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Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Mark Your Calendar! Christmas Classic Golf Tournament December 9 Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Mark Your Calendar! Christmas Classic Golf Tournament December 9 <p>Dust off your golf clubs, bring them out on the green, and celebrate over 100 years of saving children and healing families at the 27th Annual Christmas Classic Golf Tournament on Monday, December 9!</p><p>Sign-up now to enjoy all the benefits! <strong></strong><strong> </strong> </p><p>Teams of four will enjoy a day in the sun while competing for the top score, but the real winners are the hundreds of children and families Boys Town North Florida programs serve each year. <a href="https://attend.boystown.org/NorthFlorida/ChristmasGolfClassic/" target="_blank"><strong>Register today!</strong></a></p><p>If you have any questions, please contact Margaret Farris, Development Director, at 850-504-5007 or <a href="mailto:margaret.farris@boystown.org?subject=Christmas%20Classic">margaret.farris@boystown.org</a>.</p><h2><strong>Event Information</strong></h2><h3>Date:</h3><p>Monday, December 9, 2019<br></p><h3>Time:</h3><p>Registration starts at 8:30 a.m.</p><h3>Location:</h3><p>Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club</p>2019-12-09T06:00:00ZEventNorth Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent

 

 

Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town Foster Parents Help Keep Family Close, Despite Separation and Distances Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town Foster Parents Help Keep Family Close, Despite Separation and Distances <p>​For Boys Town North Florida Therapeutic Foster Parents Lex and Debbie Collins, caring for their youth and trying to keep families together are always top priorities.</p><p>For 17-year-old Rainee-Gray, the Collinses' efforts have meant that she and her siblings have been able to stay in touch with their own parents through difficult times.</p><p>Rainee-Gray arrived at the Collinses' home as a non-relative placement back in 2014. Lex and Debbie also took in Rainee-Gray's younger brother and older sister so the kids could stay together for as long as possible.</p><p>Unfortunately, the parental rights of Rainee-Gray's and her siblings' mom and dad were terminated in the winter of 2016. It was a tough time for all the kids. </p><p>But Rainee-Gray and her brother and sister didn't want to totally lose touch with their parents. They let the Collinses know this, and Lex and Debbie did what they could through the courts to overturn a "no contact" order.</p><p>The Collinses knew how important family connections were. Through persistence and with the court's blessing, they began facilitating supervised family visits for the kids and their mother and father as often as Rainee-Gray and her siblings wanted to see them.</p><p>"Since the kids were older when they came to us, and their parents were still in the area, we felt it would be best if they had supervised contact with them, since they would need to be able to navigate those relationships once they became 18," Lex said. "In this case, we were able to petition the court and it was accepted."</p><p>The Collinses' work to keep the family connected did not stop there.</p><p>Rainee-Gray has one other brother with significant mental health and behavioral needs. His needs make it necessary for him to live a long distance from Rainee-Gray and his other siblings. Again, Lex and Debbie stepped in to make arrangements for the whole family to see each other.</p><p>They worked to organize visits with the brother for holidays and even made the long trip by car to bring him back to their home for a four-day visit. Lex and Debbie bought him Christmas gifts and celebrated with all the children in their home. During the visit, they also made sure all the kids saw their mother and father by supervising visits. They continue to arrange visits with the brother several times a year, planning fun activities like fishing, hunting and boating.</p><p>"It has ultimately been good for everyone, though these situations are always difficult," Lex said. "Once their biological parents realized we were actually on their side, too, it became somewhat easier. We always want to do what's best for the biological family when we can."</p><p>For Lex and Debbie Collins, family is everything.</p>2019-08-26T05:00:00ZNewsNorth Florida;#text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
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