OMYF Community Spotlight: Boys Town of Central Florida
By John Denton
August 9, 2012
ORLANDO -- The Boys Town of Central Florida’s Intervention and Assessment Shelters and Family Treatment Homes assisted dozens of runaway and abandoned kids last year and have helped hundreds through the years. Thanks to a grant by the Orlando Magic, they will be able to continue offering some much-needed services to at-risk teens throughout Central Florida.
Boys Town of Central Florida’s goal is to provide positive nurturing to abused, neglected, abandoned, homeless and/or runaway youth ages 10 to 18 through one of its programs. Among the programs offered there are Treatment Family Homes, Intervention and Assessment Shelters and In-Home Family Services.
Boys Town of Central Florida was one of 19 Central Florida organizations presented grants by the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF),back in February as a part of the Magic’s community outreach initiative. The grant money from the OMYF-MFF totaled $1 million. It’s the second consecutive year that the OMYF-MFF has given $1 million away, raising the total to approximately $17 million given to local non-profit groups over the past 22 years.
The Boys Town of Central Florida received a $50,000 grant from OMYF-MFF for a second consecutive year. Three organizations were the beneficiaries of $100,000 grants: the Orlando Health Foundation (Howard Phillips Center), the Osceola Council on Aging and the Conductive Education Center of Orlando.
“The Magic, through the OMYF-MFF, is proud to provide grants to deserving organizations like Boys Town,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “The programs Boys Town provides are so vital to the success of our youth and our community. Most importantly Boys Town provides kids hope.”
A couple of past success stories from the Boys Town of Central Florida are Latori and Shatilla, both teenagers from Seminole County. Latori, 16, lived in the Intervention Assessment Shelter where she is received positive nurturing along with her younger sister in one of the Family Treatment Homes.
“At Boys Town I have learned how to express my feelings with others and not just hold it in. Also, Boys Town really cares,” Latori wrote recently. “They treat you like their own kids and let you know they care. Plus, here you get awarded for your good behavior, which is good because it makes you want to keep doing good. Boys Town teaches you skills you will need in life such as anger control, boundaries, following instructions, and more. Boys Town is a great environment for kids to grow and learn. And it has been a great experience for me.”
Shatilla, 19, originally planned to make her stay at Boys’ Town a short one and become free to do as she pleased as an adult. But after speaking with the Boys Town staff she learned she could strengthen her skills to be more successful when she ages out of care. Shatilla decided it was a good idea for her to stay for an extra period of time to get all the help she could before she went out on her own.
At the Treatment Family Homes she received positive nurturing and treatment and care from specially trained married couples. Shatilla also learned social skills, better ways to live on your own, how to acquire community resources and took parenting classes to help her to be a better parent to her own child.
Thanks to help from the OMYF-MFF, the Boys Town of Central Florida can continue to provide direction and structure to the lives of at-risk teenagers and create more success stories for years to come.
To learn more or make a difference with a donation, visit omyf.org.