July /August Newsletter 2017

New Staff at Collective for Youth, Manager of Support Services-

We are happy to announce that Lavone Walker will be assuming the Manager of Support Services starting August 1st.  Lavone will support our partner agencies with the their child care license and collection of subsidies.  Lavone will also serve as the point person with CFY’s new Social Emotional Learning Grant and the Expanded Learning Opportunity Grant from the state.  Lavone will help manage both of those initiatives. We are excited to bring him on the team.  He brings over 14 years of experience in youth development, is trained as a YPQA External Assessor, and is a Youth Work Methods trainer.  Lavone will also provide support for the new ELO initiative and the Social Emotional Learning Grant that we will be launching this fall. 

New Partnerships with Nebraskans for Civic Reform and the YMCA this Fall-
We are excited to announce new school partnerships for the upcoming 2017-18 school year! Nebraskans for Civic Reform has been selected as the partnering agency for Lewis & Clark Middle School and Lothrop Magnet Elementary. We are especially excited to add another middle school to the Collective for Youth community, Nathan Hale Middle School with DREAM as the partnering agency.  Nathan Hale is the first middle school we have added to our list of growing partners in seven years. We look forward to working with these schools in the coming year!

Summer Leadership Institute-
Collective for Youth is once again offering a three-day Summer Institute program on August 2, 3, 4. This 3 day training will help out of school time professionals in “Building You,” “Building Culture,” and “Building Your Program.” The training will be facilitated by Gwyn Williams, Program Director at Collective for Youth and LaRon Henderson, Program Quality Director at Collective for Youth. To register for the 2017 Summer Institute please click here.

One of last year’s attendees stated, “The three-day Leadership Institute was an insightful experience that allowed me to better understand my leadership style as well as how to best use my leadership style when working with others.  I really felt as if I am better able to step into my leadership position because I took the time to examine myself, not only in this role but in all areas of my life”.

LaRon and Gwyn use a unique approach that helps to create a stimulating and safe environment.  Attendees gained insight on their own personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own team’s strengths and challenges. Attendees also walked away with tools to assist them in building and leading a team, building stronger team communication, knowledge of how to best delegate to, empower, and set specific goals for those they lead.  It was inspiring to hear about each attendee’s growth as a result of the institute. For example: “I had the pleasure of attending the Leadership Institute at UNO recently. It was a great opportunity to evaluate myself as a leader. I was able to get different perspectives from other leaders within the after school sector, but also learn some specific things about myself that I could improve upon. I found that I am emotionally/socially aware. Knowing this about myself, I can help others who struggle in that department understand how much of a benefit it can be within the program. This can pertain to the staff and even the students.”

To register for the 2017 Summer Institute please click here.

Program Staff Profile-
Dannyelle Emery, Site Director with YMCA-Belvedere Elementary

Hello my name is Dannyelle Emery !  I am 35 years old and have two children.  I started working for Collective for Youth in 2008.  At that time, I was receiving state assistance and living in low-income housing.  I had been looking for employment for a while and saw there was an open position at McMillan Magnet Center for an afterschool program staff, so I applied.  My prayers were answered I got the job and started immediately.  I worked at McMillan for five years going from program staff to assistant site director, and also played as the interim director when the change of site directors took place, which happened three times while I was there.  I wanted that position as the site director! I had been the interim Site Director so it seemed to be a perfect opportunity for me. I applied for the position and got an interview but unfortunately I was not offered the position. This was very disappointing for me. Gwyn Williams, who has always been a good friend and mentor to me, told me it was time for change and offered me a site director position at Belvedere Elementary.  I was ecstatic to become a site director and very grateful that the wonderful people at Collective for Youth believed in me when others did not.  In 2013, I started my new journey at Belvedere.  It was a bit rocky at first because although I had been the interim director several of times, there was plenty of stuff behind the scenes that I didn’t have a clue about.  It was quite overwhelming to say the least, but as the time went on I went through trainings, utilized my resources, and gained a lot of experience that helped me create an excellent program for the students at Belvedere.

I am currently entering into my fifth year as a site director and going to school to attain a degree in public health.  I no longer receive any assistance or help with housing, as I purchased my own home in 2011.  Collective for Youth has made a huge impact on my life and has been a great asset to my growth.  I don’t just have a job anymore, I have a career and for that I am forever grateful.

Summer Learning-
Collective for Youth’s community partners have focused their efforts on prioritizing high quality summer learning for students.  Because of secured funding and resources, all of Omaha’s community learning center sites are providing enrichment experiences with trips to museums, parks, theaters and libraries.  Students are able to participate in hands on learning to practice their math, science and reading skills along with building their confidence and life skills! Click here to see how some of our youth have been taking advantage of summer learning opportunities.