Becoming a Boys Town Citizen
When at-risk youth come to Boys Town, they not only get a second chance to shine, but they also learn what it means to become a “Boys Town citizen.” For kids who’ve never truly felt a sense of belonging, this can be an emotional event. Hear what this means from the young citizens themselves.
Bob: They go to a special orientation class. Might spend up to a week in that orientation class just learning the lay of the land here at Boys Town, how things operate and that culminates where the kid gives a speech, basically swears in and becomes a citizen of Boys Town. All of those things are put in place to help that kid become acclimated to the Boys Town environment and get comfortable here.
Leslie: They get to participate and make it real. They get to talk about what they're here for, three goals that they want to have accomplished by the time they leave.
Girl: Three goals I have here while at Boys Town is to learn new coping skills, to control my anger and to learn to follow instructions.
Boy: Three things I'm here to work on is better relations with both of my parents, to conquer my drug use and to get good grades.
Leslie: I've had a couple of kids where that specific moment meant a lot to them, that they were a part of something that was a community and a family and they felt like somebody supported them.
Father: Harmony, how long have you been at Boys Town?
Harmony: Five days.
Father: Five days! What's the hardest thing you had to do so far?
Harmony: Call this place my home.
Father: She called it her home, let's hear it for her.
Tony: You look at a kid that has never been a part of a community that is productive. You know, we've seen kids up there when they do their swearing in that start crying because they can't believe "I am a part of Boys Town, I am citizen of Boys Town. You know, I am a part of something." The more you are able to buy them into things like that the more you are able to help that child change his life.
Bob: We want them to understand they are entering into something bigger than themselves, an organization with a lot of history and a lot of kids before them that were successful. We put all of that together to help that kid be successful here.