OMAHA - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has announced its third set of partner organizations selected for residency in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center (CEC), which opened in March 2014.
Nine new organizations - three from UNO and six community organizations – have been selected, bringing the total number of organizations housed in the Weitz CEC’s partnership spaces to 25.
“This third round of partners broadens our diversity, areas of focus and expertise in the Weitz CEC” said Sara Woods, Executive Associate to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement at UNO. “Each partner was chosen for their potential to enrich student learning, campus/community collaboration, and community impact.”
The new partners are:
The Black Police Officers Association of Omaha, which focuses on fostering, through education and outreach, a stronger and more positive relationship between the police department and the north Omaha community; improve the quality of life and overall neighborhood safety within the north Omaha community; and empower the community and police department to take more proactive roles in working together.
The Urban League of Nebraska will house its Project Ready Program in the Weitz CEC. The Urban League of Nebraska has been serving the Omaha community since 1927, and is one of 15 out of 98 affiliates to receive a perfect assessment score. A signature program of the National Urban League, Project Ready is a set of evidence based standards plus practical tools specifically designed for and unique to the Urban League movement, for the purpose of getting African American and other urban youth ready for college, work and life. The program helps 8th-12th grade students make academic progress, learn from cultural enrichment opportunities and develop important skills, attitudes and aptitudes that will aid in their transition from high school and position them for post-secondary success. Participants receive academic, social, and cultural supports and opportunities designed to develop “readiness” have the information and perspective necessary for success without needing remediation in college or career. Service Learning, Cultural and Historical Literacy are key components of the Project Ready program.
Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska is the largest girl-serving organization in the state and for over one hundred years has provided leadership experiences for girls through volunteer-led programs. Activities and projects that will be based in the Weitz CEC include: recruiting and placing adult Girl Scout volunteers; creating partnerships with the UNO campus, partner organizations, and businesses to provide Girl Scout programming; planning and implementing collaborative Girl Scout programs and girl meetings; and hosting learning sessions and networking events for Girl Scouts adult volunteers.
Hunger-Free Heartland (HFH) is the backbone organization for a collective impact initiative to reduce child food insecurity in the Omaha-Metro area by 10 percent over three years. Hunger Free Heartland brings to the Weitz CEC a strong commitment to collective impact and community-based work, as well as a strong focus on exploring new opportunities as they relate to HFH’s overall mission. Through these alignments, HFH and the Weitz CEC will be able to create a mutually beneficial partnership that allows for dynamic feedback and greater impact on the community as it pertains to childhood hunger.
The Nebraska Writers Collective promotes creative writing and performance poetry throughout the Midwest through a variety of literary outreach programs, but primarily through hands-on, interactive workshops focused on the creation and performance of original writing. The Collective has reached more than 2,500 Nebraskans in this last year through projects such as Writers On-Loan, Seven Doctors Project and Louder than a Bomb: Great Plains (LTAB), the largest youth poetry festival in the Midwest. The Weitz CEC will serve as the Collective’s home office as well as its locale for program development, learning sessions, and more.
Partnership 4 Kids (P4K) provides students the continual support needed to achieve success from kindergarten to careers. Utilizing a foundation in goal setting proficiency, strengths-based leadership curriculum, and the consistent support of adult role models, P4K focuses on four core areas to prepare students for academic success and the 21st century workforce: goal setting, group mentoring, college access, and career exploration. Partnership 4 Kids plans to utilize the Weitz CEC facility to provide additional levels of student support to its college access students, provide students with weekly case management support, offer more mentoring and peer support events/outings on UNO’s campus throughout the year, and develop new partners within the UNO campus and strengthen current campus partnerships.
The Transitions Program, a joint program between UNO and the Autism Action Partnership, serves to develop the social skills of young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The target population of the program is individuals with high-functioning ASD between 18-26 years old. The program seeks to assist young adults with ASD to develop their social skills through instruction and practice in classroom and natural settings. While developing the social skills of young adults with ASD is the primary purpose, Transitions is also dedicated to increasing the understanding and awareness of ASD at UNO and in the greater Omaha community, while adding to the scant research as it pertains to young adults with ASD.
Tribal Emergency Management Partnership (TEMP) is a collaborative and innovative organization consisting of UNO’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) and Native American Studies (NAS) programs, Nebraska Tribal Community Colleges (Little Priest Community College and Nebraska Indian Community College); Nebraska Tribal Governments and the Tribal Emergency Management Association (iTEMA). The Tribal Emergency Management Partnership is currently engaged in a bold initiative to collaborate with its partners to construct a standardized but scalable emergency management educational research and outreach program. This collaborative and transdisciplinary partnership will work to increase the capacity of Tribal governments to plan for, respond to, and recover from man-made and natural disaster emergency situations.
The UNO Center for Urban Sustainability advances urban sustainability education, research, and partnerships across the community, the region and planet. In addition to fostering collaboration at UNO and within the NU system and in the community, the Center also fosters partnerships with other educational partners and peers in Nebraska and across the nation. It is also playing a critical role in finalizing and/or implementing a variety of strategic initiatives aimed at stronger sustainability‐related curriculum as well as educational and practical opportunities for students to connect their education to community causes. The visibility and presence of the Center within the Weitz CEC will benefit partnerships within the campus, faculty and student interaction, and community collaboration.
The selection process consisted of an initial written application, followed by interviews with a selection committee composed of community and university representatives. The committee made formal recommendations to senior leaders at UNO, who made the final decision.
The mission of the Weitz CEC is to contribute positively and measurably to the community’s quality of life by creating, supporting and expanding mutually beneficial partnerships, engaged scholarship and academic and student programming that create tomorrow’s leaders and agents of change. As partners in the Weitz CEC, these organizations will have access to UNO resources such as its nationally recognized Service Learning Academy, its Office of Civic and Social Responsibility and student leadership programs, nonprofit capacity building and technical assistance resources, and campus life.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.