One of my favorite parts of my job is when I have the privilege of listening firsthand to the kids and families of Boys Town tell their stories. We learned several years ago that the best way for Boys Town to share their mission in a way that people can relate to is through video testimonials, and that has given me the opportunity to meet these children and families. Listening to them tell their stories in their own words is powerful, and I’m proud to help bring their stories to light.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the work Boys Town does, they work with kids and families, sometimes at their lowest point, to help them heal and to build them back up. Boys Town helps children who have been victims of extreme poverty, violence and abandonment, as well as those who have made some self-destructive decisions. Boys Town works with parents who have been addicted to drugs, had their kids arrested or suffered from domestic violence. Sometimes these stories can be incredibly graphic and heartbreaking, even difficult to listen to.
Working with Boys Town has made me realize that I am lucky, in more ways than one: I am lucky that I grew up in a healthy, loving environment. I cannot even begin to imagine some of the struggles these people have faced. I am lucky that these individuals trust me enough during their interviews to open up and share intimate details of their lives.
It is where these children and families are now that shows the exceptional work Boys Town does.
Like Isaac, a young kid who grew up in Chicago and committed an act as a teen that he still regrets today. At Boys Town, he learned forgiveness and anger management, and he is now studying law.
Like Trudy, a recovering drug addict who lost both of her children to the state but never gave up on reunification. With the support of her amazing in-home family consultant, she is going to college and regained custody of her boys last year.
Like Diana, who witnessed a murder and was sent to jail, but was transferred to Boys Town, where she found a family who loved her and the structured environment she needed to succeed. She went on to graduate from Creighton University and now owns her own consulting firm.
Like Kenna, who shared a private photograph with her boyfriend, who betrayed her. That act led her to extreme depression and suicidal thoughts. A Boys Town National Hotline counselor helped her see that her life was worth something, and now she is raising her beautiful baby girl.
Like Tyler, a kid who grew up in abandoned drug houses in New York. He found a home at Boys Town, recently graduated college and is pursuing a career as an athletic trainer.
I could go on and on. I love these stories. I love the raw emotion these kids and families share on camera. I love the success they have found, thanks to Boys Town. I still get chills every time I watch them, and I only hope that other friends, prospective donors, even Boys Town alumni experience a similar feeling. Because that is my goal: to tell the Boys Town story through these videos so everyone can see the profound effect this organization has on lives. I feel blessed that I get to help share a small piece of it.