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Resiliency celebrated at 2020 Youth Awards Banquet

Citizen Ceremony

​​​Each year, Boys Town North Florida celebrates the success and achievements of the 30 boys and girls in its Family Home program by hosting a Youth Award's Banquet. This occasion also marks when each child is officially granted citizenship into Boys Town. Typically, a formal affair consisting of red carpets, limousines, tuxes, gowns and a room full of people, this year looked a bit different due to, you guessed it, Covid-19. But the show must go on, and indeed it did in a less formal but just as fun and festive way.

Confined to campus, the development and Family Home staff were committed to keeping many of the same elements of the Youth Awards Banquet while adding a few new twists to keep the
kids engaged. Celebrating the end of summer and beginning of school, a luau theme was chosen to allow the kids to celebrate outdoors while battling the 90-degree Florida heat. Several kids were seen sporting Hawaiian attire which added to the evening's festivities. Don't let anyone tell you these kids don't know how to have a good time – they came with some serious swagger! 

​Socially distancing in one corner of the tent was Boys Town friend and supporter DJ Willie Brown who kept the evening moving with his jovial commentary and the latest tunes familiar to the kids -- but not the staff. Dancing, laughter and big, bright, beautiful smiles were evident throughout the evening. Carrabba's Italian Grill provided an italian feast, followed by a surprise appearance by Momma P's ice cream truck where the kids could select not just one, but TWO treats each. Everyone took advantage of that sweet deal, including many staff. With bellies full, the best was yet to come.

Brooklyn Parrish with Marcus.jpgThe most anticipated aspect of the evening is the awards given to the kids which are carefully chosen by the Family Home Program director and staff. Certificates are given out in several categories to include Upward Bound, Set for Success, Best Sense of Humor, Most Considerate, Most Courageous and Leaps and Bounds, to name a few. Other awards in which a trophy is given include Character Counts, Junior Ambassador, Youth of the Year and Ambassador of the Year. To cap off the evening, we present the James Dahl Spirit of Youth Academic Award, which this year went to Miss Brooklyn Parrish in the Mackley home.

In a year where resiliency is key, the kids of Boys Town North Florida have shown grit, determination and a willingness to adapt which has allowed them to cope despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. We couldn't be prouder to celebrate their achievements!​