Growing Stronger

Omaha Home for Boys’ resident Dalton (left) is pictured receiving a congratulatory handshake from Mike Henderson, Omaha Home for Boys’ Recreation Center Manager.

Just like most teenage boys, the young men in Omaha Home for Boys’ Residential Care Program have busy schedules. They wake early for breakfast and soon after they’re off to school followed by part-time jobs and therapy. Evenings are a flurry of dinner, homework and time with their Life Skills Teachers and peers.

With such busy schedules, it can be challenging for the young men to find time to focus on their health, but a new wellness program at Omaha Home for Boys has youth excited to make exercise a part of their daily routine.

The new wellness program that kicked off in June 2017 is an incentive based program that encourages youth to spend more time at the Home’s Recreation Center exercising or participating in group activities. Basketball, ultimate Frisbee, kickball and football are a few of the group activities offered to youth or they have the option to do weight training or cardio workouts in the Recreation Center’s weight room.

Recreation Center staff log the time that each youth spends at the facility with the goal being a minimum of five hours per week. Then the boys’ names are entered into a weekly drawing for prizes. Youth can win anything from healthy snacks, water bottles and sports drinks to workout gear, socks and shorts. The youth that logs the most time at the Recreation Center each month wins a gift card.

“Youth are typically very excited about the wellness program and the opportunity to participate in activities at the Rec Center when they first come to Omaha Home for Boys,” said Mike Henderson, Omaha Home for Boys’ Recreation Center Manager. “To keep the youth engaged and excited about wellness throughout their stay, we increase their incentives as they progress through the program.”

One of the main goals of the new wellness program is to encourage more participation from the youth in fitness activities and it seems to be working. “Since the new wellness program began, we’ve seen quite an increase in the number of youth who are visiting the Rec Center each week and we’re seeing a lot of new faces,” said Mike. “What’s even more encouraging is that all the youth are getting some form of exercise, whether it be during P.E. class or during the evening recreation time. In the past, we had some youth at the Home who chose not to participate in recreation activities. Those are the youth we worry about and need to motivate to exercise.”

Recreation Center staff also hope that the program is helping the youth learn the importance of making wellness a part of their daily routine. “One of the most positive aspects of the new program is that these young men are developing healthy habits that will hopefully stick with them long after their time at the Home,” said Mike.

Dalton, a current resident at Omaha Home for Boys, has found particular success from the wellness program. He is a regular participant in daily P.E. class and most evenings you can find him playing basketball with his peers at the Recreation Center. During the month of September, Dalton logged more than 25 hours participating in recreation activities, the most of any youth. As a reward for his efforts, he was recognized at September’s Rec Youth of the Month and was awarded a $25 gift card.

How You Can Help

Please consider making an investment in the health of Omaha Home for Boys’ youth by making an online donation today.

Your gift of just $25 can provide an incentive prize or gift card that will encourage a young man to participate in daily exercise, leading to a lifelong habit of healthy choices.