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In Living Watercolor: Grai Gray Paints a Vibrant Future of Resilience with Connected Youth Initiative Supports  

Grai Gray (they/them) is making a name for themselves in every area of their lives. From featuring a watercolor piece in the University of Nebraska Omaha’s (UNO) spring juried art show to doing digital illustrations, Grai keeps their world busy and colorful.   

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

2022 Youth Legislative Days Kicks off Another Year Filled with Resounding Young Voices  

“Sit down for just one minute and listen to me. That is what I would want to see changed; not, ‘You go here or here, or if you do this, we will put you here.’ As a kid, you don’t need to be threatened with a placement.”

“Sit down for just one minute and listen to me. That is what I would want to see changed; not, ‘You go here or here, or if you do this, we will put you here.’ As a kid, you don’t need to be threatened with a placement.”

Young leader Jacob Mckirdy is talking about the foster care system and the needs of children and youth who experienced this complicated entity. Read how he and other young leaders participate in Lincoln Legislative Days to make their voices heard about their passions.

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Posted in Legislature, News and Events, Systems

Nothing to Hide: A’zja Reveals How Her Past Gave Her the Strength to Succeed

As a teenager, A’jza escaped her family and hid for three weeks in a friend’s closet. She’s also walked herself to therapy, deciding that she needed mental health support. She learned Omaha’s public transit system as a child, worked a job since she was 12, and has been mistaken for someone almost twice her age – with good reason.  Read about how, with a Connected Youth Initiative and Beyond School Bells internship, this remarkable young woman stepped into a thriving career.

As a teenager, A’jza escaped her family and hid for three weeks in a friend’s closet. She’s also walked herself to therapy, deciding that she needed mental health support. She learned Omaha’s public transit system as a child, worked a job since she was 12, and has been mistaken for someone almost twice her age – with good reason.  Read about how, with a Connected Youth Initiative and Beyond School Bells internship, this remarkable young woman stepped into a thriving career.

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Retelling Her Story: Madison Honeyman Uses Her Voice and Connected Youth Initiative’s Internship to Create a New Future for Herself and Other Former Foster Youth 

Madison Honeyman is an activist, youth advocate, and history buff. Best of all, she's retelling her past experiences in the foster care system, thanks to CYI supports to create a better tomorrow for other systems-involved young people.

Madison Honeyman is an activist, slam poet, youth advocate, and history buff. Best of all, she’s retelling her past experiences in the foster care system, thanks to CYI supports to create a better tomorrow for other systems-involved young people.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Saying the Unspoken: Athraa Ayal Describes How She Communicates, Learns, and Engages Children and a New Career, Thanks to her Partnered CYI Internship 

Beyond School Bells and Connected Youth Initiative leverage $150,000 CARES Act dollars and create internships for former foster youth. Read how Iraqi-American former foster youth Athraa Ayal received a full-time job offer, thanks to her Lincoln Public Schools internship. Best of all, the Department of Health and Human Services expanded our contract, so this is just the beginning!

Beyond School Bells and Connected Youth Initiative leverage $150,000 CARES Act dollars and create internships for former foster youth. Read how Iraqi-American former foster youth Athraa Ayal received a full-time job offer, thanks to her Lincoln Public Schools internship. Best of all, the Department of Health and Human Services expanded our contract, so this is just the beginning!

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Posted in Uncategorized

For Every Door That Closes, Another Appears: Americle Lends Former Foster Youth Her Secrets for Resiliency and Transformation

On her 18th birthday, the doors slammed behind her – and they were the doors to prison. Now, at 21 years old, Americle continues to focus on self-improvement. Part of her plan includes participating in PALS coaching, part of Central Plains Center for Services (CPCS), and Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Connected Youth Initiative (CYI). An older youth initiative, CYI provides supports and services to young people like Americle who have experienced incarceration or foster care, among other challenges. Read about her transformative journey and supportive resources.

On her 18th birthday, the doors slammed behind her – and they were the doors to prison. Now, at 21 years old, Americle continues to focus on self-improvement. Part of her plan includes participating in PALS coaching, part of Central Plains Center for Services (CPCS), and Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Connected Youth Initiative (CYI). An older youth initiative, CYI provides supports and services to young people like Americle who have experienced incarceration or foster care, among other challenges. Read about her transformative journey and supportive resources.

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

Saying “I Do”: A Husband and Wife’s Commitment Provides Housing and Winter Essentials for Young People Experiencing Homelessness 

Usually, when a married couple says, “I do,” they utter those words on a special day, also known as a wedding. For Sara and Blair Riffel, the phrase has echoed throughout their commitment to their communities. Read more about how Nebraska Children's Connected Youth Initiative Vice President, Sara Riffel, and her husband Blair put their heads and hearts together to spread holiday cheer.

Usually, when a married couple says, “I do,” they utter those words on a special day, also known as a wedding. For Sara and Blair Riffel, the phrase has echoed throughout their commitment to their communities. Read more about how Nebraska Children’s Connected Youth Initiative Vice President, Sara Riffel, and her husband Blair put their heads and hearts together to spread holiday cheer.

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

To See and Be Seen: Denise Daugherty Leaves Her Difficult Past Behind to Find Inspiration, a New Career, and Outlook

Denise Daugherty reveals how she pushed beyond foster care and incarceration and into her dreams with Beyond School Bells, Connected Youth Initiative, and Central Plains Center for Services' coaching and support. Read more.

Meet Denise Daugherty.

“Now I do what makes me happy. I’m not worried about others. The reason I got into trouble was that I needed to love and protect people.” Denise Daughtery reveals how she pushed beyond foster care and incarceration and into her dreams with Beyond School Bells, Connected Youth Initiative, and Central Plains Center for Services’ coaching and support. Read more.

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

CARES Act: Nebraska Children and Partners Set the Stage for Positive Change – and So Do Young People Who Experienced Foster Care   

How do Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and partners create positive change? We work through and with our communities, especially our young people. As far as we’re concerned, they are the catalysts for transformation! Thanks to the power of CYI and Beyond School Bells, our afterschool network, Jessi said that she and our partners put CARES Act dollars to good use. Now, young leaders are changing children’s lives for the better!

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

Strong, Strong…Nebraska Strong: LEAP fellows and Nebraska Children Staff Share LEAP Strategies for Success 

We’re so glad that our staff and Connected Youth Initiative participants joined leaders from across the nation for a two-day LEAP convening on November 3-4, hosted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and organized by LEAP Young Fellows and partners.  Read more about how LEAP creates positive change for young people who experienced foster care.

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