Inspiring Stories – Father Edward J. Flanagan

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you get a chance to touch base with that teen or young adult in your life last week? Ask them what they think about getting involved in an activity. Something that may be of interest to them. It will not only keep them busy over the summer but may lead to them learning about themselves and meeting others.

June’s Theme – Teen Organizations

There are many benefits to being involved in organizations. You can meet people from schools other than your own. You can volunteer and give your time and energy to a cause that is important to you. And you can make a difference in the community in which you live.

According to the United Way website, there are five benefits of Teen Volunteering.

Increase self-esteem
Gain more empathy
Become a stronger college applicant
Build long-term generosity
Earn better grades

Along with those benefits, being involved in teen organizations is a great way to network with teens and adults who have the same passions for the causes that you do. You may find a mentor through being involved who may help you to succeed.

This month I am going to focus on the benefits of being involved teen organizations. Check out my mentor page and see how I am doing it Selma P. Verde – Mentor Page

What makes a person or story inspiring?

I call these posts Inspiring Stories. What makes a story inspiring? I think a story is inspiring when it is about something that a person doesn’t normally do and it gives the reader an idea that maybe it is something they could do. Or it is the story about a person’s journey to get to that remarkable event or to something that changes their life.

This month I am featuring teen organizations. Father Edward J. Flanagan was the founder of Boys Town, a place where he brought boys who were causing trouble in the streets of Omaha and mentored them to become outstanding young men. The following quote shows his philosophy,

Who was Father Edward J. Flanagan?

According to Wikipedia, Edward Joseph Flanagan was an Irish born priest of the Catholic church who served as a priest for many years in Nebraska.

He immigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1904 with his sister Nellie. He obtained his Bachelors Degree and some training to become a priest in the United States but completed his education and became an ordained priest in Innsbruck, Austria in 1912.

He then returned to the United States and served as an assistant priest in O’Neill, Nebraska and was transferred to Omaha and was present for the tornado outbreak sequence on Easter Sunday in 1913 where he was found helping people who were injured in that devasting weather event.

He was concerned about youth

As he saw many teenage boys in the streets of Omaha getting into fights and causing problems, he became concerned for their well-being. In response, in 1917, he founded a home for homeless boys in Omaha. With the number of boys growing and facilities not being adequate enough to house all of them he founded Boys Town about 10 miles west from Omaha in 1921.

According to Wikipedia,

“Under Flanagan’s direction, Boys Town grew to be a large community with its own boy-mayor, schools, chapel, post office, cottages, gymnasium, and other facilities. Boys between the ages of 10 and 16 could receive an education here and learn a trade. Flanagan did not believe in the reform school model, which he thought too punitive, and stated, “there’s no such thing as a bad boy”

He created an environment that gave all of the boys a chance to succeed.

His story was made into a movie

In 1938, MGM released a movie about Father Flanagan and his founding of Boys Town. The movie is called Boys Town and starred Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan and Mickey Rooney as one of the boys who came to live at Boys Town. This movie brought an awareness to what Flanagan was trying to do for teens. A sequel to this movie, The Men of Boys Town, was released in 1941.

Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his performance in Boys Town. Also, a special award was created for Father Flanagan to recognize all of the hard work he put in to helping these teens succeed.

Why is he inspiring to us?

Father Edward Flanagan saw a need for the boys in Omaha. He was always concerned about youth and what they were going through. He continued to look for positive ways to create programs to keep them busy instead of them winding up in more punitive situations like juvenile detention. According to the Boys Town Website, one of Father Flanagan’s quotes,

“I feel that school buildings throughout the nation which stand idle after school hours are a waste of available space and the taxpayer’s money when constructive programs could be offered through their intelligent utilization.”

He continually put himself out there to make things work for the boys he invited to stay at Boys Town. Even after Father Flanagan passed away in 1948, Boys Town continued to grow and expanded to offer many programs to help teens and their families make their situations better.

As we continue to become more aware of teens being challenged with issues they cannot solve on their own, places like Boys Town are there with resources to help them succeed. If there is a teen or a family you know that could use a little help getting through current challenges, contact Boys Town. Here’s a link to my teen resources page Selma’s Resource Page.

Want to learn more about Father Edward Flanagan and Boys Town?

If you want to learn more about Father Flanagan, here is a link to the Boys Town website which provides information about him and the organization – Boys Town. Also check out the movie Boys Town and its sequel Men of Boys Town. I recently watched both movies and highly recommend them.

There are many books out there about Father Flanagan, his life and founding Boys Town. You can search Google or check out your local library for options. Or you can shop one of your local bookstores in person or shop and have the purchase credited to them.

What people or stories have you found to be inspiring? Let me know what the story was and how it inspired you in the comments below.

The Way Series – coming of age

The Way Series is a coming-of-age series for teens and young adults. It focuses on challenges that teens can face while growing up. The Hard Way is the first book, and it is a relatable story about peer pressure and Shawn’s Way is a relatable story about bullying. These books may help you to start a conversation with your teen about these issues or may give them a story they can read that relates to something they may be facing.

Here is a link to my books tab – Selma’s Books. Check it out for more information about this great series for teens and young adults.

Have a great week!

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