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Time, Trust Key to Teen’s Turnaround at Boys Town California

For most of her young life, Carrie was ​left to fend for herself.

Carrie’s father was a drug addict and her mother was in jail, so she had no parental guidance or involvement. Her adult sister tried to keep the family together and care for Carrie and their other siblings. But despite her good intentions, the sister just didn’t have the skills to create a safe, structured home.

During her sophomore year in high school, Carrie got in trouble with the law and came under the care of social services. State caseworkers contacted Boys Town California about admitting Carrie to the site’s Family Home Program. Not long after, the teen arrived at her new Boys Town home, where she joined a family of other teenage girls.

“Carrie came from a very broken family,” said Janie, who with her husband Steven, served as Carrie’s Family-Teachers®. “There was little discipline and structure. She wasn’t going to school and was regularly using and abusing alcohol and drugs.”

For a long time, Carrie was wary of her new home and her Boys Town family. But slowly, she began to gain trust in Janie and Steven as she realized they really cared about her.

“When she came to Boys Town, Carrie was mature for her age,” said Steven. “She was street smart, but she was respectful to authority most of the time. It took her a solid year to really grasp that we were trying to help her and to trust us. She had been pushed away by so many people, and so many other placements had given up on her, so it took time for her to really connect with us and the other girls in the home.”

Despite some early setbacks, Carrie’s Family-Teachers never stopped caring or teaching.

“After that first year, she really took off,” Janie said. “She was an active part of the family, attended school every day, improved her grades and got a job outside the home that she liked and did well at.”

Carrie eventually was won over by the strong relationship she built with her Family-Teachers and the safe, nurturing family environment they worked hard to create. Even a fun hobby Carrie enjoyed played a role in her progress.

“She was good at fishing and really enjoyed it before she came here,” Janie said. “We used that as a way to bond with her, and she liked to teach the other girls in the home how to fish. She enjoyed mentoring them in the outdoors, fishing and getting along with each other while on those outings.”

When she turned 18, Carrie left Boys Town and went to live with her grandparents and siblings. She continued to faithfully attend classes and graduated in the spring of 2013. Now her plans include attending college and finding a job.

“Carrie truly loves her family and also her Boys Town family,” Steven said. “She remains connected to Boys Town. She knew we were never going to give up on her and she really appreciated that because so many people had in the past.”

Thanks to the love and care her Family-Teachers gave her, Carrie now has the strength and confidence to continue building a bright future for herself.

The stories provided about the children and families in our care are real. In some cases, names and details may be changed, and stock photos may be used, to protect their privacy and therapeutic interests.