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Unpacking Their Unwanted Baggage

The suitcases they carry their clothes in are the not the only baggage young people bring with them to a Boys Town New York. Each youth comes to us with the behavioral and emotional burdens of their past experiences. For most, these experiences include trouble with the law, which leads to removal from their homes and families and placed in our program by the Association for Children Services through the juvenile justice system. 

Fourteen-year-old Marie arrived at our girls’ home in Queens in early December 2015. She entered the program after getting into a fight, which violated her probation for a prior altercation. Despite her history of aggression, Marie was viewed by her peers as a fair, respectful, well-mannered and likeable girl. 

Initially, staff members saw that Marie had trouble maintaining personal boundaries, causing uneasiness among the other youth in the home. She also was aggressive and quick to argue. 

After three months in the program, Marie has shown tremendous improvement. She has developed positive relationships with both staff member and other youth, and continues to work on her self-monitoring skills and coping strategies in order to control her short fuse.  Marie also is excelling in school, and has earned the highest level of privileges in the home for almost two consecutive weeks. 

Due to her behavior, Marie fears her family doesn’t want her to return home. She will remain in our program while she awaits placement in a non-secure residential setting for juvenile offenders.  Marie says, “I’m grateful for Boys Town. They’ve taught me that family is important and that family works better together as a unit.”

Through it all, Marie has maintained a positive outlook for her future. She has dreams of one day working in the field of radiology so she can help others, like the radiologist who helped her father get through a severe heart condition when she was a little girl.

Many of the youth in our care are like Marie. They have been abandoned, abused, or neglected, and suffer from a number of emotional and behavioral problems. At Boys Town New York, we provide children with a safe environment where we assess their needs and begin to work toward family reunification.

Hundreds of youngsters, ages 10 to 18, from all five boroughs of New York City, find help each year through these services, and none of this would be possible without donors like you.

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.