Connected Youth Initiative in Grand Island/Kearney/Hastings


Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is awarding $300,000 over two years to the Hall County Community Collaborative (H3C). The funding will be used to build a Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) system to serve young people in need across Hall, Adams, Buffalo, Clay, Dawson, Franklin, Hamilton, Harlan, Kearney, Merrick, Nuckolls, Phelps, and Webster counties.

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with the H3C 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 H3C and partner agencies worked together to find innovative ways to support youth not already connected to traditional services,” said Joni Kuzma, of H3C. “We are excited to have been selected as a Connected Youth Initiative grant recipient. This joint effort provides older youth in a multi-county area with much needed and better coordinated resources to become independent and self-sufficient.”

Find out more about the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI)

H3C’s proposed program

With CYI funding, the collaborative intends to contract with partner organization to provided coordinated Central Access Navigation, project management, youth council coordination and case management for youth.

According to the proposal submitted by H3C, the greatest barriers encountered by the area’s unconnected youth are insufficient mental health services, lack of affordable, high-quality child care, school absenteeism, unplanned pregnancies, lack of affordable housing, lack of living wage jobs and transportation barriers.

For its Connected Youth Initiative, H3C will work to remove these barriers with a network of partners including:

  • BoysTown will provide behavioral health, foster care services, in-home family services, crisis shelter, educational services and parenting classes
  • Central Nebraska Community Services
  • Central Plains Center for Services (CPCS) will provide financial literacy training, administer the Opportunity Passport™ savings program, and provide some local match funding
  • CPCS Preparation for Independent Living Services (PALS) will provide case management and one-on-one transition and independent living skills
  • Families Care planning and peer support for youth with mental health and substance abuse issues
  • Heartland CASA will manage and expand the existing youth council
  • Hope Harbor will provide safe shelter and meals for youth in crisis
  • Job Corp will provide employment readiness
  • Region 3 Behavioral Health will provide mental health case management, and expand its role as Central Access Navigator to act as the single access point between youth and whatever services they need
  • Vocational Rehabilitation will provide employment readiness services

H3C intends to formalize other partnerships to round out the services available to the underserved, unconnected youth in the service area.

Nebraska Children's mission is to maximize the potential of Nebraska’s children, youth, and families through collaboration and community-centered impact.

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Posted in Teen/Early Adulthood

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