2017 Charity: Boys Town

Starting in February 2016, I have dedicated 5% of Lyon Road Art proceeds to charity. The chosen organization for 2016 was the very worthy Children's Cancer Association. (Read about my interest in it here). I'm now excited to announce that the fascinating and laudable Boys Town is the chosen charity for 2017.

Boys Town is a non-profit based in Omaha, Nebraska, dedicated to providing treatment for the behavioral, emotional and physical problems that affect children and families. The organization was started in 1917, when Father Flanagan, a young Irish priest, became discouraged while working with homeless men in the area. He decided to rent a boarding house where he welcomed all boys, regardless of race or religion. Within a few months, 100 boys were living at the Home. Eventually the Home developed into the Village of Boys Town, which included a school, dormitories and administration buildings. In 1936, the community became an official village in the state of Nebraska.

Since then, Boys Town has developed into a far-reaching organization with countless innovative programs that help at-risk children and families. (And yes, they include girls now, too!) Their Family Home Program, where children, having been removed from their own homes for various reasons, live in homes in the Village and are cared for by married couples known as Family-Teachers®, is one of their trademark treatments. They also increasingly focus on preventative measures to help keep families together; consultants from Boys Town’s In-Home Family Services will often work with families in their own homes. The Boys Town National Research Hospital® has specialty treatment centers for children with hearing and speech disorders. Nowadays, in addition to their home base in Omaha, Boys Town has 11 additional sites across the nation, and touches the lives of over 2 million people every year.

Living in Omaha, I continuously feel the presence of Boys Town. I drive by the Boys Town Village every day, my childrens' pediatrician is a Boys Town physician, and I have an acquaintance who works as a Family-Teaching couple with her husband. Along with her two children, she lives in Boys Town with eight adolescent boys. Can you imagine? Her stories are hilarious, touching and inspiring, all at the same time. It was listening to her accounts of raising these young men, along with the innovation and effectiveness I saw in the Boys Town programs, that made choosing this organization a no-brainer.

If you are interested in learning more or even donating, I strongly encourage you to visit boystown.org, read their history and watch their stories.