Mike and Joanie Dunn have been Family Teachers for three years at Boys Town's North Florida site, but Joanie's history with the organization goes back to before she was born.
Joanie's father, Joe Krzyzaniak, lost his parents in a tragic house fire, and in 1959, at the age of 9, he was given the option to go to Boys Town or another group home. Joe chose Boys Town and traveled cross country with his case manager from Ohio to Omaha. He made a choice that day that impacted his life for the better.
He remained at Boys Town until 1965, under the leadership of Monsignor Wegner. When Joe looks back on his time at Boys Town, he remembers a loving home with other kids just like him going through the same struggles. He recalls going to the Boys Town theater every Sunday evening for movie night, walking to church every Sunday morning, and learning his trade in 9th grade working in the machine shop, which he later made into a career at General Motors in Ohio.
In 2018, Mike and Joanie decided it was time for a career change. They were looking for missionary work and explored several options, but Joanie felt that God was leading them toward a new mission. She remembered the reunions her father took her to at Boys Town and his stories of how it impacted his life and subsequently hers as well. The Dunn's applied to be Family Teachers and got the position.
They moved their family from Omaha to Tallahassee to start their true mission and calling in a girls' home. Growing up, Joe would tell Joanie Father Flanagan's quote, “There's no such thing as a bad boy," and now she has gotten the opportunity to live it out in her work at the North Florida site.
“Boys Town is where my dad came from and being here feels like home," said Joanie. “What is so rewarding for me is that it's my family – both the kids and the Boys Town Staff. My dad is the only one I have on that side of my family other than his Boys Town family who raised him. I look at the girls I work with and think of them as part of that family. I look at the staff doing amazing work and I want to support them during the trials and successes because that's what family is. Boys Town helped my dad and I will continue to make that my mission and continue the cycle of love and support that was given to him."