Blog Archives

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

Reconnecting Youth with Foster Care Experience: Project Everlast and its Supporters Help a Young Man Remain Connected

Read more about how Project Everlast Omaha assisted a young man who had been released from incarceration.

As COVID-19 numbers rise, Project Everlast Omaha seeks out those affected youth in the metro, particularly those released from incarceration. For young members of our community, feeling excluded is hard enough, but being released into an uncertain, altered world is even more taxing.

Read more about how Project Everlast Omaha assisted a young man who had been released from incarceration.

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

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

Connected Youth Initiative and COVID-19: A Domestic Abuse Survivor Steps into Brighter Times

How did a young mother'and domestic abuse survivor's resolve and Connected Youth Initiative help her move into brighter times?

As we search for light in dark corners, we must acknowledge the struggles, strengths and triumphs of these youth. Each one has a different story; each one is capable of being remarkably successful, sometimes with a little support from CYI’s resources.

Recently, one young mother’s story arrives at a welcome time. Although her experience was not easy, and was perhaps exacerbated by the coronavirus, we are glad that she was resourceful and resilient enough to ask for assistance, and that CYI was there to help. Read this young woman’s story.

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

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
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