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Boys Town Nevada Gives Teen Runaway a New Direction in Life

Aeryn’s teen years were filled with chaos and turmoil.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family with little guidance or support, Aeryn made one bad choice after another. She got caught up with the wrong crowd, abused drugs and was chronically truant at school.

When Aeryn did attend school, she barely managed to maintain a “D” average. Her attendance was so erratic, she eventually just dropped out. With no structure at home and no one supporting her, Aeryn’s life spiraled out of control.

Frequent arguments with her family led Aeryn to run away for long periods of time. But life as a runaway proved disastrous. She got in trouble with the law and was arrested several times.

Aeryn was already on probation when she was picked up for stealing. Standing before a juvenile court judge, she was charged with grand larceny. The judge, who was familiar with Boys Town Nevada, believed the site’s residential program offered the best, and perhaps the last, opportunity for Aeryn to get her life back on track.

Aeryn was immediately placed in one of the site’s Family Homes, a jarring change for a young lady who was accustomed to living by her own rules. But the highly structured, family-style environment turned out to be both a rude awakening and a welcome rescue.

The new surroundings brought limits and responsibilities, and required an immediate attitude adjustment for Aeryn. That wasn’t easy, but the teen slowly warmed up to her Family-Teachers®, who listened and provided unconditional support. Their calm, reassuring presence enabled Aeryn to think more clearly about her choices and the direction of her life.

With patience, structure and teaching from her Family-Teachers, Aeryn began to take responsibility for her actions and her emotions. She learned self-control strategies as well as decision-making and life skills that empowered her to think through her feelings instead of impulsively lashing out or running away.

Aeryn also recommitted herself to her education. She returned to high school with a more positive attitude, determined to make up for lost time. In the classroom, she successfully put into practice many of the skills she learned at Boys Town. She worked diligently on her studies, even taking additional coursework so she could get back to her grade level. Her determination and perseverance paid off as she upped her grades to a “B” average and graduated with her class, something she never dreamed was possible.

“Boys Town was like a savior,” Aeryn said. “I probably wouldn’t have graduated. I wouldn’t have gone to college. Probably wouldn’t even talk to half my family anymore.”

Today, Aeryn continues on her road to success. She’s balancing college and a job, has her own apartment and has reconciled with her family. She also takes advantage of Boys Town Aftercare Services, a program that advises and guides graduates like Aeryn who are transitioning to adulthood and a life of true independence.