Following a lifelong passion to work with children in the New Orleans area, Rashain Carriere Williams has led Boys Town Louisiana for many years. A tremendous resource for at-risk children and families throughout New Orleans since 1989, Boys Town Louisiana has increased its programs and support in the wake of the pandemic and Hurricane Ida.
Boys Town is typically known for its residential programs, although their team makes every effort to keep children within their own home. In some cases, children get placed in Boys Town Family Homes. Here, the children live with a married couple (known as Family-Teachers) in a typical neighborhood residence. They eat dinner together, enjoy extracurricular activities, and take part in family outings. Generally, these programs are for children between the ages of 12 to 17.
Williams felt particular concern for those children between the ages of 16 to 17, however, because they were aging out of the system and often lacked many connections or other support. To address this need, Williams created the Aftercare program, which helps these children plan for housing and a career.
In addition to the residential programs and Aftercare, Boys Town Louisiana also contributes a lot of community-based work. The most recent venture is an Early Head Start program that provides early childhood education based on Boys Town's evidence-based models. Conducted in partnership with four different childcare centers, the program helps children prepare for formal schooling from a very young age.
Boys Town Louisiana also offers parenting skills classes, which focus on educating the entire family holistically. The team at Boys Town has helped families find housing and employment. This two-generation approach to helping families is a hallmark of the organization.
“Our program is life-changing from all kinds of aspects. There are so many success stories," said Rashain Carriere Williams.