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Boys Town Schools Transition to In-home Learning Town Schools Transition to In-home Learning<p><em>This article was originally posted on </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em></em></a><em>.</em></p><p><br></p><p>School districts across the country are transitioning to online learning, but the Boys Town Day School is taking a different approach.</p><p>There are 47 homes on Boys Town's campus. Each home has students ranging from fourth grade to seniors in high school.<br><br>“Most of them are three years behind in school and they need the luxury of having a teacher right there for any question that comes up during the school day," said Angie Powers, the executive director of Boys Town's home campus.</p><p>In the current climate, that's difficult. Still, Boys Towns unique platform makes it easier for teachers to have one-on-one time with a teacher.</p><p>Each home on campus has family teachers, which Powers describes as professional parents. Students live with these professional parents and the professional parents' families during the school year.</p><p>With eight or more students in a family across all grade levels, a complete transition to e-learning wasn't a good option. The district adjusted by bringing a teacher to each home.<br><br>“Anything they need help with. Today I've been helping with chemistry," said Theresa Burdick, a Boys Town teacher.</p><p>Burdick will help this group, or family, of students until school can resume, and each home on campus has been assigned a different teacher to help with in home learning.</p><p>“We try to exercise the same person being in there and making them kind of part of their education, their Boys Town home school family," said powers.<br><br>Normally Burdick teaches religion and leadership, now she's helping with everything from math and English to outdoor recreation time.</p><p>“Alliteration, and illusion and metaphor and simile, trying to remember all of that from my high school learning, because I had to help a student work through some of that stuff," said Burdick.</p><p>For the schoolwork Burdick doesn't have a great handle on, she can reach out to other teachers on campus, or other students in the home can help.</p><p>“Some of us are involved in the same classes, so therefore if she doesn't know an answer we can go to them to get that answer," said Kaleb Matheny, a senior at Boys Town High School.</p><p>Matheny says he likes having a teacher in his home, but, as a senior, he's missing out on a lot.</p><p>“A lot of our senior activities were canceled. It's been weird, I'd say weird," Matheny said.</p><p>At-home learning should still help flatten the curve, and Theresa said she thinks Boys Town's system is safe.</p><p>“Within their house they're very quarantined within them self, and I'm quarantined with my kids at my house. There's nowhere else we go between those two places," Burdick said.</p><p>Check out the full story from <a href="$">KETV</a>.​<br></p>2020-04-06T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
School Continues for Students in Boys Town Continues for Students in Boys Town<p><em>​This article was originally posted on​ </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em></em></a><em>.</em><br><br></p><p>Schools throughout the metro are closed because of the COVID-19 threat, for most students that means no more classroom learning with a teacher present, but for one metro area school, it is a little different. The classroom with a teacher still exists.</p><p>School is closed but classes here at Boys Town are still in session.</p><p>All the students here live in one house. As a safety precaution, the teacher comes to the students. This is an example of Boys Town's alternate learning program. Teachers are assigned to one house so students have the same teacher for all of their classes.</p><p>Shelly Bernard is a senior and has plans to attend college, even though this setting is different she's happy to be in class.</p><p>“It's a great way to make sure we're not falling behind on our credits and making sure our grades are still up," said Bernard.</p><p>Kedra Prescott is the teacher for this group of students, Ms. Prescott says the setting is like a classroom because the students can get immediate feedback.</p><p>“To be able to come every day have time to interact with the students see them spend time with them and be able to answer questions," said Prescott.</p><p>The groups are really small, so the students do receive a lot of individual attention, Josh Reed is the mayor of Boys Town, and he says there are some things he misses about the regular classroom setting.</p><p>“We don't get to see our friends a lot but it's definitely better than what most people have. I know some kids just aren't in school," said Reed.</p><p>Not only do the teachers come to the students, but lunch is also delivered, it's a different kind of school day, but it's about as normal as a school day gets in this time of crisis.</p><p>School is in session at individual homes Monday through Thursday and yes they get some time to get out for physical education.</p><p>Check out the full story from <a href="$" target="_blank">​WOWT</a>.​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​</span></p>2020-04-06T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Spotlight On: Family and Community Services On: Family and Community Services<p><strong>Part I:</strong></p><p>It's every parent's worst fear: not being or having enough for their child. When struggles with employment, housing, relationship instabilities or mental and physical health issues affect a parent's ability to provide a safe and supportive home for their child, it can lead to intervention from outside organizations. Our Family and Community Services help struggling families stay together and/or help families safely and successfully reunite if children have been removed from the home.</p><p>Our Care Coordination Team helps families identify and access needed supports and resources, navigate care systems to keep children safe and improve home stability. Consultants assist with developing and improving parenting skills while also teaching parents to advocate for themselves. </p><p>Boys Town In-Home Family Services® have trained Family Consultants who help families in their own homes. The Family Consultants empower parents by teaching them new parenting skills and by providing emotional support 24/7.</p><p><strong>Part II:</strong></p><p>Our Family and Community Services team is led by Kaitlyn and Jen. In 2017, Kaitlyn began working at Boys Town after completing her Master's degree in Barcelona, Spain, and conducting post-thesis research in Lebanon. Jen has been with Boys Town since 2008; prior to that, she was in a leadership position at an early childhood facility. </p><p>One of the fun things we like to ask our employees is “Why Boys Town? Why do you show up every day for your families?" Our Family and Community Services team member's answers are incredibly inspiring and truly exemplify our staff as a whole. Our employees are the perfect mix of passion and compassion with a good dash of determination and hard work sprinkled in. Here's some of their responses: </p><p><strong>Kaitlyn: </strong>“I show up every day and give 100% because I have seen the change that is possible when you teach families positive skills, link them to the right resources and advocate for them along the way. There is no better feeling than seeing your families happy and healthy."</p><p><strong>Jen:</strong><em> </em>“We get to support families, see them evolve and learn and ultimately reunify. This is why I chose to be in this line of work; everyone deserves a chance in life."</p><p><strong>Sharae:</strong> “I believe every family falls on hard times and deserves to be saved. I enjoy being that positive spark that helps families reunite."</p><p><strong>Alcida: </strong>“Boys Town is changing families' lives for the better on a daily basis. I want to be a part of this mission."</p><p><strong>Brittany:</strong> “It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good, but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not." – Plato, “The Allegory of the Cave"</p><p><strong>Anastasia: </strong>“I believe in providing genuine support and resources for families. I wanted to work somewhere that has a concrete, positive impact on the community – and Boys Town fights for that."</p><p><strong>Charles:</strong> “We offer hope to our families that they can live beyond their current situation. Watching a person transcend their circumstances is exhilarating and inspiring!"</p><p><strong>Melissa:</strong> “I have a passion for helping others in times of hardship! I want to help empower our clients to be confident, courageous and strong for themselves and their families."</p><p><br></p>2020-04-01T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Family and Community Service" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/SpotLight.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Rhode Island Brother and Sister Find Their Forever Family with Boys Town Foster Parents Island Brother and Sister Find Their Forever Family with Boys Town Foster Parents<p>When Owen and Harper arrived at Sonia Diaz's home, the foster mom quickly realized she had work to do. Not unlike many children in their situation, Owen, age 5, and Harper, age 4, had histories of physical and emotional abuse, and each had behavioral issues to work through. </p><p>Owen was a rollercoaster of emotions, which often resulted in tantrums and outbursts. He desperately needed support to learn the skills necessary to work through issues and situations in healthier ways. Harper was the opposite – reserved and shy – almost to the point of being mute. Sonia wasn't even able to get Harper to choose a pair of shoes to wear in the morning without spending the better part of an hour coaxing an answer out of her.</p><p>But Sonia and her husband, Jose, weren't deterred. With over nine years of experience as Boys Town Foster Parents, they were more than prepared for the challenge. They spent months building up trusting relationships with Owen and Harper, and focused on empowering them by providing plenty of emotional support and guidance. </p><p>Over time, Owen's emotional outbursts lessened as he learned better ways to cope with and express his feelings. And Harper eventually began singing at church in front of the entire congregation – in Spanish, which is not her first language! </p><p>It didn't take long before Sonia and Jose decided they couldn't bear the thought of Owen and Harper leaving their home, so they began the adoption process. In January of 2020, Owen and Harper officially became members of the Diaz family.</p><p>Individuals like Sonia and Jose are the reason Boys Town New England can provide such incredible care options to its foster children. The Diaz family began fostering in 2011 after Sonia just couldn't kick the feeling that “something was missing." She got hooked on watching “Tuesday's Children," a weekly spot run on Rhode Island news channels that spotlights an adoptable local child. On a whim one day, she reached out to Boys Town – and since then they've never looked back.</p><p>Sonia and Jose have built lasting relationships with more than two dozen foster children who they've welcomed into their home. Sonia prides herself on being an advocate for the children in her care, their biological families and reunification whenever it is possible. She is still in touch with the first sibling set she fostered, both are teenagers now, and their mom who Sonia pushed to be reunited with her children despite language and cultural differences that made communication tough. Over the course of their fostering lives, Sonia and Jose have adopted four children (although, according to Sonia, Jose would have “adopted them all if he could!"). They also have three adult biological children. “I always wanted a huge family!" Sonia said while laughing. </p><p>Sonia credits the ease of the foster process to Boys Town New England. “The staff at Boys Town New England…they are not my coworkers and they are not just another agency – they are my family. I can always rely on them, whether I need help with my foster kids, my adopted kids or my biological kids. They are here for my entire family; every child is important."</p><p><strong>To learn more about becoming a foster parent please call us today at 401-845-2250 (RI) or 800-847-2025 (MA), or visit us online at <a href="/new-england"></a>.</strong></p>2020-04-01T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Introducing Owen and Harper Diaz!" src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BT-FosterParents.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Local Middle Schooler Donates More Than 120 Hours of Support Middle Schooler Donates More Than 120 Hours of Support<p>When 15-year-old Ashley Burke first reached out to Boys Town New England's Development Office in the summer of 2018, Development Coordinator, Elizabeth Rose, was impressed and excited. </p><blockquote><p><em>“Ashley needed a project to do for her Girl Scout troop and chose Boys Town," Rose said. “She had already researched our organization and was eager to help children in need. After identifying a project that could be done from afar – Ashley lives in New York – she offered to make gift tags for our Adopt a Child Christmas drive. They were adorable and the kids loved them! We were so thankful for her support."</em></p></blockquote><p>But it didn't stop there. Ashley wanted to continue helping and soon pitched a second project following a suggestion made by Boys Town staff. Since many of the kids who arrive at Boys Town New England are lacking basic toiletries, Ashley volunteered to make dozens of drawstring toiletry bags and source all the items needed to fill them – right down to the hourglass timers the children could flip to make sure they were brushing their teeth for the appropriate amount of time. Ashley also provided plenty of boxes filled with extra items.</p><p>In all, Ashley put in more than 120 hours on the project, including traveling from her home in New York to deliver all the items, tour the campus and meet Boys Town youth and staff. From working on the project, Ashley said, “I learned that not everyone is born into an ideal childhood or has the same opportunities as I do. There is always something you can do to help others, no matter how big or small."</p><p>Through her work with Boys Town, Ashley was able to earn her Girl Scouts Silver Award, the highest award a Cadette can receive. Over the last two years, Ashley has shown an amazing dedication to supporting children in need – and for that the entire Boys Town New England team is incredibly thankful. Well done, Ashley!</p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-2.jpg" alt="Volunteering" style="margin:5px;" /> </p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-3.jpg" alt="Volunteered Items" style="margin:5px;" /> </p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-1.jpg" alt="Volunteer" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p>2020-04-01T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="I wanted to help kids who are not as fortunate as I am." src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/volunteer-1.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Patrick Garcia Named as Executive Director of Boys Town Iowa Garcia Named as Executive Director of Boys Town Iowa<p>​​​​Boys Town is pleased to announce that Patrick Garcia has been named as Executive Director of Boys Town Iowa. </p><p>Pat has more than 30 years of experience in youth and family services, including 15 years of experience at Boys Town. In his role as Executive Director, Pat will lead and manage the operations of the Boys Town Iowa Site which currently provides s​ervices in over one-third of the state. He will be responsible for community outreach and advocacy, business planning, and the management and operation of Boys Town services throughout the state of Iowa. </p><p>“Pat’s knowledge of the Boys Town mission, his background in community outreach and his overall experience in the youth and family services sector make him ready to take this next step in his career,” said Barb Vollmer, Executive Vice President, Youth Care. “I look forward to seeing how he will continue to grow the Boys Town Iowa site and further our mission throughout the state of Iowa.” </p><p>Pat began his career at Boys Town in 1990 as an Assistant Family Teacher. He then served as a Family Teacher for eight years from 1992 – 2000. Before returning to Boys Town in 2014, Pat held a variety of leadership roles at Omaha Home for Boys and spent two years as President and CEO of Epworth Village in York, NE. Most recently, Pat served as the Community Outreach Developer for Boys Town Iowa where he established key political relationships and created business opportunities for the site. </p><p>In addition to his experience, Patrick holds a master’s degree in Human Services from Bellevue University and a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and The Family from the University of Nebraska – Omaha. </p><p>​Please congratulate Pat on his new position as Executive Director of Boys Town Iowa.<br></p>2020-03-05T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/iowa/PublishingImages/Pat-Garcia-Photo_web.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Following Her Dream Her Dream<p>​Safiya Thompson left Boys Town Central Florida in 2012, but her commitment to someday give back to the site as she pursues her dream of becoming a doctor is stronger than ever. <br></p><p>“I will give back to Boys Town as they have given so much to me and my family," she said. “I am grateful to have such a great connection to my Boys Town family." </p><p>Safiya spent about a year as a Boys Town Central Florida youth before graduating from high school and attending the University of Central Florida. At Boys Town, she learned skills like being assertive, dealing with frustration, increasing her self-esteem and dealing with conflict, all of which prepared her for the challenges she faced in continuing her education and eventually entering medical school. </p><p>Now in her second year of medical school in Antiqua, she will return to the United States to complete a practicum and begin practicing after taking the medical exam. During her last visit to the Central Florida campus, she gave an update on her journey. </p><p>“This is by far one of the hardest things that I have had to do, but I know I have what it takes, so I will not give up until I realize my dream."<br></p><p>Safiya's story is a great example of how Boys Town Central Florida gives young people the life-changing skills and tools they need to find success and make their dreams a reality. <br></p> <p align="center"> <img src="/locations/central-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/white-coat-photo.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:480px;height:326px;" /> <br> </p>2020-02-28T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/central-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/white-coat-2.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Overcoming Adversity Pays Off for Washington D.C. Family Adversity Pays Off for Washington D.C. Family<p>​Overcoming adversity is never easy. But when a family leaves one country for another, abandoning all forms of support at home, the challenge can become overwhelming.<br></p><p>That was the case for Zoila Lopez and her 10-year-old son, Junior. Zoila and Junior left Guatemala to get away from an abusive situation in the home. They ended up finding refuge in Washington D.C. </p><p>Despite knowing little English, having limited resources and no support network, Zoila was able to enroll Junior in a D.C. public school. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before he ended up on the school's truant list. That's how Boys Town became involved.</p><p>Students identified as truant are referred to a program called “Show Up Stand Out”, a service operated by The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants for D.C. families with students that are encountering attendance barriers. Through “Show Up Stand Out”, Boys Town can provide Care Coordination services for free.</p><p>Arthur Cooper, a Boys Town Care Coordinator, began working with the Lopez family. </p><p>However, they soon faced a problem. Junior and Zoila didn't speak English. Arthur didn't speak Spanish. </p><p>But with the resources available at Boys Town, that situation was put to rest quickly. </p><p>“The language/communication barrier with the Lopez family was never an issue thanks to the support here at Boys Town D.C. from my bilingual colleagues Laura Sana-Maria and Jacqueline Munoz-Atkins,” Cooper said. “Their commitment to help was the catalyst of servicing this family and helping remove any language barriers.”<br></p><p>And from there, Cooper was able to help the Lopez's overcome their truancy struggle. </p><p>“In order to help the Lopez family, we needed to find free before and after school care.” Cooper said. “By advocating for the family with the school social worker, we were able to receive a scholarship from Champions (a D.C. Public School before and aftercare program). Champions allowed Zoila more time to build informal and formal supports within the community to obtain employment and resources. They also taught Zoila how to write an excuse note for Junior, which helped the Lopez's navigate the attendance policy within D.C. Public schools. </p><p>One key aspect of Boys Town's Care Coordination is to link families to services they can continue to access after they graduate our program. </p><p>Arthur introduced the Lopez family to Briya, where Zoila started taking English speaking courses. He also took Zoila and Junior to a medical clinic near their home, because neither mom or son had ever seen a doctor. Lastly, the family was provided D.C. Metro cards for transportation. And, to top it all off, Junior received a special gift of a donated bicycle to encourage the family to spend more leisure time outdoors.</p><p>“The end result was a great team effort,” Cooper said.</p><p>“Ms. Lopez resiliency made the impossible possible,” he said of the family's success story. “Witnessing the family's development was life moving.”​<br></p>2020-02-28T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/washington-dc/PublishingImages/Overcoming-Adversity-Pays-Off.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Washington D.C. Care Coordination Services Making a Difference at School and in Homes Town Washington D.C. Care Coordination Services Making a Difference at School and in Homes<p></p><p>One of the fastest growing programs for Boys Town Washington D.C. may also be one that holds the greatest value – helping keep kids in school.</p><p>Thanks to a relationship and previously awarded grant that allows Boys Town to partner with D.C. schools, the two are working together to help reduce truancy in the District. Schools identify students who have missed more than three classes and notifies Boys Town, which then starts to work with the family. The program to battle truancy typically lasts for 6 to 9 months.</p><p>Damian Kinsey is the Care Coordination Director for Boys Town Washington D.C. He says there are several key reasons for his program's success with the truancy issue.</p><p>“What makes our program so different is that we are the only one going into the homes of the families we help," Kinsey said. “We know truancy problems do not have one simple cause and when we are able to work with the families closely, we can enact real change."</p><p>Kinsey said the quality time spent with the families also pays dividends.</p><p>“The 6-to-9-month service we provide is much longer than the typical two-month period other organizations utilize," he said. “By working with the family for so long we can give them a level of support that is not found elsewhere. Normally, our coordinators visit with their families at least once a week to set up goals and ask what barriers the family is currently experiencing. This helps to create buy-in and trust from the families that we help. Both attributes -- our approach of working within the home and our length of service -- help our team have the highest family engagement rate. And this is recognized by educators and other school personal because we have the highest level of referrals out of all the other programs working to reduce truancy."</p><p>Kinsey said his team's approach also allows it to use all aspects of the Boys Town Model. The Well-Managed Classroom is used in school, while Common Sense Parenting and In-Home Family Services are used in the home. During its annual summer camp, the team stresses the Boys Town Family Home Model.</p><p>“When you combine all these models and use them in the appropriate situation, you are best preparing the family for life after Boys Town," Kinsey said. “Both the kids and the parents are being helped at the same time, providing an even more effective treatment."</p><p>While truancy was the initial target, Kinsey said his team wants to help families battle all the issues they may face.</p><p>“Ultimately, we want to provide the absolute best care to the families," Kinsey said. “We want to ensure their service needs are being met. This helps empower the family and reduces barriers like joblessness and homelessness. This creates change. The parents know they have an ally who they can rely on. Our team works both at school and at home, working with every aspect of the family. Other organizations can't offer that."</p><p>And Kinsey said he has lofty goals for the future.</p><p>“We don't want to stop here," he said proudly. “We would like to add more consultants, a behavioral interventionalist and add more school partnerships. We are making a difference."​<br></p>2020-02-28T06:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Vida’s Forever Family’s Forever Family<p>​​Two days before Christmas in 2019, Vida received an early gift of a forever family when she was adopted by April and Joey Falk.<br></p><p>Vida had spent three years in Boys Town Nebraska foster homes prior to her adoption. Now 14, she is doing well in school, plays volleyball and just enjoys the everyday activities that go along with being a teenager.</p><p> Boys Town believes every child deserves a happy home and a loving family. For more than 100 years, this principal has driven our mission to change the way American cares for children and families. </p><p> Vida is just one of the hundreds of children every year who find their forever family through Boys Town.​<br></p>2020-02-27T06:00:00ZNews<img alt="Vida Adoption" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Vida.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="Vida Adoption" height="443" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Vida.jpg" width="400" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent

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