Boys Town Central Nebraska Helps Kearney Youth Find His Way, and His Smile

Layne Hansen has been through a lot in 18 years. Unfortunately, most of it has been a challenge.

But thanks to Boys Town Central Nebraska, things are looking up for the Kearney youth, and it has already helped put a new smile on his face!

Layne has suffered through trauma his entire life. He lived with his mother until the age of four, then lived with his maternal grandparents until he was 11. At that point, he was reunited with his mother until he became a ward of the state this past February. He was then placed back with his grandparents.

Layne struggled through the moves. His behavior was poor, and he was noncompliant with school attendance. He suffered failing grades and negative peer association.

Despite all of this, Layne has always been a model youth to work with, according to his Boys Town family consultant, Alexa Swartz.

“Layne is very respectful, opens up and does everything asked of him during assignments and activities," Swartz said.

Chemical dependency and tough family situations have continued to plague Layne throughout his attempts at righting himself. His exposure to trauma within his family positioned him to become responsible as a caregiver to his younger brother, something he said he takes pride in.

Although Layne has had a very tough road in his young life, he has overcome several obstacles to make him as successful as he is today. He has had over 6 months of sobriety and completed a stable living environment at his grandparents. He has also held stable employment and is working with the Preparation for Adult Living Services (PALS) program to prepare him for independent living.

Layne also began attending school regularly. Although he still struggles with grades, he is working with an education program called Re-engage to help him next school year. Boys Town Central Nebraska has also helped him with independent living skills in finding and holding full time employment, money management, including opening a bank account, and helped him study for his driver's test.

Layne continues to work on relationship building, positive peer engagement and healthy relationships. He also showed ownership of the importance of his sobriety by requesting an alcohol ankle monitor.

Boys Town Central Nebraska has been there for him every step of the way.

A few years back, Layne had his tooth knocked out while wrestling with some of his peers. In 2019, his tooth was again knocked out by accident. Medicaid would not cover another partial tooth as it was not within their required timeframe for replacement. As you might imagine, Layne was self-conscious of his appearance. Without his front tooth, he said he missed his smile.

Boys Town's Swartz worked to find a provider in the Tri City region who could help. She found a Hastings dentist, Dr. Jessica Meeske, who was willing to help Layne with his situation. And, Dr. Meeske didn't stop with just replacing the tooth. Layne had not been to a dentist in several years and had lots of work that needed to be done to his mouth prior to the fitting. Dr. Meeske made arrangements for a Kearney dentist to help Layne with his situation and he recently completed the procedure. Layne now has his smile back!

Swartz said it is refreshing to see the progress the youth has made despite such difficult circumstances. She said Layne recently signed a lease for his own apartment for independent living. He will continue to go through the independent living program and transition to bridges to independence when he turns 19. Through DHHS, PALS and CNCAP financial assistance, Layne is paid ahead on rent until December. He also recently received a car through his foster care specialist that was donated specifically for him. Layne passed his driver's test and now has his license.

“Layne is now a very happy, confident young man," Swartz said. “And he is very grateful for all the help he has received. He's even mentioned that he might like to be an In-Home Family Consultant for Boys Town someday, due to all the support he has received from our services and program."