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Boys Town Nevada Steers Youth from Path of Crime to Path of Success

Nick shares a happy moment with his Boys Town Nevada Family-Teachers Marina and Eric Fowlkes, and their daughter Havilah.

Even after losing his ​freedom in youth detention facilities numerous times, Nick would always go back to his old ways. And trouble and misery would always follow.  

In 2011, after two stints in juvenile detention and being on parole, Nick was involved in a homicide investigation. He was later cleared as a suspect. But when his parole officer later visited Nick’s home, he discovered the family had been evicted because a SWAT team had destroyed the property during a search that was part of the investigation. 

In July 2012, Nick, then 17, was referred to Boys Town Nevada by the state Youth Parole Bureau. At the time, he was serving a court-ordered placement at a youth correctional center and was set to be released in August. 

Christine Cisneros, Director of the Boys Town Nevada’s Family Home ProgramSM, received the referral from Nick’s parole officer and requested a phone interview with Nick.

“The parole officer informed me that Nick was not going to be an easy placement for Boys Town due to his extensive history of criminal activity, several school expulsions, drug use and multiple violations of probation and parole,” Cisneros said. “But we decided to give Nick a chance and talk to him.”

During the phone interview, Nick said he was ready to make a change in his life. He also said he was willing to do whatever it took to reunite with his family and get off parole.

“When we looked at Nick’s referral on paper and officially interviewed him, we had concerns,” Cisneros said. “But when we met him, he was motivated and determined to put his life on the right path. He just needed a chance.”

Nick was admitted to the site’s residential program and placed in the Family Home of Family-Teachers Eric and Marina Fowlkes. When he arrived, Nick wore a GPS unit on his ankle and was attending drug court every week.

Nick wasted little time adapting to his new home and focusing on his goal of turning his life around.

“Nick hit the ground running when he arrived to our home,” Marina Fowlkes said. “He was ready and willing to take on any challenges. His schedule consisted of early-bird classes, normal school day, after-school tutoring, track, Bible classes, attending drug court for three hours three times a week, homework, dinner help and chores. Nick never complained and gave one hundred percent in everything he did.”

Nick’s GPS unit was eventually removed and he successfully completed drug court.

Nick also excelled in school. With the help of Marina and Eric, he applied for college. In May 2013, he received an acceptance letter from Grand Canyon University, becoming the first person in his immediate family to go to college.

After graduating high school with a cumulative GPA of 3.34, Nick returned to drug court to visit staff members and show them his acceptance letter to college. At the time, the conditions of his parole prohibited him from leaving the state and he owed $1,200 in court-ordered restitution.

But Nick’s turnaround at Boys Town Nevada paid off another unexpected dividend.

“The judge informed Nick that an adjustment was to be made to allow him to leave for college and if he stayed at Boys Town until he transitioned to college, his restitution would be waived,” Cisneros said.

In August 2013, Nick left the Family Home Program to start his freshman year at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. 

“Nick came in and wanted to make changes in his life,” Cisneros said. “He knew Boys Town wasn’t going to be easy but he really bought into his Family-Teachers, and all the credit goes to them and Nick.”  

With Boys Town’s help, Nick has taken big steps toward a life filled with hope and possibility.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names and details may be changed, and stock photos may be used, to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.