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If you want to be in the know about what’s going on with Bring Up Nebraska and with the community collaboratives, you’ve come to the right place.

Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

The Valley Child Development Center opened in the farming community of Red Cloud in 2018. The Center quickly found a niche when a board member’s niece, Bri and her husband Bruce, who lived in California, learned of the Edible Schoolyard, a program developed by food activist and chef Alice Waters to offer “students experiential learning opportunities that deepen their relationship with food, facilitate learning the skills of cooking and gardening” (

Marin Johnson and Ja’Nae Smith are two young people who grew up in Omaha and found themselves thrust into independence without the family supports that make the transition easier. As Smith put it, “it’s hard when you don’t have that parental support system.” Had it not been for their discovery of Project Everlast, their journey to adulting might have been quite different.

Earlier in October, Nebraska Children had the privilege of hosting Changemakers, an annual gathering to celebrate the positive impacts happening throughout Nebraska.

A recent car seat check held by Sixpence of Fremont, in coordination with Dodge County Head Start and Three Rivers Health Department, revealed that when it comes to car seats, things aren’t as simple as they seem.

In some ways this story begins as a trip to school. Perla Jaimes describes walking with her mother and younger sister. She remembers it was dark; she remembers it was cold. And on the other end of this walk a new school waited.

If you’re interested in bringing your children to hear the story and in receiving a copy of the book, join the Rooted team, community representatives, and, yes, Tucker, for a morning or an afternoon of tucking, breathing, and thinking at the North Platte Library.

“Women tend to laugh more and live longer than men,” says the woman on the stage. She’s gray-haired, bespectacled. She looks like a grandmother or a principal, and indeed she was an educator in the past. She moves away from

The heart of Nebraska beats strong with a community that is fiercely dedicated to the well-being and growth of its children. This spirit was on full display at the 7th Annual Perfect Pour event, where Nebraska Children and Families Foundation

Perfect Pour, Wild at Heart is a craft cocktail tasting benefiting Nebraska Children, presented by Friends of Nebraska Children. This event will showcase the creativity and expertise of local mixologists who will be crafting their finest concoctions using the renowned Monkey 47 – Schwarzwald Dry Gin. Tickets are limited.

Tierra Harper, Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative’s (NECC) Early Childhood Community Coordinator for Douglas County who works in tandem with Nebraska Children’s Communities for Kids, says much of her work is designed to build a community within a community. She describes

Designed to bring siblings separated through foster care placements back together, Camp Catch-Up offers an opportunity to reunite with these siblings. For some, it has been quite a long time since they have seen their siblings. Often years. 

In their recent outreach, the NAIMH has emphasized one very important phrase, “You are an Expert.” In an environment where the babysitter myth still persists, Bradley says endorsements instill a sense of professionalism among early childhood professionals. “They’ve worked hard to provide quality care and do the training. We should recognize them for their work,” she says.

Created to raise youth voice specifically in the afterschool and summer education space in Nebraska, the Beyond School Bells (BSB) Youth Leadership Council (YLC) lifts youth leadership to positively impact community change. Beyond School Bells (BSB), an initiative of Nebraska

by Jeff Cole, Network Lead, Beyond School Bells Engaging, playful, inspiring, purposeful, youth-centered, hopeful, fun – the future of afterschool and summer learning in Nebraska is bright.  That is the overarching takeaway from the first-ever Nebraska ELO Innovation Invitational. Nebraska

It feels like something from David Cronenburg’s The Fly. A young man stands in the middle of a room; his eyes bulge from his head, black and shiny. But this isn’t human turned insect and those aren’t eyes, although what’s

by Mary Jo Pankoke, Nebraska Children President and CEO As we celebrate Nebraska Children’s 25th anniversary, it’s a great time to revisit the state plan that led to the creation of our organization. The Nebraska Family Preservation & Support Program

Christina Sigbornson knew from a young age that she wanted to teach but wasn’t sure with what age group.  Even though she thought it would be elementary students, she began working at a child development center while in college. That’s

Tracy Went emphasizes the growth of coaching across the state, but asks an important question, “there is so much coaching going on and though so many supports exist, there is always more need. How can we continue to build those

One of the best things about Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is the people. Nebraska Children is made up of passionate people dedicated to making positive change.   Most recently, Chloe Mcshannon has embodied the role of a young leader. As

On Tuesday, October 25, Nebraska Children hosted Changemakers, our yearly celebration of people who positively transform children’s lives. We had many people, organizations, and entities to thank.   What makes Changemakers so unique, however, is the fact that Nebraska Children has

Beyond School Bells (BSB), Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s afterschool network, and partners continue to create quality expanded learning programs (ELOs) throughout the state. Luckily, we aren’t alone in our work. On September 19, hundreds of afterschool learning leaders gathered

Imagine a world where we rush to sweep up the debris any time a building collapses, rather than creating buildings that can withstand natural disasters. Imagine suffering from an incurable disease, then taking over-the-counter painkillers for it, rather than working

When it comes to change, Buffett Early Childhood Institute’s Thriving Children, Families, and Communities Conference demonstrates it. So do childcare providers. So do we. Early childhood professionals had to constantly swerve throughout the pandemic to accommodate ever-changing needs. This yearly

As a participant in Sixpence home visits, Gabby and her son Kaden had fun and learned from an early childhood expert. An integral part of Sixpence, home visits provide parents with the opportunity to work with highly skilled professionals. The home visitors support the families to assess and work through children’s developmental milestones and teach parents to become their child’s best champions and, most important, teachers. Read more about this Nebraska Children initiative.

Thanks to the Nebraska Children Youth Advisory Board and our Assistant VP of Policy and Leadership, Lincoln Arneal, the CYI Youth Advisory Board, and many young leaders, we finished the third year of LEAD the Summer! First, we’d like to tell you a bit about CYI. A Nebraska Children initiative, CYI works with young people between 14-26 who experienced foster care, child welfare, homelessness, human trafficking, juvenile justice and probation, and other challenges.

Together, resilient young people and our organization create positive outcomes, especially during retreats like LEAD the Summer, where young people use their voices to create a better Nebraska. Read how resilient young people and our organization create positive outcomes, especially during retreats like LEAD the Summer, where young people use their voices to create a better Nebraska.

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors, and all the other generous people and organizations, for making our evening perfect!

Childcare providers are a shining example of indispensable professionals. They care for our children so parents can work. They create stimulating, educational, and memorable learning experiences for children during the most critical times of their lives. And unfortunately, they are often overlooked, under-compensated, and left in the dark. Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and partners like Auburn Sixpence help families thrive. Sixpence, one of our early childhood initiatives, aims to promote this mission, especially for children 0-3.    

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s work includes many meaningful initiatives. There’s one, however, that’s extra special. Camp Catch-Up (CCU) is a moving event that takes place during the summer and fall.  Read about the latest session.

There’s no better indicator of community well-being than a real-life partner’s story! Today, we asked Auburn Sixpence Program Coordinator Tyson Wessels and Sixpence CCP Coach Anne Bennett to fill us in on all the great work they’re doing to support Auburn, Nebraska’s childcare providers! Find out the exciting things that Auburn Sixpence is accomplishing.

Once upon a time, several years ago, in Lincoln, two young girls began attending a Summer learning program at the Asian Community Center. Thanks to this experience and the support of their parents and mentors, they discovered a talent for speaking Mandarin Chinese. Now, imagine yourself fast-forwarding into 2022, except halfway across the globe. One of those girls, now a young woman, is responsible for obtaining a $25,000 grant from MICRON USA to build a team promoting cross-global expanded learning in Taiwan. This example of Hana McMahon-Cole isn’t a fairy tale. This story is a true-to-life example of how far afterschool and summer learning can propel young people and how Nebraska can connect them halfway across the globe.

"Sixpence has also favored autonomy and security within our family, as well as an increased ability of creativity and imagination in my children. As a parent, Sixpence has helped me create stronger ties with my children and with society." Read more about Andrea's positive takeways from our Sixpence program!

When Chloe Mcshannon ran away from her foster care placements as a teenager, one day she realized that if she didn’t return to school, she’d miss her final exams. That, among many other turning points, led this remarkable young woman to where she is today—as a Camp Catch-Up intern. Read more.

Tyeisha Thompson, a CYI participant and recipient of the prestigious LEAP grant, talks about how she uses her design passion and newfound support to create new, safe spaces for young people like her who experienced foster care.

Learning can veer into countless directions and exciting terrains.

Afterschool provides that space, not only throughout Nebraska but the world. As you probably know, we all learn differently, but we know one thing for certain: when we are engaging ourselves and our children, our capacity for success is limitless.

In a rapidly changing, fast-paced world, our great state needs to retain and grow young, driven, and innovative professionals. There’s simply no better place than afterschool – wherever you may be – to partake in quality learning that can spark future careers.

Find out how Nebraska Children's afterschool initiative, Beyond School Bells' Jeff Cole and his daughter created a formidable team that's taking afterschool halfway across the world, all the way to Taiwan and back!

Beyond School Bells (BSB) wants to empower girls, especially those of color and other underrepresented groups, with the power of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Tyrina Webster, Director of Operations at the Malone Center, wants to equip young women with knowledge, dreams, and career choices. So does Joshua Jones, the Director of The Career Academy. Together, we make a formidable team. Thanks to BSB’s partners at STEMNext, we joined the charge in this nationwide initiative to include more girls in this cutting-edge field. When we hear how partners like the Malone Center and The Career Academy have partnered with us to join this movement, we’re thrilled to the moon and back.  

In 2018, when married couple Breann and Travis Hines began the Omaha, Nebraska-based nonprofit, Young Entrepreneurs of the Future Omaha (YEF), they set out on a mission. Their goals were to inspire the vision of youth entrepreneurship and develop self-reliance

After a 2-year delay, Bring Up Nebraska partners were finally able to gather in Lincoln to celebrate how Nebraska has become a national leader on building a community-based well-being system! On April 13-14, leaders from many of the community collaboratives across the state met with state and national partners in Lincoln.

Meet our new generation of businesspeople!

Girls create DJing businesses. Kids embody different food truck roles. Youth operate socially-conscious clothing brands and learn braiding, cosmetology, budgeting, and pricing, all thanks to your support of our Beyond School Bells initiative, VentureLab, and Young Entrepreneurs of the Future Omaha!

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.   

When the Loup Valley Childhood Initiative (LVCI) decided to host almost 30 early care providers for the Crane River Theatre’s moving play, Pretty Fire, the team sought to celebrate providers and a love for the performing arts. LVCI is a community-driven team that works with Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Communities for Kids (C4K), our early childhood initiative that provides technical expertise, supports, and solutions that suit each location’s early care and education needs for children birth-5.  Read more about their innonative approach to honoring childcare providers.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which marks a time when Nebraska Children and Families Foundation reaffirms our commitment to prevention. As we work toward a thriving Nebraska, we and our community partners strengthen families by preventing problems before they start. Read how you can get involved in community collaboratives to strengthen children and families!

There may be truth to the old adage, “it takes a village,” when it comes to developing quality early childhood care systems. After all, the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality concluded that the coordinated systems needed to impact families’

"I always knew I wanted to work with children. My vision for what that looked like changed and grew throughout my undergraduate program and the beginning of my career. Ultimately, everything led me to exactly where I needed to be, which is currently an Assistant Vice President of Early Childhood Mental Health with the Rooted in Relationships initiative at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, and one of the co-leads for the Nebraska Pyramid Leadership Team."
Christen Million, one of Nebraska Children's experts, reflects on her passion for working with children, along with her future plans.

Nebraska Children and the Nebraska Department of Education are addressing pandemic-related setbacks through the Together, Better Initiative, a deliberate series of efforts geared toward strengthening students and families in the most essential ways. Among these efforts is the piloted project, Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS).  

Stick Creek Kids and Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Communities for Kids have worked hard to arrive at their destination: more quality early care and education in Nebraska. Surprises, lessons, and discoveries were all part of seeing Stick Creek Kids brought to reality. But whenever the water levels rose, the community rose up as well. 

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is dedicated to weathering the storm. Although these storms come and go, one thing remains for certain within uncertainty: together, with your support, we can continue to stay afloat and redirect ourselves during rough weather. Beyond School Bells, our afterschool network of dedicated statewide professionals has truly done an incredible job of remaining buoyant during difficult times. For the third time since the pandemic, the team and their partners, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE), NDE’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, and Nebraska Extension rescheduled GetConnected 2022, their statewide conference of afterschool learning leaders, and on Feb. 25, it was finally able to happen! 

“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.

Aiesha Rand doesn't believe in coincidences. In fact, her seemingly chance encounters with various Nebraska Children and Families Foundation staff have led her to where she is today - as an Assistant Vice President of Early Childhood Programs and a recipient of an Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health®. Read about how a series of surprises have moved Aiesha into her current success and how she recommends you can get there too!

In the real world, failure is often viewed as a disappointment. Whether we blame our shortcomings on others or the world at large, when we don’t achieve our goals or embody our envisioned success, we often feel helpless. The good news is Nebraska Children's Beyond School Bells, Nebraska 4-H Youth Development, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Honors Program can change this mindset through quality afterschool programming in the form of "winternships" and more!  

Imagine feeling free to try new things and explore, then being able to re-enter in for reassurance, support, and anything else you need before you set back out again. The whole time, knowing that no matter what you did or where you went, there was always that safe base for you to come back home. Read how our early childhood mental health experts and partners work throughout Nebraska to implement the Circle of Security Classroom (COSP-C™) approach, which helps teachers and childcare providers forge supportive bonds with children!

Our Impact This Year

  • Children/Young Adults Served in 2020

    Over 9,000

  • Parents Supported in 2020

    Over 4,300

  • Service Professionals Trained in 2020

    Nearly 300

  • Counties Working with Bring Up Nebraska

    75 and Growing

© 2023 Bring Up Nebraska Initiative

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