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Boys Town Primary Project Fosters Growth

Children take part in programs to improve learning and behaviorals through the Boys Town South Florida Primary Project.

This story was published by ​the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on January 1, 2014. It is written by Jan Engoren.

Boys Town South Florida, an organization that works in homes and schools with families to enhance parenting skills, teamed up with Freedom Shores Elementary School to assist more than 600 children with services through their Primary Project program this year.

Primary Project is an evidence-based, early intervention and prevention program in 2,100 schools throughout the U.S. designed to improve children's learning and behavioral adjustment in school.

Seth Bernstein, program director at Boys Town, said, "The program has a strong, long-standing partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County, and values the gains the students make through the program."

Currently serving students in kindergarten and first grade in 12 elementary schools in Palm Beach County, the program is funded by the Children's Services Council.

Patricia Trejo, principal at Freedom Shores, said, "We have many students who struggle with things in their private life. We provide a safe and nurturing environment for them and have child/associate teachers who specialize in working with these students."

"We have a playroom on campus where the children come and work with the teacher to build social and emotional skills. Without these skills, the students may struggle academically," she said. "It's a very worthwhile program and one we want to continue."

During Thanksgiving, Boys Town South Florida's Primary Project program partnered with the staff of Freedom Shores Elementary School to provide 11 families with turkey meals.

In addition, Boys Town and school staff will choose families to fulfill their children's holiday wish list.

Not only beneficial to the children involved, the program helps families become better connected to the school environment and allows them to see school as a resource, according to Trejo.

For information about Primary Project in Palm Beach County, email Dr. Seth Bernstein at or 561-366-9400.

Copyright © 2014, South Florida Sun-Sentinel