Doris Moore and the Center for Holistic Development are celebrating 20 years of serving the community
When Doris Moore decided to enter the behavioral health field, she wanted to answer one question, “Why do people feel the way they do?” With no mental health background, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology, she returned to school 14 years later and received her Master’s degree in Community Counseling.
Moore is the founder and CEO of Center for Holistic Development (CHD), a non-profit focused on providing mental and behavioral health counseling and prevention programs in North Omaha.
The CHD offers programs that provide a culturally competent approach to address the behavioral health care needs of the Black community. Eighty percent of the clientele the organization serves is African American.
Moore is passionate about the work she gets to do on a daily basis. She refers to the work as “a calling” and she feels it is her mission to help others recognize how important their mental and emotional state is for living a productive life. Moore says, “There is a counseling term called stinky thinking. That is how your life will be; if you think you can’t, then you can’t. If you think of the positive possibilities, than you can.”
She also recognizes there are some individuals that have severe mental illness due to traumas, negative influence, racism, abuse, and micro aggressions. All these things impact our ability to be our authentic self and how we move forward.
“I recognize when people are struggling with depression or anxiety, and I want to know what is behind that. What is the thing that makes you feel life is becoming a challenge and question if living is worth it?,” says Moore.
She opened the doors to CHD in 2001 with the goal of providing a holistic approach to behavioral health care services to her community. Moore developed a model that focuses on the balance and well-being of individuals. She created the acronym S.P.E.C.I.A.L.™ which focuses on specific areas that she and her team practice within the CHD.
Spiritual – Acknowledging and valuing the presence of a higher power that influences your life’s purpose to create inner peace.
Physical – Adhering to standards that promote appropriate diet, weight, exercise, and rest.
Emotional/Economic – Ability to understand, recognize, and manage personal emotions. Also developing an approach for economic stability resulting in adequate finances to meet one’s obligations.
Cultural – Recognition and appreciation of your cultural and ethnic heritage as a positive influence on self-concept.
Intellectual – Promoting and participating in a personal philosophy of lifelong learning.
Associations (Social) – Developing and maintaining a social support system that encourages and enhances the positive self.
Love for Self and Others – Recognition and appreciation for self. Valuing the gift of interconnectedness to all individuals.
CHD provides intervention, prevention, education and community outreach services. The goal is to help perspective clients understand what mental health is, and what is defined as mental illness. CHD also strives to provide information to dispel the stigma and increase utilization rates through a staff of diverse mental health professionals.
Services Provided by CHD:
Center for Holistic Development is focused on four key areas which are related to bring mental and behavioral health:
- These programs are designed to interrupt potential negative influences that challenge mental health.
- Become an advocate for your own mental health and your self-care. Recognize the connection between mental health and total health care.
- Community education. CHD offers free behavioral stress screenings on their website, org.
- Intervention: CHD has professional mental health counselors that provide individual or family counseling, and substance abuse counseling.
CHD Prevention Programs are offered for 0 to 99 years of age. Many of the programs have made adjustments due to COVID restrictions.
KidSquad. The program works with teachers, staff, and parents at childcare centers to help children who have challenging behaviors.
Real Talk. A program within four Omaha Public middle schools that is now offered virtually due to COVID. The program is geared toward building social and emotional competence in middle school age students.
Urban Youth BOLT (Building Our Leaders Today) The program provides early intervention and prevention, and works with youth referred from the families, agencies, and the Juvenile Assessment Center.
Family Engagement and Resource connection. Provides parents with evidence-based techniques to enhance nurturing and parent engagement within all levels of parenting.
GrandFriends for Grassroots change. A mentoring program for young adults ages 19-30 to be matched up with seasoned adults.
CHD has seen an increase in the demand for counseling since the beginning of the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, the center offers socially distance or virtual counseling services for individuals, groups, youth and adults.
Most people haven’t recognized all the feelings that can be triggered from COVID. Emotions can range from anxiety and guilt, to grief and depression.
Moore says, “There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about the virus, and the volumes of information regarding the testing, vaccines, etc. There is guilt with the fact of screening positive and unknowingly infecting friends and family. It is important to find a balance and manage the myriad of emotions associated with this challenging time. While some people struggle with mild mental or emotional symptoms, and others are challenged with more severe concerns. When life gets to be too much, contact a behavioral health specialist. Just as with other medical conditions, treatment can be paid for through your insurance.”
“While there is a more heightened level of stress and loss of control and grief, it is important to stop and take care of yourself.”
The Center for Holistic Development offers a free anonymous online mental health screening for individuals on their website, and offers a free meditation video featuring Felicia Webster on their Facebook page: Facebook/CHDOmaha.
For more information about their programs, visit chdomaha.org or call 402-502-9788.
B.J. Nelum Lighthouse Award
Betty Nelum was the Center for Holistic Development’s first contract therapist. Nelum had a long history in the community of providing behavioral health care and substance abuse services. She also assisted with the fundraising for the organization. Moore considers Nelum instrumental in getting the company to where it is today.
Since her passing in 2014, the CHD honors her legacy by presenting the BJ Nelum Lighthouse award to a recipient at their annual fundraising luncheon. As the Center for Holistic Development, Inc. celebrates 20 years of service to the community, they are deeply indebted to those who have helped them reach this momentous milestone.
Thousands attend 11th Annual Christmas in the Village at 24th & Lake
The streets were once again full of smiling, laughing and dancing children, families and community members celebrating the holiday spirit at 24th and Lake.
After making the decision to convert the event into a drive thru in 2020, Christmas in the Village returned to the streets of 24th and Lake in a big way.
“Though last year turned out to be an excellent event and much needed escape from the pandemic with over 1,000 cars driving through, it was amazing to see children and families return to 24th and Lake to enjoy themselves and celebrate the season at Christmas in the Village,” said Willie Barney, CEO and founder of the Empowerment Network.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since we launched the event and inspiring to see how much it has grown and the impact that it has made.”
Christmas in the Village is presented by the Empowerment Network and OEDC in partnership with dozens of organizations and businesses. Major sponsors include American National Bank, Douglas County Visitors Fund, North Omaha Turnback Tax Committee, Nebraska Arts Council, KETV, Revive and main stage sponsor, Veridian Credit Union.
It started as a vision from Barney. He presented the idea for the event to Vicki Quaites-Ferris, Stacy Henry, Deb Bunting, Michael Maroney and the OEDC team. They jumped on board and the first event was planned in just four weeks back in 2011.
Over 70 businesses, organizations, artists and ministries worked together to make the event possible this year.
“Christmas in the Village is a great example of what is possible when we collaborate and each business and organization does their part,” said Barney. “We have been able to create a high quality and well attended event with the help of so many partners. It has also served as a catalyst to show what’s possible here in this historic district.”
The day started with volunteers and businesses working together to place inflatable balloons and characters up and down 24th Street. Business owners swept sidewalks. Volunteers raked leaves. Tents and games were set up early in the morning.
By 10 am, children and families started arriving to receive free gifts from the toy giveaway arranged by 4 Urban and sponsored by UNO.
By 10:30, teams had put Street barricades in place and the event officially started at noon with the Bryant Center’s Condor Drum Corp leading Mr and Mrs Claus down N 24th Street in a horse drawn carriage.
“It was a beautiful sight,” said Vicki Quaites-Ferris, Director of Operations for the Empowerment Network and event manager.
“The streets were lined with families who were excited to see the drum team, elves, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.”
That was just the beginning of a day full of interactive and fun activities. Some have called it a “Winter Wonderland.” People come from all over the region and some as far away as St Louis, Kansas City and Minneapolis rave about the event.
Visitors were treated to free carriage rides sponsored by the Network.
There were face painters in the Fair Deal and families could receive discounts and specials from the local businesses. One of the businesses, Still Poppin, was also celebrating five years in business.
At OEDC, children could wave to Mrs. Claus, receive a free goodie bag and play interactive games.
Tasty food was available on both ends of the event. Smoking Guns and A Taste of New Orleans food trucks were on the street and the Revive Center served customers throughout the day. Between the trucks and Revive those in attendance had a wide range of options.
Some new businesses experienced Christmas in the Village for the very first time. Ital Vital Living which opened this past summer selling smoothies and juices in the former location of the Cooler, hosted a Selfie photo booth and sold their delicious products.
“We had a great turnout and response throughout the day,” said Imani Murry. “24th and Lake is a beautiful place to celebrate the holidays and it was so awesome to see so many kids and families here. We’ve had some great events this fall and this was the largest.”
Just to the North, the Union returned as a participant with a balloon artist, interactive children’s activities and the highly popular Raku pottery.
The largest crowds always gather in Dreamland Park for an awesome holiday concert featuring some of Omaha’s top gospel and jazz artists, including Millicent Crawford, Kathy Tyree, The Arvies, Eric and Doriette Jordan, Chad Stoner and Big Wade.
Pear Tree Performing Arts wasn’t able to perform in 2020 but returned once again to deliver inspiring dance routines in front of a packed audience. The Sacred Heart children’s choir also joined in for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed the event.
Another crowd favorite is the live nativity scene complete with a camel, donkey and other animals. The Empowerment Network partners with Mt. Moriah and Scatter Joy Acres on the attraction that draws great reactions from kids.
There was plenty of hot apple cider and cookies provided by Styles of Evolution.
“We doubled up this year on cider and cookies and we ran out midway through the event there were so many people,” said Don McPherson, owner of Styles.
Kids and families enjoyed all their holiday favorites including hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn, cotton candy and other snacks available from different locations.
The Omaha Police Department handed out candy canes and stickers. The Black Police Officers Association has been involved every year as a sponsor and handing out toys and candy bags in partnership with Revive and Santa. The Omaha Fire Department provided an interactive experience that kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
Bridge Church joined in for the first time with some excellent and engaging activities outside on Lake Street.
The Great Plains Black History Museum presented a Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and handed out free candy.
The Omaha Star provided a children’s activity book and sold subscriptions.
Families stopped by the Carver Legacy Center and received some swag and information from the Carver team and American National Bank. American National Bank is a platinum sponsor and has supported Christmas in the Village every year since it started.
One of the other major impacts with Christmas in the Village is the support for local small businesses. Many of them reported record sales during the five hour event.
“We truly appreciate the support from our community” said Valerie Bradford, owner of Divine Nspirations.
“An event like this can do wonders for a small business. We did very well and it’s such a positive experience for families.”
Further to the South, LeFlores New Look Fashions, Get N Go Foods and other businesses also participate and see the economic impact of Christmas in the Village.
Because of the pandemic, precautions were implemented to keep attendees safe. Most activities were held outside and masks were required when guests ventured inside buildings. Hand sanitizer was distributed and available at every location.
Although the group would much rather have had Santa interact directly with the kids all day, he was primarily waving through a window from a specially made office on 24th Street. It still created some awesome moments and memories.
“We want to thank all of our partners, sponsors and volunteers,” said Quaites-Ferris. “This wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Another major bonus was the nearly 300 residents that received their vaccinations through a partnership between the IMA, Mocha Docs, Douglas County Health Department, Mt. Moriah and the Empowerment Network.
“We worked with the county and they brought all three vaccinations and the booster as we requested,” said Pastor Portia Cavitt, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and Senior Pastor of Clair Memorial Church.
“I was out talking with the people and encouraging them to come get vaccinated right there on the spot. There was a tremendous response. We want the County to do more of this. Meet the people where they are.”
That was music to the ears of the organizers.
“The Village is a now a place where you can play, eat, shop, sing, worship, enjoy family, get healthy and have a great time throughout the year, not only during the holidays,” said Barney.
“When we created Christmas in the Village 11 years ago, part of the vision was to bring people back to 24th and Lake and to serve as a catalyst for holistic revitalization.”
“The momentum is building. We’ve come a long way, but even greater things are just ahead. 2022 will be the best ever.”
2021 Photo Gallery
24th & Lake Holiday Schedule. Shop. Eat. Play. Sing. Enjoy.
Building on ten years of success with Christmas in the Village, the Empowerment Network, OEDC, Revive, FHAS, Omaha Star and 30 plus businesses, venues and organizations have come together to plan and host a great series of events for the Holidays.
The businesses are sending an open invitation for families, friends, neighbors and the whole community to come down and celebrate the holiday season and support small black businesses.
“We have something for all ages,” said Willie Barney, CEO of the Empowerment Network and co-owner of the Revive Center and Carver Legacy Center in the district.
“It’s an opportunity to continue the positive momentum at 24th and Lake, provide some fun activities for children and families and continue the development of our business, food, arts, culture and entertainment district.”
Friday, November 26th is Black Friday in the Village. Shoppers are encourage to visit and shop at all of the stores in the Village. Most of the stores are offering 20% off this weekend, including special deals, discounts and gift cards.
Saturday, November 27th is a great day to celebrate Small Business Saturday and support Black-owned businesses. Stores are once again offering 20% discounts and there will be a holiday lighting ceremony starting at 4:30 pm at Dreamland Park. Music will be provided by Millicent Crawford and Big Wade. Trolley rides will be available from 1 to 5 pm.
Next Saturday, December 4th, is the 11th Annual Christmas in the Village at 24th and Lake. Over 50 organizations and dozens of businesses come together annually to host the event which has become the largest community celebration and holiday tradition in North Omaha. Visitors from all over the region attend the event. The hours are Noon to 5 pm with special activities for the whole family.
The Village at 24th and Lake Partners are also working with the community to host a series of events during Kwanzaa. Stay connected on the Village facebook page.
Smiles & Sweets; Over 1,000 attend Trunk or Treat in the Village
Children and families celebrate, enjoy the activities at 24th and Lake
Great things are happening in the Village. Businesses, venues and organizations are working together to create a great place to come together consistently for food, music, arts, entertainment and to support the small businesses in the area.
“Saturday was completely magical. Seeing the kids dressed up and the adults getting engaged as they played the games and got candy was wonderful,” said Cynthia Hume, site manager for OEDC’s Fair Deal Village. “I’m thankful for the partners of The Village at 24th and Lake who collaborated to host another successful event.”
In early September, partners developed a calendar of events for the fall and winter season in the Village. The first two major events have been well attended and received rave reviews from the community.
“Fall Fest was a huge success with 500 in attendance and then, two weeks later the Trunk or Treat had over 1,000,” said Willie Barney, CEO of the Empowerment Network and Co-owner of the Revive Center and Carver Legacy Center, all located in the Village. “It was a beautiful day and the kids really enjoyed themselves. It is always a blessing to see so many families in the Village.”
Most of the event was focused on the 20 plus stops where kids could get free candy.
Kids definitely went home with their pumpkins, buckets and goodie bags full.
Ital Vital Living took it even further by creating a haunted house which drew a crowd and some surprises for the visitors.
“My mom built the haunted house from scratch. I could definitely hear some screams coming from inside,” said Latisha Taylor, one of the co-owners at Ital Vital. “Overall, the kids had a good time. We think we will have to go even bigger next year.”
In addition to the bountiful candy and haunted house, families could make arts and crafts at the Union, play small carnival games at OEDC, listen to the DJ at Dreamland Park, take a tour of the Great Plains Black History Museum and purchase cinnamon rolls, caramel apples and peach cobbler at the Revive Center.
“We had another big turnout, with 300 visitors at the Great Plains,” said Eric Ewing, executive director at the Great Plains Black History Museum.
Members of the Omaha Police Department, Black Police Officers Association and Douglas County Sheriff candidate Wayne Hudson were also handing out candy and interacting with the community.
“This is great for the officers to engage in a positive way with the community and for the kids just to come outside and enjoy themselves in a safe and positive environment,” said Sgt. Marcus Taylor of the BPOA.
The event was also an opportunity to stay informed and get connected with important health resources.
Visitors were able to pick up health information and swag from UNMC, get their vaccination from Douglas County at IMA’s MLK Park and listen to African-American Mocha Docs speak about keeping safe from COVID and the importance of getting vaccinated.
“Saturday was amazing on the northwest corner of 24th & Lake Street, the IMA’s MLK Park as IMA pastors gave out candy to hundreds of children and the DCHD Vaccination Team administered vaccination shots,” said Pastor Portia Cavitt, Senior Pastor or Clair Memorial UMC and President of the IMA. “Through much prayer and scientific knowledge, we have the power of prevention!”
“To see the families and the smiles on the faces of the children, that’s what it is all about for me,” said Barney. “It reminds me of my own childhood going to Harvest Festivals with my family.”
“It’s also a great way to connect the community to the exciting things happening in the district. Many of them tell us they didn’t know there were so many businesses, opportunities and resources here at 24th and Lake and they definitely plan to come back.”
It was another beautiful day in the Village at 24th and Lake. Momentum is building. The next big event will be the 11th Annual Christmas in the Village on Saturday, December 4th.
Stay connected with future events here.