Network News, June 2024

Welcome to the latest edition of Collective for Youth’s newsletter, where we will celebrate the outstanding achievements of some of our CLC sites this past school year with the Tradition of Excellence Award and STEM Achievement Awards. This month, we also recommend The Courage to be Disliked for your professional development, a thought-provoking read that encourages embracing individuality and change. Additionally, don’t miss our featured article from the Wallace Foundation on managing staffing and program costs effectively. As we gear up for an exciting summer, we are committed to providing engaging, high-quality experiences and collaborating for success in Next Level Learning!

Wallace Foundation Report

Afterschool Programs Support Learning Recovery But Struggle with Staffing and Program Costs,” is an Afterschool Alliance brief based on an online survey conducted by Edge Research from October 31 to December 5, 2023, highlights a key findings of afterschool programs’ role in supporting students’ academic development and life skills practice, despite challenges like staffing and program costs. While programs address concerns about students’ well-being, issues like waitlists and reduced student intake persist, underscoring the need for additional resources. Pandemic relief funds have helped some programs enhance staff support and services, but sustained funding is crucial for long-term program stability and effectiveness. To learn more click HERE.

The STEMpowerment Bootcamp, hosted on May 9th and 10th, was created with one goal in mind: build capacity and confidence in STEM skill areas for sites to lead their own STEM programs, while providing fun, interactive, and hands-on workshop sessions prior to the start of Summer Programming.  Collective for Youth welcomed over 40 individuals ready to engage in two days’ worth of STEM learning experience professional development.  CFY was excited to leverage the unique expertise of so many in the Network, as 11 different STEM providers across the Network provided workshop sessions, with an additional two providers supporting in a panel discussion around building successful STEM programs/activities.

Importantly, this event held on also featured a STEM Achievement Award presented to two sites for the 2023-2024 school year. The award was created to highlight and acknowledge sites for their focus in developing, embracing, and providing quality STEM experiences during the school year. This school year’s recipients were Olivia Escobedo (Site Director) and her team at Spring Lake Elementary (Picture is of Jaime Valadez [Assistant Site Director]) and Stephanie Henderson (Site Director) and her team at Morton Middle School (Picture is of Stephanie and staff member Tyler Lee) .  
For more information, please contact CFY’s STEM Partnerships Manager, Nik Stevenson, at

On June 10th and 11th, Collective for Youth team members, Megan Addison, Nik Stevenson and Nicole Everingham will team up with the Afterschool Alliance and afterschool professionals from around the country to meet face to face with members of Congress and urge them to support kids and families who rely on afterschool programs. The Afterschool for All Challenge, taking place in Washington DC.  The Afterschool for All Challenge is a national push to increase federal funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Collective for Youth will meet with members of Congress to share the impactful after-school programs that are changing lives in Omaha’s youth.   Our network members can support this challenge by advocating from Omaha during June 10th and 11th.  More details can be found here

In the spring of 2023, Omaha Public Schools (OPS) approached Collective for Youth with a request for support. OPS wanted to provide targeted professional development for teachers at 10 schools. In order to provide this, they needed help to cover classrooms for teachers to attend this professional development. Collective for Youth and multiple partners including but not limited to Kids Can, Completely KIDS, Urban League of NE, WhyArts, Rose Theater, Future Kids and Emerging Ladies, provided curriculum and enrichment opportunities for over 5,000 elementary youth in 10 schools. The sessions took place over 3 days in the fall of 2023, and spring of 2024. This allowed over 100 teachers to participate in high quality professional development targeted to improve literacy instruction. Providers had the opportunity to partner more closely with schools they work at during after-school hours, build deeper relationships with these students, and provide day-time hours for staff who typically are only offered after-school work hours. This also allowed students opportunities to find success in enrichment activities and discover new interests and skills. All but one provider reported wanting to participate in this partnership again. We have good momentum going into the next school year.  

My ability to see who I am and what gifts I give to my circle of influence is important. This is an easy concept to speak about, but difficult to put into practice. As a leader of people, it is imperative that we can accept the fact that there are going to be times when our voice or opinions are not popular. During a conversation with a colleague, she recommended I read, The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga.  

The Courage to Be Disliked follows a dialogue between a philosopher and a young man who debate whether happiness is something you choose for yourself. The philosopher examines happiness from the theories and frameworks of Alfred Adler and Adlerian psychology. It is a refreshing perspective that empowers you to escape determinism and avoid allowing yourself to be defined by past traumas or the weight of external expectations. As Kishimi emphasizes, “Your life is not something that someone gives you, but something you choose for yourself, and you are the one who decides how you live.”  

The Courage to Be Disliked is a wonderful resource to improve your relationship at home and work, find your courage, and pursue personal growth. Why should you read it? 

It is a challenging but accessible look at the narratives we tell ourselves that keep us stuck in unhealthy, unfulfilling lives. I have and will continue to recommend it to the people in our network who want to shake themselves out of mediocrity and excuse-making. I do personally believe my life has already received help from this book and will continue to grow as I reflect more on the concepts and ideas presented.  

At the end of the day, each one of us must make the decision to destroy the ignorance in our minds. We can watch a documentary, go to a conference, listen to a podcast, but ultimately when all the smoke clears and the emotions disappear, we must have the courage to change what we do not like and do better. If you would like more resources for your personal development or team, do not hesitate to reach out to me at .

Nearly 1000 youth, parents and site staff attended the Red & White Spring Game on April 27, 2024. The weather was perfect for all the children and families to enjoy the game. This has been an annual tradition for CFY sites. We look forward to it every year!