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Alize’s Adoption Storyhttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Alize-Adoption-Story.aspxAlize’s Adoption Story<p>​In 2019, when Alize came to Boys Town North Florida, she had experienced past trauma and recently lost her grandmother, who was her caregiver at the time. She was placed in a Family Home where she established a bond with her Assistant Family Teacher, Shamara Folks. Alize stated, “I knew she would be my mom.” </p><p>Although she had no children of her own, Shamara instantly connected with Alize and said they had a lot of similarities. In 2020, Alize transitioned into Shamara's home around Christmas. Boys Town North Florida staff, including Care Coordinator Services Consultant Stefanie Jones, continued to advocate for Alize's best interest and provided formal support for Shamara.</p><p>On June 2, Alize received one of her best birthday gifts and was officially adopted, becoming Alize Folks. The adoption took place virtually and there was no dry eye on screen.</p><p>“I believe Alize is an exceptional young lady and a true example of triumph,” said Stefanie. “Through this entire process she maintained all A's. She also completed two summer classes, Chemistry and Geometry, which she took to help lighten her load for senior year.”</p><p>Alize is looking forward to her senior year and has plans to attend either Florida A&M or Florida State University after high school.<br></p>2021-09-21T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Alizes-Adoptions.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Kyle’s Mile 7 – Annual Suicide and Bullying Prevention Ride in Cedar Rapids, IAhttps://www.boystown.org/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/Pages/Kyles-Mile-7-Annual-Suicide-and-Bullying-Prevention-Ride-in-Cedar-Rapids-IA.aspxKyle’s Mile 7 – Annual Suicide and Bullying Prevention Ride in Cedar Rapids, IA<p>On Saturday, August 21, Kyle's Mile 7 took place in Cedar Rapids, IA after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Spearheaded by Kyle's father, Byron Cooper, Kyle's Mile is an annual suicide awareness and prevention ride where all monies raised goes to the Boys Town National Hotline. Byron lost his son Kyle to suicide 8 years ago. In Nebraska and Iowa alone, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for children ages 15-19.</p><p><strong>On the day of the ride…</strong></p><p>Starting right at 10:45 am, kickstands were up, and the riders left the Metro Harley Davidson Suzuki Can-Am Motorcycle Dealership and headed to their destination at North Point Saloon, almost 100 miles from the start. The ride had two stops along the way with roughly 300 riders, including bikes and a handful of cars. To add an element of entertainment, there was a silent and live auction, raffle, food, and drinks. In honor of Kyle, specialty shirts are made every year and sold to raise funds for the event. As the ride continues to gain attraction, donations are also made by local companies to go towards the endowment Byron started for this ride. Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids matches dollar for dollar up to $25,000. The latest addition to the donor list is University of Perdue Online, which donated $2,500 this year.</p><p>From the words of Byron himself, "Suicide, depression, and bullying are all taboo topics, and we want to talk about them. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or gesture...it may be exactly what was needed to pull someone out of a dark place."</p><p>Kyle's Mile 7 was a huge success, raising a total of $33,512 in donations! Unique to this year's ride, one of the bikers offered to cut his full beard and hair for a donation of $1,000. There is no question that the event is always memorable, bringing together family and friends to honor Kyle and to remember all of those that were lost to suicide.</p><p>Byron and his family would like to thank everyone who came to support the cause last Saturday. It was a huge success and Byron is grateful for that! "It's not because of me, it's about everyone that is there. The community support makes all the difference." </p><p><strong>If you are interested in supporting this event or would like to start your own bike ride to benefit Boys Town, please contact Stan Kontogiannis at 402-315-0156.<br></strong></p><p><img src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Kyles-Mile.jpg" alt="Kyle's Mile Participants" style="margin:5px;" /><br><strong></strong></p>2021-09-16T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Motorcycles from Kyles Ride" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Kyles-Mile-thumb.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Behavioral Health Clinic Partners with Healthcare Initiative Foundation to Expand Serviceshttps://www.boystown.org/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/Pages/Behavioral-Health-Clinic-Partners-with-Healthcare-Initiative-Foundation-to-Expand-Services.aspxBehavioral Health Clinic Partners with Healthcare Initiative Foundation to Expand Services<p><em>Boys Town Washington DC is expanding its Behavioral Health Clinic into Montgomery County thanks to an ongoing partnership with the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF), a funder who focuses on bringing equitable healthcare service to the county.</em></p><h3>The role of the licensed psychologists in Boys Town's Model is:<br></h3><ol><li><p><strong>EXPERT EDUCATOR:</strong> Provide expert knowledge to improve the psychological and behavioral health literacy of physicians and provide expert knowledge to improve the psychological and behavioral health literacy of parents of pediatric patients.</p></li><li><p><strong>EVALUATOR:</strong> Conduct behavioral and cognitive evaluations to help physicians detect overlooked disorders that require treatment.</p></li><li><p><strong>COORDINATOR:</strong> Coordinate care with physicians and the parents of pediatric patients to ensure that key influencers are aware of the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan, and their respective roles as co-interventionists.</p></li><li><p><strong>HEALER:</strong> Provide research-supported behavioral health interventions that address the cognitive and behavioral issues and skills needed to live a healthier life.</p></li></ol><p> Boys Town's Behavioral Health Clinic provides much-needed pediatric behavioral health services to Montgomery County, including recently assisting a 16-year-old girl who was referred to the program by her pediatrician.</p><p>The youth had a history of self-injurious behavior, substance abuse, problems in school, a learning disorder, depression, and anxiety. She had also been a victim of domestic abuse. </p><p>The nurse who first interacted with the girl during a routine annual wellness visit noticed she seemed dejected and withdrawn. The nurse relayed this to the physician who then asked the girl to complete a depression screener. Boys Town had previously informed the primary care office that if she scored above the cutoff, it would be a signal to make a referral to the Behavioral Health Clinic. The physician followed this advice and prompted their Clinical Care Coordinator to contact Boys Town to set up a visit. That same day, the youth and family members were contacted and services with Boys Town were set up. The girl was clear about wanting to improve her self-esteem, anger problems, and mood issues.</p><p>“I just want to feel better about myself," she said. “I feel like a screw up. I've let my family down. I've let myself down. I want to do better."</p><p>Thanks to the partnership between Boys Town and the Healthcare Initiative Foundation, the girl began<br>treatment immediately.</p><p>She received evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy with an emphasis placed on behavioral activation, value-centric decision making, and developing healthier social networks. Mindfulness practices were also stressed, along with increasing structure, increasing distress tolerance, strategies to improve sleep hygiene, emotional communication techniques, anger management, and other skills to improve relationships with family members.</p><p>There were a total of 13 sessions over six months and the results were impressive.</p><p>She cut approximately 50 percent of her anxiety symptoms and approximately 80 percent of her depression symptoms. She also reported improvement in her social relationships and was able to speak with her mother more cordially. She became more confident in her ability to manage her anger and improved her self-esteem for academics with strategies for attention span and reading comprehension.</p><p>There were also visual signs of improvement as she transformed her bare bedroom into a beautifully decorated artistic masterpiece. She cleaned the room daily without being told. </p><p>Along the way, the Boys Town licensed psychologists made bi-weekly phone calls to the pediatric practice to provide updates and offer recommendations. In addition, the psychologists wrote letters to the primary care physician summarizing the latest results of behavioral evaluations which helped enhance decision making regarding the appropriateness of considering psychotropic medication (i.e., antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers) to complement the behavioral health interventions. The youth and family were aware of this communication and expressed appreciation for putting so much time, energy, and effort into the care. This had a positive effect on the youth and family's engagement.</p><p>It truly was a success story for the partnership between Boys Town Washington DC and HIF.</p><p>“HIF is proud to invest in initiatives that break down barriers to ensure equitable access to health and wellness services," said Crystal Carr Townsend, President and CEO of Healthcare Initiative Foundation. “This innovative collaboration with Boys Town Washington DC and Montgomery County pediatricians does just that by effectively integrating behavioral health in a healthcare setting to provide comprehensive mind and body care."</p><p>In 2020, Boys Town served a total of 455 children through its national Behavioral Health Clinics. Boys Town Washington DC served 57 children through its 2020 grant from HIF.</p>2021-09-15T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town Expanding" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BHC-Expand-Services.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
The Behavioral Health Clinic Journey: Reflections & Projectionshttps://www.boystown.org/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/Pages/The-Behavioral-Health-Clinic-Journey-Reflections-and-Projections.aspxThe Behavioral Health Clinic Journey: Reflections & Projections<p>This fall, we celebrate six years of growth within our <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><a href="/locations/washington-dc/behavioral-health-clinic/Pages/default.aspx">Behavioral Health Clinic</a></span> (BHC). However, to fully understand where our clinic stands, we need to reflect on how it all began. On September 24, 2015, Boys Town Washington DC celebrated its grand opening of the BHC with Dr. Robert Wingfield at the helm.</p><p>In 2016, the clinic had a long waitlist. Dr. Avital Deskalo was hired to help expand the clinic's impact within the nation's capital. </p><p>As clinic growth continued, Dr. Amanda McLean was hired as Lead Senior Psychologist for Northern Virginia (NOVA). Being responsible for the enormous undertaking of implementing the integrated care model, Dr. McLean secured business agreements with two separate pediatric practices in NOVA, laying the foundation for a rapid boom in regional impact and visibility. Dr. McLean has made Boys Town a household name in NOVA.</p><p>During the COVID pandemic, the need for our services grew exponentially. Children and families were experiencing extreme loneliness and anxiety. We quickly hired three additional psychologists – Drs. Erica Featherson, Rebecca Rowland, and Michelle Sobon. Thanks to these additions, the BHC has provided life-changing behavioral healthcare to over 3,000 children and families in the region.</p><h3>The Exciting Journey Ahead</h3><p>The first six years have been adventurous to say the least and also filled with many achievements. The support of Boys Town DC's Board of Directors was vital to achieving important foundational objectives. The next five years and beyond are filled with exciting new partnerships, clinic expansion opportunities, and the launch of The Behavioral Health Clinic Post-Doctoral Training Program.</p><p>This fall, we anticipate hiring our first postdoctoral fellow. This is a major step in ensuring the BHC is not only a premier outpatient clinic, but also a site that offers advanced clinical training for practitioners on the verge of becoming state licensed to practice professional psychology.</p><p>Geographic expansion of the BHC is another objective. Thanks to Dr. McLean, expansion has already been a success in Northern Virginia.</p><p>We are proud of the achievements and grateful for the support.</p><h3>The future is certainly bright!<br></h3><p><img src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BHC-clinic-wsdc.jpg" alt="New Boys Town BHC Clinic" style="margin:5px;" /><br><strong><em></em></strong></p>2021-09-15T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town BHC - Ribbon Cutting" src="/locations/washington-dc/news-and-events/PublishingImages/BHC-clinic-wsdc-ribbon.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town New England Sponsors Back-to-School Bashes at Elementary Schoolshttps://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/Boys-Town-New-England-Sponsors-Back-to-School-Bashes-at-Elementary-Schools.aspxBoys Town New England Sponsors Back-to-School Bashes at Elementary Schools<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">R</span><span style="background-color:transparent;">ecently, Boys Town New England had the opportunity to sponsor back-to-school bashes for families at two of their LIFT Together partner schools, Elizabeth Baldwin Elementary and Fallon Memorial Elementary.</span></p><p>During these events, teachers were able to meet with their new students and show them around the classroom. Various community organizations provided resources and families participated in fun activities together, such as basketball, face painting, and corn hole.</p><p><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/Boys-Town-New-England-Sponsors-Back-to-School-Bashes-at-Elementary-Schools/Back-to-School-Bash-2.jpg" alt="Back-to-School-Bash-2.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px 10px;width:350px;height:362px;" />Boys Town New England was also given the opportunity to explain their services and offer immediate sign-ups for their programs. They currently have a School Support Specialist that works in both elementary schools to support teachers, students, administration, and families through the LIFT Together program. They also offer In-Home Family services, Care Coordination services, and Common Sense Parenting<sup>®</sup> classes to families at these schools.</p><p>These back-to-school bashes are significant because families are able to connect with school administrators and teachers at the start of the year, which helps improve home-school communication, and students can see and experience school in a different light.</p><p>Boys Town New England is looking forward to another successful school year of providing services to children and families in the local community.<br></p>2021-09-14T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="back to school bash" src="/locations/new-england/PublishingImages/Back%20to%20School%20Bash.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town South Florida Ohana Salty Classic – KDW Fishing Tournamenthttps://www.boystown.org/locations/south-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Ohana-Salty-Classic.aspxBoys Town South Florida Ohana Salty Classic – KDW Fishing Tournament<p style="text-align:center;"> <strong>​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Ohana Salty Classic KDW Fishing Tournament was a huge success! We are grateful for all the support from our sponsors, partners, volunteers and donors! Event proceeds benefit the children and families of Boys Town South Florida.</strong></p>2021-09-13T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town holds groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate construction of new schoolhttps://www.boystown.org/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/Pages/Boys-Town-holds-groundbreaking-ceremony-to-celebrate-construction-of-new-school.aspxBoys Town holds groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate construction of new school<p>​<em style="background-color:transparent;">This article is written by Danielle Meadows. It was posted on </em><a href="https://www.3newsnow.com/news/local-news/live-boys-town-holds-groundbreaking-ceremony-to-celebrate-construction-of-new-school" style="background-color:transparent;"><em>3newsnow.com</em></a><em style="background-color:transparent;"> on September 2, 2021.​</em></p><p>OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — We're getting a better idea of what the new high school at Boys Town will look like.</p><p>The new three-story facility will house "all students" on campus, including the students currently in the high school and Wegner school buildings.</p><p>Officials broke ground on the property today.</p><p>Boys Town and community leaders celebrated saying bringing all of the students together under one roof is wonderful and the facility takes an innovative approach to education.</p><p>"A functional, efficient and flexible learning environment with technology helps reduce the stress and promotes the success of our students. This architectural design was spent many, many hours incorporating suggestions from our students, faculty and too many groups to mention."<br></p><p>The old high school was built in 1948 and desperately needed to be updated.</p><p>Boys Town says the needs of children have changed since then, which is why a new high school needed to be built.</p><p>Watch the groundbreaking ceremony <a href="https://www.3newsnow.com/news/local-news/live-boys-town-holds-groundbreaking-ceremony-to-celebrate-construction-of-new-school" target="_blank">here​</a>.<br></p>2021-09-10T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Groundbreaking" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Groundbreaking.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town North Florida Collaborates with MetaVisions for Inaugural Financial Literacy Programhttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/BTNFL-Collaborates-with-MetaVisions-Financial-Literacy-Program.aspxBoys Town North Florida Collaborates with MetaVisions for Inaugural Financial Literacy Program<p>MetaVisions, a Tallahassee-based non-profit that seeks to directly serve families and children through pilot programs and grant funding, recently partnered with Boys Town North Florida to launch a financial literacy program. </p><p>Led by Morgan Evers and Cindy Bevis Evers, MetaVisions created a curated program to teach foundational financial literacy skills, such as how to open a bank account, how to write a check, and effective spending and saving strategies. Youth learned these skills through interactive games, engaging guest speakers, and visual activities. </p><p>To culminate the end of the program, MetaVisions orchestrated a donation event. The youth were in charge of organizing and assembling donation bags with letters of encouragement, snacks, bracelets, socks, and water for individuals in the community. </p><p>Many of the items in the bags were graciously donated by Florida Senator Loranne Ausley, who stopped by for a surprise visit while the kids were packing the bags. She talked with them and shared her excitement and appreciation for the financial literacy program and the work Boys Town North Florida does. </p><p>Boys Town North Florida is looking forward to growing their partnership with MetaVisions as they continue to provide engaging programs for their youth. </p><p><img src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/MetaVisions-2.jpg" alt="Boys Town MetaVisions" style="margin:5px;width:383px;" /><img src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/MetaVisions-3.jpg" alt="Boys Town MetaVisions" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p>2021-08-19T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Boys Town MetaVisions" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/MetaVisions-1.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town helps young people get back on their feet. Here's what they do in Portsmouth.https://www.boystown.org/locations/new-england/news-and-events/Pages/Boys-Town-helps-young-people-get-back-on-their-feet.aspxBoys Town helps young people get back on their feet. Here's what they do in Portsmouth.<p><a href="https://www.newportri.com/story/lifestyle/2021/08/17/boys-town-new-england-in-portsmouth-ri-helps-young-people-facing-challenges-aquidneck-island/5390343001/"><em>Published in Newport Life on Aug. 17, 2021</em></a></p><p>​Jesse Rios sits at a custom chess table in a Portsmouth living room, contemplating his next move as his 11-year-old challenger, Andrea, gazes at him expectantly. Family photos and school art projects cover the surrounding walls in a scene that could be played out in countless Aquidneck Island homes. <br></p><p> What makes this particular scenario unique, and this game of chess noteworthy, is that Jesse and Andrea have been brought together through Boys Town New England, an organization providing care to children and families in Rhode Island and surrounding states. </p><p> Jesse and his wife, Nikki, work as a “family teaching couple,” which means they are full-time guardians, mentors, caretakers and essentially acting parents to six teenage girls who live in a residential group home adjacent to the Rioses’ own apartment (which they share with two young sons). The Rios home is one of five similar houses lining lush and leafy Flanagan Road, a quaint cul-de-sac just off of West Main Road, across from the entrance to Raytheon. </p><p>Flanagan Road is named for Father Edward J. Flanagan, the Irish priest who established Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1917 (and was memorably portrayed by Spencer Tracy in a 1938 film). What began as a home for adult males coming out of the prison system has evolved over the past century to concentrate on preventative care for both young men and women. </p><p>Boys Town New England was established in 1991 as a separate but connected entity. It’s a distinct 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but still falls under the umbrella of the national organization, with which it shares resources and financial support. Other funding comes from the state of Rhode Island and private contributors, like the Bazarsky family, which donated the land that the Portsmouth campus has occupied since 2005. This campus also serves as the headquarters for Boys Town New England, which is overseen by executive director Sarah Galvan, who previously worked for Boys Town in Washington, D.C. Marcy Shyllon, the senior director of programs at Boys Town New England, has been with the organization for 13 years, having previously worked at a Boys Town shelter in Philadelphia. For both Galvan and Shyllon, working at Boys Town happened a bit by chance and evolved into a profession that often feels more like a calling. “What a privilege it is to work here,” Shyllon says. “I remind myself that on my hardest days.” </p><h3>Life on the Boys Town Campus </h3><p> The young people on the Portsmouth campus arrive there for a variety of reasons and from a range of places. Some come directly from Bradley Hospital in Providence, a psychiatric hospital devoted exclusively to children and adolescents. Others are products of the state’s child welfare or juvenile justice systems. Some are in touch with their biological families, others are not. Most have what can be described as behavioral struggles that require more nurturing and care than other settings are equipped to provide. <br><br></p> <p><img class="gnt_em_img_i" data-g-r="lazy" alt="Despite the Boys Town name, only half the residents in Portsmouth are male. " src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2021/08/16/NNDN/3cf13f2e-3b29-4716-9264-a49190b40e6e-Boys_Town_New_England_22_JessicaPohlPhoto.jpg?width=660&height=396&fit=crop&format=pjpg&auto=webp" style="width:660px;color:#ffffff;background:#000000;margin:5px;height:396px;" /> </p><div data-c-caption="Despite the Boys Town name, only half the residents in Portsmouth are male. " data-c-credit="Photography By Jessica Pohl"></div><p></p><p>The ultimate goal at Boys Town is to work with each youth and help them develop a treatment plan that’s in their best interest. That can involve reuniting young people with their biological families or helping them graduate from high school and establish independence and stability in work or college.   ​<br></p><p>“The length of stay depends on their needs,” Galvan says, noting that all residents can remain until they turn 18, at which point they are considered adults. Some stay for several months, others for several years. The campus can house up to 30 youths and is often at capacity.  </p><p><img class="gnt_em_img_i ms-rtePosition-2" data-g-r="lazy" alt="“Boys Town believes that the people closest to the kids are the primary change agents for the kids.” — Sarah Galvan, Executive Director" src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2021/08/16/NNDN/740d824c-9be0-436c-9abb-a083099be1f7-Boys_Town_New_England_11_JessicaPohlPhoto.jpg?width=300&height=412&fit=crop&format=pjpg&auto=webp" style="width:300px;color:#ffffff;background:#000000;margin:5px;height:412px;" /></p><div data-c-caption="“Boys Town believes that the people closest to the kids are the primary change agents for the kids.” — Sarah Galvan, Executive Director" data-c-credit="Photography By Jessica Pohl"></div><p></p><p>Each of the five houses on campus has its own family teaching couple, all of whom are married and whom Galvan describes as “taking on all the roles and responsibilities parents would take on — and then some. </p><p>“Moving into a house and taking on six kids with behavioral issues isn’t an easy task,” she continues. The job attracts people from all walks of life, and demands stability, which is what the kids need most. “Boys Town believes that the people closest to the kids are the primary change agents for the kids,” Galvan says. </p><p><span style="background-color:transparent;">Two of the homes are residences for teenage girls, two for teenage boys, and one for a mix of younger children. All of the youths attend different schools around the state, usually staying within the same district for as much of their K–12 education as possible, to promote continuity in their lives and learning.  </span></p><p>For some of the youths, Nikki Rios notes, “going to the same school is the only constant thing going for them.” </p><p></p><div data-g-r="lazy" data-gl-method="lazyLoadX" data-google-query-id="CNfggvfdvfICFYWApgQdytoN3g"><div></div></div><p></p><h3>At Home with the Rioses</h3><p>Jesse Rios teaches all of the girls in his household how to play chess. “I grew up very similarly to a lot of the kids,” he says. “I attribute learning chess to getting out of the situation I was in.”  </p><p>He and Nikki have worked as a family teaching couple for four years. Jesse, 32, and Nikki, 28, met in Southern California while working in theater, married in 2012, and are expecting their third child this summer.  </p><p><img class="gnt_em_img_i" data-g-r="lazy" alt="Jesse teaches all the girls to play chess." src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2021/08/16/NNDN/5702427c-599c-4991-ac8d-32d010f4f727-Boys_Town_New_England_80_JessicaPohlPhoto.jpg?width=660&height=440&fit=crop&format=pjpg&auto=webp" style="width:660px;color:#ffffff;background:#000000;margin:5px;height:440px;" /> </p><div data-c-caption="Jesse teaches all the girls to play chess." data-c-credit="Photography By Jessica Pohl"></div><p></p><p>Neither had experience with Boys Town before Jesse applied for a job in 2014 at the suggestion of Nikki’s mother. Jesse didn’t get that position, but he did receive a phone call asking if he and his wife would be interested in becoming a teaching couple. When they accepted, they had no idea they would soon be surrogate parents to six teenage girls — an idea that seemed overwhelming at first and is now the only thing they can imagine doing.   </p><p>Both emphasize that they are not there to replace the parents the girls already have, but rather to serve as mentors and support systems. They often work with the girls’ biological parents, coaching them as much as their children. They are also in constant contact with teachers, doctors, case workers, therapists and psychiatrists.  ​<br></p><div data-c-caption="A Family Meeting is held each night after dinner, so the girls can address conflicts or talk about what’s on their mind." data-c-credit="Photography By Jessica Pohl"></div><p></p><p>“Any adult that interacts with our kids we have some sort of contact with,” Jesse says, adding that he and Nikki are often “one of the first adults in our kids’ lives to fight for and advocate for them.”  </p><h3>At Boys Town “Your Voice Matters” </h3><p>Andrea is the youngest occupant in the house, as reflected in the collection of unicorns carefully piled atop her bed. She shares the room with the oldest resident, a recent graduate of Portsmouth High School who plans to study art at <a href="https://www.ccri.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-t-l=":b|e|inline click|${u}">CCRI</a> this fall. Her side of the room sports darker colors and fewer sparkles, along with walls adorned with art.<br></p><p></p><p>When Andrea moved into Boys Town housing at the age of 10, she was experiencing an array of difficulties at school and had been flagged by teachers and administrators as being troubled, with her education in jeopardy. Within six months of moving into the Rioses’ home, she was earning honors like Student of the Month. Her teachers were surprised at how quickly her behavior had changed for the better.  ​<br></p><p>When she first moved into the house, Andrea often carried a large rock and sometimes used it to express her frustration. Since then, the rock has undergone a transformation. It has been painted with glitter and placed on a shelf in the company of her unicorns — no longer something to throw, but an art piece that doubles as a reminder of better ways to communicate when she’s frustrated or at a loss for words.  </p><p><img class="gnt_em_img_i" data-g-r="lazy" alt="Eleven-year-old Andrea and her stuffed animals share a bedroom with the oldest resident, who plans to study art at CCRI this fall. " src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2021/08/16/NNDN/e2dc601f-0844-434a-bfae-971557b87967-Boys_Town_New_England_62_JessicaPohlPhoto.jpg?width=660&height=440&fit=crop&format=pjpg&auto=webp" style="width:660px;color:#ffffff;background:#000000;margin:5px;height:440px;" /> </p><div data-c-caption="Eleven-year-old Andrea and her stuffed animals share a bedroom with the oldest resident, who plans to study art at CCRI this fall. " data-c-credit="Photography By Jessica Pohl"></div><p></p><p>Learning how to communicate, especially when angry or upset, is an essential practice that the Rioses seek to instill in all of the girls they care for. Every night around 5:30 p.m. the group convenes in the kitchen to prepare dinner, which is a communal affair. “We subscribe to the theory that the dining room is the most important room in the house,” Jesse says.  </p><p>Six teenagers under one roof means various schedules, and some of the girls have jobs and aren’t home as often, so dinner is the one time that everyone is able to sit down, check in and be together. After dinner, the girls conduct what the Rioses call a Family Meeting, which is run by the girls — although Nikki and Jesse are present. One house member is appointed the leader and conducts the meeting, which is used as a time for all the girls to express whatever is on their mind, in a positive and productive way, and in an effort to avoid or soothe confrontations. </p><p><img class="gnt_em_img_i" data-g-r="lazy" alt="Each girl gets a card delineating objectives and performance." src="https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2021/08/16/NNDN/bc9bbb89-babd-4252-8363-0545a5d0db77-66.jpg?width=660&height=440&fit=crop&format=pjpg&auto=webp" style="width:660px;color:#ffffff;background:#000000;margin:5px;height:440px;" /> </p><div data-c-caption="Each girl gets a card delineating objectives and performance." data-c-credit="Photography By Jessica Pohl"></div><p></p><p>Nikki emphasizes that she and Jesse teach the girls that they have a voice and their voice matters, as well as how to create, maintain and build upon healthy relationships — life skills that will stay with the teens as they evolve into adults. Trust is another important element that is not easily gained, nor taken for granted when earned. Once the girls move out of the home, they often stay connected with the Rioses, with some returning for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas.   </p><p></p><div data-g-r="lazy" data-gl-method="lazyLoadX" data-google-query-id="CNjggvfdvfICFYWApgQdytoN3g"><div></div></div><p></p><h3>The Greater Boys Town Family </h3><p>Galvan notes that one of the biggest misconceptions she encounters is the stigma attached to “congregate care” or “group home care,” with which Boys Town is sometimes lumped in. </p><p>“We’re a professional foster home,” she says. There is no shift staff, just the live-in couple that serves as surrogate parents. Treatment plans are developed using evidence-based research models, and home life revolves around family and routine — “All those things that kids need,” Garvan explains.  </p><p>“We tell all of our kids that once you’re part of the Boys Town family, you’re always part of the Boys Town family.” ​<br></p> 2021-08-19T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Family Dinner" src="/locations/new-england/PublishingImages/BT-family-dinner.jpeg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town North Florida Hosts 2021 Showcase of Talenthttps://www.boystown.org/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/Pages/Boys-Town-North-Florida-Hosts-2021-Showcase-of-Talent.aspxBoys Town North Florida Hosts 2021 Showcase of Talent<p>​​​On August 4, Boys Town North Florida hosted their first ever Summer Showcase of Talent to celebrate their youth while ending summer on a high note.<br></p><p>Throughout the summer, youth in the Family Home program participated in weekly performing arts groups in preparation for the showcase. Students engaged in various clubs such as choir, keyboard, dance, spoken word poetry, and acting. Within these clubs, their creativity shined as they drafted songs with their own lyrics and pitched scene ideas for their original acting skit.</p><p>Students prepared for weeks for this event and were eager to get on stage to perform their acts. Each performance was met with roaring applause from the audience composed of Boys Town staff, board members, local church attendees, and friends.</p><p>Seeing the hard work and talent demonstrated at the Summer Showcase proved the excitement and thoughtfulness the kids exhibited. It truly showed how proud they felt.<br></p><p>Boys Town North Florida would like to extend a thank you to Four Oaks Community Church for welcoming their students and audience to their venue as well as the volunteers that led the student groups. This showcase would not have been possible without them!​<br></p> <img src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Summer-Showcase-2.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:438px;height:310px;" /> <img src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Summer-Showcase-3.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:458px;height:308px;" />​​<br><br>2021-08-18T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/north-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Summer-Showcase-1.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent

Kara Neuverth
Media Relations Director
531-355-1305
Kara.Neuverth@boystown.org

Jordan Weinandt
Media Relations Specialist
531-355-1273
Jordan.Weinandt@boystown.org

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