goal was to have kids successfully complete the program and transition back home. He then worked with kids on probation as an In-Home Consultant to keep them from being removed from the home. He then transitioned to work with non-system families seeking help with their kids' behaviors before they escalated to the point of going to court. All that training and experience helped him reach his current role as a Parent Trainer in Common Sense Parenting (CSP) classes.</p><p>Zapata will soon complete training in the Well-Managed Classrooms program. He will then support a colleague in a newly-created position within Omaha South High school. They will work directly with students in the LIFT Together with Boys Town program, which is built to serve both youth and families in a bridge with the school.</p><p>Zapata's adaptation to his job has been a challenge during the pandemic. He has been able to continue teaching CSP classes virtually, a first for Boys Town. When he isn't teaching an online class to parents, he is contacting other non-profits in the community to collaborate with and to seek possible referrals for his classes.</p><p>When working with kids and families, Zapata says he often needs to be creative in order to get his clients to buy in. It can be a challenge, to say the least.</p><p>“Lots of times, youth have no interest in talking to me, much less meeting on a consistent basis," Zapata said. “I had to get creative with my approach to get the youth to engage. When my humor didn't work, I would beat them on the basketball court. That usually got their attention because they didn't expect me to be any good. I'm by no means great, but I can hold my own."</p><p>He also used his humor to get through to parents</p><p>“Disengaged parents was another big challenge," he said. “Parents sometimes don't recognize that they contribute to the problem. They don't believe they need to participate in services. Many parents eventually came around through my approach, again usually with humor, and saw the benefit in working with me. No, I didn't challenge any parents to a basketball game."</p><p>Zapata says it is satisfying when he can get youth and parents to work together, all with a common goal.</p><p>“While working as an In-Home Consultant, I had a case with a youth on probation for not attending school. He was reluctant to work with me at first and he didn't follow rules at home, either. He was also self-medicating with drugs and alcohol," Zapata said. “His mom was willing to do what was needed to help her son be successful, and that included looking in the mirror and admitting that she needed to make some changes as well."</p><p>Zapata used all of Boys Town's teaching resources. Thanks to those services, the youth stopped using drugs and alcohol, began attending an alternative school consistently, and started respecting his mom's rules. His mother began to utilize the positive discipline strategies she learned, began to trust her son more and held him accountable so he could learn responsibility. Their relationship improved dramatically, he successfully completed probation and is on track to graduate with his class. By the end of the youth's services, he was willing to speak openly and work with Zapata. The judge in the youth's case sent a letter to Zapata stating how impressed he was with the youth's success and praised Zapata's work.</p><p>Seeing that success, motivates Zapata to help others.</p><p>“I enjoy the opportunity to help families with their respective problems and help them find success," he said. “I find it fulfilling to help a family problem-solve through stressful situations in their lives. Whether I worked directly with a struggling youth or a struggling youth's family, it's great to see the positive progress and achievements throughout our services."</p><p>Zapata says he is proud to work at Boys Town.​<br></p><p><br></p>2020-09-22T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/zapata-thumb.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/zapata.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Home Campus Football Stadium Receives Upgraded Bleachers and New Press Box Town Home Campus Football Stadium Receives Upgraded Bleachers and New Press BoxSocial distancing just got a little easier for the Boys Town Cowboys this fall thanks to a generous donation from the Boys Town Booster Club. The long-awaited football stadium renovations at Home Campus are now complete – just in time for fall sports to begin. With upgraded bleachers and press box, the Boys Town community can safely come together and cheer on the Cowboys.With the last few months being a little less than normal, the youth were excited to take part in the renovations by voting on a new logo for the press box and being able to watch the process throughout the summer. With renovations completed, Boys Town Mayor Hazakiah and Boys Town Vice Mayor Hailey got a sneek peek tour of the new bleachers, press box and logo.Getting to tour the renovated stadium made both Hazakiah and Hailey even more excited to get back to fall sports. "I am so happy to be in football and I can't wait to play again," said Hazakiah. "We have been watching the construction from our house and we are excited for Friday nights," said Hailey.</p><p>Sports on campus play a big role not only for the students, but also for the community. It gives the youth the opportunity to do what they love, fans a reason to cheer, and the community a chance to come together and be a part of something great. </p><p><img /><br></p><p> "My favorite thing about sports at Boys Town is the relationship with the coaches. They try to bring everybody together and make it like a family. We are brothers at Boys Town," said Lebron who is a member of the football, wrestling, and track teams.</p><p>In addition to building camaraderie and a youth's confidence, there is also great therapeutic value in being involved in an any extracurricular activities. Preparing for a season and practicing daily helps build valuable life skills that youth can continue to use after their time at Boys Town.</p><p>The first football game at the renovated Cowboys stadium was on August 28 against Columbus Lakeview. "The field looks way better than it did last year," said TJ, who has been at Boys Town for eight months and is on the football team. "I just can't wait to play on it."</p><p>Thank you to our generous boosters who have made these upgrades possible and for everyone who has been involved in the renovation process. Good luck Boys Town athletes!</p><p><strong><em>PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with NSAA (Nebraska School Activities Association) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines, attendance at all Boys Town home and away athletic competitions will be reserved to current Boys Town residents and essential personnel only.  Reducing spectators allows for social distancing and additional safety precautions.   This is a very important step to keep our athletes and residents safe. </em></strong></p><p><br></p>2020-09-03T05:00:00ZNews<img />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town turns out for military burial of alum who died alone Town turns out for military burial of alum who died alone<p> <em>​​​​​​​Article written by Steve Liewer with the </em> <a href="" target="_blank"> <em>Omaha World-Herald</em></a></p><p>Not a lot went right in Nick Baker's life.</p><p>He was left to the foster care system as a child and died May 31, alone in his apartment in Texas, by his own hand.</p><p>But on Friday, about two dozen members of the only two families he really knew — Boys Town and the U.S. military — joined together to bury him with military honors at Omaha National Cemetery.</p><p>Nicholas Baker was 31.</p><p>“He had a long journey," cemetery director Greta Hamilton told the mourners, “but he is home now, with his brothers and sisters here to look after him."</p><p>Chris and Regina Costello, the Boys Town family teachers who were Baker's surrogate parents during his stay there from 2005 to 2008, received the flag carefully folded by an honor guard from Offutt Air Force Base.</p><p>Regina Costello wiped away tears.</p><p>“There's a lot of emotions," she said after the 30-minute service. “I'm glad we got to know him and to provide some family and stability for him.</p><p>“I wish we could have done more."</p><p>Baker was born in Sacramento, California, in December 1988. He was placed in an orphanage at an early age.</p><p>He remained in foster care and was living in Iowa before he came to Boys Town in 2005.</p><p>“Right away, Nick took advantage of all that Boys Town had to offer," Chris Costello said.</p><p>The Costellos remember Baker as outgoing and friendly, a boy who loved his adopted family. He managed campus athletic teams, excelled in academics and became sober.</p><p>“He was friends with people from different backgrounds, different places in the country," Chris Costello said.</p><div class="article-photo"> <img src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NickBaker-mil-burial.jpg" alt="" /> <p>Nick Baker, a 2008 graduate of Boys Town, served in the Air Force from 2008-13.​<br></p></div><p>Baker thrived in his favorite activity, Boys Town's Junior ROTC program. It set him on a course for life after high school.</p><p>He enlisted in the Air Force in 2008. The Costellos traveled to Texas for his graduation from basic training.</p><p>“He was so proud to be part of the military," Regina Costello said.</p><p>Baker trained as a military police officer and was assigned to Grand Forks, North Dakota. He served five years and was honorably discharged in 2013, according to military records.</p><p>The Costellos heard from Baker only sporadically after that. Friends would later say that he didn't adjust well to life outside the military.</p><p>Some of his friends worried that he was spiraling into depression, enough that they contacted him frequently to be sure he was OK, said Tony Jones, Boys Town's alumni director.</p><p>Earlier this summer, Baker didn't respond to friends' texts or social media messages. One friend from his Boys Town years contacted authorities in Killeen, Texas, where he was living most recently. They found his body in his apartment.</p><p>The friend contacted Boys Town to see if Baker's family could be found to claim his remains.</p><p>But Jones looked into Baker's background and realized that Boys Town was his only family.</p><p>He talked with his recently retired predecessor, John Mollison, an Air Force veteran, who told him that Baker was entitled to a military funeral.</p><p>“For a young man who served our country to be buried in a potter's field in Texas — that was wrong," Jones said.</p><p>It took time and paperwork, but Boys Town was able to arrange for Baker's cremated remains to be sent to Nebraska for Friday's service.</p><p>Omaha's Patriot Guard Riders and American Legion Riders stood sentry on a warm, windy day. Two military veterans, both Boys Town alumni, sang a funeral ode.<br></p>​<br>2020-08-25T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/bt-military-burial-banner.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="A member of the Honor Guard hands a folded flag to Regina Costello, Nicholas Baker's Family-Teacher. - Chris Machian of OWH" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/bt-military-burial.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
'We have so much trauma in our history': The need for diversity in mental health services'We have so much trauma in our history': The need for diversity in mental health services<p><em>​This article was first <a href="" target="_blank">published on</a></em><em> on August 23, 2020. It is written by DaLaun Dillard.</em></p><p>In the midst of Omaha's predominantly Black community, sits the Center for Holistic Development. Inside the mental health care service you'll find Doris Moore, founder and certified professional counselor. Doris said opening her doors specifically in North Omaha was intentional.<br></p><p>"I recognized that there were behavioral health services being provided but none that really addressed the needs of the African-American community," said Moore.<br></p><p>Moore has offered mental healing for nearly 20 years, her nonprofit organization serves everyone, but especially her nearby neighbors who are mainly people of color.</p><p>"As an African-American, we have so much trauma in our history," said Moore. "We have racism that is a trauma within itself that has gone so unrecognized by everybody for the most part."</p><p>With painful images of police brutality flooding social media, protests erupting across the nation and people of color facing COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate; some would think the Black community would be seeking out mental health resources, but the numbers show they are not.</p><p>According to the American Psychological Association, only 1 in 3 African-Americans who need mental healthcare will actually receive it. The most recent numbers show that of more than 32,000 Nebraskans seeking community based services, just 8% were Black and 72% were white.<br></p><p><img src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/The-need-for-diversity-in-mental-health-services/mental-health1.jpg" alt="mental-health1.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p>One reason behind the lack of Black people seeking out mental health services could relate to the minuscule of Black people in the mental health workforce.</p><p>According to the American Psychological Association, Black people make up 4% of the US psychological workforce.<br></p><p><img src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/The-need-for-diversity-in-mental-health-services/mental-health2.jpg" alt="mental-health2.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p>This lack of diversity leads many individuals in the Black community turning to church for assistance. Donna Stewart, a licensed psychological for Boystown Behavior Health is included in the 4%.</p><p>"Pastors are called to preach," said Stewart. "I feel like being a psychologist was actually on a calling on my life from God."</p><p>Stewart works in Boys Town's South and North Omaha offices, mainly serving the Black and brown communities in each neighborhood. The psychologist says her goal is to destroy the stigma of therapy and relate to her clients.</p><p>When asked what is the "stigma" associated with therapy, Stewart responded saying, "There's the stigma of, lack of a better word, appearing as if you're 'crazy'," said Stewart. "A stigma as if there's something seriously wrong with you."</p><p>Both Stewart and Moore say representation in mental services is imperative, and it reminds clients that their counselor can relate to them and opens the door for healing.</p><p>"I can move much faster in a therapeutic situation, knowing that, that person working with me has some level of understanding of what background I come from, and what my environment is like," said Moore. "I have people that say if they had known therapy was this easy from the standpoint of engaging, then they would've come a long time ago."​<br></p>2020-08-25T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town's Mission Resonates with Second Lady Karen Pence Town's Mission Resonates with Second Lady Karen Pence<p>Over the years, the Village of Boys Town has seen <a href="/about/Pages/Famous-Friends.aspx">many esteemed visitors​</a>. No matter who they are or where they come from, they all share at least one thing in common: a desire to help improve the way America cares for children and families.<br></p><p>On Thursday, August 20, Second Lady Karen Pence traveled to the Boys Town Home Campus to share the same sentiment.</p><p>Together with Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon and Mrs. Angie Bacon, Mrs. Pence was greeted by Boys Town's Mayor, Hazakiah Williams, and Vice Mayor, Hailey Holm, to join what has been a historic honor by becoming an honorary citizen of Boys Town.</p><p>After a tour of the Boys Town Hall of History, Mrs. Pence and the Bacons sat down for a roundtable with Boys Town leadership to learn more about Boys Town's array of life-changing youth care and healthcare services that allow children and families to get the right kind of care, at the right time, in the right way.</p><p>“Boys Town has a broad scope of services," Barb Volmer, Executive Vice President of Youth Care at Boys Town, said during the roundtable. “We are able to help kids and families at all levels of need."</p><p>“Thank you for what you are doing," Mrs. Pence replied.​<br></p><p>As Second Lady, Mrs. Pence has been a strong advocate for the importance of addressing veteran suicide prevention. During the roundtable, Mrs. Pence was particularly interested and impressed to learn more about the Boys Town National Hotline<sup>®</sup>, and how the specially trained counselors, on call 24/7, answer crisis calls from children, including those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.</p><p>“We feel that if there is a silver lining to COVID, it may be the opportunity to talk about mental health and start talking about suicide; that if you are having suicidal thoughts, reach out to somebody," Mrs. Pence said.</p><p>Mrs. Pence is an educator and award-winning watercolor artist. As Second Lady, Mrs. Pence also works to bring attention to art therapy and wants to help people understand that it is an option for various conditions, illnesses and life experiences; and to encourage young people to go into the profession. During the roundtable, Mrs Pence learned how art therapy is being used at Boys Town as part of a larger model of care that is based on years of research and decades of success helping children and families heal and grow in body, mind and spirit. </p><p>“I'm so glad we came here," Mrs. Pence said of the visit. “I think your story is one we want to tell, everywhere we go."</p><p>Read the White House Briefing on the visit <a href=""></a></p>​​<br>2020-08-21T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Second Lady Karen Pence is welcomed by Boys Town youth to the village during her visit on August 20, 2020." src="/parenting/PublishingImages/Second-Lady-Visit.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Youth Receive New Beds from TempurSealy Town Youth Receive New Beds from TempurSealy<p>Boys Town North Florida recently received a delivery of 31 twin mattresses, 7 queen mattresses and 1 king foundation thanks to a generous donation from TempurSealy.</p><p>TempurSealy has partnered with Boys Town since 2012 and has provided hundreds of beds to multiple Boys Town sites, including the Boys Town summer vacation camp at Lake Okoboji.</p><p>Nebraska, Washington D.C., and Central Florida also received mattress deliveries this year, with Louisiana and Rhode Island scheduled to receive beds in the Fall.</p><p>Boys Town is very appreciative for this continuous partnership! Our youth are so grateful to have new mattresses and Boys Town appreciates the care and support TempurSealy has provided our boys and girls through the years. </p>2020-08-04T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town Youth recieved Mattress donation" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/youth-received-mattress-donation.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent