CFY Newsletter-November 2016

Collective for Youth team: First row from left to right is: Gwyn Williams Program Director, Megan Addison Executive Director, and Nicole Everingham Development Director.  Second row: Shauntel Vaughn Manager of Support Services, Cary Mohiuddin Operations Manager and LaRon Henderson Program Quality Director.

Quick Links
A Message from the Executive Director
What We’ve Accomplished
What We’re Up To Now
   ELO STEM Grant
   Newest Afterschool Program
What We Are Looking Forward To
Upcoming Training Dates

A Message from the Executive Director

Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter!

We are very excited to present our first newsletter to our community. Our goal is to keep you informed on what Collective for Youth is doing and to offer you a small sample of what this community resource is for you. Whether you’re new to us or a longtime supporter, our hope is to continue to help make the out-of-school time community strong by bringing you helpful information, ideas and updates. Throughout the year, we will send you stories and insights from our staff and community partners.

We would love to have your voice in our newsletter.  Do you have an idea or a success story to share? Maybe you’ve heard of an upcoming event that we should all support. Did you just find a solution you’d like to suggest to others? Send us your ideas so we can help support each other and grow together!

There are so many interesting out-of-school time experiences and opportunities to learn about and our newsletter is just one way we can share that information. Another way Collective for Youth will be reaching out to you is through our website filled with helpful information and resources.

If you know someone that is not currently on our contact list, feel free to have them explore our website and sign up for the newsletter or if you have any questions regarding training or direct technical assistance, please let us know!

We look forward to empowering you to ignite the imagination and grow the minds of youth.

Megan Addison
Executive Director

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What We’ve Accomplished

Lights On Afterschool

LOA blog

Nine months of planning went into Collective for Youth’s fourth annual and most recent Lights On Afterschool celebration at the UNO Sapp Fieldhouse on October 1st.

The goal of this annual event is to raise awareness of all of the opportunities available to students and their families in afterschool programs in the metropolitan area. Students, parents and providers representing 30 different afterschool programs were in attendance. This annual event provides a perfect time for all of our partners, students and families to come together and celebrate all that afterschool has to offer.

Five recognition awards were presented at the beginning of the celebration-

  • Community Advancement Award-UNO Chancellor, John Christensen
  • Lights On Afterschool Advocate Award-Pennelope Parker, Executive Director, Completely KIDS
  • Lights On Afterschool Champion Award-Lavone Walker, Site Director at Lewis & Clark Middle/ Nothing But Net
  • Visionary Award-Nebraska Senator Heath Mello Senator 
  • Visionary Award- Nebraska Senator Rick Kolowski 

The awards presentation was followed by activities that ranged from musical and choreographed dance performances on the main stage, hands on STEM Activities, an athletic skills course, face painting, lead testing for the whole family, a parent resource room,a station where students could create their own piece of music and lunch were just a few of the offerings provided for the more than 1200 in attendance. To name just a few of the agencies that were represented were UNO STEM, Girls Rock, Courteous Kids, Building Dreams, African Culture Connection, and Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo. This event could not have been possible without all of the volunteers who staffed the event and provided the activities!

We look forward to what next year’s Lights On Afterschool event will bring. Stay tuned!

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What We’re Up To Now


Tower Garden Training
Site Directors and staff at the ELO STEM grant Tower Garden Training

Collective for Youth received a one-year ELO grant that was approved by the Nebraska State Board of Education with funds appropriated in 2016 by the Nebraska Legislature. The grant opportunity was intended to target partnerships that provide hands-on enrichment activities and services delivered afterschool. Senator Heath Mello, Chair, Appropriations Committee, Nebraska Legislature, said “It’s exciting to see the first round of LB 956 Expanded Learning Opportunity grants go out to the Omaha community”.

The one-year ELO grant funding will directly benefit K-8 students in Omaha Public Schools (OPS) located in Omaha, Nebraska. Collective for Youth is partnering with nine organizations that are the coordinating agencies of afterschool programs. The coordinating agencies are: Urban League of Nebraska, Nothing But Net, DREAM, Completely KIDS, YMCA of Greater Omaha, Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Nebraskans for Civic Reform, Center for Holistic Development, and Kids Can Community Center. The three following OPS middle schools will benefit from the proposed project; Monroe, McMillian Magnet, and Lewis and Clark. The following OPS elementary schools will benefit from the proposed project: Bancroft, Belvedere, Castelar, Central Park, Gilder, Hartman, Highland, Indian Hill, Howard Kennedy, King, Liberty, Miller Park, Saratoga, and Sherman. The grant will directly benefit 2,340 students with 1,248 hours of programming in engineering, agriculture, and creative arts.

Collective for Youth’s grant funding will concentrate on strengthening 21st century skills and exposing students to a variety of careers. The funding is intended to enhance the existing afterschool programs in three areas. The first area of focus is engineering. Exposing students to engineering helps students use their math and science skills. The second area of focus for this project is on agriculture. Agriculture is Nebraska’s largest industry and yet, Omaha’s afterschool programs place little emphasis on agricultural related topics. Exposing students to agriculture will give students the chance to discover their natural world and connect it to farming. The last area of focus for this project is on the creative arts. Art can be a pathway to finding individual voice, which in turn can empower students to become active citizens.

In addition to expanding programming, the new grant funding is also designed to focus on strengthening the professional development options for staff members. Within this project there are several trainings available for staff members to learn how to provide hands on programming directly related to engineering, agriculture and creative arts. This helps to keep the afterschool programs sustainable and develop the skills of afterschool staff members.

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Collective for Youth’s Newest Afterschool Program

Wakonda Elementary Site Director, Quantel Murphy with students.
Wakonda Elementary Site Director, Quantel Murphy with students.

In July, Collective for Youth announced that Wakonda Elementary, located at 4845 Curtis Ave, would be opening a comprehensive afterschool program! This was Collective for Youth’s 30th Community Learning Center within Omaha Public Schools. Wakonda’s afterschool program was highly anticipated as there hasn’t ever been a program in place for families to access

Wakonda’s afterschool program is administered by Kids Can Community Center and is available for students to access every day that school is in session. Kids Can Community Center’s mission is to educate, engage and inspire children through early childhood care and out of school experiences. Children in Kids Can programs participate in high quality enrichment activities while in a safe, structured environment. Students in the afterschool program also receive a meal each day. 

Kids Can partnered with the school’s administration to jointly design a program that supports the school day instruction. Wakonda’s afterschool program has been open for two months and is currently serving 81 students a day but is on track to be serving its goal of 100 by the end of November. Families at Wakonda are excited about the new opportunities their students have during the afterschool hours. Students are most excited to spend extended time with their peers and experience an eclectic range of activities including engineering, crocheting, cheerleading, poetry, theatre, leadership and gang prevention, and cooking. The site director, Quantel Murphy is looking forward to seeing all participants develop to reach their full potential. The experience of getting to know students and families has been amazing. Partnering with the school administration and teachers has been a great experience and we look forward to both increasing the number of students we serve and partnering on things like family nights in the future. 

Join us in welcoming Wakonda to Collective for Youth’s growing list of high quality afterschool programs!

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What We Are Looking Forward To

Train to Gain

Bancroft Elementary Site Director and her staff reviewing their data with External Assessor, Lori Nekola
Bancroft Elementary Site Director and her staff member reviewing their data with External Assessor, Lori Nekola

In 2015, Collective for Youth along with the United Way Women’s Leadership Council kicked off the “Train to Gain” initiative.  Our mission is to help build quality support for children and youth in the 30 OPS Community Learning Centers.  We selected the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a quality improvement process by the David P. Weikart Center.

On September 13th, we kicked off our second year by hosting YPQI Basics for all 30 sites in our network consisting of 10 local organizations, over 350 youth professionals, who work with close to 6,000 young people annually.  We were thrilled to offer Quality Coaching to all Site Directors and believe coaching will provide the on-going personalized support our sites need in order to fully engage in the process.  The return on our investment is clear, as one Site Director said, “We are seeing staff become more accountable for their teaching, and more empowered to problem solve through their lessons. The metacognition required during meetings and coaching has helped them to put into words the means to their own growth.”

In addition to Quality Coaching, we have trained 10 reliable External Assessors.  We believe that post external assessments will provide a quantifiable measurement of program quality which will help determine how the process leads to change at the point of service for each site, ultimately creating a clearer path for full participation and maximum return.

After finishing YPQA Basics training, each site was charged with conducting a self-assessment on the quality of their program.  This assessment was combined with the information gathered by the External Assessor and the outcome data was revealed at our most recent “Planning with Data” workshop.  At this powerful gathering, sites were given results from their recent youth outcome survey, leadership assessment and combined YPQA result.  Their teams will now come together to create an improvement plan to further the impact they have on serving today’s youth.  We believe that we have the right strategy in place to continue making Omaha’s after school programs the envy of our nation.

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Upcoming Training Dates

Youth Work Methods Workshops
Ask-Listen-Encourage– November 18, 2016; 10 AM – noon
Homework Help– January 27, 2017; 10am – noon
Active Learning &Cooperative Learning– February 24, 2017; 9am – 1
Youth Voice– March 24, 2017; 10am – noon

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