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Sarah Williamson celebrates her election as the first female mayor of Boys Town in 1991

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Boys Town
A Local Legacy

You may have heard of Boys Town, but do you know what it is?

In 1917, a priest named Father Flanagan decided to help homeless boys by establishing the community of Boys Town near Omaha, Nebraska. It became a village in 1936. Boys Town continues to help homeless and troubled kids and now has a farm, churches, and a campus where children attend classes. The children themselves govern Boys Town. In fact, they recently voted to change the village's name to Boys and Girls Town, because girls also attend. In 1991, they elected their first female mayor, 12 years after the first girls arrived.

For many years, the symbol for Boys Town has been that of a boy carrying a younger boy. This image comes from an event that Father Flanagan witnessed. One summer day, some of the boys from Boys Town decided to go swimming. One little boy was upset that he couldn't go because he had a brace on his leg and couldn't walk easily. But a boy named Jim Edwards picked him up and started to carry him on his back. Father Flanagan encouraged the other boys to help, but Jim said to the priest, "He ain't heavy, Father, he's my brother." Father Flanagan was very moved by what Jim said and told all the boys about it. He used the story to point out, "Always take care of your fellow men."

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