news releases

2006.02.08 > For Immediate Release
contact: Teresa Gleason - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: tmgleason@mail.unomaha.edu

Neighborhood Center, Wells Fargo Launch Ambassadors Program

Omaha - They're committed to making their community safe, healthy and strong.  They're easily identified by their navy blue blazers with gold insignias and Wells Fargo pins.  And they're coming to a neighborhood near you.

"They" are Ambassadors, members of a new program launched by the Neighborhood Center for Greater Omaha (NCGO) in partnership with Wells Fargo.

"The Ambassadors program will bring together proven neighborhood leaders and neighborhood associations seeking help," said Ron Abdouch, executive director of the NCGO.  "It will enable those selected to share their expertise and enthusiasm with the community, and will give area neighborhoods the opportunity to receive personalized assistance and mentoring."

The Ambassadors will be trained to help neighborhood groups with a number of tasks, Abdouch said, such as starting a new group, revitalizing older associations, drafting bylaws, recruiting association members, applying for and managing grants, and one-on-one mentoring. 

A total of 10 comprise the program's first class.  They are Carol Haas, Leavenworth Neighborhood Association; Jack and Eve Dempsey, Fairfax Neighborhood Association; Athena Ramos and Dorothy Patach, South Omaha Neighborhood Association; B.J. Reed and Cate Kratville, Dundee Memorial Park Neighborhood Association; Jeannie Dickes, Orchard Hill Neighborhood Association; Russ Smith, University of Nebraska at Omaha; and Chamith Wasage, Neighborhood Center student assistant.

Ambassadors will receive training from the NCGO on community issues, the role of the NCGO and the technical resources it offers neighborhood groups.  In addition, Wells Fargo will provide the Ambassadors with information on financial literacy.

Each Ambassador will serve a two-year term.  They will assist the NCGO on an as-needed basis with activities and requests.  They also will represent the NCGO at community functions.

At present, the group is involved with Neighborhood Builders 2006, a program that helps develop neighborhood leaders in Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties.  The program began Feb. 4 and continues Feb. 11, 18 and 25 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Creighton University Medical Center, 601 N. 30th St.  More than 50 community members are attending the four-week training. The topics include:

- Building on Neighborhood Assets;

- Utilizing Community Resources;

- Planning and Organizing; and

- Effective Problem Solving.

Funding for the Ambassadors program is made possible by a grant from Wells Fargo.

For more information about the Ambassadors program or the NCGO, contact Abdouch at 402.561.7582 or rgabdouch@neighborhood-center.org, or visit the Web at http://www.neighborhood-center.org/.

The Neighborhood Center for Greater Omaha was established in 2001 by funding from The United Way of the Midlands; a consortium of the Lozier, Mammel, and William and Ruth Scott Family Foundations; and the Omaha Community Foundation's Fund for Omaha.  Its mission is to build capacity and strengthen neighborhoods throughout Douglas, Pottawattamie and Sarpy counties.  The University of Nebraska at Omaha and its College of Public Affairs and Community Service serve as the center's administrative and fiscal agent.

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