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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.

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!

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.

We’re glad to have rung in another successful Changemakers, an annual celebration of the positive change happening throughout Nebraska. We're especially thankful to you for joining Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, along with our many supporters.  Read more about all the positive change you've helped us create.

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.”   

Fear of change can be hard . . . in fact so hard that Forbes reports 62% of us would rather remain in our comfort zone even if change might mean something better for us. When it comes to childcare,

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.

Afterschool’s Impact: “It Prepared Me for Being a Leader in the Adult World; I Have No Fear of Leading Adult Men or Women in STEM.” Read more about Kathy.

When Lauren Mott walked into her first job at an afterschool program, she saw children who became restless due to being unengaged.  Wordlessly, she came into the classroom the next day with a box of supplies, sat down by herself at a table, and began making friendship bracelets.  Read more about how this moment and others sparked Lauren's passion for STEM diversity and afterschool learning.

The Nebraska Children team worked overtime with equally hardworking providers to ensure they received almost $10 million in CARES Act funding.

When the pandemic struck, early childhood programs found themselves in dire straits. With fluctuating enrollments, mortgages to pay, and children to care for, the future of childcare seemed unpredictable. Read about how Nebraska Children's expert early childhood team worked with providers and owners of early childhood programs like Cory Quimby to ensure they could see through to the end of the pandemic.

Today, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s afterschool initiative, Beyond School Bells, and many hardworking partners aren’t just growing greens. That is to say, the Greenery is not your typical afterschool program. Read about how we're changing the face of afterschool.

We can't wait for you to join us on Tuesday, October 26 at 11:30 am for Changemakers, featuring our keynote speaker, educator, and activist Liz Dozier!

You support Nebraska Children through attending our yearly fundraisers, including Perfect Pour. Thanks to you, we made this year’s event and craft cocktail competition even sweeter by sampling our state’s leading mixologists’ Tequila Avion drinks, which was this year’s mixer of choice. Read about this year's event!

From providing resources for parents' mental health to encouraging toddlers' and infants' developmental well-being, Sixpence home visitors help families thrive! Sixpence is a Nebraska Children early childhood initiative for children prenatal through 3. Read how home visitor Janelle Anderson works with her families to move through mental health issues, find housing, and developmentally engage their children:

As we move into a new Nebraska, we envision childcare providers AND children thriving in every way possible.

It’s in the bag: Lyndsey Witte, a Sixpence home visitor, brings comfort and creativity to families during the pandemic. Sixpence is a Nebraska Children early childhood initiative that works with families, schools, and children from prenatal to three to create developmentally stimulating learning environments. Read about how Lyndsey found creative ways to engage her families during a difficult time.

Read some testimonials from Sixpence families and home visitors. Thanks to their collaboration and hard work, kids thrive! Sixpence is a Nebraska Children early childhood initiative that creates high-quality learning opportunities for children ages prenatal through three. Thanks to these families' and home visitors' efforts, they pushed through the difficult times during the height of the pandemic.

If you’re a regular reader of the PDG newsletter, you’ll be aware of the collaborative efforts between organizations connected to grant initiatives, collaborations built on sometimes small moments of communication. A few that have been highlighted in the newsletter arose

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.  

Meet Amanda Gutierrez. Amanda is passionate about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). She’s planning on being an astronautical engineer. Amanda is also one of the newest members of the Million Girls Moonshot (MGM) Advisory Board. MGM is a multi-year, national initiative organized by STEMNext to increase the presence of women of color and other underrepresented groups in STEM. STEMNext awarded an MGM grant to Beyond School Bells (BSB), Nebraska Children's initiative supporting afterschool and summer learning in Nebraska. Read about why STEM is Amanda's passion and how a trip to the moon might be in her future.  

If you want to open a childcare center at the start of a global pandemic, you can refer to Kyla Habrock and Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Sixpence Child Care Partnership Program made possible by a partnership with Hastings Public Schools.  Learn more about how during the pandemic, Kyla, her talents, and the Sixpence Child Care Partnership Program ALL helped her open her new center!

There are no easy answers to bridging the gap between the increasing number of bilingual families in Nebraska and a childcare system that can’t always provide the support they need. Some communities have no Spanish-speaking providers in areas with a

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!

“Speak English!” That’s the reception Angelina Fregoso received from one parent when she was overheard speaking Spanish to a child in her care, a story she recently shared with a gathering of providers who had come to hear how they

Whether you’re a believer in fate, divine intervention, or hard work, Adams County Communities for Kids blends these elements. Find out how patience and faith created the perfect childcare center at the perfect time. Read more. 

Our organization has long driven home our objective for all Nebraskan children, youth, and families to thrive. We also understand that we can’t achieve this goal so long as racial and ethnic discrimination exists. We put our goals in motion with a Racial Equity position statement, from which we’ve then created measurable goals.  Read more about our racial equity position statement and what we're doing to put those goals in motion.

Americle, a Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) participant, pushes through obstacles and continues to be her best self.  Although her journey hasn't been easy, this young woman who experienced foster care went on to accomplish great things, thanks to her resolve and Connected Youth Initiative programs.

What tool reveals Nebraska’s well-being indicators? Whether you’re a policymaker, social worker, or journalist, the latest iteration of the Nebraska Community Opportunity Map puts relevant, timely data at your fingertips. We are glad to have played a part in this initiative, having served as The Nebraska Community Opportunity Map’s facilitator. As with any major project, the map was a group effort among data experts from many statewide agencies and organizations. Read about the map's newest features.

What began in April 2020 as a response to desperate parents seeking child care during the pandemic as well as providers who were operating at less than half capacity, a group of early childhood stakeholders collaborated to create the Nebraska Child Care Referral Network. All licensed child care homes, centers, and preschools in Nebraska can be found in the searchable database at

This May, as we recognize Foster Care Awareness Month, we bring you Sarah’s story. As an organization that envisions all children, youth, and families thriving, we love to share stories like these. A young mother whose resiliency enabled her to push through life challenges as well as the pandemic, Sarah has been a state ward for, in her words, "as long as she can remember."  

Read more about how Sarah utilized her resolve and a Connected Youth Initiative program to transition into a thriving adulthood.

On Saturday, April 24, Beyond School Bells (BSB), Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s afterschool network, and The Bay, a Lincoln youth service organization, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for this high-tech hydroponic farm. We’re grateful to The Ben Hormel Harris Foundation, which gifted The Greenery to the city of Lincoln. The Greenery is a compact growing container created by Freight Farms, a Boston-based ag-tech company. The Greenery is the equivalent to 2.5-acres worth of farmland in its contained space. BSB and the Bay have since decided to use this cutting-edge farm to bring quality STEM learning and innovation to Lincoln!

Welcome to Wood River, Nebraska. Their Communities for Kids (C4K) core team is proud to announce the opening of their childcare center, Stick Creek Kids. But like most dreams, the team hasn’t always walked on a smooth path. But rather than backing down, they embarked on the challenging road. Together, with the help of their community, the center’s doors will open.  Read more about how this community accomplished this remarkable feat.

For those who have been following the series of collaboration start-ups, you may be wondering what’s on the other end. How does a partnership move from an idea to a fully realized and functional project? This month, you’ll hear the story of an idea that germinated between several people and grew over the span of five years into a multi-organizational collaboration that has found statewide success and is sprouting roots in the national community. Read more.

On Saturday, April 24, from 9:00-10:00 a.m. the counties will hold back-to-back Zoom sessions, one in English and one in Spanish, to inspire conversations about the bi-lingual experience in childcare. The event, titled “Supporting Spanish Speakers in Early Childhood,” offers providers insight into Latinx cultures and invites Spanish-speaking families to better understand the requirements of the American educational system and to engage actively with the providers who care for their children. Read more about this event!

Governor Ricketts signed a proclamation declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month in Nebraska. Here, DHHS CEO Dannette Smith (left) poses with First Lady Shore (right) who is holding the proclamation.

Today, Daisy Ortiz has a story to tell. Daisy was raised in a loving, supportive family. As a teenager, she and her parents were committed to her pursuing a bright future. At 16, however, she encountered an earth-shattering surprise: she was pregnant. How did her resolve and Sixpence help her through this major life challenge? Read more in our blog, in Daisy's words.

If you visit Crete Public Schools’ campus, you’ll notice a sense of life. Monarchs flitter through gardens. Heirloom vegetables thrive in the greenhouse. Cardinals return to roost in trees. This revitalization is no accident; it is the result of Cardinal Community Learning Centers’ (CCLC) outdoor education program. This lively scene is also proof that working together, as a community, we can turn old spaces into vibrant new ones while creating opportunity and abundance.  

Beyond School Bells and Cardinal Community Learning Centers revitalize outdoor spaces and create quality learning opportunites, thanks to supporters like you. Read more.

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

© 2021 Bring Up Nebraska Initiative

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