Boys Town Youth Finds Her Way
As a youth, finding your way can be a challenge. Complicating that even more, finding your way through foster care, and without parents, can be life changing. For Carley (Kaufman) Rupert, it was both.
But thanks to Boys Town, she was able to not only find her way, but also find the life stability she had been missing for much of her youth. And, thanks to supportive staff and teachers who could help Carley pursue a nursing career she desired, today she is married with a beautiful family and a job she loves.
Carley grew up in Omaha but was placed into foster care when she was just 3 or 4 years old. With her mother battling illness and her father absent from her life, Carley moved around the “system" but was eventually reunited with her mom. Those were some of her happiest times, she said, but she still struggled.
Carley's mother died at the young age of 43. Now, at just 14, Carley was without parents and without a place to call home. Her actions landed her in Boys Town's Intervention and Assessment (I&A) program at Grand Island. It was a temporary placement, but it gave Carley a glimpse of what Boys Town's mission was, and what it could possibly do for her.
It was there she first experienced the love and belonging Boys Town could offer. By this point, Carley, and those around her had struggled with her behaviors and unhealthy ways to cope. Her early placements focused on her problematic behaviors but did not provide her help toward healing. This short but meaningful experience at Boys Town's I&A stuck with her, and when she was given a choice for her next placement, Carley chose to move to Boys Town's Home Campus and the Family Home Program.
The summer of 2005, Carley moved to Boys Town and was introduced to many new opportunities. She began to work through her trauma with the assistance of therapy and began to connect to many positive people. Carley experienced a sense of community and belonging at Boys Town that made her feel like she had finally found a home. Staff still share stories about how Carley showed leadership to housemates and modeled the program for others.
Carley then had a life-changing experience being enrolled in Boys Town's Certified Nursing Assistant class. She said it was her first time taking something so seriously. She met an instructor, Stevie Gass, who she grew close to, and Carley appreciated the firmness Stevie provided to help her make the right decisions. The lessons learned within the course made her feel like a grown up, realizing she could carry the skills into her future. When meeting with her therapist, something clicked, and a deep desire set in for Carley to become a nurse. She shared these desires with her Family Home Consultant and Community Director, and she was encouraged to continue working hard within the program and Boys Town would be supportive of her continuing her education to make her dreams a reality.
After graduating from Boys Town in 2007, Carley began the nursing program at Nebraska Methodist College. Carley continued stopping by Boys Town to share her success and progress with the program. Whether it was books, tuition or groceries, Boys Town continued to support Carley's dreams and provided opportunity that has lasted into her years as an adult. Nothing about this journey was easy. She had hard days, at times wanting to give up, but the support and encouragement she received pushed her to complete the courses. Carley graduated with her BA of Nursing in May of 2012 and walked the stage debt free. We spoke with Carley back in 2012 after graduation. Hear from her about how her time at Boys Town shaped her journey.
Carley has continued to shine in the nursing field the last 10 years, becoming a Director of Nursing by the age of 27. During this time as a director, she found herself drawn to helping more in the areas of wound care. Her interest and desire to heal the most complex, debilitating wounds led her to continue her education with the help from the Boys Town National Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. Within nine months she earned her Wound and Ostomy Certification and is a specialty nurse in that area.
“My patient population often consists of people who others are done dealing with, very similar to the children of Boys Town, prior to coming there," she said. She enjoys showing love to her patients and facing the challenges that come along with improving their lives.
Carley is married to Derek Rupert. They have a daughter, Charlie, 4, and a son, Jack, 2. She's told her family all about the love and sense of family she received at Boys Town and how she's been given so many opportunities that she can continue to be thankful for. She sees how her parenting style is influenced by her time at Boys Town and is thankful for the lessons and many skills she's learned.
“Boys Town taught me so much," Carley said. “I can't tell you how appreciative I am for everything. And they are still helping me today."
As a parent, she's proud of the moments where she can teach her children to take time to work through big feelings rather than reacting right away. There's always time to go back and work through the hard issues and choices later when we're ready. She finds her abilities to work through tough details, while maintaining composure and being able to lead others as something she's learned from her many mentors.
“So many times, people make bad choices in life," she said. “Rather than burning the entire trail, you make the next right choice without losing progress in life."