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2012.04.02 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: cdreed@unomaha.edu

P-16 Service Learning Project Earns Statewide Award

Omaha - ServeNebraska will honor the work of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), Blackburn Alternative High School and the Adams Park Community Center for their work on the “Food For Thought” project in 2011.

The project, part of UNO’s P-16 Initiative, will be honored as the “Outstanding Community Partnership in Education” on April 18 at the 2012 First Lady’s Outstanding Community Service awards ceremony. Nebraska First Lady Sally Ganem will personally present the award.

Over the past two years, the Food for Thought project has teamed culinary students from Blackburn Alternative High School and gerontology students from UNO with members of the Adams Park Community Center. As part of the project, meals prepared by Blackburn students are served to members of the center and UNO students help facilitate relationship building between the senior residents of Adams Park and students from Blackburn.

“It has been an incredible opportunity and privilege for the Blackburn students, staff and school as a whole,” Blackburn Principal Fredrick Marisett said in a news release. “As a result of their participation, I've seen young peoples’ lives revitalized almost instantly and a reinvigorated confidence and interest in learning and themselves.”

All told, Food for Thought has provided over 1300 hours of service and served approximately 1,350 meals at the Adams Park Community Center, which offers recreation and social activities for older adults.

“This group of resilient, remarkable senior citizens of Near North Omaha have welcomed UNO and Blackburn students with open arms and have provided them all life lessons beyond what we can offer in the classroom,” said Lyn Holley, professor of gerontology. “This opportunity for meaningful service has brought joy and affirmation to the seniors as well.”

The Service Learning Academy P-16 Initiative facilitates partnerships between the university and K-12 schools with the purpose of connecting UNO and P-16 curriculum to community needs through the development of academic service learning experiences.

The Service Learning Academy at UNO and Blackburn Alternative Program work in partnership with Building Bright Futures to improve academic performance, raise graduation rates, increase civic and community responsibility and ensure all students are prepared for post-secondary education.

For more information about the P-16 Initiative, contact its coordinator, Julie Dierberger, at (402) 554.3268 and for more information on the NVSC, contact Kimberle Hall at (402) 471.6228.

Blackburn Culinary Students
Photo courtesy of Blackburn Alternative High School and OPS


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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 urB.A.sn, regional, national and gloB.A.sl 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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