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2010.11.30 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

100 Homeless, At-Risk Teens Helped Through Service Project

Omaha - During Thanksgiving week, 100 homeless and at-risk teens received backpacks filled with personal hygiene products as part of a University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) service project.

Maverick PR, the UNO chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), helped supply the local teens with necessities by holding a backpack drive on campus with a goal of filling and distributing 100 or more backpacks.

The “Say YES: Give Back with a Pack” drive began Oct. 28 and ran through Nov. 19 in Arts and Sciences Hall. Among the donated items were body wash, soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks, gloves, granola bars and other non-perishable food.

Youth Emergency Services, an Omaha non-profit organization, helps homeless and at risk young people ages 12 to 21, by providing shelter and advocacy programs. The Youth Street Outreach Program tracks down teens and offers the help that they need.

“The teens helped by Youth Emergency Services need the support they don’t otherwise have,” said Kristin Webb, Maverick PR president. “They are young adults like us but without a home and basic necessities. One of the YES recipients said, 'It’s awesome that I have a new backpack! I feel lucky because I’m starting up school again in January after dropping out last year. I’ve never been given a backpack before.'"

“The 100 backpacks are a real gift. Many of the kids in our programs have never had a new backpack before, not to mention a backpack at all,” said Sarah Kent, marketing and public relations director for YES. “I see that it makes them feel special and that they’re worth it.”

For more information, contact Cartia Mazzoni: (402) 321-2337 or cartia.mazzoni@gmail.com.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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