My parents were curious about going to the US and when they got to know that I was going to study there for one semester, they started planning for a trip here. Just last week, they visited me here in Omaha and I introduced them to life here before they would move on to Florida. There they would go on to watch a NHL match in Tampa and see the beaches of Miami.
I met them at their hotel the day after they had arrived here and we started by going to Boys town. Sadly, most of the pictures taken are on my parents camera, so I’ll just show the ones I took.
Old picture of Boys Town (much bigger now).
As a police himself, my father was interested in how the police works in the US. He found through the International Police Association a police chief who worked in “Boys Town“, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for children from tough backgrounds. The place really was like a town, with over 1500 children living in foster families getting social preparation. It was founded during in December 1917 by a Roman Catholic priest as an orphanage in Omaha. Later Boys Town grew and now provides care across the US in 12 regions.
The police station was basically dedicated completely to helping the children and families living in the town. The police chief showed us around this big area and among other things told us about the techniques used. As a becoming psychologist, it was very interesting to hear about how they used a version of cognitive behavioral therapy to encourage good behavior and discourage anti-social behavior. They did this by having a point system where following directions gave them points and disobeying directions took points away. All the points counted toward either going to the next stages of their social preparation or more freedoms like a free time or other things.
One interesting aspect of the organization is that it is completely dependent on donations. So it’s crazy when you think that they get over 10 million dollars every year in donations to help run the place, which includes the police station (they get nothing from Omaha or Nebraska, at least not directly).
We continued the day by going to my campus where I showed them how I study and where I live and ended it by going to eat to one of the student cafeterias.
Old Market Antique shop
Another day we decided to go eating Downtown with my parents to a steakhouse (which Omaha has a lot of). While searching for a restaurant we found an antique shop in the old market. You could find all sorts of things here and it was fun just to walk around looking at everything. You could find everything from 90’s action hero toys to katanas to metal toys from the 50’s. We decided to buy a licence plate from the 70’s which will be a nice memory from my time here. One curiosity we found in the store was a cloth patch with Finnish text on it (see picture). We asked the owners where it might be from, but they could not help us with that.
Felt kinda weird to find a patch in Finnish in a store in the heartland of America…
I found it very interesting to observe from aside when my parents got to experience the same things as I did when I first arrived here. They made a good decision to come see the heartland to ease in their travel before going to more crowded and bigger areas in the US. I was able to show them a lot in just a couple of days how things work here and things you can do. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with my parents here.