Imagine loving a child more than anything in the world but knowing that the only way to save her and your family is to send her away. That’s the dilemma Destiny’s mother faced when even years of counseling failed to address her daughter’s many psychological issues.
Destiny found her groove at Boys Town. She received the psychological support she so desperately needed, along with the friendship and encouragement of her fellow students and Family-Teachers. Today, Destiny is a high school senior with plans to go to college and one day become a physician assistant.
Watch Destiny's Story
Joni: I didn't know about mental illness. I mean I knew, you know, the terms that you hear, bipolar and things like that. But I didn't really understand the signs or what you look for or what it meant.
Destiny: My life before Boys Town was probably hard for my family more than it was for me. Before I didn't really realize what I was doing. You know, I didn't really care.
Joni: When she was six and I was standing at the kitchen counter and she was screaming, you know, "I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you," and she did that a lot. And I thought, my son was standing next to her and our little dog was next to him and I looked across the three of them and I thought, "We can't go through this, we won't go through this." And so we did seek psychological input at that point. She was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder and she was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. And I just sobbed.
I think Boys Town was able to help Destiny really twofold and one is the program that they offer. And they have patience of Job. That I definitely learned a few things from. So, I just think the commitment that they have to every child. Destiny wasn't like any other kid in there. They had a program that was tailor to her but along with that Destiny had to make that decision that, "I'm going to change."
Destiny: I think Boys Town taught me like how to have sympathy for others when I realized that I was alone. Like you can feel alone in a community full of people, you know. They really taught me that, you know, having others is probably something I need in my life
Joni: Destiny, since she has come home, we have just been on an upward journey. She is a senior in high school right now and she wants to be a physician assistant. She's so smart and still as gifted as she ever was and she has this great network of friends and she loves her family, she loves her mom. We're very close.
Destiny: Boys Town really changed me and I think that I've learned so much and I'm still learning so much about myself and my family.
Joni: I wish we had more programs like Boys Town because it shows me that it can work, that you can take mental illness and it doesn't mean that someone could still diagnose Destiny with OCD, she may still have that but she has learned to navigate through these afflictions to still be successful, to grow and go beyond, you know, that illness.
I think Destiny would, honestly, I think she would be dead or in jail if it wasn't for Boys Town. Boys Town is our saving grace.