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Help Send South Florida Kids Back to School

Dear Friends of Boys Town South Florida

Dear Friends of Boys Town South Florida,

As a new school year begins and families are returning to in-person school and work, it is important to be mindful of the mental health and family stressors that may be happening. More than ever before, we want to consider the many layers of concerns that children and families in our community may be experiencing. Getting 'back to normal' brings additional considerations, including coping with learning loss and increased financial stressors.

Michael tightly fixed his eyes on the classroom floor at his new school. Nervously, he prayed the teacher would not call on him. He did not know the answer to this question or most others and after a hard semester he felt overwhelmed. During the pandemic, Michael's school started virtual classes. He could not focus on his studies – he was focused on just surviving. His father had died of cancer a year ago and his mother was so consumed with grief that she slipped further and further into depression. Isolated from the world and without any support in a new neighborhood, Michael ended up taking care of himself. He and his mother often got by with little or no food. Virtual classes were a struggle because Michael didn't have internet at home, and he felt ashamed to tell his teacher. Most days, Michael found himself heartbroken and hungry. At 11 years old, he could barely read at a first-grade level.  Worst of all, he believed it was because he was “stupid" and that it was his own fault. He had to connect to his online classes using his mom's cell phone, and his teacher noticed Michael was falling behind even further academically. Thankfully, his teacher shared her concerns with the school counselor who contacted Michael's mom and referred the family to Boys Town South Florida. Our Care Coordination Services Consultant connected Michael's mom to a church grief share and counseling group. She was also able to pick up free food at the church and at the public school three times per week. And, with help from a community resource, the family got free internet. Michael had summer learning classes and started to believe he is capable of learning and doing well at school. Despite his apprehension about going back to school in person in August, Michael is hopeful for a better year and his mom no longer feels alone facing her daily challenges.

As schools start a new year in August, every child and family will adjust differently to the expectations and may require different kinds of supports. We understand there is a lot of pressure for everyone, and Boys Town South Florida is here to help bridge the gap between families that are struggling and schools. Together, we can provide support to improve children's behavior to help stabilize families.

Please join us in supporting at-risk youth. Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated and will make a tremendous difference in the life of a child in need.

Thank you for standing with vulnerable children!   

Bethany Lacey, Executive Director

P.S. Please keep at-risk children in your prayers. Thank you, again, for sharing our commitment to help these innocent young souls rediscover their hope for the future.