December Newsletter

The Journey of Quality
by LaRon Henderson

In the Fall of 2015, we embarked on the journey to discover the quality of our programming in the CFY Network.  At the time, we were serving approximately 5,300 students in the 30 after school sites across Omaha Public School.  We were aware of the importance of providing a safe environment for students, as well as creating a comfortable space for them to do homework.     

Our first goal was to create a common language for high quality after school programs.  We partnered with the Center for Youth Program Quality and agreed to use a research based tool called the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA).  This tool has parallels to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, while allowing flexibility for the creative leader to build a culture that helps students build a sense of identity.

Over the past 3 years, we continue to raise the level of understanding amongst our key leaders who impact the students.  Helping leaders discover their leadership strengths, providing a space for them to develop confidence as a coach, then deploying them into the field to make change has been our role.

Research continues to show us that when young people have a safe and supportive environment, the ability to interact with their peers and a supportive adult who genuinely gives them a unique voice, they will thrive.   The data is very clear to us now. We currently reach over 7,500 students in 36 after school sites. 

Our data says that our network provides a safe and supportive environment for all students.  We know that developing leadership and providing options is a continuous process, and our ability to teach student the importance of reflecting of what they have learned is the key to long term success.

As John Ruskin says, “Quality is never an accident.  It is always the result of intelligent effort”.  We believe our journey of quality is just getting started.  We will be the envy of the nation in the after school world. It’s only a matter of time!

Gwyn Williams is a Certified Askable Adult!

On November 8, 2018 Gwyn Williams facilitated an Askable Adults half-day training for Nebraska Girls Scouts at the UNO CEC building. Girls Scout leaders and staff from Omaha, Lincoln, and Western Nebraska attended the training to become more knowledgeable about being an Askable Adult.  As a certified Askable Adult facilitator, Gwyn hosts these workshops to educate and assist adults in answering those tough questions. Communication is an important component of sexual literacy, and parents and teachers alike need to become “askable adults” for young people. Having positive home, school and community environments are significant protective facts in preventing negative sexual health outcomes. Askable Adults create safe, affirming spaces where youth feel comfortable asking questions and having ongoing conversations about these topics.

Youth-serving professionals play a critical role in promoting the healthy adolescent sexual development of the young people they serve. Askable Adults is a stand-alone training intervention supported by the Women’s Fund of Omaha that prepares adults who work with youth ages 11-19 years of age to (1) be more approachable and knowledgeable about adolescent sexual and reproductive health and (2) be proactive in referring youth for sexual and reproductive healthcare. By the end of this training, adults will be able to provide accurate information, appropriate referrals, and other needed support to youth in positive and affirming ways. Each attendee will receive a resource packet tailored to their local community. Intended audience: Adults associated with youth populations (e.g. parents, teachers, school nurses, social workers, counselors, mentors, coaches, and community leaders)

To learn more about how to become an Askable Adult or to host an Askable Adult workshop in your community please contact Gwyn Williams at or 402-932-2025 or go to the Women’s Fund of Omaha website. 

Lights On Afterschool 2018

We had a fabulous turn out for our annual Lights On Afterschool event in October. Over 1500 youth, parents and providers were in attendance. Some great photos were taken by our friend Debra Kaplan. You can view a slide show here. Enjoy!

CFY Partner Spotlight

OST Professional Pipeline: Why is it Leaking?
by Carla Rizzo of Completely Kids

“You’re still there, miss?” I hear that quite often when I go to visit one of our afterschool programs. In addition, when program alumni see me in the community, they are always surprised when I tell them that I still work for Completely KIDS. My response is usually something about having the best job in the world followed by a “why on earth would I leave?” Click here to read more.

Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands Thanksgiving 

Spring Lake, Druid Hill, Skinner and Mount View Boys & Girls Club sites hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the youth and their families at the program. Program Director Tom Linnell tells us about the event at Mount View.

The Mt. View Boys & Girls Club hosted their annual family night with Mt. View Elementary on Tuesday November 20th, 2018 from 5:00pm-7:00pm. The Mt. View Club provided the meal consisting of turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, dinner role and rice crispy treats.

Following the meal, Mount View Elementary provided a variety of STEM activities for families in the gym, stage and art room areas of the school.

Boys & Girls Club had planned on serving 250 meals, and all 250 meals were served! We had over 200 club members take part of the event, along with 60 guests consisting of club member’s parents and their immediate family members. Of those 60 guests, 30 were parents and 30 were immediate family members.

We had a total of 15 staff members help ensure the event went smooth, along with having volunteers come to the club to help serve the food. The Hartman Avenue Neighborhood Association came and helped out with the event as well. It all came together in a magical way!  

Each person that attended the STEM activities provided by Mt. View Elementary were able to take home a variety of items. From board games, pictures, to an assortment of STEM toys.

Events during the holidays always warm my heart! It’s a time for everyone to come together and gives thanks for all of our blessings. It was really neat to visit with families of the club members and watch the members have happy smiles! It’s all about the kids!

Photos from other BGC Thanksgiving dinners-