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Celebrating the season and those we are blessed to know and serve the season and those we are blessed to know and serve<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​On December 5, Boys Town Washington DC celebrated the holiday season with our annual Tree Lighting event. This year's event was extra special as it also featured our Fall Fundraiser. During our virtual Fall Fundraiser we highlighted our programs, celebrated our Father Flanagan Award recipient, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and shared stories of strength and resolve from the people we are blessed to know and serve.</span></p><p>Thank you to everyone who attended both in-person and virtually! The singing was joyful, the smiles were infectious and the stories shared were so inspiring. We are eternally grateful for the continued support from the amazing DC community.</p><p><em>Please note that the LIVE event and silent auction mentioned in this video have ended.</em></p>2021-12-10T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Fr. Boes" src="/locations/washington-dc/PublishingImages/Fr.Flanagan.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
2021 Father Flanagan Award Father Flanagan Award<p>​​​​The Father Flanagan Award is given to individuals who dedicate themselves to helping children and have made a significant contribution to the youth of our nation and continue to further influence young people by an exemplary public and private life. Since opening our doors in 1993, Boys Town Washington DC continues to grow it's partnership with the District of Columbia. Our Family Home Program provides stability in a family style environment for Boys and Girls ages 13-17, referred through DC Child and Family Services. In an effort to build trusting relationships between youth in the Family Home program and police, officers from the DC police department interact with youth on campus twice a month through fun activities like pizza parties, basketball and open discussion. Through the Mayor's Show Up, and Stand Out initiative, we partner with ten public and charter schools in the district to reduce truancy. </p><p><strong>Boys Town Washington DC is proud to honor Mayor Muriel Bowser with this year's Father Flanagan Award.</strong>​<br></p>2021-12-10T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/washington-dc/PublishingImages/mayor.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
DC nonprofit aims to keep kids in school, find resources during pandemic nonprofit aims to keep kids in school, find resources during pandemic<p></p><p><em>This article was written by Ashlie Rodriguez and originally posted on </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em></em></a><em> on December 3, 2022.​</em></p><p>WASHINGTON D.C. (7News) — 7News is reporting an uptick in<a href="" target="_blank"> conflict in the classroom</a><a href=""> </a>in the DMV. Students are resorting to fighting and violence to resolve their issues -- but <a href="/locations/washington-dc/Pages/default.aspx">Boys Town Washington DC </a>is aiming to change that.</p><p>Boys Town Washington DC is partially funded through the city, to prevent truancy.</p><p>It partners with schools and child and family services to reach out to absent students and their families, going into their homes to reduce any barriers they have to get to school. The program also offers a behavioral health clinic for students who are having issues at schools, fighting with other students, and making it tough for teachers in the classroom.</p><p>Executive Director Kichelle Coleman says the program has changed the way the community cares for troubled kids, about 6,000 each year.</p><p>"One of the services we do provide is having a staff person inside that school building," said Coleman. "Instead of kids being pulled out the classroom and sitting in the office for a few hours and just going back to class without any intervention, we are able to have that kid come out, work with them on some problem solving, go over some social skills with them, we have a social skills group, we have them role play those things. We help them understand the rationale and why it's important to them to improve these behaviors, not for someone else but for them. And that's where we see our most success in getting out into the community, meeting them where they are and helping to support teachers."</p><p>Students still socially recovering from the <a href="" target="_blank">pandemic </a>need this program more than ever, as do parents, who are unable to pay rent and provide stable housing -- a main reason behind truancy.</p><p>Boys Town is going to provide rental assistance but they need additional funding. It's why they're inviting the public to come out to the Annual Tree Lighting fundraiser on Sunday to learn about the program and donate.</p><p>Their goal is to raise $100,000. 7News' Ashlie Rodriguez will be there, hosting the event.</p><p>The event will start at their campus Sunday at 5 p.m. at 4801 Sargent Road NE. There will be a chili cookoff, auction, Christmas carols, the Corvette Club and more.<br></p><p>​</p>2021-12-08T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town - Keeping kids in School during Pandemic" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/bt-wasdc-pandemic.JPG" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Behavioral Health Clinic Partners with Healthcare Initiative Foundation to Expand Services Health Clinic Partners with Healthcare Initiative Foundation to Expand Services<p><em>Boys Town Washington DC is expanding its Behavioral Health Clinic into Montgomery County thanks to an ongoing partnership with the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF), a funder who focuses on bringing equitable healthcare service to the county.</em></p><h3>The role of the licensed psychologists in Boys Town's Model is:<br></h3><ol><li><p><strong>EXPERT EDUCATOR:</strong> Provide expert knowledge to improve the psychological and behavioral health literacy of physicians and provide expert knowledge to improve the psychological and behavioral health literacy of parents of pediatric patients.</p></li><li><p><strong>EVALUATOR:</strong> Conduct behavioral and cognitive evaluations to help physicians detect overlooked disorders that require treatment.</p></li><li><p><strong>COORDINATOR:</strong> Coordinate care with physicians and the parents of pediatric patients to ensure that key influencers are aware of the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan, and their respective roles as co-interventionists.</p></li><li><p><strong>HEALER:</strong> Provide research-supported behavioral health interventions that address the cognitive and behavioral issues and skills needed to live a healthier life.</p></li></ol><p> Boys Town's Behavioral Health Clinic provides much-needed pediatric behavioral health services to Montgomery County, including recently assisting a 16-year-old girl who was referred to the program by her pediatrician.</p><p>The youth had a history of self-injurious behavior, substance abuse, problems in school, a learning disorder, depression, and anxiety. She had also been a victim of domestic abuse. </p><p>The nurse who first interacted with the girl during a routine annual wellness visit noticed she seemed dejected and withdrawn. The nurse relayed this to the physician who then asked the girl to complete a depression screener. Boys Town had previously informed the primary care office that if she scored above the cutoff, it would be a signal to make a referral to the Behavioral Health Clinic. The physician followed this advice and prompted their Clinical Care Coordinator to contact Boys Town to set up a visit. That same day, the youth and family members were contacted and services with Boys Town were set up. The girl was clear about wanting to improve her self-esteem, anger problems, and mood issues.</p><p>“I just want to feel better about myself," she said. “I feel like a screw up. I've let my family down. I've let myself down. I want to do better."</p><p>Thanks to the partnership between Boys Town and the Healthcare Initiative Foundation, the girl began<br>treatment immediately.</p><p>She received evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy with an emphasis placed on behavioral activation, value-centric decision making, and developing healthier social networks. Mindfulness practices were also stressed, along with increasing structure, increasing distress tolerance, strategies to improve sleep hygiene, emotional communication techniques, anger management, and other skills to improve relationships with family members.</p><p>There were a total of 13 sessions over six months and the results were impressive.</p><p>She cut approximately 50 percent of her anxiety symptoms and approximately 80 percent of her depression symptoms. She also reported improvement in her social relationships and was able to speak with her mother more cordially. She became more confident in her ability to manage her anger and improved her self-esteem for academics with strategies for attention span and reading comprehension.</p><p>There were also visual signs of improvement as she transformed her bare bedroom into a beautifully decorated artistic masterpiece. She cleaned the room daily without being told. </p><p>Along the way, the Boys Town licensed psychologists made bi-weekly phone calls to the pediatric practice to provide updates and offer recommendations. In addition, the psychologists wrote letters to the primary care physician summarizing the latest results of behavioral evaluations which helped enhance decision making regarding the appropriateness of considering psychotropic medication (i.e., antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers) to complement the behavioral health interventions. The youth and family were aware of this communication and expressed appreciation for putting so much time, energy, and effort into the care. This had a positive effect on the youth and family's engagement.</p><p>It truly was a success story for the partnership between Boys Town Washington DC and HIF.</p><p>“HIF is proud to invest in initiatives that break down barriers to ensure equitable access to health and wellness services," said Crystal Carr Townsend, President and CEO of Healthcare Initiative Foundation. “This innovative collaboration with Boys Town Washington DC and Montgomery County pediatricians does just that by effectively integrating behavioral health in a healthcare setting to provide comprehensive mind and body care."</p><p>In 2020, Boys Town served a total of 455 children through its national Behavioral Health Clinics. Boys Town Washington DC served 57 children through its 2020 grant from HIF.</p>2021-09-15T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town Expanding" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BHC-Expand-Services.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
The Behavioral Health Clinic Journey: Reflections & Projections Behavioral Health Clinic Journey: Reflections & Projections<p>This fall, we celebrate six years of growth within our <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><a href="/locations/washington-dc/behavioral-health-clinic/Pages/default.aspx">Behavioral Health Clinic</a></span> (BHC). However, to fully understand where our clinic stands, we need to reflect on how it all began. On September 24, 2015, Boys Town Washington DC celebrated its grand opening of the BHC with Dr. Robert Wingfield at the helm.</p><p>In 2016, the clinic had a long waitlist. Dr. Avital Deskalo was hired to help expand the clinic's impact within the nation's capital. </p><p>As clinic growth continued, Dr. Amanda McLean was hired as Lead Senior Psychologist for Northern Virginia (NOVA). Being responsible for the enormous undertaking of implementing the integrated care model, Dr. McLean secured business agreements with two separate pediatric practices in NOVA, laying the foundation for a rapid boom in regional impact and visibility. Dr. McLean has made Boys Town a household name in NOVA.</p><p>During the COVID pandemic, the need for our services grew exponentially. Children and families were experiencing extreme loneliness and anxiety. We quickly hired three additional psychologists – Drs. Erica Featherson, Rebecca Rowland, and Michelle Sobon. Thanks to these additions, the BHC has provided life-changing behavioral healthcare to over 3,000 children and families in the region.</p><h3>The Exciting Journey Ahead</h3><p>The first six years have been adventurous to say the least and also filled with many achievements. The support of Boys Town DC's Board of Directors was vital to achieving important foundational objectives. The next five years and beyond are filled with exciting new partnerships, clinic expansion opportunities, and the launch of The Behavioral Health Clinic Post-Doctoral Training Program.</p><p>This fall, we anticipate hiring our first postdoctoral fellow. This is a major step in ensuring the BHC is not only a premier outpatient clinic, but also a site that offers advanced clinical training for practitioners on the verge of becoming state licensed to practice professional psychology.</p><p>Geographic expansion of the BHC is another objective. Thanks to Dr. McLean, expansion has already been a success in Northern Virginia.</p><p>We are proud of the achievements and grateful for the support.</p><h3>The future is certainly bright!<br></h3><p><img src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BHC-clinic-wsdc.jpg" alt="New Boys Town BHC Clinic" style="margin:5px;" /><br><strong><em></em></strong></p>2021-09-15T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town BHC - Ribbon Cutting" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BHC-clinic-wsdc-ribbon.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Alum Shares Story with Youth Town Alum Shares Story with Youth<h4>"​I am living the American Dream, and you can too – no matter where you start."<br> - Interviewed and edited by Susan Marshall</h4><p>I was raised in a trailer in a small mining town in northern Michigan and was one of the only people of Hispanic heritage in the area. I was left to fend for myself as a young person, as my mother struggled with alcohol addiction. When I skipped school, nobody noticed. Despite working as a bagger in a grocery store and delivering newspapers early in the morning, I sometimes had to “improvise" when I needed a new pair of shoes and had no money to buy them. The Ritalin I was prescribed to treat my hyperactivity was not always consumed by me.</p><p>With my family anticipating I would someday end up in prison, it was no surprise to anyone that in 1982, at the age of 13, I was declared a ward of the state and sent to Boys Town. At first, I did not want to be there. I wasn't used to being told what to do. I wasn't used to having to take personal responsibility for my actions. I reluctantly went along with the program for the first four or five months. Gradually, however, I found that the structure was helping me make better decisions. I liked the rewards that came with doing the work the right way the first time. I learned to manage my anger. I appreciated having my own room and living in a real house. I was proud of the cooking skills I acquired, and I gained confidence with each success I achieved.</p><p>After 18 months at Boys Town, I graduated with $300 in my pocket and moved to Washington DC, by myself, at the age of 17. It is no exaggeration to say I was a new man who had learned for himself that nothing comes for free. My work ethic became my biggest asset. I relied on that ethic to propel me from an entry-level job delivering medical supplies and equipment, up to becoming the owner of a multi-million-dollar construction business. Boys Town had given me the life skills I needed to succeed, and I never forgot the lessons I learned there.</p><p>So, earlier this year, when I was asked if I would participate in a project to construct a bleacher at the DC Boys Town's outdoor basketball court, I quickly said yes. Using competition as a natural motivator swiftly focused the kids on the construction project. We finished the hard work of hole digging and the kids moved on to learn new construction skills like framing and using screw guns. As we worked shoulder to shoulder, I made sure they heard how I made my first million without a college education and that with the right mindset, they could, too. As the kids adapted and learned new skills, I was reminded why we need to get to kids when they are young — you can bend a young stick, but an older one will snap when you ask it to change.</p><p>Fast forward to today, and here I am at age 53. There are still important things to do. My next project is building a resort on a lake in a little town in northern Michigan. I'm back where my personal story started and where my outlook once seemed dark. Leaving as a poor, troubled young boy, I am returning as a prosperous and principled member of the world. I intend to keep giving back whenever I can and especially to the Boys Town organization to which I owe most of my success.</p><p><img src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/kids-diggingPosts.jpg" alt="Boys Town Kids working together" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p>2021-05-26T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town Kids Build new Bleachers" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/bball-court.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
One Year, Two Shelters and Five Children Year, Two Shelters and Five Children<p></p><p>In December of 2019, Ms. Trenisha James' unit in her housing development was deemed “unfit for human habitation," with a CO2 leak being the headliner on a list of safety issues that made it necessary for her family to leave their home.</p><p>Unfortunately, that led to a lawsuit with the landlord, which ultimately was found in James' favor; however, the court findings were written in such a way that future renting became difficult. Add to that the loss of her escrow because she moved out early, and James and her five children soon found themselves homeless.</p><p>They sought shelter in the Kennedy Short Term Family Housing program, which provides emergency and temporary housing for families experiencing homelessness. During that time, they were referred to Boys Town Washington DC for assistance.</p><p>“The James family was referred through the oldest child's school, which at the time was KIPP Quest Elementary School. I work with the attendance team there and they will send us referrals," said Chelsey Perkins, Care Coordination Consultant at Boys Town Washington DC.  </p><p>While living in the shelter, James found it difficult to secure new living arrangements. Several apartments turned her down because she had “too many children." She was shifted from case manager to case manager within the shelter system. And eventually had to move to a different shelter.</p><p>James began to worry about her ability to find a new home for her children.</p><p>“Ms. Chelsey jumped right into advocating for me when it came to finding housing that would accept five children. She did the utmost for me, including finding new housing possibilities and setting up appointments for me to view them. She was phenomenal from the beginning," said James.</p><p>James struggled with Multiple Sclerosis during the housing search, which put her in the hospital for a short time. “MS inhibits some of my speech and Ms. Chelsey helped me with my anxiety. She was very understanding and resourceful," said James.</p><p>As finding a new home for her family became more of a reality, James joined the DC Central Food Kitchen Program. She began working on her culinary skills since she had often worked in restaurants.</p><p>She recently graduated from the program at the top of her class, receiving three awards: highest GPA, life skills award and sunshine award. Though the pandemic has made it hard to secure employment at this time, James is hopeful that her graduation will eventually lead to a good job.</p><p>In January of 2020, the James family was finally able to move into their new home.</p><p>“Ms. Chelsey has helped our family with so many things. From school supplies to virtual summer camps, furniture, clothing, diapers and gas cards, the resources she's been able to provide have been phenomenal," said James. “If it wasn't for her, I don't think I could have made it this far."</p><p>And the admiration seems to go both ways. “I have had many years working in the mental health and case management services field and Ms. James' tenacity, dedication to her family, and hard work were nothing less than awe-inspiring to me," said Perkins. “I believe that if we had more Ms. Jameses in this world, it would be a better place."​<br></p><p><br></p>2021-02-19T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/James-family-photo-sml-banner.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/James-family-photo.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent