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Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | The “Living Work of heART” in North Florida Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | The “Living Work of heART” in North Florida <p>On Friday, April 13, Boys Town North Florida celebrated its 15<sup>th</sup> Annual Spirit of Youth Gala:<em> "A Living Work of heART," </em>bringing together the community to celebrate the children of Boys Town and the wonderful community who supports them.</p><p>A special thank you to this year's awesome Gala Chairs: Sean and Dr. Audra Pittman and Emory and Autumn Mayfield, for their remarkable dedication to Boys Town and for all their hard work creating a tremendously successful gala.<strong> </strong>The event raised an incredible total of $392,991 and will impact the North Florida community by directly helping the children and families through the six programs Boys Town North Florida operates.</p><p>"We are extremely grateful for the support that the Boys Town Gala received this year.  It simply wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors, volunteers, and friends of Boys Town who helped make this year's event such a success," said Gala Chair Emory Mayfield.</p><p>This year's theme "An Evening at the MET" was another sell-out at 400 attendees and boasted some amazing auction items. Some of the auction highlights included an exclusive VIP Experience for 4 to the Orange Bowl Playoff game, two tickets to a Los Angeles Lakers game on a private jet and a one week stay in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.</p><p>"We were humbled by the opportunity to be intimately apart of the Boys Town North Florida gala that raises the funds necessary to help these children. Those who supported the Spirit of Youth Gala through their time and contributions have had an extraordinary imprint in making this year a success, and we are very, very grateful to those supporters," said Gala Chair Autumn Mayfield. </p><p>The event also featured a Children's "heART" Gallery, displaying beautiful works of art and mosaic bird baths. Thanks to all of our talented artists Anne Hempel and Joanna Angelos who spearheaded the two projects and Kelly Pettit, Dr. Audra Pittman and Rhonda Strauss who played a tremendous part in helping them.</p><p>Two celebrity fashion designers also helped make the night unforgettable. Alexandra Pijut's Supima collection was featured as guests entered the cocktail reception and Daniel Wingate donated a couture gown to the auction for guests to bid on.</p><p>In its 15<sup>th</sup> year, the gala has grown from 200 attendees to now maxing out at 400. The event, originally considered a fundraiser, is now referred to as a "thank you campaign" to show appreciation for all of the Boys Town North Florida supporters.</p><p>"I would like to give special recognition to not only our tremendous supporters, but our own Boys Town staff who went above and beyond to ensure the success of the event," said Development Director Dena Strickland. "The entire gala team, including our staff expressed that their efforts were worth the time spent because it shared what Boys Town North Florida is all about – the kids and our Boys Town community who supports them."</p><div class="hidden-gal"> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Fashion.jpg" title="Fashion Show"> </a><a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/LabPuppy.jpg" title="Puppy"> </a> </div>2018-06-19T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Gala Attendees" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/attendees.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Tallahassee Woman Magazine Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Tallahassee Woman Magazine <p>Boys Town North Florida Development Director, Dena Strickland, was recently featured in the April-May 2018 issue of Tallahassee Woman Magazine. The article highlights Strickland and her role as Development Director for Boys Town North Florida. </p><p> <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p>​2018-04-13T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Dena" src="/locations/north-florida/PublishingImages/Dena.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town Helps Develop Continuum of Care at Children’s Home in Trinidad Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town Helps Develop Continuum of Care at Children’s Home in Trinidad <p>For many years, Sister Arlene Greenidge, Director of St. Dominic's Children's Home in Port of Spain, Trinidad, has been influenced by the man and mission that started Boys Town. The goals that Father Flanagan set to improve the lives of youth and provide healthy environments for children to prosper, guided Sister Arlene's pursuit to reach out and give the youth in Trinidad a chance at a successful future. </p><p>For the past few years, St. Dominic's Children's Home has been working with Florida State University and Boys Town National to develop a trauma-informed plan that would fit a variety of youth needs in the area. The country is greatly affected by poverty and violence, which often leads to children needing protection from abuse, neglect and human trafficking. Much like Father Flanagan, Sister Arlene and the staff at St. Dominic's Children's Home wanted to lead the change in overcoming such adversities.</p><p>To help St. Dominic's Children's Home reach their final transitioning steps, Jacqueline Barksdale, Clinical Support Specialist at Boys Town North Florida, traveled to Trinidad to assist them in building their framework for a Continuum of Care, which would expand their programs beyond residential services. During her week-long stay with the children and staff in October, Jacqueline provided training to 32 staff members over topics that focused on Child Development, Separation and Loss, Trauma-Informed Care, Behavior Management, Social Skills and Independent Living Skills.</p><p>"The training was extremely informative, relevant and excellent in allowing the direct care providers the opportunity to see the importance of their role in the organization, as well as, it gave some very useful tactics to incorporate in daily care that could positively change the landscape of care already offered at SDCH," said St. Dominic's Children's Home Clinical Psychologist, Petra.</p><p>Now, St. Dominic's Children's Home staff has been trained to build on family engagement and use various Boys Town model concepts to assist in training, as well as, use Teaching Social Skills to Youth in their interventions to the children. "We were only able to make this journey of realization because of Jackie's skill and professional posture," said Sister Arlene. "The process which Jackie used was energizing and the substance engendered hope."</p>2018-04-04T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Trinidad" src="/news/PublishingImages/Trinidad_1.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | 25 Women: Dena Sokolow enjoys 'ripple effect' of advocacy Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | 25 Women: Dena Sokolow enjoys 'ripple effect' of advocacy <p><em>This article is written by Heather Fuselier. </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>It was published on March 24, 2018. </em></a></p><p>After growing up in Tallahassee, Dena Sokolow couldn't wait to get out of town. She left, and she lived in nine different cities before returning to her hometown. "This is where I wanted to raise my daughter," she says with certainty. "This is a place where we can really connect with people." And, they have.</p><p>Sokolow is one of Tallahassee's 25 Women You Need to Know, and if you're smart, to follow.</p><p>Now in its 12th year, the program is the Tallahassee Democrat's way of honoring women who lead. Meet the women every day during the month of March in print and on</p><p>As a single mom, philanthropist, and shareholder in the Tallahassee law office of Baker Donelson, Sokolow has her hands full. They're full of socks for the homeless, teddy bears for children, cookies for the garbage truck driver, and blankets for people sleeping outside.</p><p>Also in her hand is that of her 9-year-old Jenna, who started learning at an early age about the value and importance of building community through service. "Giving to others has always been part of my life," Dena says. "It's how I grew up. Now we have an annual tradition of doing random acts of kindness, and we do something different each year for her birthday. We started with socks and she wants to give people houses and jobs," she laughs. </p><p>She is drawn to volunteering for organizations that benefit children and has been an active volunteer and board member for Boys Town for 15 years, relentlessly seeking donations from businesses for a silent auction that benefit Boys Town's neglected and abused children. "I try to help wherever I am," Dena explains, "but I look for opportunities where I can engage my daughter. The ripple effect is fun to watch; the relationships and friendships that come from volunteering is a bonus!"</p><p>Hand-in-hand with Dena's advocacy for children is the time she spends each day managing a Facebook group that started as a way for her and her friends to stay connected as young mothers and has grown to a social networking powerhouse of 11,000 users and growing.</p><p>The Tally Moms Stay Connected Facebook page connects mothers across Tallahassee and beyond to provide support, resources, and camaraderie for moms. Moderating the page opens her eyes to the elements of motherhood that all women share, regardless of their place in life. "I'd love to see even more outreach across different segments of our city," she says. "We have more in common than we know." </p><p>Whether she is advocating for Boys Town, volunteering at Jenna's school, connecting moms on Facebook, or thinking of new ways to lend a helping hand, Sokolow encourages you to join her. "Just get involved! Yes, we are all busy, but even something small makes a difference to someone," she said. "If everyone did something that seems small to them but is big for someone else, imagine what could happen.</p>2018-03-29T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Dena Sokolow" src="/news/PublishingImages/Dena-Sokolow.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Tallahassee college students volunteer at The Big Event Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Tallahassee college students volunteer at The Big Event <p><em>This article is written by Rachel Corry. </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>It was published on March 25, 2018.</em></a></p><p>College students in Tallahassee volunteer their Saturday to community service for the 12th annual <a href="">Big Event</a> on March 24, 2018.   </p><p>Over 1,600 students from Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Tallahassee Community College attended to volunteer at a variety of different service sites in the Tallahassee. This one-day event is one of the biggest turnouts in the country for volunteering and engaging with local areas and local partners.</p><p>The day started with a kickoff ceremony, social activities, breakfast, music and photo booths at the Donald Tucker Civic Center. Volunteers had the option to register individually or with a team, whether it be alongside other service fraternity organizations, club members or friends. Participants then left for their designated service sites to engage in a range of activities.</p><p>Public Relations Director Jason Randall oversees the grand public image of The Big Event in Tallahassee by managing social media, coordinating with community partners and organizing marketing tactics.</p><p>"It's all about community, gratitude and service," said Randall. "What makes The Big Event special is that it brings together this community with over 1,600 people from three different schools. Service is crucial as college students give back to the community that gives so much to us."</p><p>The Big Event aims to form lasting relationships with local nonprofits, residents and businesses by promoting service involvement to facilitate positive, sustainable change around Tallahassee.</p><p>Service sites around the three college campuses and the surrounding area offered participants a four-hour volunteer experience with no specialized skills or power tools needed. Sites included Goodwood Museum, Gretchen Everhart School, Success Academy, United Way of the Big Bend, IGrow, Boys Town North Florida, Leon County's Jackson View Park, Allegro Senior Living and multiple residences located in nearby neighborhoods.</p><p>Volunteers took part in service projects, such as painting homes and fences, landscaping, gardening, weeding, repairing sheds, cleaning up parks, mulching walking trails, assisting senior citizens, moving build materials and organizing classrooms.</p><p>One of the residence sitesfeatured opportunities for participants to employ their creativity in designing a garden bed, helping to plan landscape and choosing a paint color for the house. Vinny Franco participated in this site, making it his fourth Big Event with co-members of the FSU Epsilon Sigma Alpha service fraternity.</p><p>"It's exciting to see different parts of Tallahassee and making an impact on the community," said Franco. "I've always had a positive experience doing this."</p><p>Boys Town North Florida gave volunteers an opportunity to enhance the resources and sites that seek to provide support for children and their families around Tallahassee.</p><p>"The best part of my experience was getting to directly interact with one of the kids at the site," said FSU student Blake Antone. "She was so enthusiastic about everything we were putting together and had so much gratitude for even the smallest of things we were doing."</p><p>At Gretchen Everhart School, volunteers primarily weeded and replanted flowers at the front of the school, cleaned up around campus and organized classroom materials.</p><p>"It's cool that we all come together and help people with things they can't get done on their own," said Gina Rogers, who was volunteering with TAU Beta Sigma at FSU. "It's fun to spend time with your friends and have a lasting effect on the community after one day of rewarding service."</p><p>In the future, The Big Event team plans to continue increasing volunteer participation, create more opportunities for student leadership, and grow their presence with local partners in the future.</p>2018-03-29T05:00:00ZNewsNorth Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | ART Town at Boys Town North Florida Hits their Two Year Milestone Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | ART Town at Boys Town North Florida Hits their Two Year Milestone <p>For over two years, Boys Town North Florida has been providing not only a safe space for youth, but also a creative outlet for healing. Adorned by beautiful landscape and playground, ART Town has been an incredible resource for Boys Town youth and staff to help strengthen relationships with families, as well as, provide support through hardships.</p><p>Some of the ways that ART Town has been able to allow the youth at Boys Town to express themselves and their interests is through a variety of activities that involve poetry writing, music classes and creative writing workshops. Events have also been held for the youth and staff to learn about various cultures throughout the world and to make ornaments for the Florida tree at the White House. "Art Town has allowed our youth to explore so many facets of interest and it's created a vital link between the community and our programs and clients," said Bethany Lacey, Senior Director of Program Operations. "It is also a wonderful space for fun!"</p><p>As a large safe space for the youth, Boys Town clinical specialists have a child-friendly area to conduct therapy, family visitations and supportive interventions. One of these supportive interventions is Child-Parent Psychotherapy, which is being provided to very young children and their parents who have experienced some form of trauma. "C-PP contains fidelity and therapeutic tools which support its distinction as an evidence-based therapy, something we can embrace," said Jackie Barksdale, Clinical Specialist. "But it's also fun, high energy and never boring working with young children." </p><p>Within the last year, over 200 children and families have benefitted from all the resources that ART Town has provided to be successful in the future. Boys Town North Florida has given these youth the freedom of expression while helping them repair a sense of safety, behavior and functioning within a healthy and positive environment. </p><p>"Not only does ART Town touch the creative spirit, it reaches mind body and soul through therapy, training and workshops," said Board Member, Dr. Audra Pittman. "Having space that connects our city to the amazing children that are a part of the Boys Town family is what this is all about."​</p>2018-03-26T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="ART Town" src="/blog/PublishingImages/ARTTownkids.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | A Gift in Memory of Christopher Willis Smith Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | A Gift in Memory of Christopher Willis Smith <p>​​A special waiting area outside the Tallahassee office of Boys Town North Florida, dedicated to the memory of Christopher Willis Smith, recently received a facelift thanks to the efforts of two local groups.</p><p>Southern Medical Group provided the funding in memory of Christopher and students from Community Christian School supplied the manpower for the improvements, which included new benches, mulch and plants around a flagpole flying a new American flag blessed by Father Steven Boes, Boys Town's National Executive Director.</p><p>Community Christian School students chose the Boys Town site as their service day project. A memorial gift from Southern Medical Group helped purchase the necessary materials. </p><p>The waiting area has been a place of many treasured moments for children and families served by Boys Town North Florida since it was first developed by Christopher's brother, Michael, in 2009. </p><p>Michael, now 24, was a tenth-grader and a member of Boy Scout Troop 109 when he chose to develop the Boys Town area for his Eagle Scout Project. Michael wanted to create a peaceful place for children and families to enjoy and a patriotic place that honored those who have served our country.</p> <p>"Boys Town could not think of a more beautiful way to honor Christopher's memory than to revitalize an outdoor sanctuary that his brother Michael developed. This area has and will continue to perpetuate big smiles and big hugs in memory of a very caring heart," said Dena Strickland, Boys Town North Florida's Development Director.​</p>2018-01-18T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Memory of Christopher Willis Smith" height="269" src="/blog/PublishingImages/CSS-img.jpg" width="280" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />All;#North Florida;#