Over the years, North Omaha is blessed to have new and expanded opportunities made available to youth of all ages. From innovative early childhood to college prep, families have access to tremendous programs. Many of the high quality programs have long waiting lines. More capacity is needed. More opportunities are becoming available.
A number of churches and community-based organizations have offered high quality early learning programs for decades. Educare, which opened its first center in 2003 near Kellom, has expanded to provide three top of the line early childhood centers. The latest at Skinner will open this fall.
Omaha Public Schools continues to expand and enhance Headstart and other early learning programs. In partnership with Early Childhood Services, classrooms have been added at a number of schools. Another exciting development is the North Omaha Learning Center, created by the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy County. With Jamalia Parker, directory of Family Engagement Services, the five million dollar facility is home to a range of services for families and their children, from birth to age 8.
Entrepreneurial educators and concerned residents have also created very effective learning centers in their homes. To assure the best social, emotional, physical and intellectual experience for your child, be sure to ask about all elements of the programs offered by the provider.
Simple Simon has multiple sites and other centers including Psalms 127:3, operated by LaShaun McCroy, and Safe Haven Learning Center, led by Gwen Easter, also provide valuable services to families in North Omaha.
North Omaha is blessed to have a rich array of after school programs available for youth and families. The list of opportunities is ever expanding. No matter what families are looking for, they will find it in North Omaha.
The Boys and Girls Club is a great place to go after school. The center has a large and expanding offering, including sports, technology, home work assistance and much more. The North Boys and Girls Club has made a push in recent years to expose students to entrepreneurship and emerging technologies. In addition to the academic programs, the Club hosts positive teen events at night and consistently produces some of the top athletes in the state through its sports programs. CEO Ivan Gilreath, former business executive, is leading the Boys and Girls Clubs into new territory and expansion.
The Hope Center attracts hundreds of students each year with a focus on faith, employment, education and partnership. A few years ago, the organization made employment a major emphasis and created the Hope Employment and Learning Academy. Hope is widely used as a community center for positive events and activities open to the whole community. Pastor Edward King, Alyssa Smith and others provide leadership as the Center is in transition following the retirement and tragic deaths of the founders, Pastors Ty and Terri Schenzel. Ty and Terri left a powerful and inspiring legacy by positively impacting thousands of lives.
Girls Inc, led by Roberta Wilhem, is highly recognized for its innovative programming and team producing “Strong, Smart and Bold” girls. Located near 45th and Bedford, the Center provides and connects girls with unique programs including STEM, dance, academic, technology and health. Girls Inc. is in the process of expanding with the development of a $15 million health center named after Katherine Fletcher, an influential educator.
New to the scene is NorthStar, led by Executive Director, Scott Hazelrigg. Officially opened in 2014 and located on Ames Street near 49th Ave, NorthStar is focused on boys in grades 7 and 8. The $13 million building features a large 14,000 sq ft. court gym, rock climbing wall, technology classrooms and other hands-on learning and engagement spaces for young men.
There’s more! Beyond these organizations, Omaha Public Schools, with the support of 21st Century Learning Grants and Collective for Youth, now provides tremendous after school opportunities for most elementary and middle school students. A quick review reveals challenging, inspiring and engaging enrichment and academic support programs at most schools. If families and students take advantage of these offerings, the possibilities are endless.
Other quality out of school programs are provided by Banister’s Leadership Academy, Solomon Girls Center, Metro Area Youth Services, Nebraska Children’s Home Society, Nothing But Net, Thrive Center and others. For a complete listing, please go to reviveomaha.com or empoweromaha.com And, during the summer months, UNO, UNMC, Creighton University and other colleges offer enhanced learning opportunities. Visit their web-sites for more information.