Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is awarding $200,000 over two years to the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation on behalf of North Platte’s Families First Partnership (formerly known as the West Central Partnership-Children and Families Alliance). The funding will be used to build a Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) system to serve Lincoln County’s young people in need.
“We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with North Platte and the Families First Partnership 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 Families First Partnership is the coordinating body for the initiative.
“Receiving the Connected Youth Initiative award will provide immense support to at-risk youth in our community,” said Caroline Sabin, Child Well-Being Coordinator for West Central District Health Department. “The Families First Partnership will use this funding to address the need of housing and transportation by connecting youth to community resources through a youth outreach worker and central navigator.”
Find out more about the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI).
North Platte’s CYI
The Families First Partnership will use the money to fund two new positions and contract with several area partners to provide coordinated services to participating youth. The new positions are a Central Access Navigator to coordinate services and help youth connect to the resources they need, an on-call Youth Outreach Worker to serve as an advisor and liaison to Lincoln County’s unconnected youth community. Caroline Sabin will coordinate the effort, arranging for case management and coordinating program partners.
According to Sabin, the greatest barriers for unconnected youth in the North Platte area are housing, transportation and employment.
For its Connected Youth Initiative, the Families First Partnership has pulled together a powerful collaboration of area service providers and businesses to offer structured supports to unconnected youth that address these barriers and others:
- Central Plains Services will accept referrals to their Preparation for Adult Living Services (PALS) and their Success through Education program. CPS will also provide a $25,000 education match and administer the Opportunity Passport program.
- The Connection Homeless Shelter will allow CYI youth age 18 and older to stay at the shelter during times of crisis.
- E&M Yellow Cab Co. will provide taxi transportation to CYI youth through a voucher system.
- Family Skill Building Services LLC will report service data to the Families First Partnership to ensure that services are being utilized.
- Husker Inn Motel will offer reduced rate motel rooms to CYI youth when emergency housing is needed.
- L2 for Kids, Inc. will donate new school clothes for youth in grades 6-12 in the North Platte area.
- Mid-Plains Community College – Adult education, GED testing services, career guidance, and employment preparation services.
- North Platte Career Center will hold resume, interviewing and job-search workshops for CYI youth.
- North Platte Sober Living will provide a drop-in center as a safe place for youth, as well as emergency supplies and services and an outreach worker.
- Francis Family Services will initiate family finding services and assist with foster homes, respite homes and host homes for youth.
- West Central Health Department will provide dental services at the lowest price.
- Western Nebraska Bank will administer Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for youth savings.
- Women’s Resource Center will provide training for expecting parents, baby supplies, pregnancy testing, STI/STD education, and information about adoption and parenting classes.
- Youth for Christ will make their meeting space available for education, support, meals and more, as well as provide Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Curriculum and an instructor.
My younger cousins have always been victims of bullying at school, which has a lot of detrimental impacts including mental health problems. It’s disappointing to learn that housing, transportation, and job are some of the biggest obstacles for young people without connections. However, I believe that there is always something that parents can do to assist, such as enrolling them in a volunteer program for at-risk adolescents run by a nonprofit.