What is a teachable moment? It's learning through family. That's what Boys Town provides to tens of thousands of children and parents everyday. And that's what we'll focus on here. Stories of those who we've seen succeed, and ideas on how to help bring Teachable Moments to your home and family, too.

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Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director of Boys Town

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Standing on the Shoulders of Genius

The following is from a “State of Child Care” presentation by Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director of Boys Town, at a recent celebration of Boys Town’s 100-year anniversary. They illustrate Boys Town’s ongoing efforts to adapt our mission to meet the ever-changing needs of America’s children and families as we begin our second century of service.  Boys Town’s founder, Father Edward Flanagan, was a genius. I believe at the heart of that genius was his openness to explore ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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America’s No. 1 War Dad

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, three former Boys Town residents died along with the more than 2,000 other victims of the attack. Over the ensuing war years, Father Flanagan received letters from many of the thousand former Boys Town citizens fighting in Europe and the Pacific. In fact, so many former Boys Town boys named Father Flanagan as their next of kin that the American War Dads Association named him as America’s No. 1 War Dad. ...

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The Statue that Never Was

In the early 1960s, Monsignor Nicholas Wegner, Boys Town director at the time, conceived a plan to place a memorial to Father Flanagan on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Monsignor Wegner selected an artist and approved a design, which was turned into a miniature. But that’s as far as the project progressed.

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By Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

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Acceptance and Equality Must Be Part of Every Child’s Life Lessons

Father Edward J. Flanagan was far ahead of his time, sometimes dangerously so. When he founded his home for boys (later to become known as Boys Town) 100 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska, he welcomed youngsters of all races, religions and cultural backgrounds, and he provided care for all of them under one roof. This approach was unheard of in the early 1900s, and even though many local citizens supported Father Flanagan’s work, there were those who disapproved and even made threats ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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America’s First Boy Band

Father Edward J. Flanagan loved music. Growing up in Ireland, he would gather with his family in the evenings to sing and play instruments as they sat around their home’s hearth. Father Flanagan also believed that music was a positive hobby and outlet for children. After he founded Boys Town in 1917, he immediately began to organize a musical program for the boys. One of the earliest Boys Town band leaders was Dan Desdunes, leader of the Dan Desdunes Band, which ...

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Boys Town Centennial Celebration Featured on NBC Nightly News

Video courtesy of NBC Nightly News. Recently, NBC Nightly News sent correspondent Anne Thompson to Omaha to check in on Boys Town as it celebrates its centennial birthday. Check out the video below and share it with your friends.

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How Father Flanagan’s Kennedy Book Was Almost Lost to History

Perhaps it was the “luck of the Irish.” Whatever the reason, an extremely important, valuable and rare book was almost lost forever, were it not for the sharp eyes of a Boys Town employee at a library book sale. Father Flanagan’s personally signed copy of President John F. Kennedy’s Harvard thesis “Why England Slept” now holds a prominent place in Boys Town’s Hall of History. Watch the video below to learn the amazing story of how it ended up there.

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Boys Town Contributor

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The Bus That Travels without Moving

This 1952 Flxible Visicoach transports its passengers back to an era when integrated schools such as Boys Town experienced many difficulties when taking their athletic teams on the road to compete. Now housed permanently in the Boys Town Hall of History, this old bus serves as an important reminder of Father Flanagan’s progressive views on equality and fairness. Watch the video below to take a trip back in time.

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Father Flanagan’s Desk: More than Just a Workspace

Crafted from more than 250,000 pieces of wood from all around the world, this 320-pound intricately inlaid desk tells a story of dedication and perseverance. It was hand-made by 20 boys as a Christmas present for Father Edward J. Flanagan. The desk took more than three years to complete and was presented to the Boys Town founder in 1939. Learn more about its fascinating story when you watch the video below.

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A Road Much Traveled

There’s not much left of Birch Drive today — just a few jagged pieces of crumbling concrete. But in its heyday, this tree-lined street was the path to a second chance for homeless young men and boys coming from as far away as Florida and Washington. Watch the video below to learn more about their historic journey.

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Four Reasons Why Boys Town Needs to be a Stop on Your Omaha Vacation

If you’re planning a road trip to Omaha, Neb., make sure to mark an afternoon off for Boys Town and let your kids experience what makes Boys Town unique. John Sennert, Boys Town Gift Shop Manager, shares some insights on what to see and do when you get here. 1. The World’s Largest Stamp Ball The World’s Largest Stamp Ball is a favorite with children and adults alike and everyone gets their photo taken with it. Children can go through our “penny ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Boys Town and One of its Oldest Alums Will Turn 100 Together

It’s a happy coincidence that Boys Town alum Joe Renteria will be celebrating his 100th birthday this summer at Boys Town, right in the middle of the Home’s Centennial celebration. Renteria will return to the Village where he grew up for the Boys Town Alumni Association’s Biennial Reunion, slated for July 11-16. His birthday is on July 17, and will be observed during the reunion festivities. Nearing his own impressive milestone, Renteria serves as a link to Boys Town’s past and a ...

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Boys Town Partnership with Lincoln Electric Helps Forge Bright Future for Grads

Thanks to Josh Temple — television host, licensed contractor and vocal Boys Town supporter — and his friends at Lincoln Electric, young men and women who are learning to weld at Boys Town’s Career Readiness Center are now using the latest high-tech equipment and gear. Since its founding 100 years ago, Boys Town has supported trade education for youth, at various times teaching carpentry, farming, machining and other skills as part of Father Flanagan’s vision to give at-risk youth every opportunity ...

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Boys Town Supporters Are Everywhere

We like to say, “Boys Town kids are everywhere.” And they are. Given a second chance for success, they graduate from Boys Town to become teachers, police officers, congressional interns, social workers and more. At the midpoint of our 100th year, we can also say, “Boys Town supporters are everywhere.” To celebrate our centennial, we first asked corporate sponsors and community partners across the nation to show their support for Boys Town by displaying our centennial materials around their buildings, campuses ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town President and National Executive Director

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Sowing the Seeds of Community Pride

Many boys and girls who come to Boys Town for care and treatment have lost something very important in their lives: a sense of belonging. The problems they’ve experienced have made them feel like they’re no longer part of a family or a community, like they’ve been set adrift and no longer fit in. In our Family Home Program, Boys Town seeks to give children a sense of belonging by helping them heal in body, mind and spirit. Every boy and ...

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1997 Boys Town Girls Track Team — An Underdog Story

Just two short decades after Boys Town began admitting girls into its program, the school’s girls’ track team achieved one of the greatest underdog victories in Nebraska state high school athletics. Fielding a squad of just four girls, and going up against much larger schools, the team made history that you have to see to believe. Watch the video below to watch their astonishing feat.

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Father Steven Boes | President and National Executive Director of Boys Town

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The Story Behind “He Ain’t Heavy…”

“He ain’t heavy, Father… he’s m’ brother.” Those iconic words have symbolized the spirit of Boys Town for decades. But many people don’t know how it originated. Back in 1918, a boy named Howard Loomis was abandoned by his mother at Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys, which had opened just a year earlier. Howard had polio and wore heavy leg braces. Walking was difficult for him, especially when he had to go up or down steps. Soon, several of the Home’s older boys ...

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Terry Hyland | Boys Town Contributor

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‘The Work Continues’ Statue: A New Symbol for a New Era

Today, as part of our ongoing centennial celebration, Boys Town unveiled a new statue. Though the sculpture may be new, it is inspired by a well-known work of art — which was inspired by the iconic words that have come to symbolize Boys Town: “He ain’t heavy, Father… he’s my brother.” Boys Town began as a single small boarding house in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, in 1917. One hundred years later, it is one of America’s largest child and family service organizations, with ...

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Tom Lynch |Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Little Known Facts About Boys Town

Most people know that Father Flanagan started Boys Town in 1917 as a refuge for homeless boys who otherwise would have lived on the streets. Many would have led lives of crime and addiction. But there’s a lot more to the story than that. In fact, over the past 100 years, many interesting details have been forgotten or otherwise lost to history. We’ve collected some of that information below. In 1917, Father Flanagan rented an old boarding house for his ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Here’s to the Difference-Makers

Boys Town has always been and will always be a nonprofit organization, which means our existence depends on the generosity and assistance of others. Our supporters include individual donors and corporations around the country who not only help further Boys Town’s mission financially but also donate goods or services to at-risk children and families. One company making a real difference is Fat Brain Toys. Founded in 2000 in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Fat Brain manufactures and sells educational games and toys that help ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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America’s No. 1 War Father

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, three former Boys Town residents died along with the more than 2,000 other victims of the attack. Over the ensuing war years, Father Flanagan received letters from many of the thousand former Boys Town citizens fighting in Europe and the Pacific. In fact, so many former Boys Town boys named Father Flanagan as their next of kin that the American War Dads Association named him as America’s No. 1 War Dad. ...

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Father Steven Boes | President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

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Every Child Is a Star Waiting to Shine

During a recent walk across our beautiful campus in the Village of Boys Town, Nebraska, I happened upon a five-point star decal laying on the ground. The star, an emblem of our sports teams, the Boys Town Cowboys, must have been attached to an athletic jersey or a piece of sports equipment. From the looks of it, the star had been on the ground for some time; it was dirty, worn and ragged. I picked up the star with the intention of ...

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Jennifer Lawrence | Boys Town Alumna

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Boys Town Alumna Returns to Make a Difference

Jennifer Lawrence, a 2006 Boys Town graduate, recently reflected on why she considers Boys Town her home. After serving 10 years in the Navy, Jennifer returned to Boys Town to become a staff member and currently works at our high school. When I first came to Boys Town from California, I felt abandoned and unloved. After my father remarried and he and his new wife had a baby, I felt like an outcast in my own family. I really hated ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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Monthly Career Days Prepare Teens for Life After Boys Town

Planning for the future may seem like a far-off task for most teens. Boys Town recognizes the pivotal turning point from adolescence to adulthood and provides the necessary education for youth to succeed in life. As part of an ongoing effort, James Hill, BTNY’s development director, recently worked with the Young Leader Council's volunteer committee to set up a monthly career day for youth. Since starting the project, Hill has hosted a career day every month, including an assortment of guest ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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Nevada Mother’s Grit and Determination Sets Positive Example for Her Sons

Infidelity, manipulation and verbal abuse had created a toxic home life for Claudia Chavez and her children, so she mustered the courage to seek a new start for herself and her young sons, Adrian and Erick. With no financial support from her estranged husband, Claudia worked two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. It was an uncertain and demanding time, but Claudia didn't complain. Instead, she went to counseling to heal emotional scars and ...

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Boys Town Central Florida Helps Family through Tough Times

Maxine Nelson had always put family first, so she didn't think twice when it came to deciding that she and her husband would become the primary caregivers of their 10-year-old great-grandson, Da'Kendrik. Da'Kendrik was nearly alone in the world. His mother passed away when he was 6, and his father was never really involved in his life. His grandparents were also deceased. The Nelsons did the best they could to raise Da'Kendrik, but when Maxine’s husband passed away, it caused tremendous financial ...

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Piggy Bank Fundraiser Supports Boys Town New York

Through hard work and sheer determination, elementary students from the Brooklyn Avenue School in Valley Stream, New York, raised more than $3,200 at the school’s annual Piggy Bank Fundraiser. All proceeds will go to support Boys Town New York's (BTNY) programs and services that serve underprivileged children and families across NYC's five boroughs. The fundraiser began with the school issuing piggy banks to each of its 300 students. Their mission: fill their piggy banks over the course of one month. At ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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Three Children, Two Families, One Bond

When two couples — Candida Tavarez and Carlos Aquino, and Chelsea Guevremont and Mario Rosario Jr. — decided to become Boys Town New England foster parents several years ago, they had no way of knowing that three siblings would one day bring them together as families and friends. The story of how the siblings — twins Bryan and Aryanne, and their younger sister Shayna —began when both couples were contacted by Boys Town New England's Foster Family Services® program about accepting ...

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Jim Clements | Trade Instructor | Boys Town High School

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How Talent Show Stage Fright Turned Into a Boys Town Miracle

Boys Town employees are often asked about our kids and why we work here. One of our teachers wrote about the High School Talent Show held yesterday. It was so incredible we had to share with their permission. Do you think your school or your child's school would have reacted the same way? Miracles happen here every day and we think this is one. Before you judge the person who is a "lost cause" in your life, think about this: The kids ...

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Tom Lynch | Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Early Life of the Boys Town Students

  In 1917 Father Edward J. Flanagan founded his children’s home around new concepts of care. The prevailing childcare practices often eliminated the individual needs of children, and prescribed harsh punishment. Father Flanagan’s revolutionary home fostered the individual spirt of the children, and advocated love and understanding. The first Boys Town home was located in an old former boarding house located in downtown Omaha. Within weeks of opening the home was filled with over seventy boys, and the rooms were bursting at ...

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Victoria S | Assistant Family-Teacher
North Florida Residential Transition

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Mealtime at Boys Town: The ‘Yuck’ List

Sitting down at the dinner table together as a family is one of the most important aspects of life in a Boys Town Family Home. It is a time to not only share a common activity, but also to talk about the day and to learn social skills like communicating, listening and showing gratitude. The practice of coming together around a table each evening to share a meal is often a new tradition for our youth. At Boys Town, we ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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The House at 122 Maher Drive

A revolution in youth care was launched in 1975 when this former dormitory was converted into the first Boys Town Family Home. This new model of care, where a group of boys or girls live and learn under the care and tutelage of a married couple known as Family-Teachers, would eventually spread beyond Boys Town to residential youth care programs across the country. Watch the video to learn how it all began.

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Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

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Today’s Boys Town Care Is a Family Affair

Father Edward Flanagan was a true visionary. When he founded Boys Town nearly a century ago in December 1917 as a humble home for wayward boys, Father Flanagan’s bigger dream was to someday reach out to help children all across America. Through sound leadership and groundbreaking innovations, that vision has been realized as Boys Town has grown into a national leader in child care. Over the last three decades, Boys Town has evolved and expanded its programs to meet the growing ...

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Tom Lynch, Boys Town Historian

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Hall of History Updating Project

By the late 1930’s the population of Boys Town was growing and Father Flanagan decided a new dining Hall was needed. In 1939 the new dining hall was constructed with the capacity to feed four hundred boys three times a day. Over the decades thousands of boys ate their meals and special events were held in the building. Each week Father Flanagan stood in a special spot and addressed the boys with announcements of life in the village. In the ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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From a Dumpster to the Hall of History: Father Flanagan’s Cross of Cong

One of Boys Town’s most visually stunning and culturally valuable artifacts — Father Flanagan’s personal replica of the famous Cross of Cong, presented to him by the Lord Mayor of Dublin — was almost lost forever, had it not been for an Omaha priest passing by a dumpster. Watch the video below to see this fascinating story. Cross of Cong from Boys Town on Vimeo.

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Dr. Reznicek | Superintendent, Boys Town High School

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Thoughts on Christmas at Boys Town

  The holiday season here at Boys Town is big — really big. The first thing you must understand is that for many of these kids, this is the first time they’re truly getting to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. They often come to us from distressed families in at-risk urban, suburban or rural neighborhoods, where students are sometimes lucky just to make it through the day without being shot, robbed or arrested. Many consider themselves fortunate just to have ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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Christmas at Boys Town: An Inside Look

Think about your favorite Christmas memories as a child. Waking up early and pressing your face to the window to see if it snowed. Running downstairs to see what Santa left under the tree. Marveling at the twinkling lights and the warmth that can only come from a loving family. For at-risk children growing up poor and neglected on the streets of America’s inner cities, Christmas often conjures up very different memories. While other kids were waking up to colorfully wrapped ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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One Man’s Vision, One Nation’s Transformation

On Dec. 12, 2016, Boys Town marks its 99th anniversary of saving children and healing families. As we begin the celebration of our centennial year, it is fitting that we honor the legacy of our founder, Servant of God Father Edward Flanagan. Boys Town’s mission to change the way America cares for children, families and communities began with his dream and thrives today to benefit boys and girls across the country. In the early 1900s, the treatment and living conditions ...

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Your Friends at Boys Town

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Calling All Boys Town Supporters

This is it. The start of something big. REALLY BIG! After all, how many organizations get to celebrate 100 years of service? First Things First Throughout our history, Boys Town employees have been the key to successfully carrying out our mission of saving children, healing families and strengthening communities. So it was fitting that we launched the beginning of our 100th year with a special employee appreciation event for all our sites around the country. Josh Temple, star of various HGTV and DIY ...

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By Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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At Election Time, Wage Your Own Campaign to Teach Kids Positive Behaviors

I am so tired of seeing attack ads from politicians, both on television and the Internet. Between all the name-calling and unsupported claims, what is being modeled for our kids? That if you tear a person down enough, people will like you more? I don’t think so, and I know most parents don’t think so either. At Boys Town, we have a more positive way to teach youth about citizenship and the electoral process. Each year since 1935, the youth of ...

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Boys Town Contributor and Former Boys Town Youth, Sommer

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Catching Up with Sommer

If you’ve been a follower of ours for awhile, you have probably heard of Sommer, her story is pretty amazing. Her drug-addicted biological parents often left Sommer and her brothers alone for days while they went out looking for drugs. Her father once even fired a gun at her mother right in front of her — luckily missing both of them. At age 6, Sommer entered the foster care system, where she struggled with her new situation and fought with ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Saving Children by Empowering Our Schools

“I feel like everybody has come together. It’s like a family here. I’m happy to come to school every day.” — Robert, High School Student Father Flanagan believed that children aren’t inherently bad; they’re only as bad or good as their environment and education. Nearly a century later, Boys Town is still guided by his forward-thinking philosophy — although it has expanded beyond residential care for at-risk youth to include a variety of services. One such service is the Boys Town Educational Model®, ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Keeping Boys Town Youth Engaged and Involved

At-risk youth come to Boys Town from all over the country. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they all have one thing in common: a difficult upbringing that presents unique challenges not faced by other children their age. Keeping these youth focused and on a path to future success means keeping them engaged inside and outside school. Luckily for them, Boys Town offers a wide variety of ways for them to get involved beyond the classroom. One of those activities is athletics. It’s About ...

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U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Sieben, Boys Town Graduate

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Reflections of a Successful Boys Town Alum

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Sieben, a 2011 Boys Town graduate, recently reflected on how Boys Town changed his life. Sgt. Sieben (second from right) is currently stationed in Germany after serving nine months in Afghanistan. I was a terrible kid before I came to Boys Town. I was kicked out of high school my junior year because I was abusing drugs and alcohol. I was always angry and felt mad at the world, frustrated that no one seemed to understand or ...

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Dr. Reznicek, Superintendent, Boys Town High School

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Countering Bullying in the Boys Town Schools

Who are bullies?  What leads these individuals to bullying? These are often students who have witnessed physical or verbal aggression in their own homes.  They have seen other people push or hit children or adults.  A bully is often a physically strong individual.  A bully may or may not be popular with their peer group.  Bullies generally have trouble following rules.  They show little concern for the feelings of others.  And, sadly, many bullies do not understand how wrong their ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Education Has Always Been the Cornerstone of Success at Boys Town

In 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan founded Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska, as a revolutionary home for children. At Boys Town, children were valued, nurtured and cared for with compassion and understanding. Why were Father Flanagan’s ideas and practices considered to be so contrary to America’s prevailing child care system? Boys Town was conceived through years of research by Father Flanagan as a response to the American concept of eugenics. The philosophy of eugenics stated that a child’s race, religion or social ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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Boys Town Commemorative Coin Designs Revealed

Boys Town youth were among the first to see the designs for three commemorative coins being released by the United States Mint in honor of Boys Town. The designs were revealed just a little over a year after the Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (Public Law 114-30) was signed into law by President Obama on July 5, 2015. The three coins, a $5 gold, a silver dollar and a half dollar clad, will be minted and issued by the United ...

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Angela Nott, Boys Town Cross Country Coach and Teacher

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Boys Town Girls’ Cross Country Team Competes with Olympian Character

During the second heat of the women’s 5,000 meter run in Rio on Tuesday, the real action wasn’t at the finish line; it was farther back. With about 3,200 meters complete, American runner Abbey D’Agostino collided with New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, causing both women to fall to the track. While Hamblin was largely unharmed, D’Agostino was clearly in pain. But rather than quit, D’Agostino helped Hamblin up and urged her to finish the race, cheering her on from behind. That’s “Competing ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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More to Pokémon Go than Meets the Eye

I recently attended a birthday party for the children of my dear friends, Tim and Pam, at their home. I’ve known Tim and Pam for many years and presided over their wedding. As the party was winding down, the couple’s 16-year-old daughter Elly asked permission to go out and play Pokémon Go. I had heard about the game and asked Elly to explain how it works. As she spoke, I realized that many of the skills and attitudes required for success ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Olympic Torch Lit Up Boys Town

Many important and distinctive events occur in the Village of Boys Town. Their purpose is to enrich students and broaden their educational experience. Oftentimes, these events are sports related. One of the most interesting occurred in 2002 when the Olympic torch passed through Boys Town on its way to Salt Lake City, host of that year’s Winter Olympics. As you may know, months before the start of the Winter and Summer Games, a ceremonial torch is lit in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Trailblazing Olympian Got His Start at Boys Town

Father Edward Flanagan knew sports helped children physically and emotionally. That’s why one of the first youth programs he organized was a baseball league for Omaha’s homeless children. At Boys Town, Father Flanagan created a large intramural program that involved everyone. Baseball, football, basketball, track and other sports gave his kids the opportunity to have fun, exercise, learn team building skills and, most importantly, experience success. One young lad who took advantage of these extracurricular activities was Charles “Deacon” Jones. He arrived ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Star NFL Cornerback Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman Visits Boys Town

Charles Tillman’s day job is all about taking — primarily footballs intended for opposing receivers. But when he’s not harassing NFL offenses, Charles focuses on giving back to the community. In 2008, Charles’ daughter was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease that usually leads to heart failure and death. Fortunately, his daughter was the recipient of a heart transplant, and today she is a vibrant, active young girl with a bright future. As a result of this experience, Charles and his wife Jackie ...

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Superintendent

Dr. Reznicek, Boys Town High School

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Preparing for a Real-World Future

Graduating from high school can often evoke both a sense of elation and uncertainty. We’ve made it . . . now what? At Boys Town, we try our best to remove that uncertainty from the equation. Our kids typically go on to college or the military or into the workforce, prepared to reach their potential – whatever that may be. For those not on the college or military tracks, entering the workforce is the primary goal. For these students, Boys Town offers a ...

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Christina Kreikemeier, Boys Town Alum and Mentoring Instructional Facilitator

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I Found a Home at Boys Town

My life has always been a little tumultuous. When I was just a few days old, my father tried to sell me on the black market for money. Sometimes my grandmother would say it would’ve been better if she had let him because I would’ve had a better life. I always disagreed with her. You see, if my grandmother hadn’t intervened, I never would have had the opportunity to come to Boys Town, Nebraska. Yes, I came to Boys Town because of ...

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Paul Blomenkamp, Boys Town High School Associate Principal and Athletic Director

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Boys Town, Allstate Team Up Again to Compete with Character

Most of the boys and girls who come to Boys Town have known only failure. Many have done poorly in school, struggling to keep up academically or facing suspensions or expulsion. Few have played sports, so they’ve never had anyone cheer for them or experienced the thrill of victory. At Boys Town, these kids get their first real opportunity to learn social skills, succeed in the classroom, and participate in athletics as part of a team. In everything they do as ...

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Dan Daly, Executive Vice President, Director of Youth Care, Boys Town

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Candidates Miss Opportunity to Address At-Risk Children

The article was previously published on Roll Call. Presidential candidates are quick to complain that an extended campaign means giving the same rote answers to the same rote questions, the same stump speech to the same political reporters.   But if the candidates take advantage of this time, the campaign is actually an opportunity to have a discussion about a national crisis that, to date, has gone under the radar: how our next leader plans to care for the hundreds of thousands ...

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Allix Catlett, Director, Summer Enrichment Program 

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Youth Learn, Grow, and Contribute Through New Summer Enrichment Program

Boys Town for many years has provided our youth with opportunities to learn and grow over the summer months. In the past, the kids were involved in a program that was lovingly referred to as “Summer Work.” The boys and girls learned job-related skills by lending a hand in the Horticulture, Garden, and Farm Departments, helping to beautify the campus by planting flowers and completing landscaping projects. They also maintained a large garden, harvesting and selling vegetables at a Farmer’s ...

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Joey and Heather Butler, Boys Town Family-Teachers

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Jennifer’s Journey to Leadership, Self-Confidence and Success

Jennifer came to Boys Town as a junior in high school. When she moved into our Boys Town Family Home, she was quiet and very reserved. Toward the end of her junior year, she began to step out of her comfort zone and step into a leadership role on campus. That new role included being chosen to represent Boys Town youth at the Blue Water Bash, a fundraising event to support Boys Town’s Okoboji Camp in Iowa. Every summer, Boys Town ...

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Boys Town Contributor & Gavin, 2016 Boys Town Graduate

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2016 Graduates Reflect on Time Spent at Boys Town

This past weekend, 86 boys and girls walked across the stage to receive their diploma from Boys Town High School. These kids come to Boys Town, Nebraska from all over the country. Some come from toxic home environments, others have gotten into trouble with the law. But what brought them to Boys Town doesn’t matter once they get here. What matters is that they work hard for a chance at a bright future. We couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments. Below ...

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Sonya Brown, Boys Town Louisiana Alum and Staff Member

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Sharing My Story of Change

I recently had the privilege of participating in a hearing with three Louisiana state senators to address the needs of young women who are involved in the juvenile justice system. In one-on-one meetings, we discussed juvenile justice in the foster care system, specifically how foster care youth are often arrested for status offenses like running away from foster home placements. I am personally aware of what these youth experience. You see, I was one of those runaways just a few short ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Life After Boys Town: Choosing a Third Path

Portions of content found at nytimes.com At Boys Town campuses all across the country, young men and women are embracing a second chance at life and preparing for the road ahead, armed with skills that will serve them throughout their lives. While many aspire going on to college after they graduate high school, there are those kids for whom this is not an option. For many years, the military was the classic alternative to higher education. But as admission standards have risen and ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director 

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Teaching Citizenship to Kids in an Era of Attack Ads

I am so tired of seeing attack ads from politicians. Between all the name calling and unsupported claims, what are we modeling to our kids? That if you tear a person down enough, people will like you more? I don’t think so, and I know most parents don’t either. At Boys Town we instead find ways of teaching youth citizenship through class elections. Each year since 1935, the youth of Boys Town elect a Mayor and Vice Mayor from the upcoming ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director 

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When Children Must Grieve

Recently at Boys Town, our kids went through the sad, painful experience of losing one of their friends and fellow residents. The young man who passed away was well liked, a good student and a good athlete, and on his way to a bright future. His death was a shock to our boys and girls, not only because of its suddenness but also because most young people are not prepared to deal with the loss of someone their own age. We ...

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Submitted  by Janet Goodman, print buyer and mentor at Boys Town

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Mentor Gets ‘Incredible Feeling’ Helping to Improve Children’s Lives

This article was originally posted in the Omaha World Herald.  I absolutely love mentoring because it’s a one-on-one opportunity to show these kids that someone cares. Everyone needs help once in a while and I want these kids to know that it’s okay to need help and ask for help, and that someone (maybe even a stranger) will be there to offer it to them. These are just kids, after all. How they got here really doesn’t matter. Whether they’ve made mistakes in ...

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Heather Butler, Boys Town Family-Teacher

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A Positive Approach to Discipline that Can Work for Any Family

As a parent and a Family-Teacher at Boys Town, I have learned that Boys Town’s method of disciplining children can be incredibly effective for all parents. At Boys Town, we focus on attaching a cost response to behaviors. So when a child does something – whether it is good or bad – there is a response in the form of a consequence. For good behavior, the youth at Boys Town earn positive points, which they can use to “purchase” privileges like sweet ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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At The Table: A Time for Talking, Not Technology

There was a recent cartoon in The Spectator that really hit home. A couple is out to dinner at a restaurant. The wife says to her husband, sadly, “What’s wrong? You’ve hardly touched your phone.” Though you may chuckle at the cynical observation, most of you will also recognize the sentiment all too well. That’s because it seems to perfectly sum up the sad state of dinnertime in the 21st century. But it doesn’t have to. Families both large and small have been ...

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Dr. Dan Daly, Executive Vice President of Youth Care

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Tips for Helping Your Kids in the Aftermath of a Tragedy

This post was first published on Momaha.com. Today’s world can be a scary place for kids. With stories about shootings and accidents in the news on a regular basis, and this week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, it’s impossible to shield kids from the realities of life. We can, however, help them cope with the events and continue to move forward. Everyone – including kids – is hard-wired to recover from crisis events and has “built-in” coping mechanisms. Therefore, it is normal for kids to ...

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Marie Ruhter, Boys Town Family-Teacher

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Creating Meal Time Memories

We try to have dinner together as a family every night in our Boys Town Family Home. Even on days when everyone “fends” for themselves or we do leftovers, we still sit down to pray and eat together. It’s a must for our household because eating together is so much more than pushing potatoes or vegetables around on a plate. This is where we learn about our boys, see their personalities and get to know them better.  We use conversation starters to find ...

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Elizabeth, caller of The Boys Town National Hotline

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A Desperate Call for Help is Answered

The following is an actual letter from a young woman who was engaging in self-harm. I want to thank you for all you have done for me. I remember learning of the Your Life Your Voice website when I was around eighteen, and I used it often between the ages of eighteen and twenty. I have struggled with self-harm for about four and a half years. I remember at my lowest points I was self-harming badly multiple times a day, and I’ve ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Thoughts of a Self-Harming Teen

As Boys Town counselors, we deal with the issue of self-harm on an almost daily basis. In result, we gain a unique insight into why teens engage in an activity that seems so unfathomable to parents. The following are actual statements made by teens whom at one point in their lives, engaged in self-harm: “Why sit, and wait, and dwell on your feelings, when in less than two minutes you could let them out, and then go on with your day?” “I'm worried ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Achievements of Supporters, Alumni Highlight Boys Town’s Black History Month Celebration

In 1917, Servant of God Father Edward Flanagan founded his Home for Boys in Omaha, Nebraska, on the principles of racial and religious tolerance and acceptance. Many people did not appreciate or support this revolutionary concept, and Father Flanagan eventually left the city to create his own community – the Village of Boys Town – away from disapproving critics. Many organizations that fought for racial equality supported the Home, including the NAACP. Over the decades, Boys Town sought out African Americans ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and Boys Town Hall of History 

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Valentines and Voting Booths

Valentine’s Day has always been special at Boys Town, but it was especially true in 1926. It was Election Day at the Home, and the outcome ushered in a new era. Boys Town founder, Servant of God Father Edward Flanagan, was a big believer in civic responsibility. He wanted the children at the Home to be good citizens and learn about the law and government. He advocated a form of self-government that gave boys a voice in the rules that governed ...

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Kevin Kush, Boys Town Football Coach and Teacher 

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Character Revealed and Rewarded: Boys Town’s Shaquil Barrett Set for Super Bowl 50

On February 7, one of Boys Town’s very own will be competing in Super Bowl 50.  Shaquil Barrett, a 2010 graduate, will be on the field as an outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos. As Boys Town’s head football coach, I had the pleasure of coaching Shaquil during our 2008 and 2009 seasons.  Shaquil’s success in the NFL should be looked upon by youth across this country as an example of how one can be rewarded for “doing what is right.” At ...

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Pat Heys, Boys Town Mentor

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Mentor Finds ‘Pretty Special’ Moments While Helping Local Children Grow

This article was originally published by the Omaha World Herald on January 28th, 2016. I have always enjoyed working with kids. The story of how I started mentoring at Boys Town actually began at Dowd Chapel on the Boys Town campus. I frequently attend Mass there, so I was aware of Father Flanagan’s story, his rich legacy and the mission of Boys Town. When I retired, I hoped I could volunteer and be a small part of that mission. I stopped Father ...

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Joey and Heather Butler, Boys Town Family Teachers

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Kids & Technology: A Boys Town Family-Teacher Perspective

When troubled youth first enter a Boys Town residential program, they are typically in for a shock. They suddenly find they are no longer able to act without consequences or operate without adult supervision. And they no longer have unrestricted access to technology such as computers, TVs, games and mobile phones. This radical change of environment is, of course, one of the fundamental aspects of the program’s lengthy record of success in preparing at-risk children to become productive, happy adults. One of ...

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Sloane Baxter, Former Boys Town Youth

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Sharing My Boys Town Experience with Congress

I was recently invited to Washington, D.C., to share my personal story with Congress. I wanted to share it because it’s important for lawmakers to hear from those who are most affected by their actions. My hope is that my story will help create effective policies that divert youth from involvement in the juvenile justice system, support alternatives to incarceration, save taxpayer dollars and, most importantly, promote safer, stronger and healthier youth, families and communities. I was in trouble with the ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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Valero’s Continued Support Helps Boys Town Programs Grow

The Valero Foundation recently awarded a combined total of $100,000 to Boys Town Louisiana and Boys Town Texas from proceeds received through the 2015 Valero Texas Open Benefit for Children. Every donated dollar makes all the difference in the world to the life a child who is struggling. That’s why we are so thankful to the Valero Foundation for its continued support of our programs across the country. Boys Town Louisiana received $40,000 to help more children through the site’s Care ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Raising a Child With Integrity

You have many jobs as a parent. You must keep your children safe from harm. You must clothe, feed and shelter them. You must see to their education and their health. You must nurture and support them as they grow, both physically and mentally. And you must teach them – both by example and by instruction – the many virtues that make up the notion of integrity. So what is integrity? It’s a combination of many things: honesty, empathy, compassion, fairness… ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and Boys Town Hall of History

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Through the Decades, Christmas Traditions Have Brought Holiday Happiness to Boys Town Youth

“No season of the entire year brings with it such warmth of feeling and such a sense of peace as Christmas time.” Servant of God Edward Flanagan Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys had been open only eight days when the boys in Servant of God Edward Flanagan’s care celebrated their first Christmas in 1917. Their Christmas meal that day consisted of a barrel of sauerkraut donated by a local merchant. Years later, Servant of God Flanagan reflected on that momentous holiday: “...I ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and Boys Town Hall of History 

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Boys Town – 98 Years Strong

On December 12, 1917, Servant of God Father Edward Flanagan welcomed the first residents to his new children’s home in Omaha, Nebraska. After working with homeless men for several years, Father Flanagan realized that his true mission was to help the children no one wanted. Over a period of several months, the priest took time each week to sit in the local courthouse to hear cases involving juvenile offenders. He was surprised to see that in most cases, the boy offenders ...

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Mara Paradis, M.D., Boys Town Pediatrician

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Catch Them Being Good: Elf on the Shelf Edition

This article was authored by Mara Paradis, M.D. and originally posted by Boys Town Pediatrics. During the holiday season, growing excitement and exhausting festivities can take a toll on a child’s behavior and a parent’s state-of-mind, but it is important to be consistent in regards to what is expected from both parents and children. Praising children at appropriate times is one of the most important things a parent can do. It will nourish your child's mind and self-esteem. It will also reward ...

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Thomas Lynch, Director of Community Programs and Boys Town Hall of History

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Through the Decades, Boys Town Youth Celebrate a Tradition of Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving means so much more than turkey and pumpkin pie to the children of Boys Town. It is a special holiday celebration when our young citizens express how thankful they are for a new start and a new direction in their lives. Our founder, the Servant of God Edward Flanagan, often said that the most appreciative children in America were those who lived at Boys Town. The early Thanksgiving celebrations at Boys Town were often simple events, mainly because there wasn’t ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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Giving Your Children the Gift of the Holidays

The last six weeks of the year are a magical time, here at Boys Town and across our great nation, as families prepare to celebrate that final stretch of holidays, from Thanksgiving, to Hanukkah, to Christmas, to New Year’s Day. Holidays are special, not only because they commemorate important events or times of the year, but also because they are a way for us to mark time, both chronologically and spiritually, and observe traditions and rituals that give flavor and meaning ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Father Flanagan Never Lost Touch with Hometown Ballymoe

In 1886, Boys Town founder Father Edward J. Flanagan was born in the township of Leabeg, County Roscommon, Ireland. But while Leabeg was his place of birth, Father Flanagan always considered the nearby village of Ballymoe, County Galway, as his hometown. A rural farming community located in western Ireland, the village was surrounded by the ruins of ancient castles and had origins that stretched back hundreds of years. When Father Flanagan was a young boy, several long-time businesses and pubs lined ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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The Importance of Talking to Your Kids About Addiction

Starting the conversation early is very important when it comes to drugs and alcohol. These days, kids are exposed to these vices at an ever-younger age, which means that it’s crucial to educate them now on how to handle situations that may come up. Try to find “teachable moments” during your interactions with your kids. If your child is a little younger, consider these two examples: • If your child sees someone who is acting drunk, you can explain to him or ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Instead of Black Friday, Make it Fun Friday!

Let’s face it; Black Friday is getting old. So let everyone else get up at the crack of dawn and fight each other for those "door-buster" deals. After all, if you’re like most moms and dads, you spent much of the days before cleaning the house and preparing a huge meal for your extended family. Wouldn't you rather sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast or brunch with your kids? Besides, there are plenty of fun family activities that you can ...

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Lisa Hukill, Development Associate Vice President

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Giving Tuesday Is Your Chance to Make a Difference

When Black Friday comes around, people come out in hoards to purchase gifts for the holidays. Others wait until CyberMonday to snag that deal. But what about Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday, also known as December 1st this year, is a day dedicated to giving ‐‐ when charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers and more will all come together. Boys Town encourages you to make your donation in celebration of this day! When you choose Boys Town on Giving Tuesday, you are ...

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Kevin Kush, Boys Town Football Coach and Teacher

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Win with Class and Lose with Dignity

In sports, there’s nothing more unattractive and unpleasant than poor winners and sore losers. Poor winners brag about their performance and blow their own horn to make themselves look good. They don’t care if they bother or upset their opponents, teammates, or coaches. Sore losers complain, criticize, and make excuses for their performance or the outcome. Instead of taking ownership and responsibility for what happened in a game or match, they blame the weather, officials, coaches, teammates, opponents, or just ...

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Ginny Gohr, Boys Town National Hotline Director

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Boys Town National Hotline — Help With Any Problem, Any Time

More than 500 suicides were prevented last year thanks to the Boys Town National Hotline®. Many people don’t realize the same hotline number they see advertised on TV when they can’t sleep at 3 a.m. is part of an organization that’s nearly a century old, but for more than 25 years, the Boys Town National Hotline (1-800-448-3000) and its extended services have been answering the call when children and parents need immediate assistance. One of the most critical needs the Hotline meets ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Halloween at Boys Town

The Servant of God Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town to be a home for abandoned and orphaned children. His intention was to provide the boys a family-based lifestyle whenever possible. This included the celebration of holidays. One major fall holiday was Halloween. Being Irish, the Servant of God Flanagan had celebrated this holiday in his native country. Once the Home had moved to Overlook Farm, the Halloween celebrations became a fall harvest event. In the 1920s, the Servant of God would ...

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Kip Jones, Boys Town Press Author

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Teach Kids to be a B.O.S.S & Take a Stand Against Bullying

This article was first published on Boys Town National Training in October, 2015.   Bullying has become an epidemic in communities, homes, online and our schools. For example, bullyingstatistics.org cites the following data: Bullying victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are ...

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Coach Kevin Kush,
Boys Town Football Coach and Teacher

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Respect Officials at Sporting Events

What appeared to be an intentional attack against an official during a high school football game in Texas last month that was captured on video is causing high school sports administrators around the country to remind coaches, players, and parents about the importance of treating officials with respect. Two defensive football players from San Antonio John Jay High School blindsided a back judge, one running into him at full speed from behind and another diving into him while he was on ...

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Erin Dittman, Supervisor, Boys Town In-Home Family Services

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7 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Follow Your Instructions

This article was originally posted on Momaha on August 27th, 2015. Could the way you give your children instructions be setting them up for failure – and you up for frustration? I once heard that an average 10-year-old follows instructions 63 percent of the time. Maybe you’re thinking that seems really high – or maybe really low. I know we all get frustrated by our kids not following instructions. So even if "average" is about two-thirds of the time, how can we ...

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Alesia Montgomery, Boys Town National Training

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5 Tips for Keeping Your Dating Teen Safe

This article first appeared on Boys Town National Training in February 2015.   We have all seen the giddy teenage girl at the mall with her boyfriend with hearts floating above her head. Unfortunately, this is just as common as seeing a brooding young man who thinks his life is over because things didn’t work out. Dating relationships can be a great experience for teens, allowing them to learn skills to stay healthy in a relationship. As adults it is important that we teach kids how to ...

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Laura Buddenberg, Manager
Training and Community Outreach, Mother of two

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Is My Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

With the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus coming out this weekend, smartphones will definitely be on the mind of kids and adults alike. So let’s run down the pros and cons of cell phone use for young kids. On the pro side, a phone will allow your child to contact you whenever he or she needs to and vice versa. And if it’s a smartphone, you can even use it to track your child’s whereabouts. As for cons, there are a ...

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Erin Green,
Director, Boys Town National Training & Boys Town Press Services

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One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to Teaching Students Social Skills and Behavior Management

Every year, Boys Town National Training provides training and consultation services to hundreds of schools and thousands of educators across the United States and throughout the world. These services are based on the Boys Town Education Model®, which focuses on skill-teaching, relationship-building and implementing effective discipline procedures. With a multi-tiered intervention approach, our services assess a school’s or district’s needs; develop a service plan, training and consultation to support the school’s or district’s goals; and, when necessary, build capacity within ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Donor Stories: Jack McGraw Moves Boys Town’s Mission Forward

As a Leader and Advocate, Jack McGraw Moves Boys Town’s Mission Forward Jack McGraw was wearing a football uniform and playing for Omaha (NE) Creighton Prep High School when he had his first close encounter with the young men of Boys Town in 1947. He could not have known then that while he played against Boys Town’s football team that day, he would someday be part of Boys Town’s child and family care team as one of its most dedicated supporters. A Steady ...

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Kerry Stewart, Director of Family Home Program

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The 4 to 1 Principle of Praise: Prompting Positive Behavior

As parents, we’re conditioned to notice when something is out of order with our kids – that’s nature working. So when they’re at the kitchen table doing their homework or in the bathroom brushing their teeth before bed, everything is normal and we go about our regular business. Unfortunately this means that many of us have a tendency to interact with our kids more often when they’re being bad than when they’re being good. After all, bad gets noticed, so ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of six-year-old daughter and five-year-old son

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My Youngest Starts School. Wait, am I Supposed to be Sad?

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. My baby started Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. He is my second and last to go off to school. As I was leaving the school after drop off on the first day, I encountered other moms in the hallway fighting ...

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Father Boes, President & National Executive Director of Boys Town

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When Kids Can’t Make Sense of the World, Sensitive Parenting Is a Must

Recently in the news, we saw the heart-breaking photos of a little boy whose body had washed up on a beach after he drowned during his family’s attempt to flee their war-torn homeland of Syria. The family was part of a group of refugees who were desperately trying to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece in an inflatable boat. The boat capsized and the little boy, his brother and mother were among the 12 people who did not survive. Parents often ...

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Erin Sorensen, Online Engagement Specialist and Cheerleading Coach at Boys Town

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Over Commitment: How to Know When Too Much Is Too Much

Not long ago, I had to stop one of my cheerleaders and tell her to take a deep breath. She was rushing from volleyball practice to make it to cheer practice on time and she was flustered. She had misplaced her volleyball jersey and now her cheer bow was gone. The stress was visibly noticeable on her face. “Breathe,” I informed her. She nodded, took a breath and grabbed her pom-poms. She’s not the only youth I coach who is involved in ...

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Terry Hyland,
Boys Town Press Book Co-Author,
Father and Grandfather

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Finding Positive Behaviors to Praise – Even When They’re Hard to See

It’s easy to criticize your kids when they’re being bad. After all, when they’re bad, you notice (which may be why they’re doing it in the first place). But research shows that they’ll improve their behavior quicker – and will be less likely to tune you out – if you “catch them being good” and praise them four times for every one time you criticize. The trick is, of course, how to catch them being good, because unlike obvious bad behavior, ...

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Terry Hyland,
Boys Town Press Book Co-Author,
Father and Grandfather

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The Power of Praise: All ‘4-to-1’ and One for All

In the restaurant business, there’s something called the “3:11 rule.” It means that if diners have a good meal and a positive dining experience, they are likely to tell three people about it. However, if their dining experience is sub-par or unpleasant (bad food, bad service), they’ll share their complaints with 11 people. It’s just human nature for us to focus more on the negatives than the positives and to look for things to criticize rather than things to praise. For parents, ...

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Kevin Kush, Boys Town Football Coach and Teacher

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How to Communicate With a Coach Without Overstepping

If you have a son or daughter participating in youth sports, sooner or later you’re probably going to want to talk to a coach about something – likely an issue on which you and the coach disagree. More often than not, the issue is playing time – as in, “Coach Kush, my son sat on the bench for most of last Friday’s game. He’s much better than the other kid; why don’t you let him play more?” But sometimes you get ...

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Erin Dittman, Supervisor, Boys Town In-Home Family Services

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4 Steps to Help Keep Kids Calm

This post was originally published on Momaha.com on July 23rd, 2015. Everyone gets upset sometimes, kids are no different. Staying calm is an essential skill for success at home, at school and throughout life in general. As parents, we can help our kids learn to stay calm in difficult situations. Follow these four steps to help your child learn to control their outbursts. 1. Keep your own emotions in check. One of the most important things parents can do to help their children ...

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Boys Town Contributor, Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

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Mental Mantra for Parents with Young Athletes

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Sports can be competitive. The competitiveness is what drives athletes and spectators to enjoy the game. But at what age should an athlete be subjected to the pressures of the tough mental grind that co-exists with the world of sports? And ...

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Julie Mooney, Boys Town High School Teacher

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Back to School at Boys Town

A new school year is beginning at Boys Town. That means new faces, new expectations and new beginnings for many of our students. Some have been with us over the summer, while others are just joining us. Our students, like those everywhere, are usually ready to settle into the routine and structure of the school environment. They are looking forward to being involved in good, positive activities. Those who have been to school at Boys Town already know that they will ...

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Mother of six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son

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Can I Ever Get out of the House on Time?

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Is it even possible to get out of the house on time with kids? It is certainly a frequent discussion between my fellow mom friends and myself. My mornings have changed drastically over the last year. I used to find ...

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Kevin Kush, Boys Town Football Coach and Teacher

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3 Ways Parents Can Help Their Athlete Handle Disappointment, Adversity

This article was originally posted on Momaha on July 29th, 2015. Life is full of ups and downs. So are youth sports. If your son or daughter participates in athletics, they will, at some point, lose, face adversity and be disappointed. Participating in sports gives young people the opportunity to learn how to overcome disappointment and adversity in a safe and controlled environment. Successfully overcoming obstacles is one of the most important life skills adults can teach youngsters. Coaches and parents must recognize there ...

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Julia Cook, Children’s Book Author

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Civility Wars: Helping Your Child Battle Rudeness and Learn Positive People Skills

Rudeness damages others by creating stress, eroding self-worth, creating relationship problems and making life difficult. When we are treated rudely by others, we often become vulnerable and self-doubting. Teaching children to be polite is not an all-or-nothing proposition, but instead is a continuum that starts at birth and continues throughout life. Teaching a child just one single strategy toward politeness will better that child! The most important skill we can teach our children to help them succeed in life is the ...

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Julia Cook, Children’s Book Author

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That’s Just RUDE!

According to The Washington Post,  a recent research study indicates that children who scored well on social competence indicators were four times more likely to get a college degree by age 25 than children who scored poorly. The study goes on to state that children who interact well as kindergartners are more likely to make friends and get positive feedback from teachers, and therefore are more likely to like and stay in school. Teaching children at a very young age how to ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

with 0 comments

Why Cell Phones are Ruining Our Families

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Ok, the title of this may be a little over-dramatized, but there is a lot of truth to the harm that they are doing. For Christmas my husband and I were due for upgrades on our phones, so we packaged up ...

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Boys Town Contributor

with 1 comment

Study Offers Solution for Parents to Get Their Kids to Stay in Bed

If you have kids between the ages of three and ten, you’re probably used to some sort of post-bedtime violation. “I need a glass of water!” is a common one. Or maybe it’s the three-year-old sneaking under mom and dad’s bed covers for a late-night snuggle. For all sorts of reasons, kids often don’t like the idea of going to sleep. But this can be understandable. After all, in a child’s mind, sleep means saying goodbye to everyone he or she ...

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Boys Town Contributor, Mother of one year-old son

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Take Back the Night

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. It was at the six-month well-baby check for our son that our pediatrician uttered four life-changing words. Like any other routine appointment she asked about his sleep patterns and like any other tired parent I completely unloaded about all of the ...

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Bryan Smith,

Father, Coach, School Counselor

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Teaching a Balance Between Good Sportsmanship and Winning Is a Win-Win for Kids and Parents

This summer, my family enjoyed watching the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. As the games went on, my son asked more and more questions. One stood out: “Dad, what’s a yellow card?” I was able to explain to him that a player is given a yellow card when she does something that is not allowed, like pushing or tripping a player from the other team. I told him that breaking those kinds of rules it’s like cheating to help your ...

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Julia Cook, Children’s Book Author

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Sib Wars: Tips for Keeping the Peace in Your Home

“Give it back!” “Stop that!” “He won’t share!” “I had it first!” “She kicked me!” “That’s not fair!” Sound familiar? Oh, when your kids just can’t seem to get along… GRRRRRR! I vividly remember fighting with my older sister over who got to sit in the front seat of the car, who got the last pudding cup and what show we were going to watch on TV. She always felt it was her job to tell me what to do, what to say and, especially, how to ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Residential Care – The Heart of Boys Town

When Father Flanagan founded Boys Town in 1917, it was as a home for boys who had fallen through society’s cracks. Regardless of background, ethnicity or religion, Father Flanagan brought these young men together under one roof because he firmly believed, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.” Today, nearly 100 years later, Boys Town still serves as a home for boys and girls – who are at-risk and in need of ...

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Boys Town Contributor,
Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

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Stranger Danger – Keep Them Safe and Kind

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.   The other day I was in an elevator and a nice little boy looked up to me and said, “Hi.” He was about five years old and with his father. I said, “Hello, how is your day going?” He then ...

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Kristen Hallstrom, Manager of Boys Town National Hotline

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Teens and Self-Harm

At the hotline we deal with victims of self-harm every day. The majority of adults we speak to think the idea of deliberately hurting yourself to achieve relief from guilt or stress is unthinkable. But to a teen, self-harm is easy. It’s fast. It’s always available. And for a young person dealing with the pressures of everyday teenage life in 21st century America, it can be a tempting solution. As one 13-year-old explains, “Why sit, and wait, and dwell on ...

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Pat Thomas, Boys Town’s Nebraska Family Helpline

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4 Packing Tips For Kids To Make Vacation Less Stressful For Parents

This article was first published on Momaha on May 28, 2015. http://www.omaha.com/momaha/packing-tips-for-kids-to-make-vacation-less-stressful-for/article_90393e8a-00ae-11e5-af0f-2fc059762855.html Nothing screams “summer” like taking a family vacation that is sure to leave lasting memories and plenty of photos to laugh at for years to come. When the kids are out of school, families take advantage of the warm weather to hit national parks, the beach or a new city to explore. While family vacations teach us fanny packs should never come back in style and that TVs in cars and ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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The History of Women Mayors at Boys Town

In 1926, Father Edward Flanagan created the Boys Town Mayor system to help run the village. He believed the boys should have a say in their community and it would help the boys to learn how to get along with each other. But after several months, Father Flanagan realized the Home was not ready yet for the mayor system. By 1936, Father Flanagan felt the boys were ready once again to try the mayoral system. It proved successful and operated ...

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Boys Town Contributor, mother of 7-Year-Old Daughter and 5-Year-Old Son

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Summer Movie Review: Inside Out

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.    I couldn’t wait for the release of the new Pixar movie Inside Out, I love a good kid movie. In fact, most of my family finds joy in the simple pleasure of most cartoon flicks. So, last weekend my husband, myself, ...

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Jennifer Bell, Manager of Boys Town Reading Center

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Summer Reading: What Should My Kids Read?

Keeping our children reading throughout the summer is important. We recently looked at ways you can encourage your children to read, but you may now be wondering what exactly your children should be reading. As the Manager of the Reading Center at Boys Town High School and a parent myself, I have compiled a list of book your kids (no matter their age) are sure to love reading this summer, along with descriptions. Don’t forget to come back and let us ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Father of two teenage daughters and two tweens: one girl and one boy

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The Father’s Day Gift

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Ties. Socks. Electric razors. Grill tools. T-shirts with funny sayings. Ball caps with funny sayings. ‘Day Off’ coupons. Cologne. All are good Father’s Day gifts. But, in the long run, the items above have come and gone. The Father’s Day gifts ...

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Superintendent Dr. Reznicek, Boys Town High School

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Thoughts on Graduation

Graduation 2015 from Boys Town on Vimeo. Recently, more than 80 Boys Town seniors walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, signifying the start of their journey from adolescence to adulthood. Though I have been a part of this ceremony many times during my tenure at Boys Town, it never ceases to fill me with pride and hope for the future. You see, graduation is a rite of passage experienced by millions of teenagers across the nation every spring. And ...

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Paul Blomenkamp, Boys Town High School Associate Principal and Athletic Director

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How Allstate’s Donation Will Make a Difference

At Boys Town, we understand the important role sports can play in the lives of kids. As our own athletic program has grown, we’ve watched it play a vital role in the lives of abused and neglected children as a way to help build character, sportsmanship and self-discipline. That’s why we are so thankful to Allstate and all the #GoodHandsFans at the College World Series for the continued support of youth sports at the Village of Boys Town. On Monday, June ...

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Julie Mooney, Boys Town High School Teacher

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Summer Reading Part One

Reading is a lifelong skill that benefits students of all ages. As a teacher, I have seen that a student who is a good reader will be more successful in almost every subject in school. This is one learning area that children can continue to work on all summer. And it can be fun! The goal is to encourage your children to read and improve their comprehension as well. You can help with this easily. Here are some tips on how ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Donor Stories: Harriet Karol’s Playground

We would like to spend a few moments to shine a spotlight on one of our awesome donors. Because it’s the deep, heartfelt generosity of donors just like them—and like you—that have helped Boys Town achieve Father Flanagan’s vision of saving children and healing families. In this post we’re featuring a longtime donor, California mother and grandmother Harriet Karol. Situated just outside the new Boys Town Residential Treatment Center, there is a special playground where troubled young children can play and romp ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

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Calming A Worrisome Child

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. To say that I have a worrisome child would be an understatement. After the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, he refused to flush the toilet for six months for fear it would flood our house. Now, at age nine, we ...

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By Dan Daly, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Director of Youth Care at Boys Town

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Ensuring Quality Residential Care for Kids Is Our Top Priority

Throughout Boys Town’s history, one of our most important guiding principles has been to always do what is in the best interests of children or families so they have the greatest opportunity to find healing and success. This is why we developed our Integrated Continuum of Care®. The Continuum includes in-home and community-based programs that allow more children to get the help they need while remaining with their families (whenever possible) or during short-term stays in foster care. Still, Boys Town ...

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Chris Miller, Boys Town National Admissions

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Boys Town Admissions: Finding the Kids Who Need Our Help

Boys Town is a place where kids get second chances and learn how to make good choices. At Boys Town Admissions, we work every day to find boys and girls who are ready to turn their lives around and experience success in school, at home and in their community. Our residential program at Boys Town is made up a diverse population of youngsters who come here from all over the country. Some have gotten into trouble with the law and have ...

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Julie Mooney, Boys Town High School Teacher

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Let’s Celebrate the Last Day of School!

Finishing another year of school is a big deal for a child. It means feeling a sense of accomplishment and moving forward to new adventures. How can your family make this really special? First, plan a celebration. What marks the beginning of summer for your family? My children always loved starting the season with an event we could do together. It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive. Our kids always looked forward to camping the first weekend after school ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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The Day Father Flanagan Died

The U.S. Government Had Called on the Founder of Boys Town to Help Children in Post-War Asia and Europe   It was a story made famous by Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. During the winter of 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan borrowed $90 from a friend and turned an Omaha boardinghouse into a residence for homeless and neglected boys. The young Irish immigrant priest stuck to his then radical idea that all boys were welcome regardless of race or religion. By the late ...

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Erin Sorensen, Online Engagement Specialist and Cheerleading Coach at Boys Town

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Boys Town Nebraska – Booster Banquet

“Thank you, Coach. Thank you for believing in me.” I heard those words recently as one of the student-athletes I coach hugged me. She has just been awarded ‘Most Dedicated’ of the Boys Town cheer squad at the annual Booster Banquet and she wanted to thank me. All I could do was thank her right back. At Boys Town, I wear many different hats. I am not only an employee in the marketing department, but I am also one of the cheerleading ...

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Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director of Boys Town

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Boys Town’s National Reach and Impact

On beautiful spring days like today, I love to sit outside and reflect on all of God’s glorious deeds. The miracles of the heart that happen for the young people in our care at Boys Town would certainly be high on that list for me. What an absolute blessing it is to see Father Flanagan’s dream continue every day in the lives of the children and families with whom we work. What started nearly a hundred years ago with a few ...

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Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

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Boys Town Self-Government: Citizenship in Action

Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan once described his work as “building good Americans.” He believed that being a good citizen required active participation in the political process and voting. To give his boys a chance to experience and experiment with these activities, he set up a system of self-government at Boys Town. In 1935, Boys Town residents went to the polls to elect their very first mayor and Village commissioners. The elections allowed all the boys to have a voice ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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#KylieJennerChallenge

Teachable Moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. The influence of mainstream media on today’s teens is perhaps stronger than it has ever been. With multiple social media avenues, blogs and magazines toting this week’s latest look flooding the brains of today’s youth, sometimes it’s hard for young girls ...

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Guest Blogger + Boys Town Graduate

Tyler Simmons

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Tyler’s Journey: An Update

Hello! My name is Tyler Simmons and I am a Boys Town graduate from the class of 2012. I can remember that graduation day like yesterday, and I can say it has been one of the best experiences of my life still. As of today I am a Junior at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota and it is a tremendous experience as I am nearing my senior year of college. Attending Boys Town a few years ago ...

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Boys Town Contributor

Mother of six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son

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#AtTheTable Tonight

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  Tonight — and every other night — I am committed to having dinner together with my family. Because my kids are still young, I am lucky that their extracurricular activities are minimal and I can schedule them around family dinners; but, I know ...

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Marie Ruhter, Boys Town Family-Teacher

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Building a Stronger Family at the Dinner Table

We try to have dinner together as a family every night in our Boys Town Family Home. Even on days when everyone “fends” for themselves or we do leftovers, we still sit down to pray and eat together. It’s a must for our household because eating together is so much more than pushing potatoes or vegetables around on a plate. This is where we learn about our boys, see their personalities and get to know them better.  We use conversation starters to ...

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Karen, Guest Blogger

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Nick and Karen’s Story: An Update

This post is an update to the story we first brought to you about Karen and her son Nick.  Something to Brighten Your Day Today, as I sit here writing, we are celebrating Nick's 20th birthday. It's hard for me to believe that he's turned 20 years old. I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. I've learned a lot over these 20 years thanks to the boy that I call my "Sonshine." Nothing could have prepared me for ...

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Bob Pick, Vice President of Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa

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Praising Teenagers

I’m very much an advocate of praising kids, including teenagers, in a positive-negative ratio of at least four positives to every one negative. For some, this may sound a bit lofty but it is very realistic if adults truly pay attention to behavior and learn to praise specifically and genuinely. Praise is a sincere, positive evaluation of a person or an act. A lot of praise is “global” and terms are used such as “great job,” “you are smart,” or “pretty,” ...

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Bob Pick, Vice President of Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa

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Boys Town Launches Career-Readiness Courses

Photo courtesy of Andrew Dickinson for The New York Times. Here at Boys Town, we have always prided ourselves on preparing kids for a successful life after Boys Town. As some of you may have read in a recent New York Times article, Boys Town is expanding our Career-Readiness Center class offerings to respond to the changing workplace and a renewed demand for vocational jobs. We are in the early stages of a $1.5 million remodeling project on our Home Campus that will include ...

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Father Boes

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The Pressure to Be ‘Parent Perfect’

A woman stopped by my office earlier this week. She had just come from another meeting with the school principal about her child and her shoulders sagged under the burden of responsibility. She needed help. As we talked, her worries and fears rushed out. She was convinced that she was to blame for her child’s troubles. I told her, “It’s not your fault.” She looked up at me, startled. Again, I said, “It’s not your fault. You are a wonderful mother.” As those words started ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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What If There Were No Boys Town?

We wanted to know… what if there were no Boys Town? We asked some of the children and families that we heal each day. Here are a few of their responses: There is not a doubt in my mind. I would have gone back to gangs, gone back to drugs. I would not have graduated high school. Mariah They are the reason that I’m here today; I actually graduated college, I actually did something with my life. Boys Town gave me opportunity, ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Our Services, Our Stories

Boys Town does a LOT. We have a vast set of services, and it’s a challenge for us to tell our story, because there is so much that we cover. So, we’re providing you with descriptions of our services AND letting those we’ve helped tell their stories about how they were helped by our services. Read or watch—either way, you will be glad you did. The Boys Town Family Home Program provides a family for children ages 10 to 18. Six ...

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Bob Pick, Vice President of Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa

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Creating a Culture of Safety at Boys Town

Protecting the children in our care is priority number one. For any organization that works with children, safety is best ensured when everyone, including employees, volunteers and others who are involved with kids, knows how to prevent, report and respond to situations that could harm or jeopardize the wellbeing of children. Boys Town has learned through more than 90 years of experience of caring for children and its own research that certain core elements are essential in creating a culture of safety. Core ...

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Father Boes

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Working Together to Improve Child Care

My heart breaks when I hear what some of the children and families we serve went through before coming to Boys Town. As a child, Edward suffered abuse for 12 years before he was able to break free and get help. Today, he receives support from a caring aunt and uncle and is doing very well despite his painful past. I shudder to think how different his life would have been without Boys Town. Tens of thousands of hurting children and families ...

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Bob Pick, Vice President of Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa

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Why Teenagers May Be Smarter Than You Think

Between the ages of 16 and 19, adolescents have achieved full physical maturity. In sharp contrast to early adolescence, when many teenagers are socially awkward and embarrassed by their bodies, late adolescence is the time when teens are more comfortable with their physical appearance. They’re more confident. And they dress accordingly (sometimes to the point of inappropriateness). From a psychosocial standpoint, they exhibit better adjustment, a developing self-concept and a growing development of emotional intimacy. From a cognitive standpoint, teenagers are ...

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Father Boes

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Sommer Makes Strides in College

Last year, we introduced you to Sommer, a bright young woman whose parents would leave her alone for days on end. Many of you wanted to know how she was doing after graduating from Boys Town. I’m thrilled to say that the skills she learned at Boys Town experience prepared her well and she is thriving at college. Read her latest update. -Father Boes Hello! My name is Sommer Snakenberg and I am a proud to say I’m a 2012 Boys Town ...

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Father Boes

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In-Home Family Services: A Better Solution

I recently came across an article from the Chicago Tribune about how the government is removing severely obese children from their homes. These removals aren’t happening because these children are being abused or because their behavior threatens others. Rather, these boys and girls are being taken from their families because a doctor says they’re too fat. Boys Town has a better answer. We believe that in most situations, the best place for a child is with his or her family. Even when ...

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Father Boes

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Every Child and Family is Worth Saving

Photo from Landfill Harmonic YouTube. I saw a video the other day that reminded me just how beautiful the human spirit is. The video, Landfill Harmonic, is about people who live in a slum on a landfill in Cateura, Paraguay. Despite their dismal and impoverished surroundings, they create violins, cellos and other musical instruments out of recycled trash. Then they give the instruments to children so they learn how to play and develop a love of music. Watch their amazing story. These residents ...

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Father Boes

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Boys Town Family-Teachers Help Shape Youth Character

I love working at Boys Town. Every time I think I can’t be more in awe of the services provided by Boys Town and the impact upon the children and families we serve, I hear another incredible story of a former kid who is successful because of Boys Town. Earlier this week, at our annual Boys Town Booster Banquet, about 1,500 people had the opportunity to hear this story for themselves from Tim Thompson, a 2010 Boys Town graduate. Tim readily admits that ...

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Father Boes

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Well-Deserved Honors for the Founder of Boys Town

Father Edward Flanagan inspires me every day. The founder of Boys Town may have passed away more than 60 years ago, but his dedication to children and his leadership in changing how they are cared for, in America and around the world, still influences us today. Father Flanagan was truly a man ahead of his time, welcoming kids of every race, nationality and religion to work together to form their own healthy community. It is because of his good works and ministry ...

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Father Boes

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Does Your Family “Tebow”?

As fans prepare for Super Bowl XLVI, I’m sure there are more than a few who are sad that Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos didn’t make it to the big game. There are a variety of opinions on Tebow’s primetime praying and the reasons behind it. Regardless of what people think, his public expressions of faith have brought prayer back into the mainstream conversation, and that is great news for families. Growing up in a small town, my family prayed before ...