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FFS Employees Set Up Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention Month Campaign Employees Set Up Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention Month Campaign<p>April was Child Abuse Prevention Month and recently Boys Town's Foster Family Services set up pinwheels to bring awareness to child abuse prevention. <br></p><p> In 2008, Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA) introduced the pinwheel as the new national symbol for child abuse prevention. Base on their research, a pinwheel implies whimsy and childlike notions and serves as a physical reminder of the great childhoods we want for all children. </p><p> This campaign is sponsored locally by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and blue pinwheels can be found all around the Omaha Metro area during the month of April. Foster Family Services employees worked hard to place 1,000 blue pinwheels on Boys Town's Home Campus last month as part of the campaign. </p><p> <img src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Pages/FFS-Employees-Set-Up-Pinwheels-for-Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month-Campaign/Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month2.jpeg" alt="Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month2.jpeg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px 10px;width:332px;height:441px;" />"Boys Town Foster Family Services is proud to support th​e Pinwheels for Prevention campaign in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month," said Matt Priest, Director of Foster Family Services. "We all have the duty to protect children and we believe in safe and nurturing environments for all children. Healthy families contribute to a healthy community." </p><p> Boys Town is very thankful for all of the Foster Family Services employees and all of the hard work they put in daily to provide a safe and healthy environment for children in the foster care system.​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​</span></p>2021-05-13T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Child abuse prevention" src="/locations/nebraska/PublishingImages/Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month.jpeg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town North Florida’s ART Town Academy Expands Programming Town North Florida’s ART Town Academy Expands Programming<p>Beginning fall 2020, Boys Town North Florida's ART Town facility transformed into a fully functioning school, expanding its programming to include supplemental tutoring through in-person and virtual volunteers; an array of afterschool clubs; and an active Student Government Association.</p><p>As the students on campus adjusted to attending virtual school, supports were put into place to ensure all the students would be academically successful and engaged during the school day. By the end of the fall semester, there were five volunteer-led electives that met weekly to ensure students had activities to interest them. There was a diverse set of clubs offered, such as music; physical education; foreign language and culture; art; and debate.</p><p>Students appreciated the opportunity to learn from and engage in these educational clubs and enjoyed connecting with volunteers from Florida State University. Campus bustles today as after-school activities have resumed with a renewed interest in learning and growth. </p><h3>Tutoring</h3><p>In-person volunteers from FSU come to ART Town Academy twice a week to provide homework help and tutoring to Boys Town North Florida's Family Home youth. All volunteers are equipped with PPE and tables and desk are arranged to accommodate social distancing. </p><p> In addition, virtual tutors assist each Tuesday and Thursday evening. Often, student volunteers are paired with recurrent students who are struggling to maintain their grades. This creates a mentoring partnership between the volunteer and the student. Students look forward to meeting with their assigned tutor over Zoom and productively work to complete and understand any underperforming school assignments. </p><h3> Afterschool Electives</h3><p> <b>Music:</b> Students meet each Monday to complete structured musical activities with a volunteer from FSU. The students have been able to engage in some fun projects this past year, including creating a home-made plastic straw pan-flute that when blown into creates a variety of pitched notes and sounds. The students love coming to music knowing a fun, music-related activity is always awaiting them! </p><p> <b>Debate:</b> Students meet each Tuesday to learn more regarding the rules and structures of debating and engage in short "mock debates." Students form small teams and debate with the opposing team surrounding worldly topics such as climate change. The volunteer who leads the Boys Town debate group currently serves as the President of FSU's Debate Club. The first debate is scheduled for May 5th. </p><p> <b>Physical Education: </b>Physical Education classes take place each Wednesday with one of the Family Home Teachers to engage in physical activity. Each week, the students play a variety of sports and activities including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and more. After a long day of staying indoors and completing schoolwork through a computer screen, this is a necessary release for some of the students. </p><p> <b>Foreign Language and Culture:</b> Students meet every Thursday with FSU volunteers, Family Program Consultant Destiny Story, and Educational Assistant Giulia DeMello to learn more regarding world cultures and languages. During this club, students have the opportunity to try foods from diverse cultures and become familiar with various cultural items such as clothing, language, and lifestyle. </p><p><b>Art:</b> Students meet each Friday to complete various arts and craft projects with a FSU student volunteer. At art club, students have completed projects with multiple mediums including watercolor paint, acrylic paint, crayons, markers, and oil pastels. One project the students enjoyed the week before Thanksgiving was creating a turkey-themed bookmark. </p><p> <b>Student Government Association:</b> To encourage leadership development and promote a greater sense of unity, respect, spirit, and cooperation among peers, a Student Government Association was formed. Each of the five Family Homes on Boys Town North Florida's campus have an elected representative led by a President and Vice-President. </p><p> As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, youth aged 15 – 17 will attend a Career Fair to learn about opportunities that can further their education at a two or four-year university or trade school, or enter the workforce post-graduation. Boys Town North Florida is excited for their youth and want to ensure they are given the tools needed to continue growing and learning, no matter where their lives take them. </p><p>​ Boys Town North Florida is thankful for the many staff and volunteers who make the activities available to youth on campus. It is exciting to see the learning and growth taking place through these opportunities.​</p>2021-05-13T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Seniors Get Send Off Parade Town Seniors Get Send Off Parade<p><em>This article is written by Jon Kipper. It was <a href="" target="_blank">posted on April 30, 2021 on</a>.</em></p><p>It was a day to celebrate the Boys Town seniors.</p><p> The seniors packed classic cars, firetrucks and whatever else they could find to parade around campus Friday afternoon. </p><p> It was a day to reflect for Vivica and Hazakiah Williams, twins who came from New York. </p><p> “You’re surrounded with a lot more people that like encourage you to go to college and make good decisions, and like, even if you’re not going to college, have a better future for yourself and have plans and always set goals...always make plans and everybody just wants to see you succeed,” said Vivica Williams. </p><p> “It hasn’t really set in yet, but I feel accomplished. I know there is a lot of things that I wouldn’t be able to do if I hadn’t come to Boys Town. Being able to see myself grow up and actually see myself change is for the better," said Hazakiah Williams, who struggled with school in New York before coming to Boys Town around two years ago. </p><p> Both are going off to college, as is Hailey Holm who was struggling in Iowa before coming to Boys Town four years ago. ​<br></p><p> "They’ve given me so many opportunities to be a leader and to do things that I never thought possible or couldn't have found elsewhere. It’s just amazing how much confidence they give to each student that comes here,” said Holm. </p><p> Holm is now getting a full ride to Creighton, thanks to the US Army, but she won’t forget her experience at Boys Town. </p><p> “Boys Town told me I could do anything I can set my mind to,” said Holm. </p><p> The seniors will officially graduate on Saturday.<br></p>2021-05-07T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Maddie Hagan of Papillion, Nebraska Elected 121st Mayor of Boys Town Hagan of Papillion, Nebraska Elected 121st Mayor of Boys Town<p>BOYS TOWN, Neb. – Boys Town youth today elected Maddie Hagan of Papillion, Nebraska, the 121<sup>st</sup> mayor of the Village of Boys Town. Jay Ballard of Baltimore, Maryland, was elected vice- mayor. </p><p>Maddie Hagan is 17-years-old, and her campaign theme was: we are better together through discussions, encouraging, and being kind to everyone. “Boys Town has changed the trajectory of my life," said Hagan. “I want to be an encouraging leader and lead the campus towards a more inclusive and proactive Boys Town."  </p><p>Maddie plays for the Boys Town soccer team, competes for the cross-country team, and has been on the honor roll for each quarter. Maddie has a strong faith and shares this and her kindness with others in her role as a Peer Minister. After graduation, she plans to go to college and potentially become a mental health specialist. Her Family-Teachers are Kyle and Jodi Skartvedt. </p><p>Jay Ballard is captain of the Boys Town Football team and captain of the wrestling team. He also is on the National Honors Society and wants to be a peer minister. After graduation, he wants to enroll in a four-year college and play football. His goal is to become a physical therapist. His Family-Teachers are Zachary and Alexis Myers. </p><p>Father Edward J. Flanagan conceived the self-government system at the Village of Boys Town in 1926 as a tool for its citizens to build character, citizenship and a sense of community. The process was made famous in the 1938 Academy Award-winning movie “Boys Town," where Mickey Rooney's portrayal of Whitey Marsh, a tough young boy who turns his life around and becomes Mayor of Boys Town.​​<br></p>2021-05-06T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nebraska/news-and-events/PublishingImages/2021Mayor_08.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
A letter from our new Executive Director letter from our new Executive Director<p></p><p>Dear Friends of Boys Town South Florida,</p><p>I am excited to announce that I have joined Boys Town South Florida as the new Executive Director. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.</p><p>I was first introduced to Boys Town in 2004 when I worked within the dependency side of child welfare in Central Florida. In that role I became familiar with Boys Town and their services, and I was so impressed with the organization and how they cared for the children and families they served.</p><p>I joined Boys Town Central Florida in 2006 and worked there for 10 years. I transitioned to the Boys Town North Florida site to serve as their Senior Director of Program Operations in 2017. I served in this capacity for four years and then accepted the position of Executive Director at the South Florida site. While I have not lived in South Florida, I have spent most of my life in Florida (Central and Northwest) and my husband, children, and I are deeply grateful for an opportunity to stay in the state that we love! I am invested in the success of children and families in Florida and I am confident that there is no better way to achieve this than through Boys Town South Florida alongside our dedicated staff, board of directors, and volunteers.</p><p>I bring experience in fundraising, community relations, marketing, licensing and quality assurance to the Executive Director position. But most importantly, I also bring a deep understanding of the mission and vision of Boys Town. As I look to the future of Boys Town South Florida and how we continue to meet the needs of our neighbors, I do so through this lens.</p><p>I would also like to thank my predecessor, Lauren Anderson. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to know Lauren and work with her over the past 10 years. I am grateful for her continued dedication to this organization and those we serve as well as for her role as a mentor to me.</p><p>I hope to have the opportunity to get to know you — our donors, volunteers, partners and neighbors despite the challenges of COVID19, which I know creates some barriers as I try to get out and meet folks within the community. I appreciate your continued support of Boys Town and look forward to learning your stories and sharing ours with you.</p><p>Gratefully,</p><p>Bethany Lacey​<br></p><p><br></p>2021-05-03T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/south-florida/news-and-events/PublishingImages/Bethany-Lacey-Updated.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
THREE SISTERS ADOPTED TOGETHER BY FORMER BOYS TOWN FAMILY-TEACHERS® SISTERS ADOPTED TOGETHER BY FORMER BOYS TOWN FAMILY-TEACHERS®<h2 style="text-align:center;">They only ever had one request, that they stay together.​</h2><p>When sisters Susie, Shannon and Sophia were removed from their mother's care, they moved onto Boys Town's Family Home campus in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Eventually they became eligible for adoption and made it very clear – they did not want to be split up. The reasoning they said was simple, “We're family."</p><p>That was almost seven years ago. Since then, they've been waiting. Waiting for their forever family and forever home. The girls display vibrant personalities, each with a slew of hobbies they love – from watching Supernatural, to assembling model dollhouses and 1,000-piece puzzles, right down to visiting Boys Town staff in the office and telling them all about their favorite endangered animals. They are sweet, smart and very typical sisters; bickering all day, then dragging blankets to each other's rooms for a sleepover at night.</p><p>For most of their time at Boys Town, the sisters were in the care of Family-Teachers® Daniel and Ellie Sheehan. The Sheehans were a staple here on our Portsmouth campus, known for their kindness and patience. As with all Family-Teachers, the Sheehans ran one of our five Family Homes – residential-style treatment facilities run in a way that mimics a “normal" home and teaches real life skills.</p><p> <img src="/locations/new-england/about-boys-town-new-england/PublishingImages/palladini-2-with-heart.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin:0px 1rem 1rem 0px;width:278px;height:361px;" />Last summer, with their third child on the way, the Sheehans made the very difficult decision to move closer to family and leave their positions as Family-Teachers. But the Sheehans had developed a love of the three girls. They wanted to adopt them, if possible.</p><p>With the adoption up in the air, they couldn't tell the girls what was going on right away, but they worked hard to get all the pieces in place as quickly as they could. The Sheehans knew that Susie, Shannon and Sophia were meant to be part of their forever family.</p><p>Just about a month ago, the Sheehans and the girls were finally reunited. The sisters will now grow up alongside Daniel and Ellie's two sons and infant daughter, surrounded by their extended family on a huge farm property. They are exactly where every child deserves to be, and we could not be happier to see them getting the future they have waited so patiently for. In the words of Shannon, “It's nice to feel that something is forever."</p>​ <p> <em>Some names have been changed for privacy.​</em></p> <br>2021-04-26T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/new-england/about-boys-town-new-england/PublishingImages/palladini-2-with-heart.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> <img alt="" src="/locations/new-england/about-boys-town-new-england/PublishingImages/palladinis-with-heart.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
We’re All in This Together: Staff Shoutouts’re All in This Together: Staff Shoutouts<p style="text-align:center;"> <em>We reached out to our staff and asked: Who always goes above and beyond for our children and families? Who do you strive to emulate each day?</em><br><em>These are the no-contest nominees.​</em></p><p> <strong><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/staff-Arlene.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin:0px 1rem 1rem 0px;width:120px;height:160px;" />Arlene Cabral</strong><br>ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT — FOSTER FAMILY SERVICES<br>Arlene isn't just our Foster Family Services Admin; she's the backbone for our entire office. Her desk is the first thing you will see when you arrive at our Portsmouth office and her cheery “Good Morning" is the first thing you will hear. Arlene selflessly supports her colleagues, both programs and administration alike, with whatever is needed to support our team while they work virtually.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/staff-Jassica.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin:0px 1rem 1rem 0px;width:120px;height:160px;" />Jessica Davis</strong><br>PROGRAM SUPPORT SERVICES COORDINATOR<br>Jess is a vital member of our team, ensuring all our youth are kept safe and secure for the duration of their time at Boys Town. She was nominated for her willingness to always rise to the occasion and do whatever is needed to put Boys Town's Mission and our youth's safety first.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/staff-Maria.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin:0px 1rem 1rem 0px;width:120px;height:160px;" />Maria Gibau</strong><br>SCHOOL SUPPORT SPECIALIST, LIFT TOGETHER WITH BOYS TOWN<br>Maria transitioned into her role as School Support Specialist in September 2020 and to lighten the role for her teammates, kept families in her caseload from her previous role as an In-Home Family Services Consultant, all while continuing to teach Common Sense Parenting® classes! Maria always does whatever is needed to ensure our children and families succeed. We are so thankful for her.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong><img src="/locations/new-england/news-and-events/PublishingImages/staff-Melissa.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin:0px 1rem 1rem 0px;width:120px;height:160px;" />Melissa DuBois</strong><br>CARE COORDINATION SERVICES CONSULTANT<br>Melissa's commitment to excellence has really shined over the past few months. She has assisted with onboarding new staff members, greatly improved her own outcomes with families and is a leader of Latinx Organization Understanding Diversity (LOUD) – one of Boys Town's Employee Resource Groups driving our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion initiative. She has also played a key role in implementing new systems for her program aimed at enhancing the quality of care we provide. Melissa is a Boys Town leader, through and through.<br><strong> </strong><br><strong>Riley Huntington </strong> <em>(not pictured)</em><br>FAMILY HOME PROGRAM CONSULTANT<br>Riley was nominated for her hard work and dedication to our Family Home Program. Riley always goes the extra mile for her team, and no one speaks about the youth living in our Family Homes with as much pride and admiration as she does!<br></p>​<br>2021-04-26T05:00:00ZNewstext/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
After a traumatizing separation, 7-year-old boy finds security in Boys Town Foster Home a traumatizing separation, 7-year-old boy finds security in Boys Town Foster Home<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">F</span><span style="background-color:transparent;">or a young boy named Jonhy, who had irrepressible joy and optimism, the moment was confusing and frightening. His devoted father was being deported, and Jonhy had to move into the home of an aunt he barely knew.</span></p><p>The stability of this new living arrangement proved fleeting.   </p><p>Jonhy's aunt had her own children to care for, and the burden of having another little one to feed and clothe was too overwhelming. She quickly relinquished guardianship, and Jonhy had to pack his meager possessions and prepare for an uncertain future in foster care.</p><p>Jennifer and Steven Scott were newly licensed Boys Town Foster Parents. They had provided respite care (short-term, temporary foster care) to children whose foster parents needed time away, but the Scotts had never had an official placement. Jonhy would be their first, and it didn't take long for loving bonds to form.    </p><p>The Scott's 8-year-old son Parker became fast friends with the 7-year-old, and the two laughed, played and behaved like brothers. Jennifer's parents, who also lived in the home, took on the role of surrogate grandparents, offering emotional support and serving as valuable role models to Jonhy.  </p><p>The love and security provided by the Scotts were exactly what Jonhy needed. He missed his parents terribly and sometimes broke down in tears, longing to be reunited with them in Guatemala. Despite geographic and technological challenges, the Scotts ensured Jonhy maintained regular contact with his family. They used instant messaging and social media apps that allowed Jonhy to connect with his parents and relatives back home.</p><p>The Scotts understood the goal was to eventually reunite Jonhy with his family in Guatemala. But until the legal and administrative obstacles could be resolved, they were determined to provide him with a sense of normalcy and stability.</p><p>“Jonhy is a very active boy, so we got him involved in bowling and gymnastics," Steven said. “He was very flexible, so gymnastics was something he was very good at. At school, he also enjoyed recess and PE class, as well as reading." </p><p>Holidays also provided an opportunity to offer a sense of comfort. The Scotts made a special photo book for Jonhy as a keepsake to remember his time in their home. “He told us that was his favorite Christmas present, even over all the toys he received," Steven said.</p><p>After sixteen months in the Scott home, Jonhy's reunification plan was finalized and it was time for him to return to his family. </p><p>“We always knew that reunification was going to be the end result, and Jonhy always wanted to return to Guatemala because he missed his parents a lot," explained Jennifer. “So that eased the sadness of letting go, and helped our son Parker say goodbye, too." </p><p>Steven, Jennifer and Parker joined Jonhy on a flight to Guatemala City. They witnessed the moment when Jonhy and his parents set eyes on one another. Jonhy sprinted toward them for a long-awaited embrace, an unforgettable moment Steven said was simply “great."</p><p>Jonhy left an indelible mark on the hearts of the Scott family, and while they miss his rambunctious spirit, they take comfort knowing the little guy is exactly where he is meant to be… with his family.</p><p>May is National Foster Care Month, and the need for foster parents is growing. To learn more about Boys Town Foster Family Services<sup>®</sup> and how you can change the life of a child by becoming a Boys Town Foster Parent, please call 531-355-3036.<br></p>2021-04-23T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Johny" src="/locations/louisiana/PublishingImages/Johny-Success.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Boys Town Nevada Care Coordination Services Helps Family Get Back on Track Town Nevada Care Coordination Services Helps Family Get Back on Track<p></p><p>After facing years of abuse and domestic violence, Maria was finally able to get away from her husband. She left with her six children and started a new life. She dedicated herself to work so that she could support herself and her children. But then, the pandemic hit. Maria was laid off. Unable to find another job in the middle of a pandemic, she fell behind on rent and bills. Maria was determined and kept looking for employment. When she found a new job a few months later, it was for the night shift. But she took the job and made it work.</p><p>Exhausted from parenting six children on her own while trying to adjust to a new schedule that required her to stay up all night, sometimes Maria would fall asleep as soon as she got home. This meant the children didn't always get to school on time, if at all. Their attendance started dropping and the kids' school became concerned. The school asked Boys Town for help and our School Support Specialist, Mayra, came out to the family's home to determine their needs and got them signed up for Boys Town's Care Coordination Program.</p><p>Boys Town Care Coordination Services is designed to help families find the community resources and support they<br>need to improve stability. Our Care Coordination Consultant, Delia, was a constant source of support for the family.</p><p>Unfortunately, Maria received an eviction notice because she had become behind on rent during the months she did not have a job. Delia was able to help Maria find rental assistance and find a new apartment to live in. Maria learned how to look for community resources that helped her become financially stable.</p><p>Meanwhile, Mayra worked with the children in school to help them get back on track after missing so many days. Thanks to the wraparound support Boys Town provided, every member of the family benefitted. Everyone is less stressed, and Maria is thankful to be able to care for herself and her children.​<br></p><p><br></p>2021-04-23T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="" src="/locations/nevada/news-and-events/PublishingImages/NV-help-fam-get-back.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent
Staff Spotlight: Monica Smart-Gainous Spotlight: Monica Smart-Gainous<p>​<span style="background-color:transparent;">​​Boys Town North Florida IHFS Staff Member Named Recipient of Prestigious Award</span></p><p>Boys Town North Florida is proud to celebrate with one of their very own staff, Monica Smart-Gainous, an In-Home Family Services Consultant, as she was named a recipient of the 2021 Cherry Hall Alexander African American Calendar Award for her work with families in the community.</p><p>Monica, among 11 other distinguished honorees, was featured in the July section of the calendar. Boys Town North Florida's Senior Director Bethany Lacey shared, "We here at Boys Town North Florida were not surprised she would be named a recipient as Monica is well known for her local community action and advocacy. She regularly goes above and beyond for our children and families. We are so proud her many years of service are being recognized."</p><p>In the past 25 years, Monica has continuously strived to give back to her community by community action and organization. Among other events, she has been instrumental in organizing a Gadsden County Human Trafficking forum that brings awareness of human trafficking in the area.</p><p>Monica has Co-Chaired several back to school supply events and she has organized various food distributions in the community. In 2009, Monica was part of a group recognized by the Gadsden County School Board (GCSB) for the makeover of James A. Shanks Middle School, which saved the GCSB approximately $100,000.</p><p>As an In-Home Family Consultant with Boys Town North Florida, Monica tirelessly works to ensure the guidance and care for youth and families to be influential to the positive advancement of their environmental, emotional, and educational structure. Her love for the betterment for the lives of youth and citizens within the community is the center core of her demonstrated work. Once the foundation is planted in the community, Monica works to continue to build upon that foundation for the greater good of the children and families she serves.</p><p>Upon being named recipient, Monica shared, "I believe it is my calling to carry on the work of Father Flanagan when he said, "The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God's work, not mine.'"</p><p>Boys Town is very thankful for Monica and her dedication to Boys Town and the community around her.​<br></p>2021-04-16T05:00:00ZNews<img alt="Monica Smart-Gainous" src="/locations/louisiana/PublishingImages/Monica-Smart-Gainous.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />text/html; charset=utf-8 NewsEvent

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