Rachel Pierce Attends Rooted in Relationships’ Training to Support the Next Generation of Thriving Children

Nebraska childcare providers are making headlines. Today, we bring you a success story from Buffalo County’s Rooted in Relationships initiative and a provider named Rachel Pierce, the owner of Creative Kids Child Care. Today, Rachel will share the benefits and perks of being part of Rooted in Relationships (Rooted), which is one of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Early Childhood initiatives. 

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Ripple Effect: Sixpence, Alliance Families, and Public Schools Create Positive Change

Alliance, Nebraska’s Sixpence is glad to share a story of a young family’s success. The family started off dealing with some struggles. The father had grappled with a drug addiction, had been incarcerated, and had a child from a previous marriage with whom he’d not had a relationship during her early years. How did his strength, resiliency, resolve, and a little help from Sixpence support him in his positive transformation? Read more.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Ready, Set, Rosie: Lexington’s Early Learning Academy is Off to the Races Building Family-School Partnerships

“I love it because I understand that Mateo will integrate quickly and his academic level will progress much more quickly,” one Spanish-speaking parent comments on Ready Rosie’s educational videos for families.

The former retail space that houses the Early Learning Academy (ELA) in Lexington, Nebraska, may seem like an unusual setting for innovation in early childhood education, but this preschool program that serves children 3 to 5 years old houses such proactive initiatives as an early intervention program for special needs students and a migrant community classroom to serve English language learners.

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Posted in Cradle to career, Early Childhood, News and Events

GetConnected 2020

COVID or not, this year's GetConnected Conference participants' engaged and enjoyed quality virtual time!

COVID or not, this year’s GetConnected Conference participants’ engaged and enjoyed quality virtual time!

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events

Building Communities of Hope: Casey Family Programs Recognizes “Bring Up Nebraska”

On January 15, 2020, Casey Family Programs, the largest private foundation whose aim is to minimize the need for foster care while creating communities of hope, awarded Bring Up Nebraska with the Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Award. Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is proud to lead this prevention partnership.

On January 15, 2020, Casey Family Programs, the largest private foundation whose aim is to minimize the need for foster care while creating communities of hope, awarded Bring Up Nebraska with the Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Award.

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is proud to lead this prevention partnership.

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Posted in Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, News and Events, Teen/Early Adulthood

To the Moon: Beyond School Bells Teams Up with Partners to Enhance Girls’ Presence in STEM

Starting from September 16, 2020, Beyond School Bells will partake in STEM Next and partners’ Million Girls Moonshot launch. As we prepare for lift-off, we feel it’s worth mentioning that we are thankful to STEM Next who awarded Beyond School Bells a year-long grant to lead the effort in Nebraska! Read more about how Beyond School Bells is preparing for lift-off!

Starting from September 16, 2020, Beyond School Bells will partake in STEM Next and partners’ Million Girls Moonshot launch. As we prepare for lift-off, we feel it’s worth mentioning that we are thankful to STEM Next who awarded Beyond School Bells a year-long grant to lead the effort in Nebraska! Read more about how Beyond School Bells is preparing for lift-off!

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events

A Young Mother, Fremont Public Schools, and Sixpence Make the Impossible POSSIBLE

our years ago, a frightened, pregnant 16-year-old walked through Fremont Sixpence’s doors. In addition to being scared, the young woman was disconnected from her relatives. Read about how this young mother's resolve and Fremont Sixpence helped her to push through difficulties and into her own triumphant light.

Four years ago, a frightened, pregnant 16-year-old walked through Fremont Sixpence’s doors. Lauren said that in addition to being scared, the young woman was disconnected from her relatives.

Read about how this young mother’s resolve and Fremont Sixpence helped her to push through difficulties and into her own triumphant light.

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Posted in Early Childhood, Middle Childhood

Sixpence Home Visits: A Columbus, Nebraska Family Shares Their Takeaways

Most of us have probably sung the Song of Sixpence. It’s a strange little nursery rhyme, one with strikingly original opening lyrics we loved as children. Blackbirds fly out of a pie that is set before the king. For a child to be heard and create his or her own melody in the world, we need to begin to support them early in life. From the ages of birth through three, a child’s brain is a fertile ground that establishes neural connections at a dizzying rate. Therefore, parents and caregivers can help set their children’s foundation up for the formation of these valuable connections. There are a few ways that Sixpence can help. Read more to learn about Jamie Leach's Sixpence takeaways.

Most of us have probably sung the Song of Sixpence. It’s a strange little nursery rhyme, one with strikingly original opening lyrics we loved as children. Blackbirds fly out of a pie that is set before the king.

For a child to be heard and create his or her own melody in the world, we need to begin to support them early in life. From the ages of birth through three, a child’s brain is a fertile ground that establishes neural connections at a dizzying rate. Therefore, parents and caregivers can help set their children’s foundation up for the formation of these valuable connections. There are a few ways that Sixpence can help.

Read more to learn about Jamie Leach’s Sixpence takeaways.

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Posted in Early Childhood

Child-Care: Becca Paulsen Shares Her Vision of a Quality Provider

“When can you have a baby?” This is the question that Becca Paulsen will ask her childcare provider when Becca is thinking about having a second child. This leads us to our next question: How do young parents find childcare in homey, comfortable, close-knit small towns? Read on.

“When can you have a baby?”

This is the question that Becca Paulsen will ask her childcare provider when Becca is thinking about having a second child.

This leads us to our next question:
How do young parents find childcare in homey, comfortable, close-knit small towns?

Read on.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Out with Time-Out; In with Time-Ins: How the Grand Island YWCA Develops Healthy Social-Emotional Relationships

Any well-meaning parent or caregiver may think that when they put a child in time out, the child’s negative reaction and acknowledgment of her misbehavior means she is well-aware of what she did wrong, has accepted her punishment, and has taken back her behavior. When lacking an alternative, we generally enact disciplinary measures that we have been raised with and know best, but Time-Outs aren’t always effective. As part of the Rooted, Jana and her team have attended trainings that teach them evidence-based, Pyramid Model strategies that help build relationships between the children and their caregivers while at the same time decreasing challenging behavior.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Early and New Beginnings: Boone County and C4K Break Ground for Boone Beginnings Early Childhood and Family Development Center

In 2015, when Boone County, Nebraska was considering plans to address their childcare shortage, Jay Wolf, and other Boone County Foundation Fund (BCFF) core team members, said, “We know we have a childcare shortage; we need solutions, but we’re not interested in building a center.” Five years later, the team broke ground for Boone Beginnings, their early care center. So, how did this happen? Read on.

In 2015, when Boone County, Nebraska was considering plans to address their childcare shortage, Jay Wolf, and other Boone County Foundation Fund (BCFF) core team members, said, “We know we have a childcare shortage; we need solutions, but we’re not interested in building a center.”

Five years later, the team broke ground for Boone Beginnings, their early care center.

So, how did this happen? Read on.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

The Teaching Tree and Rooted in Relationships Grant Early Childcare Wishes for a Thriving Center

It’s late in the afternoon. Naptime is over. A little boy is feeling angry because his friend took his favorite toy. His face reddens and twists. As he begins to whimper, his teacher takes him aside. He puffs and blows out an imaginary candle she's holding. There are many other techniques that Stephanie Allen, the director of The Teaching Tree, her teachers, and Rooted coaches use for a thriving center! Read more.

It’s late in the afternoon. Naptime is over. A little boy is feeling angry because his friend took his favorite toy. His face reddens and twists. As he begins to whimper, his teacher takes him aside. He puffs and blows out an imaginary candle she’s holding. There are many other techniques that Stephanie Allen, the director of The Teaching Tree, her teachers, and Rooted coaches use for a thriving center! Read more.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Good Things Come in 5s: The Kellers Share Their Top Sixpence Home-Based Takeaways

There's POWER in numbers, particularly when children are the ages of birth through 3. Today, we talked to the Kellers to hear all about how Sixpence Home Base and their home visitor have helped the family thrive during these important years and beyond!

There’s POWER in numbers, particularly when children are the ages of birth through 3. Today, we talked to the Kellers to hear all about how Sixpence Home Base and their home visitor have helped the family thrive during these important years and beyond!

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Rooted in Relationships Team Releases Their Annual Report: What Did They Find Out?

Some communities found great outcomes when they decided to implement Positive Solutions for Families, which empowers parents to implement Pyramid practices at home.

Nebraska Children’s Rooted in Relationships team recently released their annual statewide evaluation and provided data to communities participating in the initiative. The report contained some positive outcomes. Find out more!

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation: Also, a Foundation for Children’s Thriving Early Years

The first three years of a child’s life are rife with neural opportunity. Throughout this time, brain synapses grow and multiply to create a foundation that serves a child for life. One of the best preventative measures we can take is dedicating ourselves to the study and practices of infant and toddler mental health. Today, we’re going to walk you through its definition, initiatives, and resources.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Happy Campers: Camp Catch-Up’s Virtual Vibes Still Brings Socially Distanced Siblings Together

Not even a pandemic could stop Camp Catch-Up! An annual event that reunites siblings who were separated by the foster care system, Camp Catch-Up Virtual Sibling Vibes was held this year on July 6 -10 via Zoom. All the children, youth, and counselors logged on - and then the games literally began! From Gaga ball to a talent show to storytelling, counselors and coordinators made sure that a good time was had by all. Read more.

Not even a pandemic could stop Camp Catch-Up! An annual event that reunites siblings who were separated by the foster care system, Camp Catch-Up Virtual Sibling Vibes was held this year on July 6 -10 via Zoom. All the children, youth, and counselors logged on – and then the games literally began! From Gaga ball to a talent show to storytelling, counselors and coordinators made sure that a good time was had by all. Read more.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Coming into Full Bloom: Cherry Park Creative Corner LLC’s Director, Shannon Crosby, Shares Sixpence CCP Takeaways

Although life and the weather are ever-changing, quality childcare and education are a constant need. To do this, we need Early Childhood initiatives like Sixpence Child Care Partnerships (Sixpence CCP). Early care and education professionals have a short but crucial time to help young lives bloom. We and Sixpence CCP can help.  Read more about Shannon Crosby, the director of Cherry Park Creative Corner, LL, and her Sixpence Child Care Partnership.

Although life and the weather are ever-changing, quality childcare and education is a constant need. To do this, we need Early Childhood initiatives like Sixpence Child Care Partnerships (Sixpence CCP). Early care and education professionals have a short but crucial time to help young lives bloom. We and Sixpence CCP can help.  Read more about Shannon Crosby, the director of Cherry Park Creative Corner, LL, and her Sixpence Child Care Partnership.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

The Teaching Tree: Sixpence CCP and Stephanie Allen Grow the Good Life for Toddlers

For a sapling to thrive and to grow into one of the majestic oaks we see today, first it must be rooted deeply within the ground. The same applies to children's early years. Sixpence, one of our early childhood initiatives, focuses on setting infants and toddlers up for success during those first three years of their life. Read our latest blog, which features an interview with Stephanie Allen, who tells us all about her takeaways from collaborating with Sixpence CCP.

For a sapling to thrive and to grow into one of the majestic oaks we see today, first it must be rooted deeply within the ground. The same applies to children’s early years. Sixpence, one of our early childhood initiatives, focuses on setting infants and toddlers up for success during those first three years of their life.

Read our latest blog, which features an interview with Stephanie Allen, who tells us all about her takeaways from collaborating with Sixpence CCP.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Rewriting the Script: Mental Health Outreach Services Provide Support, Remove Stigmas and Take a Holistic Approach

We’re delighted to play a part in funding the Community and Family Partnership’s efforts, which speaks to our model of community well-being and larger statewide prevention initiative of which we are involved, Bring Up Nebraska. The new mental health outreach service, moreover, fits into our strategy of organizations working together to create the changes we wish to see. Read more.

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Posted in News and Events

Crossing Over: New Connected Youth Initiative GOALS Program Helps Create a Bridge Between Youth and Supports

Imagine having experienced the foster care system. Maybe you connected with a family. Maybe you didn’t, and now you’re alone. You’re ready to live your best life, but are so focused on surviving, you’ve yet to approach thriving. The Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, CYI, Central Plains Center for Services and The Sherwood Foundation have teamed up to create Granting Opportunities for Achievement and Lifelong Success (GOALS). This initiative supports young adults who are transitioning from extended foster care during and throughout the pandemic. Read more.

Imagine having experienced the foster care system. Maybe you connected with a family. Maybe you didn’t, and now you’re alone. You’re ready to live your best life, but are so focused on surviving, you’ve yet to approach thriving.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, CYI, Central Plains Center for Services and The Sherwood Foundation have teamed up to create Granting Opportunities for Achievement and Lifelong Success (GOALS). This initiative supports young adults who are transitioning from extended foster care during and throughout the pandemic. Read more.

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Posted in News and Events, Systems, Teen/Early Adulthood

Quality Childcare Near You: Sixpence CCP Teams Up with Hastings Public Schools and Stoney’s Childcare Center

Stoney Straatmann (above middle), a licensed childcare provider, talks about how Sixpence CCP has benefited her.

Today, we asked Stoney Straatmann, a licensed childcare provider and one of Sixpence Child Care Partnership Programs (Sixpence CCP) from Hastings, Nebraska to talk about her experiences and benefits of the partnership. Before we speak with Stoney, we’d like to explain how Sixpence and its Child Care Partnerships work together.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Hand-Me-Downs: Mothers, Daughters, and Mentors Share Their Vision for the Next Generation of Childcare Professionals

What do I do if a parent’s check bounces? How do I handle temper tantrums? How do I keep the children in my care safe and healthy during the pandemic? How do I create a budget? What are my main expenses? How do I self-care? Why won’t toddlers put their shoes on without throwing a fit? How do I know if I am the right person for this field? Who do I talk to when I’m confused, stressed, or wish to learn about other professional opportunities? The Dawson County Early Childhood Professional Learning Series has answers.

What do I do if a parent’s check bounces? How do I handle temper tantrums? How do I keep the children in my care safe and healthy during the pandemic? How do I create a budget? What are my main expenses? How do I self-care? Why won’t toddlers put their shoes on without throwing a fit? How do I know if I am the right person for this field? Who do I talk to when I’m confused, stressed, or wish to learn about other professional opportunities? The Dawson County Early Childhood Professional Learning Series has answers.

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Posted in Uncategorized

The Giving Community: Nebraska Children Joins Fremont’s COVID-19 Task Force

Picture a rainy, cloudy day. The sky is a pale gray. Torrents pelt down like ball peen hammers. Suddenly, a man twirling fire walks through the rain, then a clown parades through the puddles. A line of cars slowly forms to watch the performance. This is not a dreamscape; this is the positive change that we envision at Nebraska Children, of which we’re delighted to take part. Read more.

Picture a rainy, cloudy day. The sky is a pale gray. Torrents pelt down like ball peen hammers. Suddenly, a man twirling fire walks through the rain, then a clown parades through the puddles. A line of cars slowly forms to watch the performance. This is not a dreamscape; this is the positive change that we envision at Nebraska Children, of which we’re delighted to take part. Read more.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Early Childhood Development is a Home Run: Cassie and Taylor Boyle Share their Sixpence Home-Based Experience

We recently spoke with Cassie and Taylor Boyle of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Cassie and Taylor are the parents of four children. Cassie explained some of the key benefits, resources, and takeaways she and her family has experienced from participating in the Sixpence Home-Based program.

We recently spoke with Cassie and Taylor Boyle of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Cassie and Taylor are the parents of four children. Cassie explained some of the key benefits, resources, and takeaways she and her family have experienced from participating in the Sixpence Home-Based program.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Brainchildren: McCook Communities for Kids’ Meeting-of-the-Minds Increases Childcare and Community

When childcare’s future looks cloudy, McCook’s Communities for Kids brainstorms and creates a silver lining by collecting families’ responses through an in-depth survey and creating a childcare incentives program! Read about how the team forged quality care incentives to improve the presence of their community’s childcare programs and providers.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Good Things Come in Threes: Communities for Kids and Partners Enact Three-Phase Approach for Early Childhood Programs and Providers

Columbus' Communities for Kids, the Community and Family Partnership, Columbus Public Schools, and other partners stand at attention, ready to hand out essential items.

Communities for Kids, one of Nebraska Children’s Early Childhood initiatives, has been hard at work. As one of our programs designed to support children during their early years and their caregivers, we believe that change begins at the community level – and it did in Columbus, Nebraska. Read more about Columbus’ three-phase approach to assisting their local childcare providers.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Zeny: A Young Woman with an Incredible Work Ethic, Meets Her Goals and Says, “I Can’t Wait to Give Back One Day”

When Zeny and her husband moved from the small town of Hastings, Nebraska to Lincoln, she had to begin all over again. For anyone who has encountered not only a new chapter in life, but a new library, that transition can be scary, exciting, and abrupt. One CYI component that helped Zeny along her way was Opportunity Passport™, which is implemented in Lincoln by Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders County. Read more about Zeny's accomplishments.

When Zeny and her husband moved from the small town of Hastings, Nebraska to Lincoln, she had to begin all over again. For anyone who has encountered not only a new chapter in life, but a new library, that transition can be scary, exciting, and abrupt. One CYI component that helped Zeny along her way was Opportunity Passport™, which is implemented in Lincoln by Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders County. Read more about Zeny’s accomplishments.

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Posted in News and Events, Systems, Teen/Early Adulthood

Virusbusters: Lisa Topf Talks about Early Care Provider’s Struggles at the Frontlines of COVID-19

We are grateful to Lisa, a Sioux City, Nebraska early care specialist, for sharing her experience at Cubby Care Campus, an early childhood center that’s situated in a growing hotbed of COVID-19, or what Lisa calls The Villain Virus. From here on, Lisa will discuss her experience, in her own words.

We are grateful to Lisa, a Sioux City, Nebraska early care specialist, for sharing her experience at Cubby Care Campus, an early childhood center that’s situated in a growing hotbed of COVID-19, or what Lisa calls The Villain Virus. From here on, Lisa will discuss her experience, in her own words.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Tips for Early Care Providers, Educators, and Programs

To ensure our safety and well-being for our next generation, the NAIMH (Nebraska Association for Infant Mental Health) has leveraged various recent sources to put together a series best practices for early care providers and educators so that our children and we can adjust to some significant changes.

To ensure our safety and well-being not only as a community, but also for our next generation, the NAIMH, has leveraged various recent sources to put together a series best practices for early care providers and educators so that we and our children can adjust to some major changes.

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Posted in Uncategorized

CARES Act Allocates Funds to Childcare and Educational Initiatives

Early this week, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced that $20M in federal dollars will go toward restoring our state’s childcare foundation in addition to other educational resources for children. Following passage of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) earlier in March, this funding became available with a $3.5B appropriation to the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF). Read more about how these funds will be approximately allocated.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Nebraska Children Teams Up with Matt Talbot Kitchen and Partners to Provide Housing for Homeless

We are excited to be part of some incredible community-based efforts, particularly when we teamed up with Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach and partners' efforts to provide housing for the homeless.

We are excited to be part of some incredible community-based efforts, particularly Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach’s recent ones to provide housing for the homeless. Throughout these last few months, we can’t deny the pandemic’s gravity or community accomplishments to help families thrive. As the saying goes, if it

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Posted in News and Events

Connected Youth Initiative: Kevin, a Motivated Young Man, Arrives at Success, Thanks to His Determination and a Little Help from Opportunity Passport

Kevin has been a participant in Opportunity Passport™ for over three years. He speaks three languages, plans to attend college, continues to demonstrate financial self-sufficiency. Given these skills, he’s already created a solid foundation but has built on these existing talents. Read more to see how he accomplished his goals!

Resources for Unconnected Youth: Connected Youth Initiative Grants Hope   During an unsettling time, our communities and youth with foster care experience matter. Despite these challenges, positive changes are happening every day both here at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and in the communities in which we work.   We’ve seen

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Posted in News and Events, Systems, Teen/Early Adulthood

Project Everlast Omaha Launches Mobile Pantries to Ensure Youth Have Access to Food and Necessities

Long before the pandemic, Connected Youth Initiative’s Project Everlast Omaha, its partners, and the community has offered programs to assist unconnected youth. The term "unconnected youth" refers to young people between the ages of 14-25 years of age who have experienced the foster care system, juvenile justice system and/or probation, homelessness, or human trafficking. Find out more about Project Everlast Omaha's efforts to support unconnected youth!

Long before the pandemic, Connected Youth Initiative’s Project Everlast Omaha, its partners, and the community has offered programs to assist unconnected youth. The term “unconnected youth” refers to young people between the ages of 14-25 years of age who have experienced the foster care system, juvenile justice system and/or probation, homelessness, or human trafficking. Find out more about Project Everlast Omaha’s efforts to support unconnected youth!

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events, Systems, Teen/Early Adulthood

When Playgrounds are off Limits, Early Care Providers Get Creative: Krystal Holmes Reveals Educational Activities for Toddlers During COVID-19

Read more about Falls City, NE childcare provider, Krystal Holmes, who became creative in engaging her toddlers. From creating mini-storm clouds to turning a toy exercise into a real-live bug-hunt, Krystal shares both the difficulties that have affected her childcare and the learning experiences she has created as a result.

COVID-19. A few months before it was a name that occasionally echoed throughout media outlets, a virus from far, far away, a distant worry that was initially, amid all of hustle and bustle of everyday life, easy to brush aside.  

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Childcare Provider Spotlight: Roxann Bihlmaier, Director of Kinder Haus Child Center, Talks about COVID-19’s Impact

Roxann Bihlmaier, the Director of Kinder Haus Child Center in Eustis, shares how the pandemic has impacted her program.

Although many professions, from retail to bartending to hospitality, have felt COVID-19’s impact, there is one, essential part of our workforce whose efforts occasionally remain unsung: our early care and education providers.

We realize, who better then, to speak to the struggles and hopes childcare providers face than a provider herself? Today, Roxann Bihlmaier, the Director of Kinder Haus Child Center in Eustis, Nebraska, is that person. Although every childcare provider’s story is unique, their hardships, hopes, and fears are all very real. Let us allow Roxann to tell us her story.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Promising News for Early Childhood Care and Education: Nebraska’s PDG B-5 Renewal Grant Chosen for 8.9-Million Dollar Award

The National Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families has informed Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) of a three-year, PDG B-5 renewal grant. Nebraska will receive $8.9 million for each of the next three years with contributing partners pledging $2.7 million in matched funds. Read more in our latest blog.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Opening up During COVID-19: Carly Garner, A Childcare Provider, Shares Her Experience

Early care providers and educators realize that whereas they are performing an essential act, they are also assuming a highly empathetic one. Many early childhood programs and providers have worked with their families and children for years. Early care educators and providers not only make up an important part of our economy; they have also become an honorary member of their attendees’ families. Meanwhile, questions abound: if they close will they ever reopen? What will their families, whom they have grown to care for as much as their children, do if they close their doors? How do they best serve their families, selves, and children? For Carly, she deliberates these questions along with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Early care providers and educators realize that whereas they are performing an essential act, they are also assuming a highly empathetic one. Many early childhood programs and providers have worked with their families and children for years. Early care educators and providers not only make up an important part of our economy; they have also become an honorary member of their attendees’ families.

Meanwhile, questions abound: if they close will they ever reopen? What will their families, whom they have grown to care for as much as their children, do if they close their doors? How do they best serve their families, selves, and children? For Carly Garner, she deliberates these questions along with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Nebraska Reopens…Along with Early Care and Education Programs: Chantel Tonkinson Shares Her New Beginning

Children at Chantel Tonkinson's early care facility, Ladybug Crossing, create Easter projects.

Our early care providers are strategizing, struggling, and helping – even amid this potentially fatal illness. We are glad to hear and share their stories. It is undeniable that early care workers have been duly impacted by COVID-19. It is, however, equally undeniable that this demographic has proven itself to be hard-working, resilient, and resourceful.

As we spoke with Chantel Tonkinson, the director of Ladybug Crossing Early Learning Program in North Platte, Nebraska, our vision of a brighter future and eventual new beginning sharpened into focus. She is reopening Ladybug Crossing on May 11!

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Children of the Trees: Communities, Nonprofits, and Public Institutions Unite on Behalf of Nebraska-Tree-A-Thon

On Arbor Day weekend, April 24-26, youth and their communities across Nebraska participated in a statewide Tree-A-Thon to plant and celebrate trees. 

BSB kicked off the Tree-A-Thon alongside Arbor Day Foundation, Natural Resource Districts, Audubon Nebraska, Nebraska Forest Service, and The University of Nebraska. As with any major initiative, this project constituted more than just tree-planting; BSB and its partners had a larger mission in mind. 

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events

No Picnic: Saffron Buettner Reveals her Community’s Strategy to Deliver 175-Gallons of Milk and 175 Loaves of Bread to 70 Providers in Two Weeks

When early care providers experienced a bread and milk shortage, how did Saffron Buettner (pictured right) and her fellow community members help? Find out.  

When early care providers experienced a bread and milk shortage, how did Saffron Buettner (pictured above) and her fellow community members help? Find out.  

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Afterschool Programs are Here to Stay: Beyond School Bells Launches New Toolkit for Any Stage in the Creation Process

Whether you're contemplating, starting, improving, or sustaining a high quality afterschool or summer learning experience, the process takes work. Beyond School Bells has launched its new Toolkit to help. For those thinking about creating an Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO), the toolkit provides planning guidelines and funding structures. To start a program, this resource contains hiring and leadership strategies. To improve an ELO, explore curricular ideas and career-readiness best practices. Finally, sustain your ELO with resources for partnerships, advocacy, and messaging. 

Whether you’re contemplating, starting, improving, or sustaining a high quality afterschool or summer learning experience, the process takes work. Beyond School Bells has launched its new Toolkit to help. For those thinking about creating an Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO), the toolkit provides planning guidelines and funding structures. To start a program, this resource contains hiring and leadership strategies. To improve an ELO, explore curricular ideas and career-readiness best practices. Finally, sustain your ELO with resources for partnerships, advocacy, and messaging. 

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events

Beyond School Bells Join Forces to Bring STEM to Underserved Areas

Beyond School Bells was awarded a one-year grant to participate in the Million Girl Moonshot. This initiative intends to increase the number of underserved youth in high-quality afterschool and summer STEM programs. With this STEMNext grant, BSB will join ten other statewide afterschool networks to launch this decade-long national initiative.

Beyond School Bells was awarded a one-year grant to participate in the Million Girl Moonshot. This initiative intends to increase the number of underserved youth in high-quality afterschool and summer STEM programs. With this STEMNext grant, BSB will join ten other statewide afterschool networks to launch this decade-long national initiative.

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events

Early Childhood Providers and COVID-19: The Nebraska Child Care Provider Relief Fund Delivers Source of Support

Thanks to the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, we and Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative created the Nebraska Child Care Provider Relief Fund. This fund provides Nebraska-based licensed childcare programs and providers with a one-time $1,000 award. These funds are designed to recognize the importance of childcare facilities during this crisis. To date, we’ve received a staggeringly high number of over 1,000 applications. 

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Coming Clean: During COVID-19, Community Members Help Early Care Providers Find Disinfectant

Join Julie Nash of Hall County Community Collaborative as she comes clean on her hunt for a provider's much-needed disinfectant.

Despite COVID-19, many families need to work, and their children need quality care. Without childcare, there can be no essential workers. Without these essential early care workers, there can be no thriving community.

Julie Nash wholeheartedly recognizes this connection. She and her organization serve on a committee that works with children ages birth through 11 and their providers. Through the professional grapevine, Julie caught wind from Shonna Werth, Assistant Vice President of Early Childhood Programs, that a provider in St. Paul, Nebraska needed disinfectant. In fact, if this provider couldn’t find some sanitizer soon, she would have to close her doors.

Learn more about Julie’s hunt for disinfectant.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Bring Up Nebraska Partners Working to Meet Needs: First Lady Shore, Motherboard and Generous Funders Refurbish Over 80 Computers for Families in Colfax/Platte Counties

From left to right: Representatives from Community & Family Partnership/Community Response, Motherboard, Platte Valley Literacy Association, Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska, and Cargill Community Learning Center

Schuyler, Nebraska, with the help of our First Lady and other generous organizations, provided a terrific example of a community that cultivates positive change through engagement. When families in the Platte/Colfax Counties who were pursuing distance-learning were left with no available technology, the Community and Family Partnership, one of Bring Up Nebraska’s community collaboratives, reached out to its partners for assistance.

Find out what happened next.

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Posted in News and Events, Teen/Early Adulthood

COVID-19’s Effect on Early Care and Afterschool Programs: Providers Adapt, Grapple, and Make the Most Out of Difficult Times

The children at Cherry Creative Corner are creating and playing while Shannon and her staff find ways to adapt to new circumstances.

This spring, COVID-19 is a name and number with which you’re probably well-acquainted. You’re more than likely aware of many other numbers, too. From the number of infected individuals in your area to the number of businesses closed to the number of layoffs, we can recite these statistics by heart.

Here at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, as an organization that seeks to grow the good life for all our children, we empathize with those who are witnessing, dealing, and adjusting to these uncertain times.

In addition to members of the service industry and retail being impacted, there is one occasionally overlooked, equally affected demographic whose voice we aim to capture: our early care providers.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Early Childcare Faced with Pandemic: Heather Schmidt Shares Her Experience, Humor, and Difficulties in the Face of COVID-19 

Early Care in Crisis: An Interview with Nebraska Providers

Heather Schmidt of Broken Bow, Nebraska is the owner of Love & Learn Childcare. She is also a student, part-time Administrative Assistant at Mid-Plains Community College’s Broken Bow Campus, and one of many early care providers staring in the uncertain face of COVID-19.  

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation was glad to speak with Heather and gather her experiences considering these unprecedented events. Our hearts go out to those who are affected by the coronavirus.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Early Childhood Care and Education in Crisis: How Providers and Educators are Grappling and Adapting in the Face of COVID-19

This blog features an interview with Linda Horner, and describes the struggles of early childhood educators in light of COVID-19.

From creating interactive Facebook platforms for e-learning to navigating uncertain enrollment, early childhood providers’ COVID-19-related struggles and successes are very real, particularly those of Linda Horner. Read about Linda’s experience.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

COVID-19 INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Families and children matter now more so than ever, particularly during these uncertain times. Governor Ricketts has issued an Emergency Declaration for COVID-19. This content is intended to be a continuously updated document in a rapidly changing environment. It contains policy changes, opportunities for communities, and general updates connected to response to COVID-19. Please, check back often.

Posted in News and Events

We All Thrive Together: Mary Jo Pankoke, First Lady Susanne Shore, and Partners Explain How You Bring Up Nebraska During the Pandemic

Our first virtual event, “Thrive Together,” ended yesterday. While we’re sad that we couldn’t get together in person, we still raised more than $100,000 to support our mission and celebrate the communities we serve.  Thrive Together isn’t just a fundraiser.

Posted in Uncategorized

Not a Bedtime Story: The Facts, Figures, and Data Behind Childcare

Although our lives are flooded with information, for many working parents, one worry looms large on a Sunday night: who can care for their children when they go to work? This concern is neither a lullaby nor a bedtime story but instead a keep-you-awake-at-night concern, particularly for rural Nebraskan parents.  

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

Graduation: A Young Parent Shares How Her Efforts and Sixpence Helped Her Enter the Next Phase

From the recipient of Sixpence home visits to becoming a young mom, then a home visitor, read Yesenia's uplifting story.

From the recipient of Sixpence home visits to becoming a young mom, then a home visitor, read Yesenia’s uplifting story.

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Posted in Cradle to career, Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, News and Events

Camp Catch-Up Rings in the Fall and Reunites Siblings Again!

The team kicked off Camp Catch-Up on September 25. The sessions presented some fun activities from the past and new ones, including cooking before a campfire, tie-dying, and crafts-making. Camp delivered a seasonal spin, too, with pumpkin-carving and painting to boot.

Although Camp Catch-Up (CCU) has traditionally taken place during the summer, the resilient team remains devoted to reuniting siblings between the ages of 8-19 who were separated by the foster care system. When CCU canceled their summer sessions due to the pandemic, like everything the team does, they substituted their temporary disappointment with innovation.

The team kicked off Camp Catch-Up on September 25. The sessions presented some fun activities from the past and new ones, including cooking before a campfire, tie-dying, and crafts-making. Camp delivered a seasonal spin, too, with pumpkin-carving and painting to boot.

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Posted in News and Events, Teen/Early Adulthood
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