April 2024 News-

A Message from Our Executive Director-

It is so hard to believe we are already in April and heading quickly towards the end of the school year.  As I reflect on the past few months of 2024, our network has been actively working on planning for summer school which will be here before we know it.  Summer is such an amazing time for exploration and experiencing new opportunities for the youth we serve. 

With the sad news of the passing of Bill Scott, I reflected on the William and Ruth Scott Foundation’s generous support of Collective for Youth (CFY). This paved the way for CFY. His investments into our organization, starting in 2007, helped establish CFY’s mission to enhance afterschool programs for middle school students. Over the years, his contributions have expanded our reach to elementary and high schools as well, impacting countless lives.
Thank you for believing in us.  We are eternally grateful.  Megan 

Partner Highlight- Omaha Public Library

The 15 year partnership between Omaha Public Library (OPL)  and Collective for Youth has enabled them to reach more youth with valuable literacy resources and programming, strengthening their impact on youth development and education. OPL’s dedication to continuous improvement and training shows their commitment to high-quality services. Actively engaging in the CFY network has allowed OPL to enhance their afterschool programs and book clubs for middle school students. This collaboration demonstrates the power of partnership in meeting community needs and achieving common goals. The partnership sets a model for organizations working together to provide impactful services to youth, making a positive impact on the Omaha community and striving for excellence in programming.

Students creating a skatepark with KEVA Planks.
Students creating a skatepark with KEVA Planks.
Skatepark created by OPL using KEVA Planks-FinalProduct!

OPL staff are actively participating in professional development and using resources to improve their programs and engage students. They integrated STEM materials like KEVA Planks from CFY’s library into story time to enhance learning. This initiative showcases staff innovation in creating engaging experiences for youth. The STEM library has been instrumental in incorporating STEM elements into OPL programs, enhancing students’ overall learning experience.The KEVA Planks are part of CFY’s new STEM library.

The STEM library has been enormously helpful. We’ve always enjoyed incorporating aspects of STEM in our clubs but it’s never been so easily accessible and well done.”- Farhana, staff member with OPL .

CFY appreciates what a great partner OPL continues to be and all the great programming they offer our network.  

RAISING YOUR QUALITY-: 6 Reasons Professional Development Matters

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.”  

Managing a team requires a multi-faceted approach, one that involves being a leader and guiding staff towards success.  Offering and attending training opportunities can have both short and long-term benefits for all involved by providing staff growth and developing your own leadership ability and skills.  Here are just a few of the reasons professional development is important for both you and your staff: 

Employee Development-  

  1. Help! I am New to Youth Development: Targeted training for OST (Out of School Time) programs can provide answers to the “what” and “how” questions that come up as your program staff are being developed and learning their role. 
  2. Keep On the Cutting Edge: Youth development is always evolving, keeping your staff informed helps ensure that you develop new strategies, best practices, and strategies to stay on top of developing trends. 
  3. Retention: Investing in your staff shows that you value their work and are interested in helping them grow as a leader.  This boosts morale and increases productivity.  Happy employees are more likely to stay with you. 
  4. Strengthen Your Skillset: Professional development can keep your knowledge and skills current as culture and practices evolve.  You will become a more efficient and effective team leader. 
  5. Job Satisfaction and Fulfilled Passion: Are you feeling underemployed or undervalued?  An investment in training can bring forward new responsibilities in your current position.  By bringing updated skills and knowledge to the table, you can prove that you are prepared for new challenges and are ready for career growth. 
  6. Raising Your Expectations: Attending a conference, workshop or webinar allows you to network with experts and practitioners who can provide guidance and insight into the next steps to reach your career goals.  


Save the Date for these upcoming workshops-
Third Thursday PD- Planning & Reflection-April 18 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Third Thursday PD-Loving Summer: How to Have a Blast in OST Programs-May 16 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am


All upcoming trainings with Collective for Youth are free and open to the the public. *All CFY professional development opportunities are qualified for NDE Instructional Units.

To get all of this and much more for yourself and your staff, please visit www.collectiveforyouth.org for more information about the trainings we offer. 

Collective for Youth Participates in Every Hour Counts (EHC)

A national coalition of cities dedicated to expanded learning, equity, and making learning fun. As a valued member of the coalition, CFY was recently asked to present alongside EHC and the Andy Roddick Foundation as part of a technical assistance program through the Wallace Foundation. The program served 30 cross-sector partnerships supporting adolescents across the country. CFY was able to present on our data collection, sharing, and utilization efforts in our network and provide suggestions and information on how the partnerships could scale up their own data utilization. The session was very well received and CFY was also asked to participate in optional office hours for the selected partnerships.  

ESSER Funds

Collective for Youth’s afterschool programs have benefited from some unique opportunities over the past 20 months thanks to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. ESSER III. The final round of this federal program, is set to expire in September 2024. This presents a challenge for afterschool programs, particularly those established during the pandemic.  Collective for Youth has five newly established afterschool programs due to ESSER III funding.  There are four programs established in elementary schools at Conestoga, Benson West, Forest Station and Pine.  We also have one new high school program, located at Buena Vista.  

The community recognizes the importance of afterschool programs and the impact they have on students’ development and success. It is imperative that funding sources are secured to ensure these programs can continue to provide much-needed support to children and families. By working together with local and state governments, as well as seeking support from philanthropic organizations, Collective for Youth is dedicated to finding sustainable funding solutions to ensure the longevity of these critical programs. Together, we can ensure that all children have access to the resources and support they need to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

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