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Never Give Up Attitude Helps Boys Town North Florida Staff Find Forever Family for Twin Sisters Tamiyah and Taniya Brown Give Up Attitude Helps Boys Town North Florida Staff Find Forever Family for Twin Sisters Tamiyah and Taniya Brown<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​Where there is a will, there is a way.</span></p><p>For Boys Town North Florida's Family Home Program<sup>SM</sup>, that could very well be the success story slogan for twin sisters Tamiyah and Taniyah Brown, who struggled through almost three years of transitioning through the foster care system and Boys Town, before finally finding their forever family.</p><p>The girls struggled greatly before reaching Boys Town. Both were in foster care. But even though they struggled being separated, they were initially unable to be placed together due to on-going negative behaviors.</p><p>As one might imagine, a difficult home life contributed greatly to those behaviors. The girls first came into care due to substance use and neglect by their birth mother. Both girls acted out and resorted to self-harm statements that required monitoring. They also had a prior history of psychiatric hospitalizations.</p><p>Tamiyah was the first to arrive into the Boys Town North Florida Family Home Program in August of 2018. As soon as her initial evaluation determined she was a twin, staff quickly began advocating for her sister, Taniyah, to also come to Boys Town.</p><p>“We try to reunify siblings whenever we can," Boys Town North Florida Senior Director of Program Operations Bethany Lacey said. “Oftentimes, the sibling relationship is the only familial relationship a youth has left, and we often advocate for a youth's sibling to be moved to us so they can be together."</p><p>Taniyah eventually joined her sister in the Boys Town Family Home Program in October of 2018. At first, the two did not get along and had to be placed in separate homes on campus. The girls struggled significantly. They made self-harm or suicide ideation statements daily and Taniyah refused to go to school the first two months.</p><p>Boys Town staff members were relentless in working with the girls, showing them love, giving them instruction within the Boys Town Model®, and helping them realize what it takes to be successful in the home.</p><p>Taniyah began learning new skills and soon after began attending school daily. Eventually, thanks to Family-Teachers® Trinity and Misty Mackley's advocating, Taniyah was transitioned into their home so she could be with her sister.</p><p>At first, the reunification was difficult. The girls couldn't share a room because Taniyah was so aggressive towards Tamiyah. But the Mackleys consistently reinforced the girls' positive actions and with the help of their Family Consultant, Nicole Wertz, interventions and treatment were put in place. Eventually, the girls acclimated to one another and got to a point where they could be in the same room.</p><p>Their child welfare case manager, who had worked with the girls for four years, mentioned she never thought that would ever be possible. The girls continued to improve and thrive, but they struggled with the idea of adoption.  </p><p>The twins had two potential adoptive placements disrupted due to the girls sabotaging the effort. Again, true to the slogan, 'where there's a will, there's a way', the Mackleys, along with Wertz, put interventions and services in place to address the problem. Eventually, a third potential adoptive placement was identified.</p><p>The Boys Town Family Home staff worked with the adoptive parent to take part in Common Sense Parenting® classes offered by Boys Town North Florida. They kept in consistent communication with her during the adoption process to help coach her through managing the girl's behaviors during home visits. Soon, after a lengthy bonding period, the girls were ready to transition to their forever family.</p><p>A going away dinner was hosted by the Family-Teachers for the girls prior to their departure. During this going away party, Wertz presented Tamiyah and Taniyah with a book and a public celebratory reading of Dr. Seuss' <em>Oh the Places You'll Go</em>, which is a new tradition of any youth departing the Boys Town North Florida Family Home Program. Staff and youth signed the book for the girls to take with them to remind them they will always be part of the Boys Town family.</p><p>The twins were able to successfully transition into their forever home on January 8, 2021.</p><p>Wertz said she was so proud of the girls, but she admitted, it was difficult to see them go.</p><p>“The girls were with us so long, and they came such a long way, it was bittersweet for us when they left." she said. “But we are so happy they have found a wonderful new family and we know they will be successful."​​<br><br></p>2021-03-01T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="healing sisters" src="/locations/north-florida/PublishingImages/Twins%20Find%20Hope%20and%20Healing.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Spunky Six-Year-Old Supporter Six-Year-Old Supporter<p>​​​​​​​​​​​Zoey's partnership with Boys Town started early on in her life (in Utero). Her mom has worked with Boys Town for 14 years, so Zoey has grown up around the wonderful kids at Boys Town, and knows just how lucky and blessed she is. That is why she is so passionate about helping kids less fortunate than herself.</p><p>Zoey was disappointed that she couldn't do ano​ther birthday party fundraiser event like last year (thanks to COVID), but her uncle Seth Dunlap came to the rescue to help her create this video to get the word out!</p>2021-02-25T06:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
One Year, Two Shelters and Five Children Year, Two Shelters and Five Children<p></p><p>In December of 2019, Ms. Trenisha James' unit in her housing development was deemed “unfit for human habitation," with a CO2 leak being the headliner on a list of safety issues that made it necessary for her family to leave their home.</p><p>Unfortunately, that led to a lawsuit with the landlord, which ultimately was found in James' favor; however, the court findings were written in such a way that future renting became difficult. Add to that the loss of her escrow because she moved out early, and James and her five children soon found themselves homeless.</p><p>They sought shelter in the Kennedy Short Term Family Housing program, which provides emergency and temporary housing for families experiencing homelessness. During that time, they were referred to Boys Town Washington DC for assistance.</p><p>“The James family was referred through the oldest child's school, which at the time was KIPP Quest Elementary School. I work with the attendance team there and they will send us referrals," said Chelsey Perkins, Care Coordination Consultant at Boys Town Washington DC.  </p><p>While living in the shelter, James found it difficult to secure new living arrangements. Several apartments turned her down because she had “too many children." She was shifted from case manager to case manager within the shelter system. And eventually had to move to a different shelter.</p><p>James began to worry about her ability to find a new home for her children.</p><p>“Ms. Chelsey jumped right into advocating for me when it came to finding housing that would accept five children. She did the utmost for me, including finding new housing possibilities and setting up appointments for me to view them. She was phenomenal from the beginning," said James.</p><p>James struggled with Multiple Sclerosis during the housing search, which put her in the hospital for a short time. “MS inhibits some of my speech and Ms. Chelsey helped me with my anxiety. She was very understanding and resourceful," said James.</p><p>As finding a new home for her family became more of a reality, James joined the DC Central Food Kitchen Program. She began working on her culinary skills since she had often worked in restaurants.</p><p>She recently graduated from the program at the top of her class, receiving three awards: highest GPA, life skills award and sunshine award. Though the pandemic has made it hard to secure employment at this time, James is hopeful that her graduation will eventually lead to a good job.</p><p>In January of 2020, the James family was finally able to move into their new home.</p><p>“Ms. Chelsey has helped our family with so many things. From school supplies to virtual summer camps, furniture, clothing, diapers and gas cards, the resources she's been able to provide have been phenomenal," said James. “If it wasn't for her, I don't think I could have made it this far."</p><p>And the admiration seems to go both ways. “I have had many years working in the mental health and case management services field and Ms. James' tenacity, dedication to her family, and hard work were nothing less than awe-inspiring to me," said Perkins. “I believe that if we had more Ms. Jameses in this world, it would be a better place."​<br></p><p><br></p>2021-02-19T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/James-family-photo-sml-banner.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/James-family-photo.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Update from Boys Town New England’s Development Office’s-Development-Office.aspxUpdate from Boys Town New England’s Development Office<p>​Valued Supporters,</p><p>I can hardly believe how quickly this past year has flown by. As we approach the one-year mark of COVID changing our society entirely, I have found myself spending some time reflecting on the incredible community surrounding us here at Boys Town New England. Despite everything that happened in 2020, your support did not waver. Our children and families were able to access the resources and assistance they needed, experience the love and opportunity they deserve and open doors to more successful futures. This was all because of you, our donors. While our operations changed to accommodate health concerns, our programs and reach did not. With your generosity, we kept our doors wide open to those we serve throughout what was most likely the toughest year many of us have ever endured.</p><p>I am hopeful that, with your partnership, we can continue this momentum in 2021. We have many exciting things happening in the coming year that I would love to share with you.</p><p> First, 2021 is our 30<sup>th</sup> Anniversary. In 1991, the Bazarsky family of Newport, Rhode Island, donated the land our campus is now built on in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and we opened our doors to New England children in-need. Slowly, over the years, we built onto our programs. We currently offer our Boys Town Family-Home Program®, Foster Family Services and Community Support Services.</p><p>Our 30<sup>th</sup> year is marked by the goal of expanding LIFT Together with Boys Town℠, a branch of our Community Support Services, which currently serves some of the neediest elementary schools in Pawtucket, RI. Pawtucket is a city marked by poverty, racial disparity and crime. LIFT Together works within the Pawtucket school system to connect with parents at-risk. These parents may be struggling with housing, job and food insecurities, or dealing with issues such as drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence and crime. These parents work with our team voluntarily to improve their situations, and provide a safe, loving home for their children. Our team helps to connect them with whatever resources they need to find stability, acts as a liaison between parents, who are often not native English speakers, and their children's school, and provides emergency support if any such situation arises.</p><p>In 2020, our LIFT Together team served 159 children and 68 families, with 35 families successfully discharged from our program. As the year progresses, we will be sending out a few mail pieces that will share success stories from this program, as well as information that will help provide a more comprehensive understanding of what LIFT Together does for our community. To learn more about LIFT Together with Boys Town, or make a monetary donation to the program, please visit</p><p>Lastly, I am excited to share our event update for the year with you. Currently, we are still in limbo when it comes to any in-person events. We are hopeful 2022 will be the year that we are finally able to celebrate our first Racing for the Roses Kentucky Derby event! In the meantime, we have a handful of fun things planned.</p><p>On April 1, 2021, we will be participating for the second year in a row in United Way of Rhode Island's #401Gives. This statewide day of giving brings people together to make a difference for Rhode Island-based nonprofits that deliver vital services throughout the state. Last year we raised close to $10,000 for our children and families. This year we are hoping to increase that to $15,000. We will be sending out more information as we get closer to that date; you can also learn more at</p><p>In May, our entire organization will participate in the Virtual Memorial Day Run. More information on that can be found at</p><p>From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you have done for our children and families. When you give to Boys Town New England, you give to children and families who most others have given up on. You are a beacon of hope, and your support is a helping hand for someone who may be out of options. We are so grateful for you and for your faith in our work.</p><p>I wish you the best in 2021,</p><p>Amanda Baker<br>Development Director</p><p>Boys Town New England​<br></p>​<br>2021-02-15T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/30years-black.png" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Mom Turns Life Around for her Daughters Turns Life Around for her Daughters<p>​​Since its founding more than 100 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska, Boys Town has been a safe haven for children who have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect and other challenges. Boys Town New England was established in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1991, so that Father Flanagan's mission could benefit the children and families of Rhode Island and its surrounding states. As programming expanded over the years, a need in the Pawtucket school system, specifically at Elizabeth Baldwin and Fallon Memorial elementary schools, became clear. In 2016, with the support of the United Way, the LIFT Together with Boys Town community partnership emerged.<br></p><p>As 2021 progresses, we will be sharing more information about our LIFT Together program with you so you too can experience the joy of families overcoming their struggles, eliminating obstacles, and finding success and stability. Today, we will share one such story; that of the Britto-Marquez family.</p><p>Yeleinys and her family began working with Boys Town in the fall of 2019. At the time, they had several issues plaguing them. Homelessness, mental health concerns for both mother and children, no stable income, unclear immigration status, a limited support network and previous instances of domestic violence, which had Yeleinys fearing for her safety, all prevented her and her kids from finding success and stability. Yeleinys struggled with thoughts of self-harm and suicide and felt she had no way out.</p><p>From day one, LIFT Together Consultant Rossana championed success for this family. She worked diligently alongside Yeleinys to create a plan that would systematically address every problem area identified. The biggest hurdle faced by this family was the behavioral and mental health needs of the children, which were exacerbated while the family struggled to find stable housing. Rossana constantly checked in on Yeleinys' and her children's well-being, and ensured detailed plans were set in place to keep them all safe. These step-by-step plans (If you are considering self-harm you will first call so-and-so, then you will…) were vital in guiding Yeleinys as she addressed the mental well-being of both herself and her kids.</p><p>As time went on, Rossana worked to empower Yeleinys' ability to advocate for herself and independently enact change to improve her children's futures. Rossana modeled things such as phone calls and in-person interactions with providers and proper completion of job applications. She employed empathy and teaching by suggestion to help Yeleinys develop problem-solving skills and gain confidence all on her own.</p><p>Throughout their time together, one thing stood out to Rossana and the LIFT Together team – Yeleinys' unwavering commitment to securing the best life possible for herself and her children, regardless of the obstacles she faced. Yeleinys went from being a shy, timid woman, to one who relentlessly advocated for herself. With Rossana's coaching, Yeleinys learned how to express her needs, appropriately disagree, ask for help, and accept “no" as an answer. These skills proved invaluable as Yeleinys successfully secured employment for herself and safe housing for herself and her children.</p><p> <a class="image-group page-suppt-cont cboxElement" href="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/LIFT-family-1.jpg">​<img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/LIFT-family-1.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:189px;height:328px;" /></a>​As we assemble this story in early January, Yeleinys is days away from signing a lease on her own apartment. With Rossana's help, she has employed a budget system to plan for her and her children's futures and has found resources to help her acquire furniture and other essentials for her future home.</p><p>Yeleinys has spoken of her gratefulness for Boys Town time and time again. No matter how many times she lashed out due to her frustration and anger, Yeleinys said Rossana never stopped supporting her. She showed endless compassion, patience and understanding. <strong>Through her guidance and grace, Rossana showed Yeleinys that she could do this. She could provide for herself and her children and find hope and healing from her past traumas, while moving towards a brighter, better future for her family.</strong></p><p>To support Boys Town New England's LIFT Together program, please visit​<br></p>​<br>2021-02-15T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" height="457" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/LIFT-family-2.jpg" width="300" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town North Florida IHFS Staff Named Recipient of Prestigious Award Town North Florida IHFS Staff Named Recipient of Prestigious Award<p>​​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​Boys Town North Florida is proud to celebrate with one of their very own staff, Monica Smart-Gainous, an In-Home Family Services Consultant, as she was named a recipient of the 2021 Cherry Hall Alexander African American Calendar Award for her work with families in the community.</span></p><p>Monica, among 11 other distinguished honorees, was featured in the July section of the calendar. Boys Town North Florida's Senior Director Bethany Lacey shared, “We here in Boys Town North Florida were not surprised she would be named a recipient as Monica is well known for her local community action and advocacy. She regularly goes above and beyond for our children and families. We are so proud her many years of service are being recognized."</p><p>In the past 25 years, Monica has continuously strived to give back to her community by community action and organization. Among other events, she has been instrumental in organizing a Gadsden County Human Trafficking forum that brings awareness of human trafficking in the area.</p><p>Monica has Co-Chaired several back to school supply events and she has organized various food distributions in the community. In 2009, Monica was part of a group recognized by the Gadsden County School Board (GCSB) for the makeover of James A. Shanks Middle School, which saved the GCSB approximately $100,000.</p><p>As an In-Home Family Consultant with Boys Town North Florida, Monica tirelessly works to ensure the guidance and care for youth and families to be influential to the positive advancement of their environmental, emotional, and educational structure. Her love for the betterment for the lives of youth and citizens within the community is the center core of her demonstrated work. Once the foundation is planted in the community, Monica works to continue to build upon that foundation for the greater good of the children and families she serves.</p><p>Upon being named recipient Monica shared, “I believe it is my calling to carry on the work of Father Flanagan when he said, “The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God's work, not mine.'"</p><p>Boys Town is very thankful for Monica and her dedication to Boys Town and the community around her. If you would like to watch the Awards Ceremony, click <a href="$" target="_blank">here</a>.​<br></p>2021-02-15T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Monica" src="/PublishingImages/monica.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Hope for the Holidays for the Holidays<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">With wide-eyed excitement, more girls and boys throughout South Florida had the thrill of opening presents on Christmas morning because of a tremendous outpouring of love from our supporters.</span></p><p>For more than 15 years, The GEO Group has been one of our <em>Hope for the Holidays </em>sponsors. Because of the pandemic, however,<em> </em>we were unsure what would become of our annual toy drive.<em> </em>Fortunately, staff from The GEO Group once again stepped up and<em> </em>generously gave 140 children in need an unforgettable holiday!</p><p>Special thanks to Eileen Roth, executive assistant at The GEO Group. For many years, she has organized the <em>Hope for the</em> <em>Holidays </em>campaign at her workplace. Eileen's dedication is inspiring, heartwarming and greatly appreciated by us and the children we serve.</p><p>We would also like to thank our very own Elizabeth “Lili" Lopez Smith for her tireless efforts to secure sponsors for <em>Hope for the</em> <em>Holidays </em>and her commitment to helping South Florida children and families.</p><p>We look forward to continuing our partnership with The GEO Group and our many past sponsors who have helped us bring happiness and good cheer to so many South Florida children and families.​<br></p>2021-02-15T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="hope for the holidays" src="/PublishingImages/hope.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Spotlight on: In-Home Family Services on: In-Home Family Services<p>​​<span style="background-color:transparent;">Every family has problems. In crisis situations, the difference between families who stay united and those that fall apart often depends on how effectively parents can deal with difficult challenges.</span></p><p>Boys Town In-Home Family Services® is designed to strengthen struggling families. Our Family Consultants work in the home (and virtually!), partnering with parents and teaching them the skills they need to overcome obstacles and handle problems in more constructive, positive ways. Our Consultants also help families be more proactive to prevent future problems. For example, when relationships in the Vega family started to fray because of disrespectful behaviors and school failures, a Boys Town Family Consultant provided a path toward healing and harmony. This is the family's story.</p><p>The Vegas were referred to Boys Town because Mom was struggling to get the children to follow instructions and take responsibility for their actions. The dinner table was a daily battlefield where arguments erupted because the kids refused to put away their video games and phones. Their addiction to digital devices was disrupting family meals and adversely affecting their social relationships and schoolwork.</p><p>Family Consultant Claudia Varela worked with the parents, teaching them new parenting skills and strategies, including how to set limits, provide positive attention and use appropriate consequences. She helped the parents create distraction-free family meals by having everyone place their electronic devices in a basket during dinnertime to encourage conversation and family bonding. Claudia also persuaded the family to unplug during their free time and engage in healthier physical activities, such as riding bikes and playing outdoor games.</p><p>​<em class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">It took patience and effort, but with Claudia's help and guidance, the Vega family found harmony and began to thrive. Their teenage son, Miguel, gained renewed confidence and refocused on his academics. Now, he's taking honors classes and earning good grades.</em></p><p>Thanks to Claudia and the rest of our dedicated team of Family Consultants, families like the Vegas are improving their communication skills, developing healthier habits and strengthening their relationships.<br></p><p> <em> <span style="color:#ff6600;"> <span style="color:#ff6600;">Thank you Children's Services Council of Broward County and Palm Beach County Youth Services Department for supporting our In-Home Family Services!</span></span>​</em>​<br></p>2021-02-15T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="in-home" src="/PublishingImages/in-home.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Susan’s All A-Board!’s All A-Board!<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">At Boys Town South Florida, we are grateful for the leadership and support of our board members. Their vision and guidance help strengthen and expand our programs, keeping us nimble and responsive to the changing needs of at-risk children and families in our community.</span></p><p>We recently caught up with former board member Susan Yeager, who remains a valued member of the Boys Town family. She fondly recalled her Boys Town experience and explained why our organization will always hold a special place in her heart. Here are excerpts from our conversation…</p><img src="file:///Users/johreg2/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_image001.jpg" alt="" style="width:1px;margin:5px;" /><p><em style="color:#ff6600;"><span style="color:#ff6600;">Susan, you first got involved with Boys Town when your company participated in our Hope for the Holidays toy drive. Why was that such a meaningful moment?</span></em><br>“Seeing everyone work together to fulfill children's wishes was a great team-building experience and brought the true holiday spirit to our group. I became more interested in the services Boys Town provided. I was then asked by a board member if I would consider joining the board, and join the board I did! That was nine years ago, and my appreciation of the work Boys Town does has never been stronger."<br><em> </em><br><em style="color:#ff6600;"><span style="color:#ff6600;">For people unfamiliar with Boys Town, what would you like them to know?</span></em><br>“Boys Town uses trials, data and science to develop methods that work. They are unique in using these tried-and-true methods in all levels of the care they provide. Caring for children in need is a worthy cause, but I want people to know how important it is to do it with efficiency and a high level of success. This is important for the kids, but it's also important for the donors who are ensured that their money will make a great impact."<br><em> </em><br><em style="color:#ff6600;"><span style="color:#ff6600;">What were some of your favorite moments during your tenure on the board?</span></em><br>“I had so many wonderful experiences. Notably, my trip to Omaha where I met Father Boes [Boys Town President and National Executive Director] and all the people at the national site. I got to tour the museum, visit the campus schools and have dinner in a Family Home. This all helped me understand more about the Boys Town Model®. Listening to the success stories from grateful parents and dedicated staff during board meetings and acknowledging the winners of the Family of the Year awards – all of these memories made for a truly unforgettable experience."<br><em> </em><br><em style="color:#ff6600;"><span style="color:#ff6600;">Is there a Boys Town program or service that is particularly close to your heart?</span></em><br>“This is a difficult question because the services are so purposefully interrelated. That is why it is appropriately called a “Continuum of Care." Each program is critical. I'm a huge fan of the Behavioral Health Clinic and the Common Sense Parenting® program because you cannot treat a problem unless you fully understand what the problem is."<br><em> </em><br><em style="color:#ff6600;"><span style="color:#ff6600;">What is one thing about you that might surprise people?</span></em><br>“I have always loved awards that mark achievement. Just ask my tennis team, who had a “captain" trophy made for me when our team failed to win the 1st, 2nd or 3<sup>rd</sup> place trophies! One of my most coveted and meaningful awards is the one I am proudly holding in this photo because it acknowledges my association with Boys Town."​<br></p>2021-02-15T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Susan" src="/PublishingImages/Susan.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
In the News: Shaquil Barrett: from Boys Town to the Super Bowl the News: Shaquil Barrett: from Boys Town to the Super Bowl<p><a href="">This article ​is written by Rex Smith and was published on on February 2, 2021</a><br></p><p>Shaquil Barrett played a huge role in the Tamba Bay Buccaneers NFC Championship over the Packers.<br>He recorded three sacks and two tackles for loss.<br>In 2019, Barrett was the NFL’s sack leader.<br></p><p>Long before he was pressuring opposing QB’s in the league, he relied on the structure that Boys Town provides.</p><p>His older brother Kevin was already at the school and was seeing success.<br>“<em>When there were a few environmental challenges back at home, Shaquil came out here as well</em>,” Aaron Groff said.<br>Groff, currently the Admissions Coordinator at the school, was a wrestling and football coach back then.<br></p><p>He connected with Barrett and saw a resilient young man who doesn’t like a lot of attention, but will work his tail off behind the scenes.</p><p>“<em>Some of what has separated Shaquil has been things like work ethic, and it sounds kind of cliché, but it absolutely the truth,</em>” Groff said.<br>Barrett went on from Boys Town to play football at the University of Nebraska Omaha. After the school dropped its football program, he transferred to Colorado State University.<br>He had a good career there, but went undrafted in the NFL Draft.<br></p><p>Barrett signed with the Denver Broncos in 2014 and stuck. He was part of the team that won Super Bowl 50.</p><p>He’s since moved on to Tampa Bay and the rest is history.<br>Barrett’s success is well documented at the school.<br>If you look around, you’ll find state trophies with his name on, and memorabilia from his accomplishments in the league.<br></p><p>He’s setting quite the example for the younger generation.</p><p>“<em>I think there’s a lot of life lessons for our kids by just watching Shaquil Barrett, who Shaquil is</em>,” Groff said. “<em>And, yes, he’s in the NFL and, yes, he’s in the super bowl, but it’s also how he’s done it. He’s pieced together a seven or eight year career in the league, and along the way, he’s not tripped up. He’s continued to live clean and do the right things to where we can tell our kids this is someone that you emulate because this is someone who competes with character and does it the right way.</em>”<br>Groff is excited to watch Barrett in his second Super Bowl.<br>They stay in touch and try to meet in person at least once a year.<br></p><p>They exchanged texts after the Bucs advanced to the big game.</p><p>Groff’s message for Shaq is simple.<br>“<em>I almost tell Shaquil the same thing almost every time I text him: compete with the warrior spirit and enjoy the journey. He does a nice job with both of those things,</em>” Groff said.<br>Super Bowl LIV is Sunday, February 7.<br><br></p>2021-02-05T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Shaquille Barrett - Boys Town" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Shaquille-Barrett-Boys-Town.JPG" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent

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