Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is awarding $300,000 over two years to the Norfolk Area United Way on behalf of the Norfolk Family Coalition and the Social Innovation Sub-Committee. The funding will be used to build a Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) system to serve young people in need across Madison, Pierce, Stanton and Wayne counties.
“We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with the Norfolk Family Coalition on this important project,” said Troy Gagner, Nebraska Children’s Connected Youth Initiative lead. “The partnerships they’ve built and the plan they’ve put together have the potential to make a major impact on the youth and young adults who need the most help.”
“The Norfolk Family Coalition is grateful to be awarded the Connected Youth Grant,” said Leonor Fuhrer, Norfolk Family Coalition Coordinator. “The grant will assist with educational needs, help find employment, housing, building life skills, transportation and funds to assist in a crisis situation. The center of this will be developed around the youth voice and a youth council will be created to represent youth in this area.”
Norfolk Family Coalition’s proposed program
According to the proposal submitted by the Norfolk Family Coalition, the greatest barriers encountered by the area’s unconnected youth are insufficient mental health services, lack of affordable, high-quality child care, affordable housing, living wage jobs, transportation and food pantries.
With CYI funding, the Norfolk Family Coalition will deliver a network of services including assistance accessing housing, health care, job readiness training, education and transportation. The coalition will add staff coordinators to manage the broad-based partnership and ensure that services are delivered in systematic way. They will also invest into technology that will help multiple agencies within the coalition track the movement of youth, to see which services have been accessed.
“The grant does require a match amount each year,” said Fuhrer. “We have already started to process of working with local organizations and businesses to provide services or products.”
For its Connected Youth Initiative, the Norfolk Family Coalition will work to remove these barriers with a network of partners including:
- Bank of the West will provide financial training and individual development accounts (IDAs) to help young people meet their savings goals
- Central Plains Center for Services PALS program will administer the Opportunity Passport financial literacy and savings program
- Madison County Juvenile Services Office will provide funding and guidance for mental health services, as well as services for parenting youth and independent living training
- Midtown Health Center will provide health care enrollment services, case management, patient assistance and low-cost health care services
- Nebraska Children’s Home Society will provide family finding services as part of their contract with the state
- Nebraska Workforce Development will provide job readiness training
- Oasis Counseling will provide mentoring services
- Project Everlast youth council will provide youth input for the CYI, and may contribute to the establishment of a youth leadership council
- Teen Mom Infant Childcare Program will offer high-quality care and parent education for all of the infants in the program so parenting youth can pursue employment and education
The Coalition is still forging partnerships to round out the services available to the underserved, unconnected youth in the service area.