The UNO Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center is home to more than 35 university and community organizations, which we refer to as CEC building partners. We continue to be inspired by these organizations as they find new ways to collaborate during this challenging time.
Evaluating Programs Virtually
Like many other organizations and businesses, UNO Support and Training for the Evaluation of Programs (STEPs) is working in new ways to meet their mission. Not only have community partnerships flourished, but STEPs is also in the process of moving their professional development workshops to an online format.
STEPs will be collaborating with two community partners in the CEC this year, including Omaha Girls Rock (OGR) for the third year in a row to evaluate its summer camp. Staff from STEPs are working to update OGR’s evaluation plans and tools in preparation for the camp when it is held. STEPs will also work with Inclusive Communities (IC) to evaluate its trainings with the Nebraska Office of Probation and Courts Administration. This will involve an interactive dashboard that allows IC to use data to inform future trainings and report to their stakeholders.
STEPs are also working virtually with Betsy Funk Therapy Services, Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha, Coalition on Human Trafficking, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties, I Be Black Girl, and multiple projects with Heartland Family Service and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Maintaining Connections with CEC Building Partners
Every Wednesday morning, UNO and community building partners and building staff from the CEC virtually get together to stay connected. Coffee Chats, started by Heike Langdon, the CEC Manager of Possibilities, bring building partners together to discuss collaboration opportunities and exchange resources while working remotely. By strengthening personal and professional relationships, individuals share experiences and ideas.
Online coffee chats help supplement those frequent moments in the CEC, when one person expresses a challenge and another provides a smile, a shared moment and a possible solution.
- Heike Langdon
CEC community building partner, the Wellbeing Partners, built upon UNO’s policies to create a presentation of Best Practices for working in a shared environment. By utilizing the existing weekly online Coffee Chat format, they were able to easily share this information with multiple organizations.
Another opportunity for sharing is the All Hands Meeting via Zoom. This building-wide meeting is held three times a year, and brings together building partners representing campus and community organizations and includes faculty, staff, students, nonprofit professionals, and volunteers. Following introductions, we share updates, resources, and upcoming events, and offer ways to network with each other.