Summer/Fall Trip 2010 travel blog

Statue at Entrance to Boys' Town History Center

He Ain't Heavy He's M'Brother

Statue and Surrounding Gardens

Ave Maria Statue

Dowd Chapel Catholic Church at Boys' Town

Spencer Tracy's Oscar for Boys Town Movie

We started the day with lunch at a local diner in Gretna. The food was okay and certainly reasonable. Iced tea was eighty cents and coffee was seventy. Meals were around $5.95. After lunch, we drove to Boys Town, which is now called Boys and Girls Town. We stopped at the Visitor Center and spoke with the lady at the desk. She told us that most of the children still come from Court referrals. They have an 85% success rate which they, of course, would like to see at 100%. There are now fourteen Boys Town locations throughout the country. The symbol of Boys Town which is seen in statues around the campus, is a big boy carrying another boy on his back. The title is He's Not Heavy, He's M'Brother. Next, we went to the history center. In 1917 Father Flanagan began in Omaha helping homeless male adults but soon decided that they were too set in their ways and that homeless youth could be better served. He rented a house and took in a few boys. As word spread, more boys were sent or came to Father Flanagan. Soon he rented a larger house. During this time he and the boys lived on donations and the times were hard. Soon courts were sending boys from all over the country. A group of citizens in Omaha helped raise funds for the purchase of a farm outside Omaha and Boys Town township. Today, there are dozens of homes and dormitories, a High School and Elementary School and their own Police Department. Most of the farming is hired out now but the boys and girls still learn trades as well as academics. There is both a Catholic Church, Dowd Chapel, where Father Flanagan's remains are entombed, and a Protestant Church and a Rabbi comes to minister to the Jewish Children. Father Flanagan felt it was important for the boys (and now girls) to maintain and worship in their own religion. Many of the children who now come to Boys and Girls Town are no longer homeless but are products of poor home environments. Besides the traditional dormitories, there are now homes where a couple lives with seven to ten children, creating more of a home. It was a very interesting trip, one that made you want to help.

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