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juvenile-justice-advocacy-working-to-help-local-youthJuvenile Justice Advocacy: Working to Help Local YouthNebraska
Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

This article is written by Cheril Lee. It was posted on March 7, 2018.

Most of the kids Boys Town assists are referred from juvenile court, "They're still at home, but there are some things going on where they're at risk of having to leave. So we go into the homes and do family preservation work so kids can stay in their schools, homes and communities," said Nick Juliano, Director of Regional Advocacy and Public Policy at Boys Town.

Juliano explained kids have the best outcomes when they're able to stay in their routines.

"Ideally, we want kids with their families, with their parents or their extended families. And we want kids staying in their schools and staying in their homes," Juliano said.

He acknowledged there are some kids who cannot remain in their homes and these kids then go to live at Boys Town. Juliano said it could be because there's a safety issue or maybe they live in a community where they're continuing to violate the law or they're skipping school. Eventually though, these children will return home to their family and their school.

But Boys Town is about much more than just housing.  According to Juliano, "We are involved in quite a bit of advocacy work and public policy work around juvenile justice reform here in Omaha. We work on committees and with youth impact programs. We want to make sure there are good policies for young people that are in the juvenile justice system so when they do get into trouble and are in juvenile court, they can get the services they need."

He said kids are referred to Boys Town for any issue you can think of but that it all starts with a law violation, where they end up in juvenile court or the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) because of that violation.

"Often times, there's other things going on in that home with the parents or with the young person whether it's mental health issues or substance abuse issues. Truancy is prevalent in that group of kids that will end up at the JAC or in juvenile court," said Juliano.

Then there are the typical challenges families face, including poverty.

"Poverty impacts where families are able to live and may expose them to environments where there may be more crime. Or the student may have more unstructured time where they're not in sports or other extracurricular activities, so they're hanging around and getting into trouble," he said.

Juliano believes there's an increasing recognition both here in Douglas County and nationally, with the research and best practices, that what a young person ends up in court for is an issue, but that it doesn't tell the whole story.

"You've got, sometimes, kids that are at home taking care of younger brothers and sisters when they should be attending school and doing other things. You have kids that are unsupervised and obviously are on the streets getting in trouble," he said.

Substance abuse and mental health issues are becoming an increasingly common part of these kids' experiences.

Juliano said one of the models here in Douglas County is called Youth Impact. He described it as a national crossover model which recognizes that young kids who have adverse experiences or are the victims of abuse or neglect when they are young, tend to be more likely to become delinquents and get in trouble when they are older.

One of the programs that Boys Town offers that has the largest impact is out of its South Omaha Office. Staffers work directly with South High School and Marrs Middle School.

"And our primary approach there is to work with a school counselor, a gang interventionist, and families directly, when an adult in a young person's life is seeing they are starting to have school problems," Juliano said.

Staff can work with families in their homes. They can also provide care coordination, which means meeting with the families, helping them connect with the school and making sure that they are getting the supports that they need from the school as well as linking them with other kinds of services in the community.

Boys Town has a strong presence in South Omaha including an outpatient behavioral health clinic. If a parent or someone from the school thinks there may be an emerging mental health or substance abuse issue, they can come in and get an assessment and a referral as well, if needed.

They also provide parent training, giving parents the skills to work with their kids, and address their behaviors.

"We are really trying to get to the family sooner. For South High, we operate an alternative school for 9th and 10th graders. Kids who get suspended have an option to attend a school in their office with South High's curriculum and laptops. It also gives suspended students the opportunity to continue working on their academic credits and the behaviors that led to their suspension," Juliano said.

Another challenge is the large population of parents who are not native-English speakers. Some are having immigration challenges or a tough time assimilating into our culture. Boys Town tries to provide a broad base for all families.

Boys Town's work is funded through a variety of sources. Their in-home programs are funded directly by the Probation Administration. If its in-home work is a court referral, we have a contract where Probation will fund those services. If they're kids in the Child Welfare System, they have a contract with PromiseShip.

"But largely, in South Omaha, the vast majority of the families we serve are not yet involved with the system. So, the program I described in South Omaha is funded about 60% by Boys Town directly and about 40% from grants through community foundations, the United Way and other foundations and funders," he said.

That model serves kids before they enter the system, so the funding that comes along with kids being involved in the system is not available to most of those families in South Omaha. In North Omaha, Boys Town has a mix of some system-involved families. In those cases, the behavioral health piece is largely private insurance or Medicaid.

"So, we kind of put it all together the best we can to serve as many kids as we can," Juliano said.

Shawne Coonfare, Director of the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC), says the JAC's general philosophy is if a youth is eligible to be diverted from formal court processing, then they need to do that.

"It's really more about supporting youth and young people in what they need than keeping them out of court. What's most important to us is that we are supporting the young citizens of Douglas County. And, by doing that, many of them don't need to proceed to court," said Coonfare.

The JAC provides assessments for juveniles for the County Attorney's office. Coonfare explained the CA's office has the legal responsibility of determining further processing and further charging decisions. So they rely on the JAC to use a standardized, validated, risk-assessment instrument and other screening instruments that can help them determine the real risk and needs for that individual youth.  

Coonfare said not all kids are the same, "Two young people might be shoplifting together at Claire's, and they both come to the JAC. They meet individually with an assessment professional here as do their parents or guardians. We look at the youth holistically, within the framework of our validated risk-assessment instruments and determine what are their risk and needs. One youth may actually have low risk, not have many needs and so may receive a recommended warning letter from the County Attorney. And another youth, in that same incident, may show a really high risk to continue offending behavior and other unhealthy behavior and needs some interventions put in place, like a therapy intervention or decision-making, something like that."

The common charges kids face every year are theft, shoplifting, substance abuse and fighting. The actual issue areas the JAC is seeing are concerning.

"We're really seeing an increase in mental health issues that kids are facing and challenging family situations. So we are trying to find services to address whole families rather than just the youth," she said.

Coonfare said they're also seeing kids experiencing suicidal ideation so they're trying to make sure they get the right things in place for kids around those issues.

For the last decade, the JAC has been funded about 50% by grants and 50% by County General Funds.

"It's really that steadfast support of the County Board of Commissioners that we rely on for our functioning – to see kids and get them connected with services," she said.

There are also large grants right now from the Nebraska Crime Commission that pay providers in the community, so the JAC can make referrals to those providers to serve kids.

Over the last 15 years, the JAC has not only gotten good at their jobs, but they also continue to seek out ways to get better. Coonfare explained that includes some research projects they have going on with UNO and UNL. She said these projects continually offer the JAC opportunities to examine their processes so they can get better at serving kids.

For parents who are struggling with youth behavior, at any age, Coonfare recommends contacting the Nebraska Family Helpline.

"Anyone who needs help trying to connect a youth with any kind of services, call the Nebraska Family Helpline and they will help match resources in the community for any, any youth issue," she said.

Nebraska Family Helpline, 888-866-8660; Boys Town,

pacific-life-foundation-supports-services-in-south-omahaPacific Life Foundation Supports Services in South OmahaNebraska
Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018

Every year, the Pacific Life Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations across the nation for their work in helping to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged individuals, promoting leadership in young adults, providing education to the young and old, or providing cultural diversity through the arts. This year, out of roughly 300 organizations that included the Omaha Community Playhouse and CASA for Douglas County, Boys Town Nebraska was chosen as a grant recipient, receiving $10,000 for the South Omaha office.

In 2014, Boys Town Nebraska opened a new office in the South Omaha area, in order to expand their family services into local schools and homes. By having an office location in the South Omaha community, families are able to access Boys Town's programs and services. Staff members can go into the community to help keep families together and keep kids in school by offering parenting classes, in-home counseling and counseling in the schools, which is often the first place to see signs of struggling.

"In South Omaha, we are working directly in the homes and schools of youth to empower their parents and teachers and help these families overcome the challenges and barriers they face," said Boys Town Nebraska Executive Director, Dave Reed. "These are good kids and good parents and we are there to partner with them so they can gain the skills and community connections they need to live safe, healthy, productive lives."

Recently, a family participated in Care Coordination Services after the father came to the Boys Town South Omaha office seeking support services for his family. During the four months of working together, the Care Coordination Services Consultant was able to provide the necessary assistance for: day care, food stamps, health providers, tutoring for the kids and legal assistance, where the father was able to secure full custody of his kids. Without the help of the Care Coordination Services program, the children may not have received the help they needed for their academic success and the father may not have been able to keep his family together, safe in their home.

The South Omaha office served 338 families and 1,263 children in 2017 and with the help of the grant from Pacific Life Foundation, the program can continue to change the lives of many families. "The generous donation from Pacific Life will help ensure our staff can be there for these families whenever they need us," said Reed.

Boys-Town-Nevada-Holds-Community-Appreciation-Awards-Event-Honoring-Long-Time-SupportersBoys Town Nevada Holds Community Appreciation Awards Event Honoring Long-Time SupportersNevada
Boys Town Nevada Long-Time Supporters Award
Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018

​At Boys Town, success is not achieved through the work of one person, but through the selfless acts of many people. Every generous act that occurs never goes unnoticed and this year, Boys Town Nevada wanted to show all the people who have dedicated their time to Boys Town, how much their contributions matter to the site's success.

On January 31, 2018, Boys Town Nevada held their very first Community Appreciation Awards event, where board members, volunteers, foundations and employees were honored and recognized for their contributions. The 2017 year was incredibly successful in many areas for the Nevada site and Executive Director, Denise Biben and Board of Directors Chair, Tony Sgro, wanted to celebrate all of those who are long-time friends and supporters of the site.

During the evening, honorees and their guests were able to attend a social hour and buffet dinner, followed by the awards ceremony, and listen to a first-hand experience about a woman becoming a better parent through the help of Boys Town. As the first Community Appreciation Awards celebration, Boys Town Nevada wanted to honor those whom the awards were named after and those who received the awards.

"Many of our Former Board Members, for whom awards were named, were very honored and touched by the recognition and I believe that it helped show our appreciation, as well as, tie our history to our future," said Biben.

Seven awards were presented to the following recipients during the ceremony, for their efforts in going above and beyond every single day:

  • The Norman Jenkins Strategist Award: To be recognized in 2019
  • The Winnie Schulman Philanthropist Award: Paul Huygens
  • The Dave Courvoisier Ambassador Award: Kevin Buckley
  • The Houssels Family Foundation Award: Engelstad Family Foundation, Irvin Stern Foundation, Binion Family Foundation, Dutton Family Foundation, Keyser Family Foundation
  • The Volunteers Award: MGM Working Mothers, Golden Nugget, Steelhead Productions, Wyndham Vacation Ownership
  • Employee of the Year (Program): Yoly Smith
  • Employee of the Year (Administrator): Donna Pacella

Each award honoree received proclamations recognizing their contributions, while recipients of the awards received certificates of recognition, the "two brothers" statue or a framed picture of Boys Town youths at the Festival of Hope.

While the awards were a way for Boys Town Nevada to express their appreciation toward those who dedicate their time to the organization, it was also a way to connect the board and community together, showing them how the site wouldn't be where it is today without all their work. "Boys Town is very blessed with many people who support the work we do every day with their time, talent and treasure, and like we teach our kids, we should express our gratitude and thankfulness for all they do," said Biben.

bt-graduate-teddy-allen-quickly-heating-upBoys Town graduate Teddy ‘T-Sauce’ Allen quickly heating up at West VirginiaNebraska
Teddy Allen
Friday, Jan 19, 2018

This article is written by Rich Kaipust, World-Herald staff writer. It was posted on on January 15, 2018.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins knew from recruiting Teddy Allen and his previous conversations with the player that he was sure of himself. Allen already had a nickname given to him by his future teammates in Morgantown.

It was no surprise then that Allen has been stop-me-if-you-can from the start, or that the Boys Town graduate had never given a thought to having to wait his turn as a freshman.

It may not sound practical to some, considering Allen was coming from the Class C-1 ranks in Nebraska and that he was joining a program that won 28 games and made the NCAA Sweet 16 last season.

"I never thought about that," Allen said. "For me, it wasn't an option. I just knew coming in that I was going to work. I wasn't going to let myself not be there.

"It's up to you. All you got to do is work, and bring what you can bring, and you'll be on the floor."

The result of that focus and belief — and a lot of talent — has put Allen in the thick of Mountaineer operations heading into an ESPN Big Monday game with No. 12 Kansas.

The 6-foot-5 forward was averaging 9.7 points and 3.4 rebounds before two scoreless games last week. He scored at least 14 points in six of the Mountaineers' first 15 games as West Virginia (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) climbed to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25, the highest ranking for the program since the 1959-60 season with Jerry West.

Allen started Big 12 play by averaging 19.0 points and making 24 of 34 shots (70.6 percent) in wins over Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Oklahoma — the latter two leading to Big 12 newcomer of the week honors Jan. 8.

"Teddy does not lack for confidence, and I think that's probably the biggest thing," Huggins said. "Teddy's very confident in what he can do, and then once he had some success I think he has more confidence. I think with Teddy, it's all a state of mind."

Allen said he clicked with his future West Virginia teammates during a recruiting visit — when current senior Jevon Carter was his host — and arrived last summer to hear them calling him "Sauce," or "T-Sauce."

"I don't know where they came up with that," Allen said, laughing. "I think it had something to do with how I act, or something. I just run with it."

Allen then stayed with his normal approach to the game, though he knew he wasn't going to be putting up numbers similar to his senior season at Boys Town — when he averaged 31.6 points and 13.0 rebounds a game as a World-Herald All-Nebraska pick.

"I feel like Hugs and the other coaches and my teammates encourage me to always just do what I know how to do," he said. "This is the best players I've ever played with or against, so it was going to be different, but what I do is not going to change. It's what they recruited me to do."

As Boys Town coach Tom Krehbiel has watched Allen drive, slash, absorb contact and score, he nods at what he sees. Krehbiel thought it might take his former star a little longer to settle in at such a high level.

"They have done a tremendous job of defining for him places on the floor where he can score, and he's taken advantage of that," Krehbiel said. "And he's doing the other parts of the game that will keep you on the floor."

Allen also is toeing the line, something he knew would go with playing for Huggins.

When a Jan. 1 game included Allen flexing after one basket and wandering over after another to tell Huggins his defender couldn't guard him, Huggins got his attention by telling him a technical foul would mean sitting two games. As "Teddy Buckets" started to replace "T-Sauce" as his nickname, Huggins took to briefly calling him "Teddy No-Buckets" when he was missing free throws and had a few off practices.

Huggins regularly rides Allen about his shot selection.

But when asked if he has had to remind himself to stay humble as things have started happening for him, Allen said "the team's success is humbling to all of us."

"It just feels like a blessing to be a part of it," Allen said. "It's not just about one person. We wouldn't be here if we just had one person. Everything feels good — the weight room is high energy, practice is high energy, around campus it's high energy — and people are proud of the team.

"Hugs always emphasizes: You're not playing for yourself, you're playing for the people of West Virginia."

Krehbiel said the reports from Huggins and West Virginia associate head coach Larry Harrison have been good. Allen said his two years at Boys Town, after coming from Mesa, Arizona, matured him and prepared him for the discipline necessary at the highest levels of Division I play.

As he was looking at his next step, Allen also wasn't going to shy away from an intense and relentless coach like Huggins.

"I think that's the only way he'd survive, is to have those demands put on him," Krehbiel said. "And, really, that style of coaching doesn't bother him. It even drives him.

"I'm not an easy guy to play for. So Teddy is kind of used to it, and thrives on it, really."

Krehbiel said the Boys Town experience was great for Allen, who arrived in Omaha "stressed out and struggling in life" — and weighing 275 pounds because of some time away from basketball.

"He looked like a bowling pin," Krehbiel said.

But he was an immediate factor after becoming eligible at the semester break his junior year, averaging 26.6 points and 12.3 rebounds a game before his big senior season. He played at 230 pounds his final year and is now 220. Krehbiel said West Virginia wants him around 205 next season and able to defend shooting guards.

Next season is the least of his concerns, though, as West Virginia was stealing the national spotlight before a 72-71 loss Saturday at Texas Tech stopped a 15-game winning streak.

Allen saw a dip in his minutes last week with the return of junior Esa Ahmad from suspension, and foul trouble also hurt him against Baylor. But any letup would go against what put him in position to play — and what West Virginia coaches warned him it would take.

"They said the players here work hard, and we take pride in the fact that we're the hardest working team in the country," Allen said. "To me, that seemed like a way that I can maximize my potential as a player, personally, and compete for a title. If you're the hardest working team in the country, you're going to be there."

A-Gift-in-Memory-of-Christopher-Willis-SmithA Gift in Memory of Christopher Willis SmithNorth Florida
Memory of Christopher Willis Smith
Thursday, Jan 18, 2018

​A special waiting area outside the Tallahassee office of Boys Town North Florida, dedicated to the memory of Christopher Willis Smith, recently received a facelift thanks to the efforts of two local groups.

Southern Medical Group provided the funding in memory of Christopher and students from Community Christian School supplied the manpower for the improvements, which included new benches, mulch and plants around a flagpole flying a new American flag blessed by Father Steven Boes, Boys Town's National Executive Director.

Community Christian School students chose the Boys Town site as their service day project. A memorial gift from Southern Medical Group helped purchase the necessary materials.

The waiting area has been a place of many treasured moments for children and families served by Boys Town North Florida since it was first developed by Christopher's brother, Michael, in 2009.

Michael, now 24, was a tenth-grader and a member of Boy Scout Troop 109 when he chose to develop the Boys Town area for his Eagle Scout Project. Michael wanted to create a peaceful place for children and families to enjoy and a patriotic place that honored those who have served our country.

"Boys Town could not think of a more beautiful way to honor Christopher's memory than to revitalize an outdoor sanctuary that his brother Michael developed. This area has and will continue to perpetuate big smiles and big hugs in memory of a very caring heart," said Dena Strickland, Boys Town North Florida's Development Director.​

bt-officials-talk-about-past-present-future-of-facilityG.I. Boys Town officials talk about past, present, future of facilityCentral Nebraska
Photo copyright: Independent/Barret Stinson
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018

This article is written by Austin Koeller. It was posted on the January 16, 2018.

In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan borrowed $90 to rent a boarding house on the corner of 25th and Dodge in Omaha. Now, more than 100 years later, Megan Andrews, senior director of program operations at Grand Island Boys Town, said Boys Town is "not just an orphanage."

Andrews spoke about the shelter's operations, its history and its future goals during a presentation to the Grand Island Noon Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon.

Sometimes, Andrews said, people tend to think the Grand Island Boys Town shelter is a detention center, which she said is not true.

"It is truly a homestyle environment," she said. "We also eat meals as a family. The family-style environment is really important. We eat together and we pray together. The kids have self-government meetings where they have make decisions as a group for themselves.

"It is a good environment for these kids to get some of the help they need."

Andrews said Grand Island Boys Town does not just take in juvenile justice kids, but also serves Grand Island families "privately." She said if a parent is struggling with their children, but do not feel law enforcement or Health and Human Services is warranted, they can call Boys Town and place children at their facility for a period of time.

"We want to serve kids where their needs are," Andrews said. "We do not believe the answer is just taking them out of their homes and putting them in our family homes or shelters. Sometimes, we can prevent that from happening if we reach them earlier."

Andrews added the Grand Island Boys Town shelter is the only Boys Town shelter in the state between Scottsbluff and Lincoln.

Andrews and Stan Kontogiannis, regional major gifts officer, also told Rotarians in attendance about its planned kitchen renovation. According to a document provided at the Rotary meeting, the kitchen renovation project consists of repairing the floor and sub-floor, cabinets, counters and labor costs.

In addition to the work required for kitchen renovation, Grand Island Boys Town also plans to replace a stove, a sterilizer, lighting, blinds and a roll-up counter door. The total fundraising goal for the project is $100,000. Kontogiannis said Boys Town has raised about $30,000 since the fundraising campaign kicked off in the second half of 2017.

"It is the original kitchen from 1991 when our facility was built. So it has been used constantly for about 27 years," Andrews said. "I did some math to figure out how many kids have been in and out and we used to serve about 300 kids per year. With all these kids, we've served over 500,000 meals.

"When you think about the wear and tear your own kitchen has with kids — for us, 12 to 18 teenagers at a time — it is past due for a remodel."

Kontogiannis asked Rotarians in attendance to donate funds to the kitchen renovation fundraising campaign. He told them the project is about more than just a floor and a kitchen.

"This is about kids. When you invest in kids today, you are saving your money and lives tomorrow," Kontogiannis said. "The physical structure is something we need to address. For 27 years, we served so many meals and so many individuals coming through the shelter."

Kontogiannis added that anyone interested in donating to Grand Island Boys Town's kitchen renovation project is encouraged to call his office at (402) 498-7978. He said the project has received donations from the Grand Island Community Foundation and TOBA Inc.

Andrews said the kitchen renovation project is expected to be completed this fall.

tadlock-roofing-president-jumps-at-opportunity-to-skydive-for-bt-north-floridaTadlock Roofing president jumps at opportunity to skydive for Boys Town North FloridaNorth Florida
Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018
Dale Tadlock, president of Tadlock roofing, skydives to celebrate the community raising more than $10,000 for Boys Town North Florida. Tadlock Roofing contributed to the fundraising with a $10,000 donation. Courtesy Skydive Tallahassee

This article is written by Ashley White, Democrat staff writer. It was published on on January 6, 2018.

Skydiving was a celebration for Dale Tadlock on Saturday. 

The president of Tadlock Roofing said he would jump out of a plane and match $10,000 if the community could raise that much for Boys Town North Florida on Giving Tuesday. The community raised $10,570 and Tadlock suited up at Skydive Tallahassee to take the jump. 

"It's a celebration," Tadlock, who had skydiving on his bucket list, said. "We've got a very generous, a very supportive and a very loving community."

The fundraising campaign for the company, which was founded in Tallahassee, was "Falling for Families." Marketing director Meagan Nixon suggested Tadlock could fall from an airplane to show his support for the nonprofit that helps at-risk youth through residential programs and integrated continuum care.

For Tadlock, Giving to Boys Town was personal. The 61-year-old and his wife have three biological children and four adopted children. When one of his Ukranian adopted sons was 14 or 15, Tadlock and his wife were having difficulties and needed help. 

"At that time we didn't know what to do or where to turn," Tadlock said. "Boys Town was there for us. They gave us hope. They gave us help and they gave us support that we couldn't find anywhere else."

Now, his son is 21 and visits Boys Town when he comes back to Tallahassee. He's stationed with the Army in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He deploys to Afghanistan in February.

The more than $20,000 raised on Giving Tuesday and Tadlock's celebration leap were an opportunity for Dena Strickland to show the children at Boys Town that people care about them. 

"These are children who people have given up on in life, but not at Boys Town," the development director at Boys Town said. "It's an incredible, incredible deal that (the community) went out and did this for us and we're so thankful."

About 40 boys and girls came out to watch Tadlock skydive. 

palm-beach-county-florida-names-dec-12th-boys-town-dayPalm Beach County, Florida, Names December 12th Boys Town DaySouth Florida
Boys Town Day
Friday, Jan 5, 2018

In 1917, an Irish priest had a vision to not only change the lives of children for the better, but to ensure that they all had a chance at having a healthy and happy future. One-hundred years later and that vision—Father Flanagan's vision—has continued to impact the lives of children and families all over the nation.

With nine different sites currently spread across the country, Boys Town is always serving the community and giving a helping hand to those in need. One community that cherishes all of the selfless acts and contributions from Boys Town is Palm Beach County, Florida, located in Southern Florida. Since opening 26 years ago, Boys Town South Florida has touched the lives of over 100,000 individuals in the Palm Beach community and on December 5, 2017, Mayor Melissa McKinlay showed her appreciation for a dream that will continue to save lives for years to come.

After a unanimous decision, Mayor Melissa McKinlay presented a proclamation at the County Board Commissioners meeting, to the Board of Directors Chair, Dan Overbey, declaring December 12, 2017 as "Boys Town Day" in the Palm Beach community.

"We are honored that Mayor McKinlay and the County Commissioners recognized our 100th Anniversary with the proclamation declaring December 12, 2017 "Boys Town Day" in Palm Beach County," said Executive Director, Amy Simpson. "In addition to increasing awareness and visibility, the proclamation recognized how Father Flanagan's dream is continuing to change lives today and every day in our community."

Boys Town is honored to carry out the powerful and loving mission of Father Flanagan that has touched the lives of millions, for the past 100 years.

bt-new-england-provides-100-dinner-basketsBoys Town New England Provides One Hundred Dinner Baskets for FamiliesNew England
Baskets of food!
Friday, Jan 5, 2018

Between November 1, 2017, and November 15, 2017, Boys Town New England held their annual Buy-A-Bird Thanksgiving food drive for the families that Boys Town serves. The Buy-A-Bird food drive was a way for the community to perform an act of kindness by helping a family enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal.

During the course of the two weeks, money donations were gathered to purchase the Thanksgiving fixings that would fill baskets. Employees then worked together to assemble the baskets and personally deliver them to the families that are in Care Coordination, Common Sense Parenting classes, and In-Home Family Services.

"This year we raised $7,800 and made 100 Thanksgiving baskets," said Development Director, Ashley Medeiros. Each basket that was put together by employees contained: fresh vegetables, stuffing, potatoes, corn bread, and a $25 gift card to purchase meat and dairy products.

Buy-A-Bird Thanksgiving meal drive first began five years ago, when community-based families needed help around the holidays. In the past, canned goods were collected to provide families with the necessary items for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. However, Boys Town New England wanted to give back as much as they possibly could and decided that in order to do such, they were going to start an online donation drive. Rather than giving canned items to the families, members of the community had the opportunity to give incredibly generous donations and then fresh items would be purchased, to be placed in the baskets. Buy-A-Bird's first year was a major success, raising $3,500 and the amount has increased every year since it started.

The holidays are time for making memories with our families and giving back to others, and Boys Town New England, as well as the community, made sure that many families were able to have a very special Thanksgiving.

bt-helps-teen-learn-to-love-himselfBoys Town helps teen learn to love himselfNebraska
Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018

Sara Lopez was having trouble with her 16-year-old son Miguel.

"He did not want to go to school, he did not listen to the school teachers or the school counselors." said Sara

That was until Sara went to Boys town for help, after that everything changed.

Miguel had perfect attendance at the Omaha Steet School and his grade-point average was over 3.0

"He learned to love himself, and because of that he was able to learn how to express his feelings," said Sara

"He was able to communicate what he was feeling to be able to make changes within himself."

Regina Costello, the Director of Community Support Services at Boys Town, says that they have several programs on their South Omaha campus.

"We have care coordination services this program provides assessments for families they come in usually referred by South high school or mars middle school and we do a screening process we talk to them about what their needs are"

Sara hopes Miguel's success story inspires others.

"There's a place that can help you when your having difficulty or problems with your kids"

25th-annual-bt-golf-tourney-a-successThe 25th Annual Boys Town Golf Tournament a successNorth Florida
Golf Tournament
Thursday, Dec 28, 2017

This article is written by Woody Simmons, Democrat correspondent. It was published on on December 23, 2017.

The 25th Annual Boys Town Golf Tournament was recently held at Golden Eagle.

Boys Town is celebrating its 100th anniversary of saving children and families. Winning the Gross Division was the team of Chip "with a shot" Boeneke, David Farran, Chad Jordan and Chris Adkison with a score of 56. Two shots back with a 58 was the All CPA team of Winston Howell, Jeff Barbacci, Justin Edenfield and J "with a P" Sinclair.

The team of Paul Franklin, Ken Cooksey, Ryan Boyett and Boo Suber won the Net Division, and finishing second is the team you least want to mess with, the Leon County Sheriff's Department! The team included Captain James McQuaig, Captain Barry Blackburn, Officer David Brantley and Officer Ralph Patterson. Congratulations for playing is such a worthwhile tournament!!

BTW Welcome back Bobby Dick to the golfing world. You have been missed!! Great seeing you playing in the event.

boys-town-marks-a-century-of-serviceBoys Town marks a century of serviceNebraska
Father Edward J. Flanagan
Thursday, Dec 28, 2017

This is a World-Herald editorial. It was posted on Oma​ on December 24, 2017.

This year, Boys Town's ​services helped more than 2 million people across the nation. That's an inspiring achievement for an institution that started from such humble beginnings under a young Irish immigrant priest searching for a way to meet the needs of disadvantaged children.

A century ago this month, Father Edward J. Flanagan borrowed $90 from a friend, Omaha lawyer and businessman Henry Monsky, to rent a Victorian-style boardinghouse at 25th and Dodge Streets.

It was Omaha's first Home for Boys.

From that small beginning, this Omaha institution has grown into national recognition, helping generations of young people move into productive adulthood.

This year, Boys Town's services helped more than 2 million people across the nation. That's an inspiring achievement for an institution that started from such humble beginnings under a young Irish immigrant priest searching for a way to meet the needs of disadvantaged children.

Flanagan's concept for Boys Town centered on a innovative approach. In contrast to many institutions at the time, Flanagan's focus wasn't on negatives and penalties. It was on positives — encouragement of each boy and enrichment through education and activities.

Farm activities were added to the mix once the home relocated in 1921 to Overlook Farm, 10 miles to the west, and took on the formal name Boys Town. Boys raised some of their own food in a vegetable garden and enjoyed new opportunities for outdoor sports — baseball, football and track.

The 1938 movie "Boys Town," for which actor Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his portrayal of Flanagan, brought the Boys Town story to a national audience.

At the conclusion of World War II, President Harry Truman fittingly asked Flanagan to advise overseas governments about the care of children orphaned by the conflict. Flanagan died on that mission during a trip to Berlin in 1948.

In the decades since, each subsequent director has helped Boys Town, which began admitting girls to its residential program in 1979, reach new achievements.

In 2017, Boys Town staff, researchers and administrators, backed by generous philanthropic support, are making major contributions to our country's well-being. Among the examples:

» The toll-free Boys Town National Hotline, (800) 448-3000, helps by putting young people into contact with trained mental health counselors. The call volume from 2012 to 2016 increased by 12 percent to more than 179,000 — an indicator, mental health expert say, of the country's increased need to address issues relating to teenage suicide.

» Boys Town National Research Hospital specializes in childhood deafness, visual impairment and related communication disorders. The hospital, with locations near Creighton University and on the Boys Town campus, and its clinics serve more than 45,000 child patients each year.

» The Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research conducts advanced research to improve intervention methods for children with behavioral and mental health problems. Researchers work at Boys Town National Research Hospital-West, on the Boys Town campus.

» Boys Town in recent years has focused much of its work on in-home care, building strong connections with neighborhoods and looking to the needs of families as a whole. More than 90 percent of children served by Boys Town now receive support in the home. Boys Town has locations in six states and the District of Columbia. During 2016, its youth care, health and other child and family support programs served more than 508,000 children nationwide.

A century after Father Flanagan took his first humble steps to create a Home for Boys, his vision continues to inspire. Generations of young people have achieved a better future thanks to the foundation he laid.​

bt-celebrates-100-years-with-time-capsuleBoys Town celebrates 100 years with time capsuleNebraska
Friday, Dec 15, 2017

This article is written by Jake Wasikowski. It was posted on on December 12, 2017. 

A big celebration for an Omaha landmark helping get kids on positive paths. Boys Town officially opened 100 years ago.

Tuesday morning, Boys Town filled a time capsule that will stay in Father Flanagan's office for 100 more years until being opened. It includes a key to the City of Omaha, Boys Town coins created by the U.S. Mint, and an ornament and wooden craft that were made by students who have learned through the Boys Town system.

It was started in 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan as an orphanage for troubled boys and continues to serve youth.

"It's amazing. Father Flanagan just seems like he is here every day with us. He said right before he died that, 'The work will continue you see because it's God's work and not mine.' And we really believe that, that we're doing Father Flanagan's work, even today," Father Steven Boes said.

Staff and alumni also walked from the old German-American Home to the current campus — it's the same route 200 residents took in 1921 when they moved.

Mayor Jean Stothert proclaimed Dec. 12 "Father Flanagan Day" to commemorate the occasion.

bringing-mother-and-daughter-togetherBringing mother and daughter togetherNebraska
Joni Wheeler
Friday, Dec 15, 2017

This article is written by WOWT 6 News. It was posted on on December 13, 2017.

Joni Wheeler loves taking time to be close to her daughter Destiny. The distance between them now seems small but there was a time when it felt like an unbridgeable gap.

"She was diagnosed with a number of mental health issues when she was six and so there were always behavior problems destructiveness and she didn't have any empathy. So she didn't know how to relate to others," said Joni.

"My relationship before Boys Town with my mom was constant arguing throwing stuff kicking walls not listening to her at all," said Dest

After years of struggle the family turned to Boys Town. Destiny entered treatment for six months and then spent a year in a group home. Destiny says it changed her life.

"Before I didn't know where I was going. I wasn't paying attention in school. I wasn't getting along with my family and I didn't have a lot of friends and through Boys Town they taught me how to be sympathetic and have empathy for other people and just getting along with people in general," she said.

It all payed off – today Destiny is heading for college and her relationship with her mom is much better.

"After Boys Town I was able to talk to her and care a lot for her. More than I did before," said Destiny.

"It's amazing. This is what it should look like, a mother and a daughter. So I love it," said Joni.

Destiny is now studying at UNO. Her goal is to become a physician's assistant.

bt-new-england-celebrates-the-centennial-at-spirit-of-youth-galaBoys Town New England Celebrates the Centennial at Spirit of Youth GalaNew England
Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

Every year Boys Town New England honors a person, group, or company that has gone above and beyond to help children and families, but this year the event focused on something a little different—Boys Town turning 100.

On September 29, 2017, the Boys Town New England Spirit of Youth Gala was held at the Providence Biltmore Hotel where 200 guests were in attendance to celebrate Boys Town helping children and families across the nation for 100 years.

The evening started out with a few words from Board Chair Lee Silvestre and Executive Director Bill Reardon, followed by Community Developer Marcy Shyllon who spoke about the new Community Engagement Project the site is currently working on. Attendees were also able to hear a first-hand account of Boys Town's impact on the community from Yefri Acevedo, a former Boys Town youth.

However, an evening of celebration did not stop there. Throughout the night, guests were able to participate in some games of chance as well as a silent auction. Guests had a variety of items to choose from to express their competitive edge such as Celtics tickets, a signed Boston Bruins jersey, and a large care package for your canine companion. The highest bid was on a two night stay in New York City and $500 gift card to spend on Broadway tickets.

With the help of incredibly generous guests and members of the community, Boys Town New England was able to reach their goal of $75,000 by the end of the night. "The money raised will help all of our programs, but more specifically will help pay for Common Sense Parenting and Community Engagement," Ashley Medeiros said.

Through generous donations and the kind-hearted spirit of community members, Boys Town can continue to serve children and families for another 100 years!

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