Blog Archives

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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Posted in Uncategorized

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 “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

Connected Youth Initiative Congratulates Nebraska’s Jim Casey Fellowship Recipient, Nedhal Al-kazahy  

Meet Nedhal, Nebraska's new young leader: “Helping more than I could before in the foster care system is amazing. I’m hoping I can better prepare young adults to feel comfortable being on their own and becoming an adult.”   

Meet Nedhal, Nebraska’s new young leader: “Helping more than I could before in the foster care system is amazing. I’m hoping I can better prepare young adults to feel comfortable being on their own and becoming an adult.”   

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

Fall Transitions: Connected Youth Initiative and Partners Identify and Address System-Involved Young People’s Needs 

Starting in March 2020, Nebraska Children and partners listened to these young people’s voices. One thing became apparent – they wanted to be heard and find ways to meet their needs. Together, we and our co-collaborators leveraged our supports in response to these essential needs and challenges. Read about the headway we and our partners have made to respond to young people impacted by COVID-19.

Starting in March 2020, Nebraska Children and partners listened to these young people’s voices. One thing became apparent – they wanted to be heard and find ways to meet their needs. Together, we and our co-collaborators leveraged our supports in response to these essential needs and challenges. Read about the headway we and our partners have made to respond to young people impacted by COVID-19.

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

Camp Catch-Up Reunites Siblings Separated by Foster Care Placements for an Overnight at Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo 

The third summer session of Camp Catch-Up kicked off from July 28-29, this time, with 40 campers. Camp Catch-Up is a Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) program that reunites siblings between the ages of 8-19 who were separated due to foster care placements.  

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

We Meet Again: Camp Catch-Up Kicks off its First Summer Session to Reunite Siblings Separated by Foster Care Placements 

When life gives you rain, you play foosball.  Such was the case for this year’s Camp Catch-Up (CCU), anyway, which is no stranger to obstacles.  A Nebraska Children and Families Foundation program that operates within Connected Youth Initiative (CYI), CCU remains as resilient as its campers.  Throughout the pandemic, the CCU staff continued to find creative, innovative ways to reunite siblings between the ages of 8-19 separated by the foster care system.  This year’s first Camp Catch-Up summer session, Camp Moses-Merrill, kicked off in Linwood, Nebraska from June 10-13. Read more about how campers and staff enjoyed creating fun, tie-dye shirts, and memories!

When life gives you rain, you play foosball. 

Such was the case for this year’s Camp Catch-Up (CCU), anyway, which is no stranger to obstacles. 

A Nebraska Children and Families Foundation program that operates within Connected Youth Initiative (CYI), CCU remains as resilient as its campers. 

Throughout the pandemic, the CCU staff continued to find creative, innovative ways to reunite siblings between the ages of 8-19 separated by the foster care system. 

This year’s first Camp Catch-Up summer session, Camp Moses-Merrill, kicked off in Linwood, Nebraska from June 10-13. Read more about how campers and staff enjoyed creating fun, tie-dye shirts, and memories!

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