March/April news

Nebraska Department of Education Press Release
Afterschool and summer programs will soon be available at 10 new sites in Nebraska. Click here to read the official press release.

Collaboration of Why Arts? and Basic Hope Foundation Art Exhibit SOAR by Teresa Gleason

The collaborative artwork of middle school students from Omaha Public Schools was on display at The B Side of Benson Theatre, 6058 Maple Street, during the month of March.

The opening reception for the Express Yourself Art Exhibition was held March 2. The show was sponsored by WhyArts, the Basic Hope Foundation’s S.O.A.R. Program, Collective for Youth and Omaha Public Schools. S.O.A.R., a local after-school program, provides incentives for improved grades, program attendance and the Student of The Quarter Award, said Kim Jubenville, director of youth engagement at WhyArts. The acronym stands for:

  • Self-control resulting from a greater understanding of oneself
  • Others for whom more compassion and empathy are developed
  • Appropriate attitudes and awareness in choosing effective conflict strategies
  • Relationship management at school, home and in the community

The student work was created in February through a series of workshops led by WhyArts teaching artists Joe Broghammer, Amanda Caillau, Rich Chung, Kim Darling, Brandon Mass, Tom McLaughlin, Sarah Rowe, Katherine Scarpello and Hugo Zamorano. The participating middle schools were Monroe, Morton, McMillan, Marrs, Norris, Nathan Hale, Lewis & Clark and King Science Magnet.

Facebook Engineer for the Week Finalist
by Gwyn Williams
Collective for Youth and Boys & Girls Club Panther Pack program at Morton Middle School, has a team of three students that were selected as a Facebook’s Engineer For The Week finalist. These three 7th and 8th grade students, plus their afterschool staff members will attend the Achievement Summit held in early May at the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California.  This was an extremely competitive process.

Charles Parks III, Morton Magnet award finalists,
Site Director Stephanie Henderson

Facebook’s Engineer for the Week is an immersive program that introduces students to the fast paced world of engineering.  Teams participate in building prototypes from design through the iteration of a final product. Throughout the process, students met virtually each week with a Facebook engineer. The Morton team designed a chat bot to support students emotionally and offer information on bullying and other sensitive topics.  The project was also a collaboration with Charles Parks III of the cp3o TAMEE Program, a local partnership that teaches technology and media skills to students in afterschool programs.   

Bring the Joy   
by LaRon Henderson
Gwyn Williams and I recently attended a highly energetic and motivation 4 day High Performance Academy with Brendon Burchard in Phoenix, Arizona. Attending a conference on personal productivity like this is inspiring, moving and more than anything, it helps me to see that we are not alone in this space.

Two thousand people came together from 30 countries representing entrepreneurs, CEO’s students and everything in between.  It was clear from the start that we all had a similar goal:  We wanted to not only DO better, but we wanted to BE better.

Below are 5 bulleted key points we brought back from our time at this amazing High Performance Academy.  Some are things we just needed a simple reminder of, maybe you do too:

  • Only two things will change your life, either something new comes into your life, or something new comes from within! Change comes from within, but it flows throughout. 
  • Never let your past or circumstance limit your vision for the future. Life is an experiment, sometimes ideas work and other times they don’t.  Our only failure is when we stop making attempts to figure life out. 
  • Common Sense is NOT always common practice. The pathway to becoming extraordinary start with a clear understanding of our beliefs in actions.  Our actions speak louder than our words!
  • Health play a HUGE role in achieving your dreams. When your health goes, nothing else matters.
  • The power plant doesn’t have energy, it generates it. Don’t wait for inspiration or energy. Bring the JOY!                        

Ultimately, we walked away energized and ready to return to Omaha with a renewed sense of urgency, knowing we don’t have many days here to complete our assignment.  A common thought is that if we work on our STRENGTHS, our lives will improve.  Knowing and understanding what we are good at, may help us perform better when we are looking for employment or writing a resume. But there is more to consider.

In order to perform at our highest level and discover our true authentic self, questions like; Who am I? What am I good at and more often, What is required to be of service here and how can I grow into that? These questions keep us moving and searching for truth.  Becoming the envy of the nation may not happen at this minute, but the stage has been set for our arrival.

Askable Adult Training
In March, 30 afterschool program professionals attended a training to become more knowledgeable about being an Askable Adult.  As a certified Askable Adult facilitator, Gwyn Williams hosts workshops to educate and assist adults in answering those tough questions. 

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, were equipped with the knowledge and the resources to provide accurate information, appropriate referrals, and other needed support to youth in positive and affirming ways. Each attendee received a resource packet tailored to the community they serve. 

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. 

Register for upcoming trainings HERE. 

Save the date for Omaha Gives on May 22, 2019. Bookmark CFY’s cheer page here!