Nebraska Children is happy to have welcomed Michelle Suarez to the team to help our organization coordinate with Prosper Lincoln’s efforts in the community. We talked to Michelle to learn more about her, the initiative, and what she hopes Prosper Lincoln and Nebraska Children can accomplish together. Read on to learn more.
Nebraska Children: Can you explain your role at Nebraska Children?
Michelle Suarez: My role is the Early Childhood Developer with Prosper Lincoln. I serve as a connector to build upon and support the great work that is already being done in early childhood as we localize it to the Lincoln community.
Where were you prior to Nebraska Children, and what led you here?
I just retired from a 34-year career as a teacher and administrator in the public schools, 32 of which were in Lincoln Public Schools. My mission is to positively impact the lives of children, especially our most vulnerable children, and I am able to continue this mission serving as the Early Childhood Developer with Prosper Lincoln.
Children are clearly a big part of your life. What about in your current work? Can you explain your Prosper Lincoln work for those who haven’t heard of it?
Prosper Lincoln is a community initiative/agenda that was developed with broad community input and support after the Lincoln Vital Signs report came out. Vital Signs confirmed that Lincoln is a great community in which to live. It also detailed that some of our residents are struggling with significant needs. Prosper Lincoln is a response designed to improve the prosperity for all Lincoln residents with a focus on those most in need. We have a three-pillar approach: Early Childhood, Employment Skills, and Innovation/Entrepreneurship.
We take a collective impact approach to bring together people doing the work so that we can accomplish more with a common agenda, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, shared measurement, and backbone support. Nebraska Children is the backbone support for Prosper Lincoln’s Early Childhood work.
What do you hope partnering with Nebraska Children will accomplish? Why is it important?
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is the premier place for work in early childhood. The knowledge, skill, and expertise that resides in the remarkable staff inspires continued learning, growth, and impactful outcomes for children.
The work is important because we have a four-year window of time to move the needle on poverty as we seek to strengthen the Lincoln community. Our efforts will only be successful to the extent that our community embraces shared commitment to one another.