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Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Adoption Brings Happy Ending to Girl’s Search for Forever Family Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Adoption Brings Happy Ending to Girl’s Search for Forever Family <p>Persian was an 11-year-old girl who desperately wanted a family of her own.</p><p>Patrick and Brennen Cannon were a couple who were ready to open their home and their hearts to a child who needed love and guidance.</p><p>Thanks to Boys Town North Florida's help, Persian now calls Patrick and Brennen "Dad" and "Mom."</p><p>Rewind to several years ago. Persian had come to Boys Town North Florida as a foster child. She had been through three unsuccessful adoptions, partly due to problems in those families and partly because of her behavioral issues, which included not following instructions and not being able to express her feelings appropriately. These difficulties also had hurt Persian's progress in school.</p><p>In her Boys Town Family Home, Persian had bonded with her Family-Teachers<sup>®</sup>, the trained married couple who cared for and taught skills to her and other girls in the residence. This was important because when Patrick and Brennen entered the picture as possible adoptive parents for Persian, the Family-Teachers immediately began mentoring them on how to address and teach to her behaviors. </p><p>The Cannons, from the very beginning, were both engaged and willing to do whatever was required to adopt Persian and provide her with the home, love and structure she needed. They even took Boys Town foster care classes in order to become licensed therapeutic foster parents and use all the strategies Boys Town uses with the youth in its care, as well as received the ongoing support needed by consultants in this program.     </p><p>At first, Persian expressed interest in being adopted by the Cannons, but also would say she was "not ready for that yet." However, in March 2018, she moved in with Brennen and Patrick to prepare for that big event. After just a few weeks in her new home, she fell in love with the couple and began to call them "Mom" and "Dad."</p><p>On August 9, 2018, Persian was formally adopted by the Cannons. The little girl who had waited so long had finally found her forever family.</p><p>Today, Persian is friends with the kids in her new neighborhood and has gotten to know many other members of the Cannons' extended family. She still has some difficulty expressing her feelings, and Patrick and Brennen continue to work with her on using skills like having empathy and compromising. But whatever happens, the bond they share helps them get through it together as a loving family.   </p><p>"With the addition of Persian, our family has become complete," Brennen said. "She is energetic, kind and smart. We can't imagine our lives without her."</p>2019-08-06T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/P.Cannon-Photo-3.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Effort to canonize Boys Town founder Edward Flanagan reaches key milestone Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Effort to canonize Boys Town founder Edward Flanagan reaches key milestone <p>​The effort to have Servant of God Father Edward J. Flanagan canonized a saint took a step forward today with the presentation of the Positio to Congregation for the Causes of Saints, along with a letter of support from Archbishop George Lucas.<br><br><a href="https://www.omaha.com/news/metro/effort-to-canonize-boys-town-founder-edward-flanagan-reaches-key/article_abb43a73-7e5c-59aa-a62e-a7b67a0b4af1.html?fbclid=IwAR3a4lPKoGHPBfp9iCfbcb_biLC0dMs6kY0E3ps6Z05RTHb1myqLaIsyB0U" target="_blank">Read more in this article</a> published by the Omaha World-Herald on July 22, 2019. <br></p>2019-07-30T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Father Edward Flanagan" src="/about/PublishingImages/flanagan.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="Father Edward Flanagan" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/canonization.jpg" width="300" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />All;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Visits Boys Town North Florida Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Visits Boys Town North Florida <p>​On Wednesday, July 3, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Chad Poppell and his Assistant Secretary of Child Welfare, Patty Medlock visited the Boys Town North Florida site. </p><p>At the North Florida site Poppell and Medlock met with Marcus Lampkin, Executive Director, Boys Town North Florida; Greg Zbylut, Executive Director, Boys Town Central Florida; Tyler Tuszynski, Boys Town Director, State Advocacy and Public Policy; and Anne Martin, Boys Town North Florida Board Chair. </p><p>Poppell and Medlock had the opportunity to tour the North Florida site where they visited a Family Home and got the chance to talk to some of the youth living in the home. The visit also gave Boys Town leadership the availability to have a great discussion with the Secretary and his assistant on all of the services that Boys Town provides to the community to help children and families.</p><p>Poppell was very interested in Boys Town Central Florida's Intervention and Assessment program, as 'cross-over' or 'hard placement' kids with juvenile justice histories are a particular area of focus right now in Florida. </p><p>On June 6, the Administration for Children and Families informed states that they will be able to name prevention services in their state plans. Due to this fact Poppell was very interested in learning about Boys Town's long history and evidence-supported programs such as In-Home Family Services, Common Sense Parenting<sup>®</sup> and On the Way Home<sup>®</sup>.  </p><p>"Advocacy and Public Policy are working with the Boys Town Florida sites to influence our local lead agencies as well as the Departments of Children and Families and Juvenile Justice on viewing Boys Town as a leader in quality care for children and families," said Tyler Tuszynski.</p><p>In the state of Florida, Boys Town has several employees working on a multitude of topics including Residential Group Care, Family First Prevention Services Act implementation and Legislative issues in partnership with Florida's largest child welfare advocacy group, the Florida Coalition for Children.</p><p>These are some of the positive moves being made in Florida to benefit the children and families of the state. Thank you to the employees at the Boys Town North Florida and Central Florida sites and Advocacy and Public Policy who are making a direct impact on the work being done there. </p><div class="hidden-gal"> <a title="Group" class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/group.jpg">image 1</a> </div>2019-07-23T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Chad Poppell" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Chad.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Monica Smart-Gainous Recognized for Community Service Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Monica Smart-Gainous Recognized for Community Service <p>Monica Smart-Gainous, Boys Town North Florida In-Home Family Services (IHFS) Consultant, was the recipient of this year's Alpha Spirit of Community Service Award at the 25<sup>th</sup> Anniversary celebration for the Brothers of the Pi Psi Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. </p><p>This award recognizes stellar citizens within the Gadsden and Decatur community who display leadership, service, education and empowerment. The recipient is someone who goes over and beyond the call of duty when serving their community. </p><p>Children, economic empowerment, health, human rights and social services are just a few of the causes that Monica champions for and she makes a direct impact on these sectors in her role as an IHFS Consultant at Boys Town North Florida.  </p><p>"Monica is extremely deserving of such a prestigious award due to her consistent advocacy of the children and families she serves not only while working with Boys Town, but on her own time within the community. We hold Monica in such high regards due to her non-stop efforts to ensure the quality of services provided by Boys Town remain at the forefront of everything we do," said Tavarus Sherrod, Director IHFS, Boys Town North Florida. "She is a true example of how building relationships with the communities and families we serve never go unnoticed, especially if you put your heart and soul into the mission of changing the way America cares for children and families." </p><p>Monica is also involved in several other affiliations in the community such as Gadsden County Democratic Executive Committee, Gadsden County Chapter of the NAACP, Gadsden Coalition for Change, Sow a Seed Foundation, Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center and Gadsden County Second Chance Re-Entry. </p><p>In addition, Monica is the lead organizer of the Eva Gunn Gainous Leonard "Woman of Distinction" program which recognizes a woman from the Gadsden County community for their efforts and deeds to improve Gadsden County.  </p><p>"Whether it be within the school system, community or through religious affiliations, Monica is always on the scene. Not just on the scene spectating, she puts her boots on the ground and goes to work," said Octavius R. Jackson, Chapter President, Pi Psi Lambda Chapter. </p><p>Join us in congratulating Monica on her much deserved recognition for her tireless dedication and outreach to the Gadsden County community and her direct impact on the children and families of Boys Town North Florida. <br></p>2019-06-17T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Monica Smart" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/Forms/EditForm/Monica-Smart-Gainous-banner.jpg" width="2873" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="Monica Smart" height="551" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Monica-Smart-Gainous.Award.jpg" width="400" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Local foster family shares their story about foster care experience Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Local foster family shares their story about foster care experience <p><em>This article is written by Brittany Barnett. </em><a href="https://www.wtxl.com/news/local-news/local-foster-family-shares-their-story-about-foster-care-experience?fbclid=IwAR3eb6KIEo4aKVoxOZryl-6_CqDDzorE-bT_dmlX8kYW8hI9GFC22VHr5o0" target="_blank"><em>It was published to WXTL Tallahassee on May 29, 2019.</em></a><em> </em></p><p>QUINCY, Fla. — There's a huge need for foster families in our community. </p><p>According to Boys Town North Florida, just last year, the agency had to refuse over 300 child placements due to the lack of foster homes available. </p><p>Brittany Barnett sat down with a family that has been fostering children for six years and is forever changed by the process. </p><p>"I love them to death. I wouldn't let them go for nothing, for no one. This is home to them and I want them to stay," said Calvin Ellis, a foster parent. </p><p>Six years ago, a family out in Quincy decided to take a chance and open up their doors to foster children. Three kids later, they can both say they are forever changed. </p><p>"Foster care has really changed me as a person and as a mother, even spiritually," said Darlene Cunningham, a foster parent. </p><p>It's an experience they wouldn't trade for the world, but it hasn't been without struggle. </p><p>The couple is currently fostering children ages 10, 12 and 13 years old, all from Boys Town North Florida's foster program. </p><p>Cunningham owes a lot of her success as a foster parent to Boys Town North Florida. She is especially thankful for the 24/7 support the agency provides. </p><p>"We had one situation where we were like, 'Okay, we are new at this. We aren't sure.' So we called our consultant. Within 15 minutes our consultant was here," said Cunningham. </p><p>Despite the ups and downs, Cunningham knows she would not be the same person if it wasn't for stepping out of her comfort zone to care for others. </p><p>"Doing foster care and really seeing the different things kids go through really opened by heart," said Cunningham. </p><p>The foster family is taking it one step further and plan on adopting two of their current foster children.</p>2019-05-31T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Foster Family Story North Florida Boys Town" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NF_Story.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town North Florida Bonds in a Groovy Way Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town North Florida Bonds in a Groovy Way <p>Desmond Crayton started a new role at Boys Town North Florida in August 2018 as Director of the Family Home Program. One of the first goals Desmond wanted to accomplish in his new position was to increase the relationship building among all Boys Town North Florida staff and to create thriving, integrated programs.</p><p>"I wanted to create opportunities for our Administrative staff to become more invested in our cornerstone Family Home Program staff and to give them more occasions to come together and connect," said Desmond.</p><p>To achieve this objective, Desmond came up with the idea to have each home on campus sponsor a community-wide event every quarter. </p><p><img src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/Boys-Town-North-Florida-Bonds-in-a-Groovy-Way/donuts.jpg" alt="donuts.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px 10px;" />The most recent event was put on by Family-Teachers, Richard and Tamara Leach. Their idea was to create a 70's theme block party, which is reminiscent to their own childhood. </p><p>"When I was growing up, neighbors knew one another, and all adults looked out for the welfare of the children in the neighborhood," said Richard. "We would have parties outside on the street where everyone would grill out, and share food with one another. We felt like that could be something we do in our own Family Home community."</p><p>The event consisted of Family-Teachers grilling out in the circle in the middle of the campus; children playing fun games, such as trying to eat donuts strung from a tree with no hands and of course old-school 70's music blasting to keep everyone "grooving and dancing". </p><p>The event was a great way for staff and children of Boys Town North Florida to come together and have some fun while simply enjoying each other's company. </p><p>"This event was a reminder of how fun spending time outside of work with our children and staff can be," said Bethany Lacey, Senior Director Program Operations. "I enjoyed getting to watch my own children run around outside and play with all my Boys Town kids. What a blast it is to see kids and staff alike laughing and playing and having a good time!"<br></p>2019-05-22T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Grilling" src="/blog/PublishingImages/griling.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Computer Donations Benefit Boys Town North Florida Families Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Computer Donations Benefit Boys Town North Florida Families <p>It takes a village to raise a child is a common phrase at Boys Town but what can also take a village is getting a computer in the hands of someone who desperately needs one. </p><p>In October 2018 Kasey Parsh, Administrative Assistant, Boys Town North Florida, became aware of the hardships of some families in the In-Home Family Services<sup>® </sup>program who were without computers. For one family, a mother was going back to school and needed a computer to participate in her online courses. Another family needed one for their seventeen-year-old son who was diagnosed with skin cancer and needed to home school to reduce exposure to sunlight. </p><p>Kasey could see the difficulties that were placed on these families due to their lack of a computer. To help these individuals achieve academic success, Kasey decided to approach Chris Corbin who is the Property Specialist for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Since Boys Town is a nonprofit they have opportunities to receive surplus items from the state of Florida, including computers.</p><p>Through Mr. Corbin, Kasey was able to choose from a surplus of computers that they had available, but he did advise that the computers come with some limitations since the hard drives are wiped clean of their operating systems as part of decommissioning. </p><p>Thanks to Mr. Corbin and the State of Florida, Kasey was able to gather not just one but seven laptops to help Boys Town families. To get the laptops up and running, Kasey needed to get new operating systems and hard drives. To help with this task, Kasey reached out to Matthew Strand, Founder and CEO of That's Rite an on-call IT Network Repair Company. </p><p>After hearing the need of the families, Matthew and his IT specialists began working on these computers to get them operating. That's Rite generously donated the first hard drive that was needed, but Kasey was still on the hunt for several more hard drives for the remaining computers. </p><p>Mr. Corbin, who originally gave these computers to Kasey, was not aware that they were <em>all</em> missing hard drives, so he made an exemplary gesture by personally purchasing the hard drives that were needed for this project to come to fruition. The IT specialist at That's Rite even donated extra time to work with Kasey so she could properly install all these hard drives. </p><p>Thanks to a lot of time and generosity from Chris Corbin, Matthew Strand, That's Rite employees and The State of Florida these individuals will be able to keep on track with their academics. The remaining five laptops will assist other families in need. </p><p>"This is a perfect example of how bringing different people together for a common goal of helping others can create a beautiful and potentially long lasting partnership shared by the mission at Boys Town of changing the way America cares for children, families and communities," said Kasey.  <br></p>2019-05-22T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Computer story" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Computer-Story.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent