Girls and Boys Town
Boys Town was formerly known as Girls and Boys Town and even before that it was known as Father Flanagan's Boy's Home. It is a non-profit organization that aims to care for children and their families. This organization began as a boy's orphanage that was started by Father Flanagan, a Roman Catholic priest working in Omaha. The place was opened in December 1917. The City of little Men showed the way for juvenile care methods and social preparation and this became a model for many other organizations to follow.
Boys Town today is a national leader in the manner in which children and their families need to be treated and handled in the case of behavioral, emotional and physical problems. The current child care system has learnt a lot from the ways and methods that are followed by this organization. The organization has branches across 13 locations in the United States and these include California, Nevada, Nebraska, Texas, Chicago, Iowa, Louisiana, North Florida, Central Florida, Washington D.C., New York and New England.
Boys Town believes that they have the knowledge to heal children who have suffered in some manner or another. They provide integrated continuous care that is based on research and experience. The organization helps parents understand their children better so that they can discipline, nurture and teach their children in a better manner. They offer parenting tips, articles and other resources that allow parents to understand the manner in which the mind of a child works.
The organization also organizes workshops and training sessions for educators. There are many schools that the institute has turned around based on the specific methods that they follow. The education model is based on the Buys Town Model that has five basic elements - teaching life changing skills, building healthy familial relationships, empowering children to make good decisions, caring in a family style environment and supporting children and families in religious practices.
The chief aim of Boys Town is to change the manner in which America cares for children, families and communities. They believe in providing and promoting an Integrated Continuum of Care that brings strength to the body, mind and spirit.
The organization believes in providing research based solutions to emotional, behavioral and physical problems that the children face today. Towards this goal the organization has a Boys Town National research Institute. The continuous research that is conducted here helps the practitioners in the organization to improve the work that they have been doing at the center. The research center uses applied research that helps understand the problem in a better way and with greater insight. Research has also proven that Boys Town's boys become productive citizens and therefore give back to the community what they have taken from it too.
The proprietary Boys Town Model is a set of principles and values that defines the approach that the organization has towards child development. The elements of the model that have been detailed have been proven to bring about significant and long lasting results. This is a model that has been created to ensure that the children are always safe and that they get better each day. It also ensures that they are nurtured and cared for and respected as individuals. The model is so concrete and detailed that it can also be applied by any other organizations to obtain similar results.
The five main elements of the model include aspects that help in teaching some life changing skills to the children. These could include self-sufficiency skills that help them become independent people. The organization also believes in ensuring that children and their families create better and long lasting bonds. They teach their children the values that are required to make the right decisions as the world throws challenges at them and to become respectful citizens of the world.
The organization that is now called Boys Town was founded by Father Flanagan more than 90 years ago. With humble beginnings of an orphanage, being run in Father Flanagan's house, the organization now has presence in 13 locations across the United States. It is interesting to note that this immigrant priest from Ireland was actually discouraged in the methods that he used. The home that Father Flanagan created was open to all boys irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or sect.
The orphanage faced tough times with the World War I taking place during its initial stages. Food and money were in short supply everywhere and therefore there was very little that others could donate as well. Due to the war, the number of boys that arrived at the doorstep increased continuously. In a few months the number of boys at the house was more than a hundred.
In 1921, Father Flanagan shifted the orphanage to Overlook Farm outside Omaha. The money for the same was also borrowed from someone. This was then the first permanent site for Boys Town. This area was soon to be called the 'Village of Boys Town'. By the 1930's there were hundreds of boys that considered this area as their home and a school, dormitories and administrative blocks has also been constructed. The boys also had their own government - a mayor, a council and commissioners. In 1936, this village was recognized and made an official village in the state of Nebraska.
Father Flanagan was called by President Truman after the World War II. The president asked him to take the message of love for children to the world and he travelled to various countries and to many orphanages taking the specific teachings with him.
After Father Flanagan's demise, Monsignor Nicholas H. Wegner managed Boys Town as the Executive Director. The great work that Father Flanagan started continued since he believed that "it was God's work and not his".
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