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Shy’auna’s Success Storyhttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Shyaunas-Success-Story.aspxShy’auna’s Success Story<p>Boys Town North Florida Care Coordination Consultant Emily Backes says local 17-year-old, Shy'auna Allen, knew there were resources available that could help her better her personal living conditions and help her find a job.</p><p>Shy'auna just didn't know where to turn.</p><p>Thanks to her local insurance agent, Shy'auna was referred to Boys Town and its Care Coordination Services program, and today, she is well on her way to a productive, successful life.</p><p>"She is such an impressive young person," Backes said. "Shy'auna virtually was a self-referral, which is very rare. But she knew what she wanted. She knew she wanted to better herself. She just needed to find the right community resources that could point her in the right direction. We provided her access to those resources and she basically took them and ran with it."</p><p>Backes said Shy'auna's accomplishments speak for themselves.</p><p>With Boys Town's help, Shy'auna advocated for her needs and learned to ask questions and ask for help when she needed it. She wrote and edited a resume. She used that resume to get a job at a local Subway restaurant. In school, she maintained a spot on her school's A/B Honor Roll and participated in extra-curricular activities by joining the track team.</p><p>And that was just the beginning.</p><p>Backes said Shy'auna also bettered herself by monitoring her diet and made attempts to lead a healthier lifestyle. She also applied for and was chosen to attend a 3-day conference at Florida State University with the group, "Ladies Learning to Lead."</p><p>She followed that up by graduating from high school and sent applications to attend college.</p><p>"Shy'auna's self-determination is just outstanding," Backes said. "She constantly impressed me. She continues to seek help in order to better herself. I am so proud of her accomplishments."​​<br></p>​<br>2021-06-11T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Florida State University’s Volunteer Mentoring Program Continues to Help Boys Town Youth during Pandemichttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Florida-State-Universitys-Volunteer-Mentoring-Program-Continues-to-Help-Boys-Town-Youth-during-Pandemic.aspxFlorida State University’s Volunteer Mentoring Program Continues to Help Boys Town Youth during Pandemic<p>For many years, Boys Town North Florida and Florida State University's (FSU) Center for Leadership and Social Change have partnered to provide essential academic mentoring to Boys Town youth. FSU's EngageTLH program is a volunteer opportunity for students to meet Boys Town youth at North Florida's ART Town who need academic support. Each Tuesday and Thursday evening, FSU students would help Boys Town North Florida youth with their homework and other difficult materials. </p><p>When the COVID-19 pandemic sent our country into lockdown, FSU students were still determined to ensure they could provide the help and mentoring that Boys Town youth needed. In June 2020, FSU and Boys Town started collaborating virtually via Zoom to offer these tutoring services and academic opportunities to Boys Town kids who were seeking the extra academic support. Each week during the summer, volunteers and students joined together to discuss interesting and educational topics such as virtual field trips to the Hawaiian Volcanos and masterclasses watching volunteers play and discuss musical instruments in real time. After this experience from the summer, Boys Town North Florida was confident they could continue hosting Academic Mentoring online via Zoom as well.</p><p>Since its beginning last summer, Academic Mentoring has been a regular occurrence at Boys Town North Florida each Tuesday and Thursday evening, just like it was during the in-person sessions. Since starting virtually in August, two dedicated volunteers, Paige Rhein and Ashley Powell, have acted as the FSU facilitators and join to help facilitate each and every Academic Mentoring session.</p><p>Ashley and Paige have dedicated many hours each week to ensure Academic Mentoring goes over as smoothly as possible and Boys Town North Florida is very thankful for their commitment. </p><p>"Boys Town has meant more to me this past year more than I ever thought it would," said Paige Rhein. "With COVID-19 hindering our ability to hold in-person classes, many students like myself have found it hard to learn the class material without face-to-face instruction and help. Not only do we aid them in their coursework but we talk to them each week about their lives and get to know them for who they are outside of school. It has been rewarding to see the kids grow as individuals and succeed in their classes over the past year. In the future, if circumstances permit, I hope to meet these amazing individuals in person."</p><p>Boys Town North Florida is also thankful for the many volunteers who help tutor. Many of these volunteers frequently attend tutoring sessions every single week. Two of the amazing volunteers include Rodina Richard and Livia Hochman. They are amazing, dedicated students that always have a smile on their face and show up with a willingness to help the kids.</p><p>Rodina started volunteering at Boys Town North Florida her freshman year of college when she was looking for a permanent place to volunteer her time. "Being a freshman at Florida State University, it was difficult to find a permanent place to volunteer in Tallahassee," said Rodina. "As I was searching for a place to use my mentoring and tutoring skills, I came across ART Town at Boys Town North Florida. Boys Town allowed me to form lifelong relationships and make memories with the students in each Family Home. Being a consistent volunteer from freshman year up until my junior year of college has allowed me to evolve as an individual. Being a helping hand for Boys Town means a lot to me. ART Town at Boys Town North Florida has been the best thing I could have dedicated time, sweat, and effort to while pursuing a degree here in Tallahassee." </p><p>Boys Town is very thankful for the wonderful volunteers that help with these tutoring sessions! They have been a big help in making our students successful in the classroom!</p>​<br>2021-05-24T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/zoom-picture-home.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town North Florida’s ART Town Academy Expands Programminghttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Boys-Town-North-Floridas-ART-Town-Academy-Expands-Programming.aspxBoys Town North Florida’s ART Town Academy Expands Programming<p>Beginning fall 2020, Boys Town North Florida's ART Town facility transformed into a fully functioning school, expanding its programming to include supplemental tutoring through in-person and virtual volunteers; an array of afterschool clubs; and an active Student Government Association.</p><p>As the students on campus adjusted to attending virtual school, supports were put into place to ensure all the students would be academically successful and engaged during the school day. By the end of the fall semester, there were five volunteer-led electives that met weekly to ensure students had activities to interest them. There was a diverse set of clubs offered, such as music; physical education; foreign language and culture; art; and debate.</p><p>Students appreciated the opportunity to learn from and engage in these educational clubs and enjoyed connecting with volunteers from Florida State University. Campus bustles today as after-school activities have resumed with a renewed interest in learning and growth. </p><h3>Tutoring</h3><p>In-person volunteers from FSU come to ART Town Academy twice a week to provide homework help and tutoring to Boys Town North Florida's Family Home youth. All volunteers are equipped with PPE and tables and desk are arranged to accommodate social distancing. </p><p> In addition, virtual tutors assist each Tuesday and Thursday evening. Often, student volunteers are paired with recurrent students who are struggling to maintain their grades. This creates a mentoring partnership between the volunteer and the student. Students look forward to meeting with their assigned tutor over Zoom and productively work to complete and understand any underperforming school assignments. </p><h3> Afterschool Electives</h3><p> <b>Music:</b> Students meet each Monday to complete structured musical activities with a volunteer from FSU. The students have been able to engage in some fun projects this past year, including creating a home-made plastic straw pan-flute that when blown into creates a variety of pitched notes and sounds. The students love coming to music knowing a fun, music-related activity is always awaiting them! </p><p> <b>Debate:</b> Students meet each Tuesday to learn more regarding the rules and structures of debating and engage in short "mock debates." Students form small teams and debate with the opposing team surrounding worldly topics such as climate change. The volunteer who leads the Boys Town debate group currently serves as the President of FSU's Debate Club. The first debate is scheduled for May 5th. </p><p> <b>Physical Education: </b>Physical Education classes take place each Wednesday with one of the Family Home Teachers to engage in physical activity. Each week, the students play a variety of sports and activities including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and more. After a long day of staying indoors and completing schoolwork through a computer screen, this is a necessary release for some of the students. </p><p> <b>Foreign Language and Culture:</b> Students meet every Thursday with FSU volunteers, Family Program Consultant Destiny Story, and Educational Assistant Giulia DeMello to learn more regarding world cultures and languages. During this club, students have the opportunity to try foods from diverse cultures and become familiar with various cultural items such as clothing, language, and lifestyle. </p><p><b>Art:</b> Students meet each Friday to complete various arts and craft projects with a FSU student volunteer. At art club, students have completed projects with multiple mediums including watercolor paint, acrylic paint, crayons, markers, and oil pastels. One project the students enjoyed the week before Thanksgiving was creating a turkey-themed bookmark. </p><p> <b>Student Government Association:</b> To encourage leadership development and promote a greater sense of unity, respect, spirit, and cooperation among peers, a Student Government Association was formed. Each of the five Family Homes on Boys Town North Florida's campus have an elected representative led by a President and Vice-President. </p><p> As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, youth aged 15 – 17 will attend a Career Fair to learn about opportunities that can further their education at a two or four-year university or trade school, or enter the workforce post-graduation. Boys Town North Florida is excited for their youth and want to ensure they are given the tools needed to continue growing and learning, no matter where their lives take them. </p><p>​ Boys Town North Florida is thankful for the many staff and volunteers who make the activities available to youth on campus. It is exciting to see the learning and growth taking place through these opportunities.​</p>2021-05-13T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Staff Spotlight: Monica Smart-Gainoushttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Staff-Spotlight-Monica-Smart-Gainous.aspxStaff Spotlight: Monica Smart-Gainous<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​​Boys Town North Florida IHFS Staff Member Named Recipient of Prestigious Award</span></p><p>Boys Town North Florida is proud to celebrate with one of their very own staff, Monica Smart-Gainous, an In-Home Family Services Consultant, as she was named a recipient of the 2021 Cherry Hall Alexander African American Calendar Award for her work with families in the community.</p><p>Monica, among 11 other distinguished honorees, was featured in the July section of the calendar. Boys Town North Florida's Senior Director Bethany Lacey shared, "We here at Boys Town North Florida were not surprised she would be named a recipient as Monica is well known for her local community action and advocacy. She regularly goes above and beyond for our children and families. We are so proud her many years of service are being recognized."</p><p>In the past 25 years, Monica has continuously strived to give back to her community by community action and organization. Among other events, she has been instrumental in organizing a Gadsden County Human Trafficking forum that brings awareness of human trafficking in the area.</p><p>Monica has Co-Chaired several back to school supply events and she has organized various food distributions in the community. In 2009, Monica was part of a group recognized by the Gadsden County School Board (GCSB) for the makeover of James A. Shanks Middle School, which saved the GCSB approximately $100,000.</p><p>As an In-Home Family Consultant with Boys Town North Florida, Monica tirelessly works to ensure the guidance and care for youth and families to be influential to the positive advancement of their environmental, emotional, and educational structure. Her love for the betterment for the lives of youth and citizens within the community is the center core of her demonstrated work. Once the foundation is planted in the community, Monica works to continue to build upon that foundation for the greater good of the children and families she serves.</p><p>Upon being named recipient, Monica shared, "I believe it is my calling to carry on the work of Father Flanagan when he said, "The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God's work, not mine.'"</p><p>Boys Town is very thankful for Monica and her dedication to Boys Town and the community around her.​<br></p>2021-04-16T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Monica Smart-Gainous" src="/locations/louisiana/PublishingImages/Monica-Smart-Gainous.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town North Florida ART Town Academy Adds Afterschool Programshttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Boys-Town-North-Florida-ART-Town-Academy-Adds-Afterschool-Programs.aspxBoys Town North Florida ART Town Academy Adds Afterschool Programs<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​Throughout the fall of 2020 and continuing today, Boys Town North Florida's ART Town facility has transformed into a fully functioning school, including supplemental tutoring through in-person and virtual volunteers, an array of afterschool clubs and an active Student Government Association. As the students on campus adjusted to attending virtual school, supports were put into place to ensure all our students would be academically successful and engaged in the school day. By the end of the fall semester, there were five volunteer led electives that met weekly with the students enrolled in that group. To ensure students had activities to interest them, there was a diverse set of clubs such as music, physical education, foreign language and culture, art and a debate team. Students appreciated the opportunity to learn and engage in these educational clubs and enjoyed connecting with the volunteers from Florida State University. Campus bustles today as after school activities have resumed with a renewed interest in learning and growth. Continue reading for program details and how you can help!</span></p><p><strong>Tutoring:</strong></p><p><strong>In person --</strong> Twice a week, volunteers from the Florida State University community come to ART Town Academy to provide homework help and tutoring to our Family Home students. All volunteers are equipped with proper PPE and have learned how to effectively work with the child while maintaining a safe social distance.</p><p><strong>Virtual tutors --</strong> Boys Town North Florida is partnered with Florida State University's Center for Leadership and Social Change. Each Tuesday and Thursday evening from 4 to 6 pm, virtual volunteers are paired with students to assist in tutoring and understanding homework. Often, student volunteers are paired with recurrent students who are struggling to maintain their grades and thus begins a mentoring partnership for students. Students look forward to meeting with their assigned tutor over Zoom and productively work to complete and understand any underperforming school assignments.</p><p><strong>After School Electives</strong>:<img src="file:///Users/johreg2/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_image001.jpg" alt="" style="background-color:transparent;width:1px;margin:5px;" /></p><p><strong>Music</strong>: Students meet weekly on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm to complete structured musical activities with a student volunteer from Florida State University. Some fun projects include students creating a homemade plastic straw pan-flute that when blown into created a variety of pitched notes and sounds. The students love coming to music knowing a fun, music-related activity is always awaiting them.</p><p><strong>Debate</strong>: Students meet weekly on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm to learn more regarding the rules and structures of debating and engage in short “mock debates." Students form small teams and debate with the opposing team surrounding worldly topics such as climate change. The student volunteer who leads our Boys Town debate group currently serves as the President of the Florida State University's Debate Club.</p><p><strong>Physical Education</strong>: Students meet weekly on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm with Family-Teacher Jason Browning to engage in physical activity on our Family Home campus. Each week, Jason leads the students in a variety of sports and activities such as soccer, basketball, volleyball and more. After a long day of staying indoors and completing schoolwork through a computer screen, this is a necessary release for some of our students.<img src="file:///Users/johreg2/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_image002.jpg" alt="" style="background-color:transparent;width:1px;margin:5px;" /></p><p><strong><img src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/Boys-Town-North-Florida-ART-Town-Academy-Adds-Afterschool-Programs/culture-group.jpg" alt="culture-group.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:309px;height:216px;" />Foreign Language and Culture</strong>: Students meet weekly on Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm with FSU student volunteers along with Family Home Staff (FHP Consultant Destiny Story and Educational Assistant Giulia DeMello) to learn more regarding world cultures and languages. Students have the opportunity to try foods from diverse cultures and become familiar with various cultural items such as clothing, language and lifestyle.</p><p><strong>Art</strong>: Students meet weekly on Fridays from 3:30 to 4:30 pm to complete various arts and craft projects with an FSU student volunteer. At art club, student participants have completed projects with multiple mediums such as watercolor paint, acrylic paint, crayons, markers and oil pastels. One project the students enjoyed the week before Thanksgiving was creating a turkey-themed bookmark.</p><p><strong>Student Government Association:</strong></p><p>To encourage leadership development and promote a greater sense of unity, respect, spirit and cooperation among peers, a Student Government Association was formed. Each of the five homes has an elected representative led by a President and a Vice President.</p><p><strong>HOW YOU CAN HELP - </strong>the following items are currently being requested to enhance the ART Town Academy After School Program. Donations may be taken to our corporate office at 3555 Commonwealth Blvd<strong>. </strong>For more questions call Director of Development Margaret Farris at 850.504.5007 or 850.321.5346.<br><br></p><ul><li><strong>Musical instruments</strong></li><li><strong>Art Supplies</strong></li><li><strong>Language tutorials – audio or written</strong></li><li><strong>Sports Equipment</strong></li><li><strong>E-Readers</strong></li><li><strong>STEM supplies/kits</strong></li><li><strong>Funding for Field Trips​</strong></li></ul><p></p>2021-04-16T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Music Group" src="/locations/louisiana/PublishingImages/music-group.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Black History Month: A Month-long Celebration with Lasting Implicationshttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Black-History-Month-A-Month-long-Celebration-with-Lasting-Implications.aspxBlack History Month: A Month-long Celebration with Lasting Implications<p></p><p>North Florida Family Home program staff wanted to make this year's Black History Month a very special event. Family Home Director Desmond Crayton shared that he believes Black History Month “should be recognized as a crucial opportunity to broaden our youth's knowledge and help them see how the past connects with their lives today -- and how it has inspired movements for change." Family Home Consultant Destiny Story took charge of organizing the month's activities with help from educational assistants Giulia Demello and Wayne Longley.</p><p>To kick off Black History Month, North Florida had an event with the Family Home youth with food catered by a black owned business, G & G BBQ. Executive Director Marcus Lampkin talked to the youth about how the site intended to honor Black History Month this year. Also present was special guest, BTNFL employee Monica Smart-Gainous. Monica was recently named recipient of the 2021 Cherry Hall Alexander African American Calendar Award for her work with families in the community. Monica shared the history of Black History recognition and how it has evolved over the years into what is now known as Black History Month. </p><p>Throughout this month, the site remembered and recognized important people and events in African American history and America's history. ART Town Academy youth also got to hear and see from local chapters of Fraternities and Sororities about the art and history of Stepping and their brotherhoods/sisterhoods.</p><p>Different regional foods were celebrated as each home created a dish from their designated region. The month ended with a cultural celebration and living museum on campus. Each home had a living museum presented by the youth of both a historical and modern-day figure for all others to hear about during a walk around campus. The Browning home represented Jackie Robinson, Louis Armstrong, while the Carters represented Jay Z & Beyoncé. The Dunn home represented Madam C.J. Walker, The Obamas, and Huey P. Newton. The Lang home represented Chadwick Boseman, Halle Berry, and Angela Davis. The Mackley home represented Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin, and Amanda Gorman. The Jones home represented Tupac, Nelson Mandela, and Bob Marley.</p><p>The end of the month event was truly spectacular! FHP Consultant Destiny Story created a vision board with pictures of all current African American youth pictured as their future selves in their future careers. The youth especially enjoyed getting to visualize their own excellence in the future. When asked about her inspiration for the planning for the month, Destiny shared, “We are the change we are waiting for. In this environment, one of most important things we can do is empower our youth, they are the future. They are who we are going to pass the batons to someday. Our focus was to teach them to love themselves, their history, their culture and all the power they have."​<br></p>2021-04-16T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Black History Month" src="/locations/louisiana/PublishingImages/BHM.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Jersey Mike's Day of Giving benefits Boys Town of North Floridahttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Jersey-Mikes-Day-of-Giving-benefits-Boys-Town-of-North-Florida.aspxJersey Mike's Day of Giving benefits Boys Town of North Florida<p>​<em style="background-color:transparent;">​This article was originally published on March 31, 2021 by <a href="https://www.wtxl.com/news/local-news/jersey-mikes-day-of-giving-benefits-boys-town-of-north-florida" target="_blank">WTXL Tallahassee</a>.</em><br></p><p>TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Buy a sub and help a local organization. That's what multiple sandwich shops in Tallahassee accomplished Wednesday.</p><p>Any sandwich purchased at <a href="https://www.jerseymikes.com/">Jersey Mike's</a> was bought for a good cause.<br></p><p>The corporation is donating all of the proceeds it made at four Tallahassee locations to <a href="/locations/north-florida/Pages/default.aspx">Boys Town North Florida</a>. The non-profit organization helps children and families in need.</p><p>The proceeds raised go a long way in helping at-risk children.</p><p>"It means everything to Boys Town Florida. We love interacting with our community in this way," said Gina Rogers who works for Boys Town North Florida. "So for somebody to come and get a sandwich and be able to support at-risk children and families in the North Florida region, it's just awesome. "</p><p>Jersey Mike's has been teaming up with Boys Town North Florida for its annual Day of Giving Campaign since 2017.</p><p>Boys Town North Florida has received about $40,000 in total since 2017.​​<br></p>2021-04-07T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent