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Life on Campus During the Coronavirus on Campus During the Coronavirus<p>One of the most frequently asked questions from our supporters is, “How are Boys Town children doing on campus during the current crisis?" So, we reached out to one of the experts, Family Home Program Consultant Nicole Wertz. </p><p>“Life on campus is GREAT since the pandemic – the kids are actually doing better than when they were in school," Wertz said. “It's a situation we couldn't have predicted. Many of their grade point averages are going up and non-compliances and self-harm statements have gone down. The Family-Teachers adapted quickly to the new normal and without hesitation jumped in helping with structured school hours, hands on learning activities and daily exercise activities (Amazing Race, Human Hungry Hungry Hippo with soccer goals, volleyball and basketball camps, Duck Duck Goose using water balloons and water guns, etc.)."</p><p>Wertz said timely donations have also helped in the homes.</p><p>“The generous donation of new video games for the boys' homes and gaming systems for the girls' homes has made things MUCH easier, and the kids are HIGHLY motivated by these incentives to make their privileges," Wertz said. “Why is all this happening? I think the absence of social media and being in a positive/supportive/trauma-focused environment, paired with consistency and structure is the key. “There's so much drama in middle school and high school life and it's easy to get caught up and distracted in that," she said. “Our kids have the advantage of being with each other during this time to socialize (at least six feet apart) when others in the community might not have that luxury. “</p><p>Boys Town's Family Home Program is so grateful for the work our Family Teachers are doing for the youth during this time of uncertainty. It has been wonderful to see how campus and the children's creativity and team work has known no bounds during these crazy times and we are excited to see their determinization and resilience persevere in the future.</p>2020-05-18T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Growing Stronger Together: The Silver Lining from the Coronavirus Stronger Together: The Silver Lining from the Coronavirus<p>No one would have imagined last year when planning the 2020 Boys Town North Florida Spirit of Youth Gala that we would find ourselves in our current situation. Families and children quarantined at home; technology taking a front seat to in-person meetings; protective facemasks a routine part of our daily dress-code is the new normal.</p><p>April 17, 2020, was supposed to be an evening in which we celebrated with friends and supporters the resilience, strength and success of the families and children in our care. Funny thing, despite the cancelation of our site's largest fundraiser due to the pandemic, the resilience, strength and success of our families and staff shines brighter now than ever before. </p><p>The coronavirus pandemic has given us more time for self-reflection. We are finding new hobbies, learning a new language or spending more time with family. There is time to teach our kids to read or improve their math skills. We can explore the outdoors and meet neighbors we didn't know before or play games or take naps. This is true for the Boys Town community as well. </p><p>It is evident in the stronger bonds created within our Foster Care families who have not wavered in their commitment to providing a safe and welcoming home. It can be found in our Family-Teachers, who provide love and guidance to the youth in their care as they become more cohesive as a neighborhood community. They are finding new and creative ways to keep the children engaged while staying safe on campus.</p><p>It can be found in the smiles from the more than 100 families in our Care Coordination Services program, whose consultants ensure families continue to receive the essential resources they need while staying home with their kids. Or in the eyes of our In-Home Services families, who are grateful for the consultants who work 24/7 providing support and assistance to ensure their families are nurtured and receive the skills needed to remain together during this unprecedented time. </p><p>The times are different, and much is still unknown. What we do know, however, is our friends and supporters have rallied around us to make sure Boys Town will get through these uncertain times. We want to acknowledge those early sponsors of the 2020 Spirit of Youth Gala who so generously believed in our efforts. This includes <strong>Armand and Suzanne Cognetta</strong>, <strong>Walmart</strong>, <strong>Rowland Publishing</strong>, <strong>The Gabor Agency, John Gandy Events </strong>and the many individuals who purchased tickets. We also wish to thank those who contributed April 17,<sup> </sup>when we transitioned from a Gala to a Day of Giving. While falling short of our Gala revenue goal, we remain committed to providing the same level of programs and services to our families and children that is expected from Boys Town North Florida. We will continue to provide hope and healing to our community and do so with resilience, strength and grace. </p>2020-05-18T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
A Special Donation to Boys Town North Florida Special Donation to Boys Town North Florida<p>Zoey and Jacob Lacey, the children of Boys Town North Florida's Senior Director of Program Operations Bethany Lacey, has the makings of being two very successful future fundraisers! </p><p>Instead of receiving birthday presents this year, Zoey and Jacob asked their friends to make a donation to Boys Town North Florida. In lieu of their presents, they were able to raise over $300 for the children of Boys Town. They were hoping to do a check presentation, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were unable to make it to campus. However, this minor setback did not stop them from creating quite possibly the cutest video check presentation we've ever seen. You can watch the video <a href="">here</a>.</p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe>  </div><p>We love to see Zoey and Jacob's willingness to help others and are so thankful for their very special gift to Boys Town. </p>2020-05-18T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town Birthday Donation" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BirthdayDonation_Picture.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
A Soldier’s Contribution Soldier’s Contribution<p>Shianta Williford is currently serving in the U.S. military and has been doing so for the past 19 years. Boys Town North Florida's very own Director of Family Services, Tavarus Sherrod, had the honor of serving with her during his 12 years of military service.</p><p>Even though Shianta is currently serving in Germany, she continues to help and support families in need back home during the current coronavirus pandemic. Shianta was able to donate $1,000 to Boys Town North Florida so the care and resources for families can continue. She is a shining example of what true service and leadership looks like in this community and in this country. </p><p><br></p>2020-05-18T05:00:00Z<img alt="Boys Town - Soldiers Contribution" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BoysTownSoldiersContribution.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
A Night to Remember for a Boys Town Youth Night to Remember for a Boys Town Youth<p>Brooklyn is a 15-year-old girl who desperately wanted to have a night she would always remember for her Junior ROTC Ball earlier this year. Like many 15-year-old girls, she wanted to put on a fancy dress and ditch the glasses she had been wearing since middle school. With program budgets being tight for such things, Boys Town North Florida's Development Department started making phone calls. Eye Associates of Tallahassee was more than willing to help Brooklyn and gift her a brand-new set of contact lenses. </p><p>Not only was Brooklyn able to get rid of her glasses, the Aveda Institute of Tallahassee did her hair and makeup free of charge. There was even room in the budget to buy her a new gown to dance the night away with all of her peers.</p><p>Because of the efforts of so many generous supporters, Brooklyn was able to feel more confident than ever when attending her ball.  It has been an absolute pleasure to see the community come together and make sure our young ones are not only cared for, but giving them the experience of a lifetime. </p>2020-05-18T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="ROTC Ball" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NighttoRememberBT-ROTC-youth.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town North Florida Provides Family with Vision for a Brighter Future Town North Florida Provides Family with Vision for a Brighter Future<p></p><p>When a single mom and her six children recently moved to Tallahassee, they faced the usual challenges that go with relocating to a new city.</p><p>But there were even greater needs the family could not meet on its own. Mom and her kids spoke only Spanish, so there was a language barrier. Mom faced some serious medical problems. There was also a strained relationship between Mom and her oldest daughter and a lack of stability in the household.</p><p>Perhaps the most immediate and pressing need involved the difficulties and struggles each child faced in school because they didn't have eyeglasses.   </p><p>Fortunately, the family was referred to Boys Town North Florida and its In-Home Family Services program.</p><p>Soon, Boys Town Family Consultant Destiny Story was meeting with Mom and her kids in their home. First, Destiny arranged for all of the kids to have eye exams and to each get two pairs of prescription eyeglasses. This opened up a whole new world for them and they all began to show dramatic improvements in the classroom. </p><p>As Destiny continued to work with the family, she helped Mom receive the medical treatment she desperately needed through a non-profit group that offers services to people who cannot afford them. These services are made possible through donations and donors in the medical field.</p><p>As all of this was happening, Destiny was introducing communication and relationship-building skills to Mom and her oldest daughter. As they practiced and began to master these skills, the mother-daughter bond that had been damaged grew stronger and the two became closer. Mom also became empowered to advocate for her daughter (and her other children) at school to cope with language issues and bullying, and to take advantage of new opportunities. </p><p>Thanks to Boys Town North Florida and Destiny's compassionate care, the family found the resources it needed to confidently start their new life in Tallahassee.​<br></p>2020-02-26T06:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Jackie Barksdale Presents at FFTA Conference Barksdale Presents at FFTA Conference<p></p><p>Jackie Barksdale, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at Boys Town North Florida had the opportunity to present at Family Focused Treatment Association (FFTA) Conference this past July. </p><p>Jackie has years of experience working with families in foster care and adoption programs, including previously managing her agency's therapeutic foster care program before semi-retiring. She is also certified as a Child Welfare Professional in Adoption Competency Counseling, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. These experiences and training provided Jackie with information she wanted to share with other people in her field. </p><p>The FFTA Conference draws over 700 child welfare professionals every year and is the only international conference on family focused treatment services. With her love of teaching and training professionals in this field, Jackie sent in proposals for two presentations at the FFTA Conference but was not expecting for both to be approved. Reviewers realized that the topics were very appropriate and innovative for the conference and wanted the topics to be presented. </p><p>One of the workshops focused on the impact of holidays, birthdays, and anniversary dates on children and youth in the foster care system. Everyone who attended left with a better understanding of developmental grieving and disappointment and how to provide treatment responses and to avoid placement disruptions. Participants were encouraged to look at holidays and anniversaries through the eyes of a child with special needs and/or who has experienced trauma.</p><p>The second workshop addressed the benefits of Child-Parent psychotherapy (CPP) for the child welfare practice model and how the CPP framework creates a ripple effect enhancing trauma-informed practice across systems. </p><p>“Jackie is an amazing teacher and trainer. Her unique style allows for open participation and an interactive session. If you have the chance to attend any of her trainings, trust me you won't be disappointed," said Sara Soria, Program Support Services Coordinator at Boys Town North Florida. “She is always willing to share her knowledge and experience with whoever is ready to learn." </p><p>Jackie is an inspiration and mentor to everyone at Boys Town North Florida. Her humbleness is always evident, and she is constantly ready to learn something new. Boys Town North Florida is very thankful to have Jackie on staff for her guidance and expertise in the child welfare field and congratulate her on her wonderful presentations at the FFTA conference.​<br></p><p><br></p>2020-02-07T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="FFTA Conference" src="/locations/north-florida/PublishingImages/FFTA-Conference.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent