Pay It Forward | May

Coming off the heels of National Infertility Awareness Month in April and heading into a sensitive holiday such as Mother’s Day, I decided I would focus this month’s Pay It Forward on one of the coolest organizations out there.

A little background…

Like I mentioned a couple times on the blog, I don’t often write about our struggle to conceive. It’s not because I am ashamed or don’t want people to know, it’s actually that more times than not, I just don’t have the words. It is so hard to be in this place where you feel like you can’t DO anything to MAKE something happen. It is a hard place to be in, but I’ve realized over time, it is also a place of freedom.

Freedom might seem like a really strange way to describe what we’ve been going through, but over the last 3+ years, I feel like Jay and I have come to a place where we have realized that we can’t force anything to happen. I cannot make a baby…I mean, technically we can, but other than doing the “deed” and trying all other pieces of “advice” or “remedies” or “this worked for me”…I cannot actually make a baby. Realizing that I cannot FORCE anything to happen has brought me to a place that frees me from the pressure and a place of full disclosure and hope to the One, my God, who CAN make babies. In this new found freedom, and still without child, Jay and I have started exploring other avenues.

Possibly adoption…possibly foster care…but what if there is something different, something out of the norm that God has planned for Jay and I?? What if we are supposed to be Resident Advisors for a boarding school? What if we are supposed teach in a foreign country? What if we are called to live and work for an orphanage? What if we are called to be house parents?

House parents?? Enter Boys Town.

A Little History

In 1917, a young, immigrant priest from Ireland had grown discouraged in his work with transient, homeless men in Omaha, Nebraska. So in December of that year, Father Edward J. Flanagan borrowed $90 from a friend to pay the rent on a drafty, downtown Victorian boardinghouse that became his first home for boys. Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys welcomed all boys, regardless of their race or religion, and youngsters from all over Omaha and beyond began showing up at the doorstep.

In July 2005, Father Steven E. Boes was appointed as Boys Town’s fifth and current Executive Director. Under Father Boes’ leadership, Boys Town has focused on implementing its unique Integrated Continuum of Care. Boys Town has developed a strategic plan around the Continuum with a goal of doubling the number of children and family we serve by 2012. Father Boes also is expanding Boys Town’s role in advocating change in the current child‑care system, which often offers fragmented and ineffective treatment.

Nonsectarian since its founding, Boys Town is one of the largest, publicly funded nonprofit child‑care agencies in the country, providing compassionate treatment for the behavioral, emotional and physical problems of children and families. In 2009, Boys Town served nearly 370,000 children and adults across the United States, Canada and the U.S. Territories and in several foreign countries.

The Village of Boys Town

The Village of Boys Town, incorporated as a Nebraska municipality in 1936, has its own police and fire departments, schools, churches, post office and ball fields – along with numerous historic venues.

At any given time, about 550 boys and girls live in the Village, receiving care and treatment for a wide range of behavioral, emotional and academic issues. The youth live in a regular home – typically eight kids to a residence – with a Family-Teaching couple who cares for and nurtures them in a program called Boys Town Treatment Family HomesSM. In this community of hope, boys and girls change their lives and prepare to go out into the world as confident people of good character.


A Day in the Life…Family-Teacher {currently tugging at my heart}

Family-Teachers are the backbone of Boys Town’s residential care programs. Family-Teaching couples live in Family Homes with six to eight youth, either boys or girls, 24 hours a day. The homes include separate quarters for the Family-Teachers and their own children.

A typical day in a Boys Town Family Home begins the same as for most families. The Family-Teaching couple ensures their youth have breakfast and are ready for school. But before they leave, the Family-Teachers engage the youth teaching interactions, where they learn social and relationship-building skills.

Youth may carry a point card to track positive points they earn for appropriate behavior and negative points for inappropriate behavior. When youth compile enough positive points for the day, they earn privileges like time on the computer or choosing a TV program. This system motivates youth to make good decisions because they lead to positive consequences.

During the day Family-Teachers complete reports, discuss youth-specific goals and tend to housekeeping necessities. They might take one of their youths to a doctor’s appointment, or meet with a teacher. When the children arrive home from school, they engage in more teaching interactions as youth complete homework and help prepare dinner. The interactions continue in the evening as the family spends time together.

Family-Teachers are constantly developing and strengthening personal relationships with their youngsters. They help every child understand that someone cares about them and that they are valued. This bonding builds trust and is an essential element of effective treatment.

Family-Teachers face challenges every day because the children they care for can have serious behavioral, emotional and cognitive problems. These boys and girls have been victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment. Many have used drugs and alcohol, or have been involved in criminal activity. Often, our youth don’t trust adults and resist. Family-Teachers must have patience, compassion and perseverance when things are not going well.

So Jay and I aren’t quite ready to say or know what this means for us…but it is on our radar. All I know is that this organization looks amazing and since they are a non-profit, they could always use support and donations. These kids, these families, all benefit from your gifts. If you are looking for a charity or organization to support financially, here is a wonderful cause…meeting a need in our very own country. Click the image below to donate!

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