Carroll, Iowa, native Steve Boes is getting used to his duties as the new head of Boys Town in Omaha. Boes, who’s used to multi-tasking, says he’d been serving for some time as a Catholic priest in Minnesota when he found himself doing heavy-duty counseling following the suicide of a student. So he went back to school to get a Masters degree in counseling. People were turning to him as a priest, and he says he wanted to “skill-set” to counsel them well, “from a scientific standpoint.” Today in addition to serving an eastern Nebraska parish and taking on the directorship of Boys Town, he’s an adjunct professor in Creighton University’s program that trains counselors. Boes teaches a course called “Spiritual Dimensions of Counseling.” He says his students aren’t necessarily clergy, though he says they learn how to use many resources to heal patients. He helps students identify those spiritual and religious resources — during their study they visit with a rabbi, a Muslim imam , and a Buddhist monk. They get comfortable with some of the community’s religious leaders and talk about needs a person might have if they’re from one religion or another, and resources that are available. For instance, a Catholic counseling patient might get comfort from going to a priest for confession, he explains. Boes says he loves teaching, and at Girls and Boys Town he intends to focus on the importance of spirituality in helping children grow and learn. He’s worked for 8 years at the St. Augustine Indian Mission School in Winnebago, Nebraska, which has about 100 kids in grade K through 8, of many backgrounds including non-Catholics and traditional native beliefs. “I never dreamed that I’d ever be considered for a job this large,” Boes says, “and I don’t think I would have been, if I hadn’t gone to St. Augustine.” He says he got training in working with people of other cultures, which will be essential at Girls and Boys Town. He learned to administrate a school, work with a board of trustees, raise funds and contact donors, and thinks the mission prepared him well. Bace says he’s also grown spiritually by getting to know the Native American culture, its tradition and “giving spirit.”Getting to participate in a sweat lodge, and some native devotional services that involved drumming and singing. He’s been given an eagle feather for use in the church, and they begin mass with cedar, as native peoples use the cedar leaves to burn for purification, which is combined with the beginning of the penitential rite. He officially began July first as director of the Omaha-based Girls and Boys Town, which offers programs in nearly 20 other cities around the nation and answered nearly a million phone calls for help and advice last year.
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