Father Flanagan's Boys Town, Nebraska

Decades ago, I visited Father Flanagan's Boys Town, about 10 miles west of Omaha, with a college group.

You know what they say about first impressions. Well, I was impressed -- and memories of that visit are still vivid to this day.

In the nearly 60 years since, Omaha has expanded around Boys Town so it is no longer out in the country. Situated on 900 acres with 76 homes, a U.S. Post Office, fire and police departments, Catholic and Protestant chapels, two schools and support facilities, Boys Town is a city within a city.

Visitors are always welcome. From I-680, take the Dodge Street exit and head west to 137th Street. You'll soon see the famous statue of The Brothers, inscribed with "He ain't heavy, Father, he's m' brother."

The Visitor's Welcome Center is the first building on the left. Guided tours are available by appointment or when student guides are available. Or you may take an audio tour all hours of operation.

To learn more, call 1-800-625-1400 or visit Girls and Boys Town Web Site. You'll learn that each of the 71 large family homes has a full-time mom and dad for a family of eight youths. The home parents have no outside jobs, since loving and caring for eight youngsters is a full-time job in itself! Once you visit, you will know why Omaha is proud to have Boys Town as part of its metropolitan community.

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