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Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Neither distance nor difficulty could stop this adoption journey Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Neither distance nor difficulty could stop this adoption journey <p>Isaiah was a preschooler living in a cramped South Florida group home. He had a severe form of autism, limiting his ability to communicate and interact with others.  </p><p>Martin was a long-time Miami-area foster parent preparing to relocate 500 miles north to Tallahassee. A retired flight attendant, he had opened his heart and home to countless children.     </p><p>Through serendipity, patience and perseverance, the pair would become a forever family.</p><p>Their story began when a child-placement agency asked Martin, who was six months shy of moving, if he was willing to foster five siblings. With two boys already at home, taking on that many little ones, even temporarily, wasn't possible. During those conversations, however, Martin was told about Isaiah – a boy "no one will take" because he's "a lot of work." </p><p>Unfazed by those descriptions or the story of how Isaiah had scratched up another child's face, Martin agreed to meet the little tyke.     </p><p>"We went to a playground, but he wouldn't play on anything," Martin said. "He just wanted to hold my hand and follow me around."</p><p>It appeared to be the start of a perfect pairing. But Isaiah's father had not relinquished his parental rights and hinted he might want to reunite with his son. It was a complicated and, at times, confusing back-and-forth situation that took months to resolve. During the protracted ordeal, Martin moved. </p><p>Soon after arriving in Tallahassee, Martin saw a billboard promoting Boys Town North Florida Foster Family Services<sup>®</sup> and jumped at the opportunity to renew his foster care license and enhance his fostering skills.  </p><p>"The training was very good. I've worked with other agencies, but Boys Town really impressed me because they care and are dedicated," Martin said.</p><p>After successfully completing training, Martin was a Boys Town Foster Parent and licensed to care for kids who have significant mental, emotional or behavioral health needs. In a timely coincidence, the child-placement agency in Miami contacted Martin with news that Isaiah's family had terminated their rights. With Boys Town's assistance, Isaiah flew to Tallahassee where Martin welcomed him "home" and began the foster-to-adoption process.</p><p>Isaiah had few possessions when he arrived, so Boys Town staff connected Martin to local resources where he could obtain basic essentials like a highchair and clothing. In addition, Boys Town coordinated efforts to ensure Isaiah received the appropriate educational and therapeutic services he required to improve his communication and behavioral skills.   </p><p>A Boys Town Foster Care Consultant also made weekly visits to the home, and her guidance and support proved invaluable. </p><p>"My Consultant always had something to teach or try out," explained Martin. "She researched things and often brought little sensory toys for Isaiah that were calming."</p><p>Managing Isaiah's anxiety was a priority. </p><p>When he was impatient or hungry, Isaiah scratched (sometimes severely) to communicate his displeasure. Martin and the Consultant used a timer to help Isaiah learn how to wait. First for a minute, then two. The Consultant also showed Martin how to use deep pressure touch to calm Isaiah when he was aggressive, stressed or overwhelmed. Together, they also taught Isaiah sign language so he could more clearly communicate his needs.  </p><p>Those efforts, combined with social skills instruction, experimentation and collaboration with other support networks, including a special-needs gymnastics class, proved highly beneficial. </p><p>Isaiah grew physically in height and weight after years of being below normal. His anxiety decreased, his behaviors improved and he became more social. </p><p>"Isaiah has such a lovable side. Every once in a while, he'll give me a big hug or snuggle with me on the couch. Lots of times he doesn't want to be touched. So when he does, it makes it special," Martin said.</p><p>After three years of big leaps, small steps, quiet tears and happy songs (Isaiah loves to whistle!), the adoption was finalized. Isaiah now had his forever family. </p><p>A world of opportunity has since opened up for him, literally, as the family has enjoyed holiday vacations in the Caribbean and summer excursions to Cuba and South America. While hard challenges persist and difficult days will come, love and optimism always remain. </p><p>"I think there is always hope to make more progress," Martin said. "With Isaiah, you can see glimmers of light." <br></p>2019-02-14T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Martin and Isaiah" height="590" src="/parenting/PublishingImages/martin-isaiah.jpg" width="363" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Halftime Appreciation for Godfather’s Pizza Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Halftime Appreciation for Godfather’s Pizza <p>On January 29, Boys Town honored longtime sponsor, Godfather's Pizza, during halftime of the Cowboy's varsity basketball game against Ashland Greenwood. </p><p>Godfather's has been a corporate sponsor to Boys Town since 2004 when Ron Gartlan, Godfather's CEO, agreed to put the Boys Town National Hotline<sup>® </sup>phone number on their pizza boxes. Since then Godfather's has contributed over $2 million to Boys Town.</p><p>Godfather's employees over the years have been great supporters to our mission. Kathy Johnson, Godfather's Senior Vice President, joined the Boys Town's booster organization and helps with the annual banquet. Ron Gartlan sponsored the Family-Teacher Appreciation Dinner that recognizes the unsung heroes of Boys Town. The "Godfather" himself often visits campus to read to the grade school kids.</p><p>Not only is Godfather's actively involved with Boys Town in many ways, they also encourage new employees to visit our campus and take a tour to gain a better understanding of what we do. </p><p>"Godfather's is more than a corporate sponsor providing financial support. Every employee is connected to our mission," said Herb Hames, Campus Development Director. "We feel proud that we can provide their employees with parenting tips, crisis support and kid advice on a regular basis. And we here on campus, love Godfather's pizza." </p><p>This week's game had a big turnout of Godfather's employees to come cheer on the Cowboys and watch Ron Gartlan receive a framed Boys Town basketball jersey in recognition of the company's support throughout the years. </p><p>Halftime is not enough time to thank Godfather's Pizza for all the work they have done throughout the years to help spread our mission of changing the way America cares for children and families. </p>2019-02-08T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Godfathers_03.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="Boys Town Appreciation for Godfather's Pizza" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Godfathers_03.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Runners Go the Distance to Support Boys Town New England Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Runners Go the Distance to Support Boys Town New England <p>They trained. They ran. They raised money to help at-risk children. </p><p>The Amica Newport Marathon is renowned in Rhode Island, New England and even around the world! It features both a full- and half-marathon and was recently named the "Best Marathon in Rhode Island" and a "Top 20 Half Marathon in the USA." Boys Town New England is proud to be one of the six charity partners for this global event, which in 2018 had over 3,200 runners from 11 countries including Korea, Spain, Germany, Japan and Australia.</p><p>The 2018 Boys Town New England Team had 10 runners, including staff from Development, Foster Family Services and Care Coordination, plus members of the Portsmouth Police Department and local community leaders.</p><p>One runner, Zechariah Cook of Bullfinch Realty Boston, ran the entire marathon and raised over $1,000 himself for the Boys Town Team. Cook gave credit to Boys Town New England Development Director Amanda Baker for recruiting him for the race. "Amanda presented the opportunity, asking if I'd be interested in running to raise money for Boys Town New England," Cook said. "After reading about the organization's mission, I couldn't say no." </p><p>An additional 30 individuals, including Boys Town New England staff, Board Members and youth, volunteered their time throughout the weekend to assist with check in and setup. They even camped out at the finish line on race day to cheer on and support the runners!</p><p>Boys Town New England offers life changing services to children, families and communities in high-risk environments. Thank you to everyone who helped make 2018's marathon fundraiser a huge success; with your support we can continue working towards the core belief that every child deserves a future, every family deserves to stay together and every community deserves to thrive.</p><p>Registration for this year's race, scheduled for Sunday, October 13th, is already live. If you are interested in running for Team Boys Town New England please email <a href=""></a>.</p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/carol-jill-jess-nm-2018.jpg" alt="Carol, Jill & Jess" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p>2019-01-25T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Riley, Zech & Amanda" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/riley-zech-amanda-btne-nm-2018.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />New England;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town New England’s Never-Give-Up Attitude Pays Off for Little Girl Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town New England’s Never-Give-Up Attitude Pays Off for Little Girl <p>Little kids can have big problems when they grow up in foster care.</p><p>Take Millie for example.</p><p>At just 6 years old, Millie had already been placed in nine foster homes over the span of one year. Home number ten was with Boys Town New England and, while there were no guarantees that it would be any more of a success than the others, there was one difference -- Boys Town New England doesn't give up.</p><p>Millie's young life had been filled with neglect and endless opportunities to learn bad habits. Her birth parents were homeless, and her childhood consistently lacked adequate adult supervision and support.</p><p>When she first entered foster care, Millie was verbally and physically aggressive towards children and adults. She refused to follow instructions and struggled to connect with others. One can only imagine what moving in and out of nine homes does to a child; it broke down Millie's ability to trust and to feel wanted. She was a lost, lonely little girl.</p><p>At first it wasn't easy. Millie did not listen to her Foster Parents and would make scenes in public. She consistently displayed the same negative attention-seeking behaviors that had worked for her in the past.</p><p>But these things didn't matter – the Boys Town staff refused to give up on her.</p><p>It took some time, but eventually Millie started to change. She began interacting with her peers in positive ways. She followed her Foster Parents' instructions, and was excited to participate in projects and activities with the family. She smiled, laughed and showed affection towards those around her.</p><p>In recent months, Millie's Foster Parents inquired about adopting Millie. With the continued support of Boys Town staff, Millie and her Foster Parents could become the "forever" family every child deserves.</p><p>Fostering a child is not always easy, but opening your heart and loving a child can be.</p><p>If you are interested in becoming a Boys Town New England Foster Parent, please call 1-800-847-2025.</p><p><em>The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names may be changed and details altered to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.</em></p><br>2019-01-25T06:00:00ZNewsNew England;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Parent Thanks Boys Town in a Big Way Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Parent Thanks Boys Town in a Big Way <p>Twelve years ago Theresa Cole and her family were facing challenging times, their seven year old son was angry and violent. They didn't know what to do. </p><p>The family made the difficult decision to remove their son from the home and place him in the care of the Boys Town Residential Treatment Program. </p><p>The family already had a small connection to Dennis Vollmer, Boys Town Residential Treatment Center Director, because his son and another one of the Cole family sons played football for Skutt Catholic High School. </p><p>"We had an <em>extremely</em> committed family dealing with a young man with severe behavior issues. By using the Boys Town model we were able to turn his behavior around significantly," said Dennis. </p><p>For eighteen months Boys Town worked closely with the Cole family and their son offering intensive therapy and counseling.  </p><p>"He has learned and adapted from the skills taught at Boys Town to become the successful young man that he is today," said Dennis. </p><p>Eventually their son returned home but the family kept a close connection with Boys Town and continued with therapy. Now their son is a high school graduate and is now working part-time and enrolled in an online university.</p><p>"I credit Boys Town with changing him to a happy adult with goals," said Theresa.  "Our family will forever be grateful to this organization that truly saves children and saved our family." </p><p>In the hopes of giving back to the organization that gave to Theresa and her family she applied for an employee grant on behalf of Boys Town through her place of employment, HM Insurance Group. </p><p>Boys Town graciously received the $5,000 grant on November 29<sup>th</sup>. </p>2019-01-24T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Parents Thank Boys Town" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/parentsThankBT.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Nebraska;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | With Boys Town Nevada’s Help, Family Finds Hope, Gift of Holiday Happiness Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | With Boys Town Nevada’s Help, Family Finds Hope, Gift of Holiday Happiness <p>Sometimes, a simple breakdown in communication in a family can lead to bigger problems like damaged relationships, conflict and instability in the home. This situation is especially difficult during the holidays, when a family's distress is magnified. </p><p>That was the challenge Michele Tapp and her 11-year-old son Joshua faced when anger and emotional responses began to dominate their interactions. Most times, the two couldn't have a conversation without arguing or making hurtful comments.</p><p>When Joshua's negative behaviors worsened, Michele felt more and more overwhelmed. Joshua would get angry and upset when he didn't get his way or get what he wanted, yelling and physically lashing out. One time, he spent a night in juvenile detention for hitting a family member.</p><p>By the time Child and Family Services referred the family to Boys Town Nevada, Michele was on the brink of despair.</p><p>"When Boys Town came into our home, we were close to losing each other, which is all we have," Michele said.  </p><p>Rachel Williams, a Boys Town In-Home Family Services Consultant, was soon making regular visits to the Tapp home, working with Michele and Joshua to repair their relationship and their home life. For Michele, this included setting and reinforcing house rules and appropriate boundaries for Joshua, learning how to correct his misbehaviors through positive discipline, spending more one-one-one time with her son and reaching out for support from community resources and Joshua's school. </p><p>With the holidays approaching, Michele also looked into obtaining food and gifts from local organizations so the family could have an enjoyable and less stressful holiday celebration. </p><p>Slowly, Mom and son began to blend Rachel's strategies and suggestions into their daily lives. After 11 weeks of receiving services, Michele was confident that she and Joshua were making progress and growing closer.</p><p>"We now have better communication skills and (have) learned how to cope and deal with anger and emotions in a better way," she said. "We also learned how to deal with the positives and negatives of life in a healthy way." </p><p>Michele and Joshua continue to work on making their family stronger. But with Boys Town Nevada's support and regular follow-up visits by Rachel, they are staying on the path to healing.      </p><p>"By providing some guidance, practical solutions and parenting skills, this family learned how to talk with each other and not bring up the past," Rachel said. "Josh now respects and sees his mom as a parent and not a friend."</p><p>For Michele and Joshua, Boys Town Nevada's compassionate care was one of the best holiday gifts they could receive.<br></p>2019-01-22T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Tapp Family" src="/locations/new-england/Holiday_Gifts/NV-image.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Nevada;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Local Community Delivers Holiday Cheer for over 300 Boys Town New England Children Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Local Community Delivers Holiday Cheer for over 300 Boys Town New England Children <p>The holidays are a joyful time of year for most. They are a time filled with love, laughter, delicious food and plenty of presents under the tree. However, for many this does not hold true. For the 39 million U.S. families living in poverty the holidays can be an incredibly stressful time. For the 438,000 U.S. children living in the foster care system the holidays can be a lonely, joyless time.<br></p><p>This past Christmas the Development Team at Boys Town New England reached out to the local community in an effort to brighten up the holidays for some of the children and families who struggle during this time. Thanks to the support and generosity of local businesses and community members all of our children's wish lists - over 300 - were adopted out by the first week of November. <br></p><p>Amanda Baker, Boys Town New England Development Director, credits this year's Adopt a Child success to the hard work of Elizabeth Rose, Boys Town New England Donor Relations Specialist. "In finding our donors I was able to give them a glimpse into the important work Boys Town is doing," said Elizabeth. "It was such a great opportunity for me to not only dive into our programs but to really connect with our team and learn more about our youth, overall it has left me feeling much more connected to our mission and even more excited to be a part of such a great organization." <br></p><p>Amanda cited the Adopt a Child Gift Drive as a great way to re-connect with our youth, who she is not able to work with every day, "it brings it back full circle as to one of the many reasons why I am here, I am able to be a part of making the holidays enjoyable for our children and families." It is especially fun for our donors as each child writes their own wish list, including likes and dislikes, and the donors are able to learn about them as they Christmas shop.<br></p><p>We'd like to offer a special thanks to everyone who donated to this year's Adopt a Child Gift Drive and made Christmas a little more special for the children of Boys Town New England. </p><p> <span style="background-color:transparent;">"Appreciation – Appreciation for all that I have, for our local community and their overwhelming support, and for all of my Boys Town New England co-workers and the hard work they do every day. That was my biggest takeaway from all of this," said Elizabeth.</span></p><p>Some of the businesses and organizations within the community that contributed to this year's success story include:</p><div class="container"> <div class="section"> <ul><li>Simpatico Jamestown</li><li>Colonial Mills</li><li>Johnson & Wales University</li><li>Electric Boat</li><li>Perfect 10 Nail Salon</li><li>Raise the Bar Nutrition</li><li>Providence Veterans Regional Office</li><li>Blount Fine Foods</li><li>Ørsted</li><li>Pare Corporation</li><li>Trinity Church in Newport</li><li>Optum Health</li></ul></div><div class="section"><ul><li>Pare Corporation</li><li>Trinity Church in Newport</li><li>Optum Health</li><li>Performance Adjusting</li><li>Thevenot Transportation</li><li>Independence Financial Advisors</li><li>Embrace Home Loans</li><li>StrategicPoint Investment Advisors</li><li>Portsmouth Police Department</li><li>Viking Riders of Rhode Island</li><li>Kenneth Cote Renewal Center</li><li>Bags of Hope<br></li></ul></div></div><p><br></p><p>To be placed on the distribution list for next year’s Adopt a Child Gift Drive please email <a href=""></a>.<br></p>2019-01-18T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Holiday Gifts" src="/locations/new-england/Holiday_Gifts/simpatico.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />New England;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | John Etzell named Executive Director of Boys Town Nevada Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | John Etzell named Executive Director of Boys Town Nevada <p>Boys Town is pleased to announce that John Etzell has been named Executive Director of Boys Town Nevada. Following his graduation from the University of St. Thomas, Etzell held numerous roles at Boys Town including Assistant Family Teacher, Family Teacher, Residential Consultant and Program Director of Residential Services.</p><p>Etzell has over 17 years of progressive non-profit management experience in education and residential services. He has experience in new start-ups, including opening two new charter high schools in Colorado in four years and opening the Family Home program at Boys Town New England.</p><p>Most recently John was Head of School for Colorado Early Colleges Aurora. In this role he successfully obtained grant funding and developed partnerships with local charter elementary and middle schools. In addition, he was successful in obtaining federal and private grants, including a Walton Family Foundation grant.</p><p>"With John's strong background in growing and developing relationships within the community and experience in raising funds combined with his knowledge of the Boys Town model, he will be a great asset to Boys Town Nevada in moving its initiatives forward to improve the lives of kids and families," said Vice President of Site Operations, Lisa Batenhorst. "I'd like to congratulate John and encourage all to welcome him to Nevada." </p><p>Etzell holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently working on his Master of Business Administration, Non-Profit Management degree. Please join us in welcoming John back to the Boys Town family.</p>2019-01-17T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="John Etzell" src="/locations/nevada/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Etzell.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Nevada;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town North Florida Hosts 26th Annual Christmas Classic Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town North Florida Hosts 26th Annual Christmas Classic <p>The 26<sup>th</sup> annual Boys Town North Florida Christmas Classic Golf Tournament took place on Monday, December 17 with an appearance of a special guest, former Chicago Cubs Worlds Series Champion catcher, David Ross. </p><p>The event allows teams of four to compete for the top score while also raising money for the children and families that North Florida serves. </p><p>This year over 100 people took part in the Christmas Classic and helped to raise more than $50,000 for Boys Town North Florida. </p><p>A fun part of this year's tournament was having 2016 World Series Champion, David Ross from the Chicago Cubs greet golfers at the 12<sup>th</sup> hole. Here the golfers had a chance to "Beat the Pro" and win a sleeve of golf balls if they had a better drive than David did. </p><p>This year's top gross winners of the tournament were Residential Elevators in first, Jersey Mike's/ Moe's in second and Carr Allison Law Firm in third place.</p><p>The net winners were Evolution Media in first, Dr. Richard Freesmeier in second and The Egg in third.   </p><p>"It was a wonderful tournament and everyone had a great time," said Dena Strickland, Boys Town North Florida Development Director. "One of our own Boys Town children kicked off the tournament with a lovely prayer of thankfulness." </p><p>Special thanks to Starbucks, Tasty Pastry Bakery, Moe's Southwest Grill, Tri-Eagle Sales, Jersey Mike's and The Egg who were vendors on six of the holes. Also, big thank you to Radio Talk Show host and Sportscaster, Woody Hayes for being awards ceremony presenter. </p><div class="hidden-gal"> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/IMG_boys.jpg" title="The Boys"> </a> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/IMG_ladygolf.jpg" title="Lady Golfers"> </a> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/IMG_blackwhite.jpg" title="Slicing the sky"> </a> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Rossmen.jpg" title="Golfers - Rossmen"> </a> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/trophy.jpg" title="Trophy Winners"> </a> <a class="image-group cboxElement" href="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/dena.jpg" title="Group Picture"> </a> </div> 2019-01-11T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Group Picture" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/IMG_groupross.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />North Florida;#
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town’s South Omaha Office Celebrates Las Posadas Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Boys Town’s South Omaha Office Celebrates Las Posadas <p>On December 13, Boys Town in collaboration with El Museo Latino celebrated Las Posadas in South Omaha for the 4<sup>th</sup> year. </p><p>Posada is Spanish for "lodging" or "inn". This Christmas celebration reflects the journey of Mary and Joseph traveling from place to place looking for somewhere to stay before the birth of Jesus. </p><p>Today, Posadas consists of singing the traditional Christmas songs. One group of singers are "Inn-keepers", and another group are "pilgrims".  The "pilgrims" sing asking for a place at the Inn.  The "Inn-keepers" respond by singing there is no place for them. The pilgrims then go from house to house singing, until someone invites them in.</p><p>The event was held at El Museo Latino. Guests enjoyed activities, music, refreshment and the traditional Posadas singing. </p><p>"Las Posadas is important to the South Omaha community because it is a tradition that many families we work with celebrate," said Regina Costello, Director of Community Support Services. "It is also an opportunity for us to learn about other cultures and traditions."  </p><p>The community collaboration had volunteer support from First National Bank, Bank of the West, and Oath.<br></p>2019-01-02T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Las Posadas" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/2018-Posadas-3.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="Las Posadas" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/2018-Posadas-1.jpg" width="400" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Nebraska;#

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Jordan Weinandt
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