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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!

bt-marks-100-years-rebuilding-youngsters-livesBoys Town Marks 100 Years Rebuilding Youngsters’ LivesNebraska
Father Flanagan with Boys in 1942
Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

The Catholic organization founded by Father Edward Flanagan in the middle of the prairie continues to serve families.

This article is written by Joseph Pronechen, a Register staff writer. It was posted on on December 8, 2017.

"There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking," Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town in Nebraska, famously said.

At first, some scoffed at his optimism, but his words proved perfectly true as Boys Town flourished and grew: So much so that on Dec. 12, 2017, Boys Town will celebrate its 100th anniversary serving children and families.

By 1939, everybody in the country knew about the Irish priest when actor Spencer Tracy won the "Best Actor" Oscar for portraying the priest in the 1938 movie Boys Town. But that award was minor in comparison to the tributes modest Father Flanagan received from scores of boys who went on to prove that, as he said: "There is nothing the matter with our growing boys that love, proper training and guidance will not remedy."

The founder's statement has proven true countless times during these past 100 years.

According to Father Steven Boes, who became the fifth national director in 2005, Boys Town has directly served more than 392,000 children — and families — from the time it opened in Omaha with six boys Dec. 12, 1917.

Success Stories Abound

One graduate is John Mollison, Boys Town Class of 1964.

"Boys Town gave me the stability to have a normal life," he told the Register. "Prior to coming to Boys Town at the age of 11, I lived in 15 different places, and my father was rarely present in the family."

But things took an upward turn once Mollison arrived. "At Boys Town I learned that with hard work I could do anything and that people could believe in me."

As a result, after graduating, he went to college, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force and flew a combat tour in Vietnam as a weapon systems officer in the F-4 Phantom. His last assignment was as commander of the 55th Support Group at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, before he retired as a full colonel.

Mollison married and raised a family of two sons who followed him into the Air Force.

"As Boys Town was there for me," he explained, "I made it a priority for me to be there for them. That is a very powerful lesson I took from my almost seven-year stay at Boys Town."

So powerful was his childhood experience that Mollison remains connected to the organization. For 10 years, he served as vice president for human and physical resources, and for the last nine he has been the senior adviser for alumni matters, working with hundreds of alumni from all generations and keeping connected with many of today's graduates.

"We share a common heritage and legacy and view ourselves as a very large extended family as a result of our common experience," he said. "Boys Town's life lessons stay with you throughout your entire life."

Fascinating History

On Dec. 12, 1917, 31-year-old Father Flanagan borrowed $90 to rent a home in Omaha to begin to help troubled boys. Six youngsters from juvenile court were the first residents. By the next spring, as the courts sent more boys, or people referred them, Father Flanagan had to move Boys Town to a vacant building across town to accommodate all of the newcomers.

Success from the start in helping troubled youth meant that by 1921 Boys Town needed even more space. So the facilities were moved to Overlook Farm, 10 miles from Omaha. Six years later, famous people like New York Yankees' sluggers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig visited Boys Town.

In 1935, Boys Town was named an incorporated village and began a student government program. Young resident Tony Villone was elected Boys Town's first mayor. A year later, Boys Town became a municipality, with its own fire and police departments, post office and schools.

So strong were the bonds formed at Boys Town that, in 1942, with World War II raging, many of the graduates serving in the war officially listed Father Flanagan as their next of kin. As a result, the American War Dads Association named him America's "No. 1 War Dad."

In 1948, after 31 years as national director, during a child welfare mission of mercy to devastated areas of Germany after the war, Father Flanagan died of a heart attack while in Berlin at the age of 61. He was buried at Dowd Memorial Chapel at Boys Town.

"The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God's work, not mine," Father Flanagan had said. By 1950, with a major expansion finished, Boys Town grew to 900 boys. In 1974, the Family Home Program replaced dormitory living. Today, the home campus in Nebraska has 70 of these family homes. In 1976, St. Teresa of Calcutta visited Boys Town and was presented with the "Father Flanagan Award" for her service to young people.

A year later, what would eventually become Boys Town National Research Hospital opened in Omaha. By 1998, its researchers discovered the gene accountable for Usher syndrome, a condition that produces a combination of blindness and deafness.

In 1983, the model of "Boys Town USA" was developed to bring its proven principles to sites around the nation. Today's nine sites, counting the Nebraska home campus, are open in places such as Washington, D.C., Orlando, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

Father Boes pointed out that, last year, Boys Town USA directly cared for more than 30,000 children across the country. And to date, the organization's national hotline, launched in 1989, has answered more than 10 million calls.

Another Major Step

"The poor, innocent, unfortunate little children belong to us, and it is our problem to give them every chance to develop into good men and good women," said Father Flanagan.

That phrasing anticipated a step taken decades later, in 1979, when Boys Town received girls into the program. In 1991, Sarah Mohn was the first girl elected mayor. Boys Town made all the difference in their lives, too.

Kim Warner (then Kim McGiffin) graduated in 2004 from the home campus after she was sent to Nebraska from her home in Boulder City, Nevada.

"At first, for me, Boys Town was a place where I was able to run away from my problems back home. I thought that going across the country away from old influences and surroundings I would dazzle everyone with my personality and my vices wouldn't follow me," Warner told the Register. "I was wrong."

She described her experience: "Boys Town welcomed me with open arms and with loving certainty that I was going to do great things — all of me. They didn't say, 'Oh, you lie? Cheat? Steal? You have drug issues?' No, you leave those at the door."

Warner explained that when the "honeymoon phase wore off" and she couldn't help being her old self again because it was all she had known, "Boys Town was calm and loving, and yet held their ground and demanded better. They held me accountable when I did wrong or didn't do my best, and they did so without yelling or threatening."

She wondered how they could be so calm, relating, "My 'family teachers' didn't get worn down by my attempts to intimidate, humiliate, belittle or manipulate them to get myself out of working hard or to avoid facing tough issues. They stayed with me. They wore me down with love. I eventually was literally so exhausted from trying to buck the system that wouldn't buck that I waived my hands and said, 'Okay God, you win. I'll try doing what these people say. I don't think it will work, but I'm going to try ... just to prove them wrong.'"

She recalled how she then "tried to do it the Boys Town way. It was hard work — emotionally, mentally, physically." She remembered running in the snow — which she had never seen before — in track clothes. Boys Town pushed her beyond limits she never thought she could go, yet she did, successfully.

Warner emphasized how Boys Town instilled in her a desire and awareness that everyone should continually be striving to be better in everything, and that outlook helped her finish college and become a teacher and a good parent. She has four children and at one time also had two foster children.

"When I'm at my best in my marriage and parenting and communicating, that's Boys Town in me," she highlighted of her life-changing time there. She'd love to take her family on vacation to Boys Town to live and experience what she did, "to give them the amazing, life-changing experience I was so blessed to have. Boys Town is my home."

Ever-Fresh Flanagan Philosophy

Looking back over the years during this centennial celebration, Father Boes, who considers it an honor to follow in Father Flanagan's footsteps, observed how he sees the founder's philosophy working 100 years later.

"His love of the kids, his vision for a better system of care and his spirituality inspires me," he said. "Father Flanagan's unique genius was the ability to simultaneously engage his heart and his head to find lasting solutions to the social problems of kids in his day."

"The foundation of his approach is that he made room in his heart for those hurting street kids," Father Boes said. "He then engaged his intellect by examining Catholic theology and applying it to his situation. The Catholic Church teaches that God's grace remains at our core despite all the sins we pile up on our souls. This notion of 'Prevenient Grace' allowed him to create a radical new approach to troubled kids. In my time as national director, those same principals have guided the hope and healing at Boys Town."

Among those principles, Father Flanagan said he never thought taking in all races and creeds was remarkable. He said they are all God's children and he had to protect them to the best of his ability. At the same time, he said, "A true religious training for children is most essential if we are to expect to develop them into good men and good women — worthy citizens of our great country."

Father Boes observed that Boys Town "is unique in the U.S. because we not only provide innovative, research-based, effective care for kids, but we advocate for changes to the system of care." That includes "a focus on advocacy in order to keep kids first as they enter into the system of care."

Looking ahead to the next 100 years, Father Boes stressed Boys Town will continue to fight for hurting kids "using our head and heart. We will continue to make room in our hearts for kids. We will also use our heads to create and advocate for innovative, research-based and effective systems of care so that every kid in the U.S. can be healthy in body, mind and spirit."

Also in the next 100 years, sainthood is a prospect for Father Flanagan, as his canonization cause continues.

In 2013, he was named a "Servant of God," and in 2015, the diocesan phase of the cause was completed and sent to Rome.

In any event, what Father Flanagan said and proved over and over remains true at Boys Town: "A boy given the proper guidance and direction — kept busy and constructively occupied during leisure or free time — will prove my statement that there

helping-foster-parents-and-kids-at-btHelping foster parents and kids at Boys TownNebraska
Foster Parents and Boys Town
Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

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

Being a foster parent can be a challenge, but there are experts at Boys Town to help guide parents as they help children.

Sharon Schwartzkop has been a foster parent for several years. When she started out she wasn't sure she would measure up until she learned she wasn't alone. That's where Marcus Johnson comes in. His job is to provide guidance and support to Sharon whenever she needs it.

"I couldn't imagine not having support from Boys Town. I couldn't imagine doing it without the support," said Schwartzkop.

Marcus says Sharon is a natural. He said, "It's the spirit of service that she brings. It's a joy to work with her each and every day."

Sharon says foster parenting provides a lot of gratification;

"I think the biggest gratification that we get out foster parenting is – you're gonna make me emotional when I say this – is seeing the success of the children."

Marcus has been there supporting her all along the way. He was so impressed that he nominated her for the Foster Parents of the Year award and she won.

"I was ecstatic and I was trying to not cry so she wouldn't cry but that didn't work out," Marcus told 6 News.

"I basically eat breathe and sleep foster parenting and I love to do it," she said.

And if Sharon needs help when Marcus isn't available, Boys Town will make sure she gets the support she needs. Boys Town provides this service to over a hundred foster families at any given time.

Helping-families-solve-problems-on-their-ownHelping families solve problems on their ownSouth Florida
South Florida Family
Monday, Dec 4, 2017

​​​​​​This article was posted on ​​November 29, 2017.

​ What does Boys Town do?

Founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in December 1917 by Father Edward Flanagan, Boys Town celebrates its 100-year anniversary this year. Originally a home for orphaned and wayward boys, Boys Town began accepting girls into its programs in 1979. Over its century of service to America's children, families and communities, the organization has brought life-changing care to those in greatest need, developed research in youth and health care that has led to improved, more-effective practices, and advocated for reform in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

In the 1980s, Boys Town expanded its locations and programs in order to reach more children and families. This expansion saw Boys Town affiliate sites develop in numerous cities across the country. Boys Town South Florida was established in 1991 to provide effective, compassionate treatment for the behavioral, emotional and physical problems of children and families in communities across South Florida.

How does your agency benefit the community?

Boys Town South Florida services take the unique approach of identifying and addressing family problems early, before they reach a crisis where children have to be removed from the home. This is generally more effective and less costly than placing children in more expensive programs, like foster care and residential treatment. It also ensures that families receive the right care, at the right time, in the right way.

When society fails to support vulnerable youth, particularly at critical times in their lives, it ends up spending enormous sums of money on the consequences of that failure – higher dropout rates, criminal behavior and drug use. In recent years, this cause-effect relationship has put a greater emphasis on reaching the very young child, a concept reinforced by brain research and the logical case for early intervention and prevention.

By identifying at-risk children early and providing them and their families with the assistance they need, Boys Town South Florida helps kids stay out of the social services system and stay in their homes, setting the stage for future success. When children can live in a safe, nurturing home, they are more likely to succeed in school and in life. With improved skills, parents and other caregivers can provide proper guidance for their kids and solve family problems on their own, while society can save millions of dollars on social services.

What is your agency's focus for 2017?

Boys Town South Florida will continue to promote and market the services we provide so more families have access to the help and support they need.

We will continue to grow awareness about our services and reach out to individuals and businesses that can help support our mission. This will enable us to provide effective, high-quality care to more children and families.

We also will promote the 100th anniversary of Boys Town as a national organization, and stress the strong connection we have as an affiliate site in terms of program development, research and evidence-basing, all of which enable us to consistently produce positive outcomes.

How can the community help?

We rely on the ongoing support and generosity of the community to carry out our mission. Opportunities to partner with Boys Town South Florida include:

-Donations: Monetary gifts of any amount help support our programs.

-In-kind gifts: We accept gift cards and certificates as well as household items.

-Event donations: Tickets to community and sports events allow the kids and families we serve to enjoy special times together.

-Event sponsorships: Individuals and businesses can sponsor and attend our events throughout the year.

-Volunteering: The time and talents of volunteers are always welcome.

-Facility use: We have an ongoing need for host sites for our Common Sense Parenting classes.


Changing the way America cares for children, families and communities by providing and promoting an Integrated Continuum of Care® that instills Boys Town values to strengthen body, mind and spirit.


Common Sense Parenting® (CSP) classes: Provide parenting advice and guidance that can be used by any family. The program's easy-to-learn techniques address issues of communication, discipline, relationships, self-control and school success. The proactive skills and techniques taught in these classes have helped parents from diverse backgrounds create healthy family relationships that foster safety and well-being at home, in school and in the community. Professional parent-trainers teach the courses.

Care Coordination Services program: Provides a lifeline to children suffering from behavioral and mental health issues by ensuring they receive care at the right time. In this intensive, family-centered case management program, Boys Town consultants help parents and caregivers navigate, access and monitor the services their children need. Boys Town is a core partner in the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative in Palm Beach County.

In-Home Family Services program: Helps to keep struggling families together. Trained family consultants work in the homes of families to enhance parenting skills, make sure children are safe and enable families to solve problems on their own.

Parent-Child Home program: In partnership with the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition, we provide the program to families with very young children. This home-visiting program promotes early literacy, nurturing and positive parenting.

Primary Project: Is available in select Palm Beach County elementary schools. Primary Project's goals include improving students' adjustment to school and enhancing their social and emotional well-being.

BOYS TOWN SOUTH FLORIDA, 3111 S. Dixie Highway, No. 200, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. 561-612-6000;

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