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Boys Town New England Foster Care Couple Give Sisters a Forever Familyhttps://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/BT-New-England-Foster-Care-Give-Sisters-a-Forever-Family.aspxBoys Town New England Foster Care Couple Give Sisters a Forever Family<p>Sometimes, it's just meant to be.</p><p>When Katie and Jon Russell first heard about Boys Town New England, that's how it felt. They were ready to grow their family and had been exploring options for a while, but just hadn't found quite the right fit.</p><p>Then, on Mother's Day a few years ago, members of the Boys Town New England Foster Care team visited Katie and Jon's church to share information about becoming a foster family. Once they learned about the children placed through Boys Town, and discovered the constant, committed support Boys Town would offer every step along the way, they knew – this was it.</p><p>From day one, Katie and Jon loved fostering through Boys Town. “We never felt alone in the process. We'd never been parents; we started at ground zero, rookie level, and Boys Town supported us the entire way."</p><p>As placements started arriving, any fears they had going into the process quickly disappeared.</p> <img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NENGL-fosterCare-2.jpg" alt="Kaylee & Avery" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin-bottom:5px;margin-left:15px;width:265px;height:265px;" /> <p>Yes, it was hard. The children in their home had experienced trauma; many of them had a multitude of challenging and heart-wrenching behaviors to work through. But Katie and Jon quickly realized that what these kids needed was patience, support and love. That, combined with safety and creature comforts, was the recipe for success. They could offer all those things in abundance, and soon poured their hearts and souls into the children placed in their home. They quickly built strong relationships with the Boys Town staff, fellow foster families, and the youth placed with them.</p><p>Then, two sisters stole their hearts.</p> <img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NENGL-fosterCare.jpg" alt="Happy" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin-right:15px;width:300px;height:225px;" /> <p>Kaylee arrived first. At only 6 years old, Kaylee had already been placed in four other homes, including one congregate care facility, before coming to Boys Town. The following year her little sister Avery, only 3 years old and on her fifth placement, also moved in with Katie and Jon.</p><p>The girls had not lived in the same home since Avery was an infant, and therefore had never experienced the “normal" moments sisters should. They had never listened to bedtime stories together, never enjoyed a popcorn and family movie night on the couch, and never headed outside on a warm summer day to play. Katie and Jon were thrilled to watch the girls' relationship grow and thrive.</p><p>One evening, the Russells drove the girls to visit with their biological aunt; they met her at a local Friendly's. It was freezing cold, and she was running late. While they waited, the girls snuggled up together in the backseat. Sitting there, watching the girls giggle and whisper secrets to each other – Katie and Jon knew, Kaylee and Avery were here to stay.</p><p>It wasn't long after that they reached out to the girls' social worker and began pursuing their adoption. It wasn't a simple process -- the girls were removed from their parents because of rampant drug use and homelessness, and there was plenty of paperwork and court dates involved to solidify the adoptions – but none of that mattered. These sisters, separated for months, would now be a family again.</p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NENGL-fosterCare-3.jpg" alt="Happy Family" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:300px;height:300px;" />On Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, Jon, Katie, Kaylee and Avery became a forever family. The team at Boys Town New England is so thrilled to be a part of their story and wishes them all the best!</p><p>And, the story doesn't stop there! Katie and Jon will continue their foster care journey and they, alongside their new daughters, will continue welcoming Boys Town New England children in need into their hearts and home.</p><p>For tips, tricks, resources and stories about foster care please check out Katie's blog at <strong>foreverfosteredinlove.com</strong>. Learn more about how you can <strong>#BetheOne</strong> to make a difference in a foster child's life <a href="/locations/new-england/Pages/Foster-Family-Service.aspx"> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">here</span></a>.<br></p>2020-08-31T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Kaylee & Avery" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NENGL-fosterCare-4.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town New England Youth Uses Art as Creative Outlet and to Inspire Othershttps://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/BT-New-England-Youth-Uses-Art-to-Inspire-Others.aspxBoys Town New England Youth Uses Art as Creative Outlet and to Inspire Others<p>Peter (name changed for privacy), a 14 year old boy living in one of our Portsmouth, RI, family homes, often uses art to express his thoughts and feelings. He has closely followed the Black Lives Matter movement, and has created this drawing, along with a few others, to help express his feelings surrounding current events. We asked him to tell us more about himself and his art:</p> <img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Peters-Drawing.jpg" alt="Peter's drawing" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="width:300px;height:387px;" /> <strong>1. </strong> <strong>What inspired you to create these drawings?</strong> <p></p><p>My Avo (mom's aunt) used to draw with me and my brothers, and now I use it to express my feelings. I watched the video of George Floyd, and I think it wasn't fair what happened to him.  </p><p> <strong>2. </strong> <strong>What do you hope others will feel or think about when they look at them?</strong></p><p>I hope they feel inspired and encouraged.</p><p> <strong>3. </strong> <strong>You've been following the BLM Movement and watching all of the things happening across our country – How do you feel about all of this? As a young man, do you hope things will be different when you are an adult? What do you hope to see change?</strong></p><p>I felt angry with the police. It reminded me of a time when my dad was treated poorly by the police. I hope things are different; I hope everyone treats each other well, with respect, and I hope police are less violent. </p> <img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Peter-photo.jpg" alt="Peter's Photo" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="width:300px;height:351px;" /> <strong>4. </strong> <strong>How do your Boys Town Family Teachers and Asst. FTs support your creativity, and your interest in current events?</strong><p></p><p>They encourage me to talk about what I'm feeling, and they ask to see my pictures. I gave copies of one of my drawings to my AFT, and the house. My AFT and FT's said I could talk to them about the current events if I ever wanted to talk about it.</p>2020-08-20T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Meet Katie and John, a Boys Town New England Foster Family!https://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/Meet-Katie-and-John-a-Boys-Town-New-England-Foster-Family.aspxMeet Katie and John, a Boys Town New England Foster Family!<p>"If it's something your heart feels like it should do, do it. It's worth it." &#128153;</p><p>Meet Katie and John, a Boys Town New England Foster Family! They sat down (virtually) with Foster Family Recruiter and Trainer, Sara Hinchcliffe, to talk about their experience fostering, and to answer all your burning questions about becoming a licensed foster family.</p><p>If you've ever thought about fostering, or want to learn more about the process, this is the perfect opportunity!</p><p> <a href="/foster-family-services/Pages/default.aspx">Learn more here</a></p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/433749862" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe>  </div>2020-07-02T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Stands for Racial Equalityhttps://www.boystown.org/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/Pages/Boys-Town-Stands-for-Racial-Equality.aspxBoys Town Stands for Racial Equality<p>Nearly a century ago, Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan spoke these profound words: </p><p>" I … see danger for all in an ideology which discriminates against anyone politically or economically because he or she was born into the 'wrong' race, has skin of the 'wrong' color, or worships at the 'wrong' altar."</p><p>Today, America is at a crossroads. The dangerous ideology of racism Father Flanagan described then continues to exist today. </p><p>At Boys Town, we share the sadness of so many mourning the senseless killings due to violence and racism. We also share the anger that is sweeping our nation as we unequivocally condemn all forms of racism, hatred, and injustice that tear at the seams of our society.</p><p>When Father Flanagan opened his first Home for Boys in 1917, he welcomed kids of every race, color, and creed. But his efforts to be inclusive and compassionate in his care of children went far beyond creating a place where they could grow and thrive. Father Flanagan also recognized and rejected the laws and customs that enshrined and reinforced institutional racism. He passionately attacked those unfair laws and practices, shining a spotlight on prejudice and injustice, and using Boys Town as a model for the incredible possibilities that existed when people of all colors lived, worked, and played side by side in mutual respect and equality.</p><p><strong>Boys Town has never wavered from the principles on which it was founded. As a passionate advocate of positive social change, we firmly stand with those individuals and groups who have dedicated themselves to the cause of racial equality and justice, and strongly support their efforts to bring about lasting, significant change. </strong><strong> </strong></p><p>We have recognized since our formation that it is not enough to simply avoid racist behavior as individuals. We all must work together proactively to create a more just, a more peaceful, and a more equitable society. We all must live by the values of diversity and inclusion more deeply in the days, months, and years to come. We all must strive to re-create a society in which everyone feels that they belong, that they matter, and that they are respected for who they are.     </p><p>People have rediscovered their voice, and their pain and anger are being felt and heard. Boys Town adds its voice to this rising chorus with the fervent hope that racism, injustice, and prejudice can finally be vanquished.     </p><p>God's Blessings,</p><p>Father Steven E. Boes<br>President and National Executive Director, Boys Town</p>2020-06-17T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Father Flanagan" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Flanagan_with_Boys_1942_682-rollup.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Spotlight On: Family and Community Serviceshttps://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/Spotlight-On-Family-and-Community-Services.aspxSpotlight On: Family and Community Services<p><strong>Part I:</strong></p><p>It's every parent's worst fear: not being or having enough for their child. When struggles with employment, housing, relationship instabilities or mental and physical health issues affect a parent's ability to provide a safe and supportive home for their child, it can lead to intervention from outside organizations. Our Family and Community Services help struggling families stay together and/or help families safely and successfully reunite if children have been removed from the home.</p><p>Our Care Coordination Team helps families identify and access needed supports and resources, navigate care systems to keep children safe and improve home stability. Consultants assist with developing and improving parenting skills while also teaching parents to advocate for themselves. </p><p>Boys Town In-Home Family Services® have trained Family Consultants who help families in their own homes. The Family Consultants empower parents by teaching them new parenting skills and by providing emotional support 24/7.</p><p><strong>Part II:</strong></p><p>Our Family and Community Services team is led by Kaitlyn and Jen. In 2017, Kaitlyn began working at Boys Town after completing her Master's degree in Barcelona, Spain, and conducting post-thesis research in Lebanon. Jen has been with Boys Town since 2008; prior to that, she was in a leadership position at an early childhood facility. </p><p>One of the fun things we like to ask our employees is “Why Boys Town? Why do you show up every day for your families?" Our Family and Community Services team member's answers are incredibly inspiring and truly exemplify our staff as a whole. Our employees are the perfect mix of passion and compassion with a good dash of determination and hard work sprinkled in. Here's some of their responses: </p><p><strong>Kaitlyn: </strong>“I show up every day and give 100% because I have seen the change that is possible when you teach families positive skills, link them to the right resources and advocate for them along the way. There is no better feeling than seeing your families happy and healthy."</p><p><strong>Jen:</strong><em> </em>“We get to support families, see them evolve and learn and ultimately reunify. This is why I chose to be in this line of work; everyone deserves a chance in life."</p><p><strong>Sharae:</strong> “I believe every family falls on hard times and deserves to be saved. I enjoy being that positive spark that helps families reunite."</p><p><strong>Alcida: </strong>“Boys Town is changing families' lives for the better on a daily basis. I want to be a part of this mission."</p><p><strong>Brittany:</strong> “It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good, but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not." – Plato, “The Allegory of the Cave"</p><p><strong>Anastasia: </strong>“I believe in providing genuine support and resources for families. I wanted to work somewhere that has a concrete, positive impact on the community – and Boys Town fights for that."</p><p><strong>Charles:</strong> “We offer hope to our families that they can live beyond their current situation. Watching a person transcend their circumstances is exhilarating and inspiring!"</p><p><strong>Melissa:</strong> “I have a passion for helping others in times of hardship! I want to help empower our clients to be confident, courageous and strong for themselves and their families."</p><p><br></p>2020-04-01T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Family and Community Service" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/SpotLight.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Rhode Island Brother and Sister Find Their Forever Family with Boys Town Foster Parentshttps://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/RI-Brother-and-Sister-Find-Forever-Family-with-BT-Foster-Parents.aspxRhode Island Brother and Sister Find Their Forever Family with Boys Town Foster Parents<p>When Owen and Harper arrived at Sonia Diaz's home, the foster mom quickly realized she had work to do. Not unlike many children in their situation, Owen, age 5, and Harper, age 4, had histories of physical and emotional abuse, and each had behavioral issues to work through. </p><p>Owen was a rollercoaster of emotions, which often resulted in tantrums and outbursts. He desperately needed support to learn the skills necessary to work through issues and situations in healthier ways. Harper was the opposite – reserved and shy – almost to the point of being mute. Sonia wasn't even able to get Harper to choose a pair of shoes to wear in the morning without spending the better part of an hour coaxing an answer out of her.</p><p>But Sonia and her husband, Jose, weren't deterred. With over nine years of experience as Boys Town Foster Parents, they were more than prepared for the challenge. They spent months building up trusting relationships with Owen and Harper, and focused on empowering them by providing plenty of emotional support and guidance. </p><p>Over time, Owen's emotional outbursts lessened as he learned better ways to cope with and express his feelings. And Harper eventually began singing at church in front of the entire congregation – in Spanish, which is not her first language! </p><p>It didn't take long before Sonia and Jose decided they couldn't bear the thought of Owen and Harper leaving their home, so they began the adoption process. In January of 2020, Owen and Harper officially became members of the Diaz family.</p><p>Individuals like Sonia and Jose are the reason Boys Town New England can provide such incredible care options to its foster children. The Diaz family began fostering in 2011 after Sonia just couldn't kick the feeling that “something was missing." She got hooked on watching “Tuesday's Children," a weekly spot run on Rhode Island news channels that spotlights an adoptable local child. On a whim one day, she reached out to Boys Town – and since then they've never looked back.</p><p>Sonia and Jose have built lasting relationships with more than two dozen foster children who they've welcomed into their home. Sonia prides herself on being an advocate for the children in her care, their biological families and reunification whenever it is possible. She is still in touch with the first sibling set she fostered, both are teenagers now, and their mom who Sonia pushed to be reunited with her children despite language and cultural differences that made communication tough. Over the course of their fostering lives, Sonia and Jose have adopted four children (although, according to Sonia, Jose would have “adopted them all if he could!"). They also have three adult biological children. “I always wanted a huge family!" Sonia said while laughing. </p><p>Sonia credits the ease of the foster process to Boys Town New England. “The staff at Boys Town New England…they are not my coworkers and they are not just another agency – they are my family. I can always rely on them, whether I need help with my foster kids, my adopted kids or my biological kids. They are here for my entire family; every child is important."</p><p><strong>To learn more about becoming a foster parent please call us today at 401-845-2250 (RI) or 800-847-2025 (MA), or visit us online at <a href="/new-england">boystown.org/new-england</a>.</strong></p>2020-04-01T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Introducing Owen and Harper Diaz!" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BT-FosterParents.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Local Middle Schooler Donates More Than 120 Hours of Supporthttps://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/Local-Middle-Schooler-Donates-More-Than-120-Hours-of-Support.aspxLocal Middle Schooler Donates More Than 120 Hours of Support<p>When 15-year-old Ashley Burke first reached out to Boys Town New England's Development Office in the summer of 2018, Development Coordinator, Elizabeth Rose, was impressed and excited. </p><blockquote><p><em>“Ashley needed a project to do for her Girl Scout troop and chose Boys Town," Rose said. “She had already researched our organization and was eager to help children in need. After identifying a project that could be done from afar – Ashley lives in New York – she offered to make gift tags for our Adopt a Child Christmas drive. They were adorable and the kids loved them! We were so thankful for her support."</em></p></blockquote><p>But it didn't stop there. Ashley wanted to continue helping and soon pitched a second project following a suggestion made by Boys Town staff. Since many of the kids who arrive at Boys Town New England are lacking basic toiletries, Ashley volunteered to make dozens of drawstring toiletry bags and source all the items needed to fill them – right down to the hourglass timers the children could flip to make sure they were brushing their teeth for the appropriate amount of time. Ashley also provided plenty of boxes filled with extra items.</p><p>In all, Ashley put in more than 120 hours on the project, including traveling from her home in New York to deliver all the items, tour the campus and meet Boys Town youth and staff. From working on the project, Ashley said, “I learned that not everyone is born into an ideal childhood or has the same opportunities as I do. There is always something you can do to help others, no matter how big or small."</p><p>Through her work with Boys Town, Ashley was able to earn her Girl Scouts Silver Award, the highest award a Cadette can receive. Over the last two years, Ashley has shown an amazing dedication to supporting children in need – and for that the entire Boys Town New England team is incredibly thankful. Well done, Ashley!</p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-2.jpg" alt="Volunteering" style="margin:5px;" /> </p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-3.jpg" alt="Volunteered Items" style="margin:5px;" /> </p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-1.jpg" alt="Volunteer" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p>2020-04-01T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="I wanted to help kids who are not as fortunate as I am." src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-1.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent