Revive! Omaha Empowerment Edition

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An African-American Lifestyle and Community Empowerment Magazine

Spirit, Mind & Body

Unite & Transform:

Working Together to Transform Omaha Into a GREAT City in Every Neighborhood

African-American Empowerment Network: Coming Together and Moving Forward Empowerment Edition



Investing in People and Projects

High on the list of unsung heroes in North Omaha’s revitalization is the Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC). Serving the Community since 1977, OEDC has sincerely and earnestly practiced community and economic development in North Omaha because service is central to its mission. OEDC has served because serving is the right thing to do. OEDC has more than three decades of dedicated commitment to North Omaha. No big deal, its mission is “To implement economic development projects and community revitalization programs that create housing, jobs, training, business ownership opportunities and other economic benefits for area residents.” Most recently, OEDC partnered with NIFA, the Empowerment Network, the City of Omaha and others in the development of a comprehensive North Omaha Revitalization Plan. In 2011, as a major part of the rebuilding process, OEDC constructed four new healthy, green homes in the Prospect Hills area and substantially rehabilitated The Margaret; making it the State’s first energy independent, multi-family, affordable housing complex. This year, OEDC is on the move in the Fair Deal Urban District, developing a new 40 unit multi-family complex and five new single family homes; and, partnering with the City of Omaha and the Empowerment Network to launch the Step Up Omaha Program for youth ages 14-24. OEDC is on the move and North Omaha is Rising!

Omaha Economic Development Corporation

Michael B. Maroney, President • 2221 North 24 Street • Omaha

(402) 346-2300 •


in this issue…

VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2


An African-American Lifestyle and Community Empowerment Magazine

President & Publisher Willie D. Barney Spirit, Mind & Body

Vice-President/Executive Editor Yolanda M. Barney Chief Financial Officer Greg A. Johnson Desktop Publishing & Design Kate M. Rice Research & Copy Editor Yvette Coppage Billing Manager Anita Johnson Contributing Writers: Tawanna Black Dr. Richard Brown Carl Christian John Ewing, Jr. Dr. Viv Ewing Dell Gines Dr. Cynthia Gooch Shelley Henderson Terrie Jackson-Miller Greg A. Johnson Dr. Sade Kosoko-Lasaki Doris Lassiter Teresa Negron Rev. Bruce Norris Jannette Taylor Thomas Warren, Sr. Contributing Photographers: Donnie Branson Herb Thompson Scott McIntyre Jason Fischer

Revive! Omaha Magazine is a publication of SMBEnterprises, LLC and is distributed via mail and selected locations throughout the Greater Omaha area and beyond. ©2010 SMB Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the Publisher, is prohibited, excepting individually copyrighted articles or photographs. The views expressed herein, whether expressed as fact, fiction, opinion, advice or otherwise, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of SMB Enterprises or Revive! Omaha Magazine. Manuscripts and photographs submitted for publication are welcome and should be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope if their return is desired. We reserve the right to edit, use, or not use materials submitted. The publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited materials. The publication of any advertisement in this issue does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s products or services.


P.O. Box 540880 • Omaha, NE 68154 (402) 490-1542 • Email:

Read more online at

Unite & Transform:

Working Together to Transform Omaha Into a GREAT City in Every Neighborhood

African-American Empowerment Network: Coming Together and Moving Forward


Empowerment Edition

The Empowerment Network: Making a Measurable Impact through Comprehensive Collaboration Photo by Herb Thompson Photography

Letter from the Publisher


Revive! Your Spirit


Events Calendar


Renew! Your Mind


Restore! Your Body


Preparing the Next Generations’ Workforce


Communities In Schools


Omaha Economic Development Corporation


Reclaim! Your Family


North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance


Rediscover! Your Purpose


Creating Safer Communities


Reprioritize! Your Finances


Sustainability of the Network


Rebuild! Your Community


Impact One


Omaha Rewind


Creating a Diverse Workforce


FEATURES: Everyone is Welcome


Building Strong and Healthy Families


Network Vision and Goals


Collaborative Elected Officials


Do Your Part


Empowerment Covenant


Quotes from Local and National Leaders


George Fraser

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The Empowerment Network: Five Years of Working Together


john powell

7 Step Empowerment Plan


Directory 56

Step-Up Omaha!


3 Reasons Entrpreneurship is Critical


Join us at

REVIVE! Omaha | 1

from the publisher…

REVIVE! Five years ago: We’ve had enough! Five years later: It’s possible. We can do this. Five years ago a small group came together to discuss what it would take to make dramatic, measurable and tangible change in our community. They considered different models. They debated whether it should be an African-American focus or North Omaha focus? They wrote down the core elements of what it would take to be successful. How do you make it bottom-up and top-down? How do you engage seasoned leaders and emerging leaders? How do you focus on solutions and action, rather than dwelling on and constantly debating issues? Most importantly, they decided that they had had enough of the way things were and made a commitment to “Don’t just talk about it, but to be about it!” The group agreed to invite others to the table to gain more insights, wisdom, and input. From there an initial group of three grew to seven, ten and then 70. The process continued and soon the first major community summit drew 300 residents, elected officials, pastors and ministers, and leaders from every discipline. Through the process, we reviewed many different models and decided to use Tavis Smiley’s Covenant with Black America as a framework. We integrated best practices and met with literally thousands of people to design a customized plan for Omaha. Many times, this is where it all stops. A great plan. A great vision. Little to no implementation. No measurable results. Over the centuries and decades, there have been many agendas, blueprints, and plans for the African-American community. Many have been developed for us. The goal was to develop our own plan, go to work, walk it out, and put our hands, feet, minds, and spirits into a common vision and mission. We would eventually work with other supporters, but the core of the strategy had to be us helping ourselves. Could African-Americans work together, put away titles, bring down barriers, and keep moving forward despite attacks, naysayers, and historical barriers that typically keep us divided? We developed and made a commitment to the Empowerment Covenant. We agreed that we would be positive, proactive, and build partnerships. We would build each other up, instead of tearing each other down. The core mission was to Connect, Communicate, Coordinate, Collaborate, Create, and Celebrate. No matter what, we would stick together. If we disagreed on an issue, we realized that the vision was bigger than any one of us. No one could do this by themselves. At times, it hasn’t been pretty; but nonetheless, the group keeps moving forward. The mission is greater than our differences. Does collaboration work? Can individuals and organizations work together to make things happen? The answer is a resounding, YES. Collaboration does work. The graduation rate has increased. The percentage of high school graduates going to college has increased. Reading scores have increased. Kindergarten to sixth grade academic scores have increased. Gun assaults have decreased by 21%. New homes have been developed. New businesses are opening. New jobs are coming to North Omaha. New employment opportunities have been expanded for youth and young adults. New organizations have been launched to fill gaps. New financial institutions are expanding in North Omaha. New cultural arts, historic, entertainment, and recreation districts, venues, and activities are coming to North Omaha. Neighborhoods are finally working together on common issues and solutions. This is not just the Network, but many individuals and organizations that have joined in to do their part!

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©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

leadership advisory team We have a long way to go, but finally some key trends are moving in the right direction. Maybe the first five years were just the warm-up. We focused on research, testing, piloting, and building infrastructure. Now, it’s time to magnify and multiply. What if 5,000? What if 10,000? What if 20,000 made a commitment to live the Empowerment Covenant? We don’t have to agree on everything, but we can keep the vision and mission above our differences. We will work together to transform Omaha into a GREAT city, thriving and prosperous, in every zip code and neighborhood. It’s possible. We can do this. I thank God for every single opportunity and learning experience. Now, on to the 2nd half! It’s time for a Revival. Let it start with you. Rise Up, Unite, and let’s continue working together to Transform Omaha! We want to thank the Empowerment Network Board, African-American Empowerment Network Leadership Advisory Team, the North Omaha Advisory & Planning Groups, and citywide Empower Omaha! partners for joining us on this journey. It’s amazing how much time, effort, and resources each of you have put into this work. Many lead their own organizations, but invest a great amount of time into working in a collaborative, comprehensive way. Most importantly, we want to thank residents and neighborhood associations for what you do every day.

Some members of the Network Leadership Advisory Team are not present in these photos. In addition to the African-American Leadership Advisory Team, we also have the North Omaha Community Advisory Groups, Empower Omaha Advisory Groups, and planning teams for specific Network initiatives.

Thank you Vicki Quaite-Ferris for your incredible leadership. Thank you Yolanda, Nehemiah and Priscilla for your sacrifices and support.

I’m honored to serve with a group that’s so committed.

Network Leadership Advisory Meeting


Willie D. Barney President/Publisher Revive! Omaha Magazine North Omaha Village Plan Approved by City Council Read more online at

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REVIVE YOUR SPIRIT by Rev. Bruce Norris


JUST one ©2012

There is a saying in the church community that “If each member would simply reach out to one other person with the gospel then exponentially within ten years’ time the entire world would be converted to the theology of Christianity.” The significance of this statement is not one that is a conclusive hyperbole, but rather one which is designed to influence the members of the church into what they have been commanded to do by their Lord, through the “Great Commission”, in the book of Matthew. Each one reaching one: It is an idea whose time has come. This principle can not only be utilized within the walls of the church, but utilized outside of the walls of the church as well. The principle involves more than just talking, it presupposes a commitment to community involvement. It is a community of citizens embracing a similar belief and working together towards accomplishing their goals. The community embraces members and spectators equally – encouraging each participant to contribute their time and talents into growing the community into a thriving and vital entity that is alive and flourishing with people whose needs can

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be realized through the generosity and goodwill of the citizens of the community. Each one reach one when viewed corporately, encompasses a much broader ideal than a single community. It is a multi-inclusive proposition which conceptualizes each social class as individualistic, yet amalgamated in the universal landscape. The family is part of the block; which is part of the division; which is part of the development; which is part of the community; which is part of the town; which is part of the state; which is part of the nation; which is part of the world. And the world, through technological advancement, is now a daily part of our consciousness. No longer can the blinders that restrict our vision to the cares and concerns of our own little world be worn, because they have been replaced by the cares and concerns of the local community. Gang activities, murder, theft, poverty, homelessness, foreclosures, all of these events which cause detriment to the health of our communities have become a part of our daily conversations and causes for concern.

There is an answer for these concerns however. It is as simple as each one of us reaching out to another one somehow. When we take the time to become involved in our communities – actively involved – these damages to our communities can all but disappear. When we ourselves care about the development and continuation of our communities, our involvement makes a difference. Instead of placing the onus of community development on the backs of a few, it is our responsibility to grab a hoe, a spade, a scythe, a broom – ‘something’ to increase the productivity of the garden we call our community. It is our responsibility as denizens to reverse the curse which threatens our community’s development and get involved in our community’s rehabilitation. Each one reach one is more than just a clever anecdote- it is the responsibility of every citizen in our community, in our state and in our nation. Accept responsibility and become involved in your community. Make it your purpose to reach at least one. Make a difference! Get involved! Reach one!

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

community calendar Saturday, June 9, 2012 10th Annual June Family Fair – a Juneteenth Celebration Charles B. Washington Branch Library in collaboration with Juneteenth Nebraska 2868 Ames Ave. • Noon to 5:00 pm A flag raising ceremony will kick off a weeklong celebration. The day will feature live music, refreshments, and family activities including a bounce house, a dunk tank, clowns and face painting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012-Sunday, May 27, 2012 John Beasley Theater’s The Boys Next Door by Tom Griffin

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday – Saturday: 7:30 p.m. Sunday: 3:00 p.m. Reservations may also be made by calling 402-502-5767

NAACP Juneteenth Pre-Parade Reception

Saturday, May 19 to Friday, May 25, 2012 Harmony Week

NAACP Juneteenth Parade – Let Freedom Ring!

Love’s Jazz and Art Center • 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Saturday, June 16, 2012 10:00 am to Noon • 30th Street – Between Lake to Sprague Don’t miss this year’s NAACP Juneteenth Parade. Telling the story of African-Americans through a Parade! Legacy. Struggle. Freedom. Civil Rights. Trailblazers. Innovators. Leaders. Drums. Dance. Floats. Bands. History-makers. Let’s come together, celebrate our history, and enjoy North Omaha’s largest annual event.

presented by the Empowerment Network and Omaha 360 partners A city-wide celebration and kick-off to a safe summer Officially recognized by the City of Omaha Concerts, Family Events, Neighborhood Activities, Faith programs, Youth Programs and No More Violence Rallies City-wide!

Saturday, May 19, 2012 Impact One Community Connection presents… Fourth Annual “Peace in the Streets” Concert a Harmony Week event Fontenelle Park 42nd and Ames • 1:00 pm Free community concert and community celebration Featuring music from the Last Few and other local artists Spoken Word and games/inflatables for the kids Free Food and drinks •

Friday, June 1 - Saturday, June 2 Love’s Jazz and Arts Center presents… North Omaha Cultural & Arts Expo Friday, June 1: 4 pm to 8 pm Saturday, June 2: 11 am to 8 pm Music. Food. Arts. Crafts. Business. Entertainment.

Saturday, June 9, 2012 Empowerment Network Monthly Community Meeting “Rebuilding Neighborhoods – Block by Block” Omaha North High School – Viking Center 8:45 am Breakfast, Networking, and Displays 9:30 am Interactive Community Meeting Be a part of the positive change happening in the community.

Please participate in Juneteenth Community Celebrations!

Juneteenth originated in 1865 and observes June 19 as Emancipation Day, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Read more online at

Saturday, June 16, 2012 Juneteenth Community Celebrations following the parade:

Malcolm X Center and Grounds: Hosted by Juneteenth Nebraska for more information: 24th and Lake: Hosted by the Empowerment Network for more information:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 NAACP presents… An Evening with Nebraska’s Tuskegee Airmen a special showing of the Red Tails Documentary: Double V 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Omaha Metropolitan Chapter Presents: 5th Annual Women of Color in Leadership Summit and Legacy Awards Luncheon Creighton University Harper Center Tuesday, July 10, 2012 from 8-4:30 pm $75 Summit/Luncheon, $50 Student Rate, $50 Luncheon Only For more information, please call Glenisha Nelson at 402.301.5590 Speaker info: Sandra Finley, President and CEO, Sandra Finley Company

Save the Date: September 12 – 14, 2012 Shake the Nations “Understanding the Commonwealth of the Kingdom” conference Ambassador Worship Center For more information call 402-341-1866

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RENEW YOUR MIND by Cynthia K. Gooch, Ph. D.

Are you ready?

Summer is fast approaching. As high school and college students and their families think about plans, consider engaging in activities that will give youth a competitive edge once they arrive at or return to the hustle and bustle of higher education. In addition to obtaining summer employment that can defray the cost of tuition and college related expenses, the following are suggestions that can be of great benefit: Enroll in Courses at Your Local Community College. Most 100 and 200 level general education courses will transfer from a community college such as Metropolitan Community College and are available at multiple campuses in the Omaha metropolitan area during the day, at night, weekends and some online. The amount you will save is comparable to that of a sizeable scholarship! Prior to registration, visit with a staff person familiar with articulation agreements between colleges, ensuring the course(s) will be accepted by your home institution. Do the math and discover the savings! Volunteer! Research community service opportunities that exist so you may explore your career interests or something you enjoy. It is a great way to make a difference, meet professionals in the field that may become mentors,

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gain invaluable experience and determine if you are passionate about the industry or area in which you are serving. Volunteering at the same organization on a regular basis will look great on college application, in addition to resumes, and perhaps even qualify you for scholarship and leadership opportunities. READ, READ, READ! Start a book club! Get a library card! Read something that you are not required to for school and expand your vocabulary, knowledge and world view. Write questions that you have as you read, and answer them later to improve your comprehension. Some college applications may ask you to provide a reading list. Visit colleges and universities you are considering. The initial step should be researching tuition costs, proximity to home, academic programs offered, diversity of student body and faculty composition, and extra/co curricular activities. Compile a list of preferences and accompanying questions. Contact an admissions representative and request materials to review. Schedule campus visits and evaluate your experiences. Compare and contrast all of your findings to include scholarship sources that may aid in your school selection.


Activities students should consider as they enter or return to college... Get Involved! Top college recruiters may request an essay on how you spend your time during the summer. Learn a new hobby, take a CPR/First Aid class, start a new business like a lawn, babysitting, or pet walking service. Attend Vacation Bible School. Get active by learning to swim, initiate a bicycling club, and enrolling in a Zumba or Spinning class. A 2010 study from USA Swimming revealed that nearly 70% of African American children and 58% of Hispanic children have low or no swim ability, compared to 40% of Caucasians, putting them at risk for drowning. According to the study, parental fear is a major contributor to a child’s swimming ability. Combat an inactive lifestyle by getting involved. Certainly, summer is a time to relax; however, a productive summer usually results in a safe summer!

THE AUTHOR Cynthia K. Gooch, Ph.D. Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity Metropolitan Community College

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine


Empowerment Network! Family Housing Advisory Services (FHAS) provides services designed to help stabilize families, develop financially wise consumers and reduce poverty. Established in 1968, FHAS is honored to serve our community. FHAS’ community impact includes the following:

Housing • Over 7,000 prevented homelessness • Distributed nearly $1 million in rent and utility assistance • Helped over 1,400 people purchase homes • 250 avoided foreclosure • Nearly 900 elderly residents accessed their home equity to avoid foreclosure and/or pay monthly living expenses

Financial Management • Matched entry-level savings 100% up to $100 • Provided over $100,000 to match client savings for micro-businesses, post-secondary education and home purchases • Helped over 250 youth aging out of foster care, matching their savings to purchase assets such as housing units, college expenses, automobiles, investments, and credit repair

Tax Assistance in Citywide Partnerships • Filed over 12,000 tax returns, accessing Earned Income Credits and lifting many above the poverty line • Helping many with first-time banking services, second-chance accounts and other services

Fair Housing • Counseled over 3,000 cases • Investigated well over 500 complaints • Negotiated and received over 400 reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities • Received over $500,000 in benefits for clients

FHAS is dedicated to and compassionate about finding and implementing solutions to help people become stably housed and financially secure. 2401 Lake Street, Omaha • (402) 934-7921 •

RESTORE YOUR BODY by Dr. Richard Brown

Charles Drew Health Center: A Major Factor in Healthcare

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are recognized for the service and contributions provided to the community, migrant, homeless, and public housing centers. They have provided access to affordable, high quality, cost-effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people in the U.S. for the past 45 years. There are more than 1,200 community health centers providing care through 7,000 locations across America. Community Health centers are united in their mission to deliver quality, cost effective, accessible health care services that focus on illness prevention and health maintenance. Omaha is very fortunate to have three FQHCs in its metropolitan area. They are Charles Drew Health Center, One World Health Center, and Council Bluffs Health Center. As the CEO of Charles Drew Health Center, I can attest to the value of community health centers to the health care system, and their intricate role in future health care reform implementation. Regarding quality, Community Health Centers are governed by a volunteer board of directors, 51% of whom are consumers of the services. A rarity in the market place, this helps to ensure that services are responsive, culturally

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appropriate and focused on the pressing needs within the community. These comprehensive primary and preventive services usually include medical, dental, nursing, laboratory, x-ray, pharmacy, child, and adult services, as well as hospital referral and follow-up. Unlike some others of the delivery system, we offer evening and weekend hours to accommodate families who work during the day, and operate a mobile vehicle to accommodate those who are difficult to reach.


America is witness to the hottest and most emotionally charged presidential campaign in history. In addition to the sluggish economy, a major issue is how to provide health care services to the millions of people without healthcare insurance. Undoubtedly, the most talked about issue is healthcare cost. the medical home for more than 12,000 individuals and saw 41,000 visits in 2011.

Regarding cost effectiveness, we charge those patients without private or public medical insurance on a sliding fee scale, based on their income and family size. We also bill Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance for services provided. We receive assistance from the federal and state government to help cover the cost of serving the uninsured.

I would like to see a formal partnership between community health centers and the hospital systems in Omaha that would acknowledge this benefit to the Omaha community. I have engaged in local discussions that focus on the development of a formal partnership with the metropolitan community health centers and the hospital systems. FQHCs do not have adequate operating margins to handle the increasing uninsured demand which result in long waiting lists and increased emergency department utilization. There are multiple evidence based partnerships between FQHCs and local hospitals around the country that are building a stronger partnership between these two systems to care for those without health insurance that have proven to be cost effective for both.

All of our physicians are board certified, and mid-level providers are well trained at Charles Drew Health Center. Some serve as assistant or associate professors at a local medical school. Not only is this a cost effective system for the individual, it saves money for the hospitals that occasionally see our patients in their emergency departments. The hospital length of stay is less for our patients. Charles Drew Health Center served as

As the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on health care reform is on the minds of anyone who watches TV, or whose health insurance premiums go up every year, I believe the time to discuss a better system for Omaha is now. As the demand for health services to the uninsured is beginning to exceed available resources, a different system is paramount. The number of uninsured served by CDHC amounted to 54% last

Š2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

year. The cost of business operations increases each year as funding reductions continue to occur at the state and local levels. Access for all Americans is a bold vision initiated by the National Association of Community Health Centers. The barriers of lack of health insurance, transportation, culture, language, and poverty that prevent people from seeking primary medical care have been removed for patients served at community health centers. We provide aggressive outreach, education, behavioral health counseling, and social services connections. Patients of community health centers have a continuum of coordinated care and vital support services that lead to positive health outcomes and healthier life styles. And, we turn no one away, including those who are wealthy. Charles Drew Health Center (CDHC) is a non-profit, community based health center that has served the Omaha area for 29 years. We strive to meet the unique health needs of the community in linguistically and culturally competent ways. In addition,

Read more online at

CDHC is a powerful “economic engine” whose business operations significantly impact the economy of our community. The following describes the specific economic impact of Charles Drew Health Center: • Is a major employer in its community • Provides direct employment for people in the community, including critical entry- level jobs, training, and career building opportunities that are community-based. • Purchases goods and services directly from local businesses, thereby stimulating the local economy through an infusion of health center spending. • Further stimulates the local economy through the indirect expenditures of related sectors and induced expenditures of new household income generated by the direct and indirect effects. • Engages in capital development projects, often acting as a catalyst for significant economic revitalization within its community by attracting investment and other businesses to the community.

An integrated economic modeling and planning tool called IMPLAN (Impact analysis for Planning) which captures the direct, indirect, and induced economic effects on business operations, was used to identify additional facts last year. CDHC injected $9.5 million of operating expenditures directly into the local economy, and stimulated additional indirect economic activity of $6.6 million. The overall economic impact is established to be $16.1 million. CDHC supports 110 jobs directly and supports an additional 58 jobs in other industries. This is all made possible by an integrated public and private partnership made up of federal, state, county, businesses, and philanthropic resources.


Dr. Richard Brown is Chief Executive Officer of Charles Drew Health Center, a Community Health Center in Omaha. Brown writes about prevention on his blog periodically at

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Š2012 Herb Thompson Photography

by Willie Barney

Four years ago, in February 2008, President Barack Obama electrified the crowd of 10,000 at the Civic Center when he appeared as a presidential candidate. In April 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama brought the same level of energy and excitement to Omaha for the Girls Inc. Annual Fundraiser - Lunch with the Girls. A sold-out crowd of 2,500+ supporters gathered to hear wisdom and insights regarding raising strong, smart and bold girls. First Lady Obama blessed us with wisdom that has been handed down through her own parents and that she and the President now implement with their own children. 10 | REVIVE! Omaha

Š2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

This is about

lifting up

our country.

Communities depend on strong, smart and

bold women.

-First Lady Michelle Obama Revive! Omaha Magazine was blessed to be in attendance. First Lady Obama spoke from her heart, inspiring the girls and boys that were in attendance, and turning some of the adults into raving fans. It was a message that resonated with everyone, whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent. On this day, we were just all Americans brought together to celebrate what is good about our nation and to embrace the possibilities of a new day.

Michelle Obama is a dynamic leader. As an African American woman, she is blazing a new path as First Lady. Her commitment to fitness has challenged women and men to change their workout habits. Her focus on healthy foods has us checking ourselves, pushing back from the table a little quicker, and eating fresh foods more often. Her old school parenting style has us raising expectations for our own children, and providing more opportunities for them to express their leadership abilities. Her approval ratings are sky high.

her African-American heritage and

And, there is this special connection that she has with all women, but especially African-American women. Her integrity, dignity, professionalism, strength, and grace showcases the beauty that we know is within our beautiful sisters. She shows the world the inner and outer beauty of AfricanAmerican women, beauty that is not often highlighted in the media. She is symbolic of the greatness that “runs in our race.” She fully embraces

she faced the same struggle as other

appeals to people of every race. She is comfortable in her own skin, and she is the definition of what it means to be strong, smart and bold. What a powerful example for our daughters. What a powerful example for all of us. She is representative of the struggles that African-Americans face while simultaneously showing the consistent ability to overcome obstacles. Well before she was First Lady, women, progressing in a competitive career while raising her family. She is the compelling story of what it means to be an African-American. We celebrate you, First Lady Michelle Obama. Thank you for standing strong for the girls, boys, and all of us. Thank you for inspiring us with lessons that will last for generations.

Holy Name Housing Celebrating 30 years of building communities!

We’re now preparing for the next 30 and beyond! Holy Name Housing has provided affordable housing opportunities in the North Omaha Community for 30 years and we are energized by the new spirit of participation, cooperation and hope we see in the neighborhoods where we have work. The Empowerment Network and their covenants promoting inclusiveness, collaboration and a positive vision of the future has made an obvious difference. 2929 Fontenelle Blvd • Omaha

(402) 453-6100

Read more online at

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said … “People increasingly form alliances and come together to overcome common problems.” That is exactly the position that we should have today regarding improving the community. Each of us can and should participate in some way to make our community better.

It’s easy to get started. Think about areas where you have an interest or areas where others have said, “you’re really good at that”. Chances are these areas may be a part of your purpose in life. Your challenge is to get involved with three steps.

Community change does not happen unless we take some kind of action. You may ask yourself: how can I get involved? You may say: what can I do? I’m only one person. Here’s some food for thought. There are hundreds of charities, community organizations, youth centers, after school programs, faith based organizations, schools, and initiatives where you can volunteer to help.

2. I dentify the action you will take based on the purpose God has given you for your life.

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1. Make up your mind to make a difference… today.

3. Don’t just sit there, do something. A three strand cord cannot be broken. In other words when we come together for the greater good, we form a strong bond and there’s nothing that we cannot accomplish together. The community is better when we work together. You can

help by volunteering. Here are a few ideas to get you started. (This is a partial list.) 100 Black Men Boys & Girls Club Election Commission Empowerment Network Girls Incorporated Habitat for Humanity Hope Center for Kids Humane Society Literacy Center of the Midlands Midlands Mentoring Partnership Omaha Food Bank Omaha Serves Open Door Mission Salvation Army Do your part to make the community better. Remember, the community is better when we work together. ©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine





vs. Leasing Buying frequently asked questions

Should I lease or buy my next car? Will you save money leasing instead of buying? It depends on (1) how good of a deal you can strike with the dealership, (2) how many miles you put on a car, (3) how much wear and tear you put on a car, and (4) what the car will be used for. To decide whether to lease or buy, compare the costs and other factors involved with both leasing and buying. Consider the following factors: • Your initial and ongoing costs • Your final costs and option rights • Whether you will be able to deduct any of the costs of the car because it will be used in business • Whether having an ownership interest in the car is of overriding importance

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How can I get the “best buy” when buying a new car? The last Saturday of September, October, or December is generally a good time to get a good bargain on a car. You should first decide on the size and type of car you want, and what options you want. Second, find out what the car dealer is paying for the car(s) you’re interested in- the invoice cost. Why is this important? The spread between the invoice price and the sticker price is the amount that can be negotiated. The best way to get this information is to use an auto pricing service provided by a consumer group or auto magazine. If you have a trade-in, you’ll also want to find out what it’s worth. You can do this by looking up your used car in the N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide, available at the library. Third, start negotiating with dealers. Now that you know the

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

When you return the car at the end of the lease, the dealer will have the car appraised. If the car’s appraised value is at least equal to the estimated residual value in the agreement, you won’t need to pay anything at the end of the lease term. Under some contracts, you can even receive a refund if the appraised value is higher than the residual value stated in the contract. If the appraised value is lower than the residual value, however, you may have to pay all or part of the difference.

invoice price, use that information to bargain for the lowest possible mark-up over the dealer’s cost. Resist any attempt by dealerships to sell you undercoating, rwust-proofing, or other extras. However, depending on the repair history of your model, you might want to invest in the extended warranty.

How does an auto lease work? There are two types of lease arrangements: closed-end (“walkaway”) and open-end (finance). Here’s how they work:

What questions should I ask about a car lease?

Closed-End: The Dealer Bears the Risk of Depreciated Value

• What kinds of leases are available and what are the differences?

When a close-end lease is up, you bring the car back to the dealership and “walk away.” You must return the car with only normal wear and tear, and with less than the mileage limit specified in your lease. Since the dealer is bearing the risk that the value of the car at the end of the lease will go down, your monthly payment is higher than with an open-end lease.

• What will my initial and continuing costs of leasing be? • Will a trade-in decrease my initial cost or continuing costs? • What happens if I exceed the specified mileage in my lease? • How will my mileage allowance be enforced if I take an early termination or a purchase option?

Open-End: You Bear the Risk of Depreciated Value With the open-end lease the customer bears the risk that the car will have a certain value (called the “estimated residual value”) at the end of the lease. The monthly payment is lower because of this risk.

• Can I sublease if I fall behind in my payments or want to stop leasing? • What happens if I want to terminate my lease before the agreement is up? • What costs and charges can I expect to pay at the end of the lease?

Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of The Empowerment Network! With online offerings and both day and evening classes, Bellevue University empowers you to reach your academic goals. Our competitive tuition rates and variety of financing options make it possible for you to earn your degree. Together, we can make it happen.

Contact us today! 402-756-7920

A non-profit university, Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools • • 800-621-7440 • Bellevue University does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability in the educational programs and activities it operates.

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REVIVE! Omaha | 15


Written by Willie Barney for the official public launch of the Empowerment Network and Empower Omaha! April 2007

Across our nation, African-Americans have made great progress in many areas. Through many challenges, African-Americans have pressed on and persevered. Despite racism, oppression and many other factors, we have pressed on. Omaha is no different. There are over 64,000 African-Americans in the Omaha metro area. We spend an estimated $700 million dollars each year. We have elected officials at the local, county and state level. We have administrators, principals and teachers in our schools. We have strong churches, large and small. We have professionals, business owners and skilled workers. We have health care professionals, social organizations, churches and others who are working every day to minister to and help those who are impacted; yet, in some areas we are going in the wrong direction. We have resources, organizations, ideas, visions, and much more. We have many success stories. Yet, we still lag when it comes to education, employment, housing, wealth, health, voting and other core areas. Since the fall of 2006, over 400 leaders and community members have discussed key issues and opportunities facing AfricanAmericans in the City of Omaha and the State of Nebraska. These individuals represent over 200 different organizations. As a result, an informal group, the Empower Omaha! African-American Empowerment Network, has been formed. We believe that by working together, collectively and collaboratively, we will produce greater results than if we act independently.

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©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine


don’t just talk about it, Be About It!

The Empowerment Network has helped to facilitate us coming together to develop and implement solutions that will dramatically and tangibly impact the lives of African-Americans, North Omaha, and the city of Omaha as a whole. Things will not happen overnight, but we strongly believe that the Network and Covenant are vehicles that will help us to accelerate our progress! The Covenant helps all of us to focus on areas of common interest. We have made significant progress on the Covenant (agreement) and strategic plan (action plan) to help address key challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. The covenant follows the model of the best selling book, Covenant with Black America, produced by Tavis Smiley. We have worked hard to gather the thoughts, ideas and involvement of our community to localize, create and implement our own covenant. We have identified issues, but have focused our attention on solutions. We have said from the beginning that we will be positive, proactive, and build partnerships.

Our strategy has three parts: 1) Empower African-Americans in the Greater Omaha Area 2) Empower North Omaha 3) Empower the City of Omaha and Beyond We have been presented with unprecedented opportunities. City-wide, there are a number of initiatives and projects underway to help transform the Greater Omaha area into a model city. Omaha has an incredible opportunity to create a new level of partnership. The Empowerment Covenant is about all of us doing our part. Together, we can make it a reality. Every individual, every family, every group and organization can do something to help build a stronger community. Everyone has a role to play. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Review the covenants and see what you can do to help improve the quality of life in our community and city.

We pay tribute to every organization, business and ministry that works every day to make positive changes in our community. We’re thankful for each and everyone who has labored to move us forward. Working collectively, we can accelerate our progress and build an even greater future. Now, let us Connect, Communicate, Coordinate, Collaborate, Create, and Celebrate as we make a measurable difference! Five years later, we have made measurable progress. The number of organizational participants is over 500 and the number of residents positively impacted is in the thousands. Don’t Just Talk About It, Be About It! Visit to learn more about the Empowerment Network. Be a part of the solution.

Do your Part: Live the Empowerment Covenant!



REVIVE! Omaha | 17

Omaha Rewind

Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence Dinner Presenting Sponsor: ConAgra Foods

Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence Dinner Presenting Sponsor: ConAgra Foods

Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence Dinner Presenting Sponsor: ConAgra Foods Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence Dinner Presenting Sponsor: ConAgra Foods

Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence Dinner Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence Dinner Presenting Sponsor: ConAgra Foods

Revive! Omaha Magazine Salute to Excellence Dinner



18 | REVIVE! Omaha

Š2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

a review in pictures...





NCBW Gourmet Gents

NCBW Gourmet Gents

LaRose Beauty Academy: Retirement Celebration for LaRose Beasley

LaRose Beauty Academy: Retirement Celebration for LaRose Beasley

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REVIVE! Omaha | 19

everyone is Welcome by John Ewing, Douglas County Treasurer Chairman, Empowerment Network Board of Directors

As Chairman of the Board of Directors, I am excited about the 5th Anniversary celebration of the Empowerment Network. Our organization led by Willie Barney, Vickie Quaites and the Covenant Leaders, has strived to listen to the community and address their concerns in an open and collaborative way. We have been, and will always strive to be positive about our community and the wonderful people that make up our community. We have and will continue to strive to make everyone who cares about the community welcome to attend meetings or provide input. The Empowerment Network is about ensuring that every zip code in our community is able to participate fully

20 | REVIVE! Omaha

in the great opportunities ahead for our metropolitan area. We want to ensure that good living wage jobs and the training necessary to get those jobs is available. We want to make sure that capital is available for community entrepreneurs to be able to make their dreams a reality and be able to employ members of the community. We want to ensure that our community is prepared to compete for employment and careers by utilizing strategies, like Cradles to Careers, and Communities in Schools, which seek to ensure that our young people have access to a world class education and career opportunities in our community. We have seen progress in many areas because of the hard work of many of our

elected officials and business leaders in our community, such as the summer jobs programs (now called Step-Up Omaha); the city ordinance to increase the number of contracts to minority contractors; the state of Nebraska legislation for summer employment; the recently approved Walmart at 50th and Ames; improved high school graduation rates; and the record number of African Americans attending local colleges and universities. Thank you to all who have worked so diligently. We have a long way to go, so keep the faith and keep working. Those who have not been engaged, we stand with open arms ready for you to provide us with your input, suggestions and your expertise.

Š2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Empowerment Network: Working together to transform Omaha into a GREAT city, thriving and prosperous, in every zip code and neighborhood! PURPOSE & GOAL: To Unite & Transform Omaha by extending the “greatness”of Omaha to every zip code; closing long-standing gaps in employment, entrepreneurship, education, housing, and other quality of life factors that have been traditionally based on race and geographic segregation. MISSION: Working together to TRANSFORM the economic condition and quality of life of African-Americans, North Omaha residents, and citizens of the Greater Omaha area by implementing the Empowerment Covenant and 7 Step Empowerment Plan. We work together in a positive, proactive, and partnership-oriented way to develop and implement a covenant and strategic plan complete with short-term and long-term goals, strategies, activities and measurable outcomes. VISION OF THE FUTURE: Omaha will be recognized as an engaged and empowered community where African-Americans, North Omaha residents, and citizens in every zip code are measurably successful and prosperous—spiritually, mentally, physically, socially, and financially. KEY PRINCIPLES: Personal Responsibility, Leadership Accountability, and Comprehensive Collaboration. CORE VALUES: Faith, family, community, engagement, empowerment, shared-decision making THE 7 STEP EMPOWERMENT MODEL: » Employment and Entrepreneurship » Education and Youth Development » Sustainable Communities – Housing, Neighborhoods, and Transportation » Faith & Hope » Safe Communities – Violence Intervention and Prevention » Health and Healthy Families » Arts, Culture, Entertainment, and Media

TRENDS & GOALS: Economic Condition Current



AA - H.S. Graduation Rate 71% AA - Employment Rate 82% AA - Home Ownership 38% AA - Poverty Rate 44% AA - New & Expanded Businesses NO - H.S. Graduation Rate NO - New Jobs (sustainable, living wage) NO - New Homes (mixed-income) NO - New & Expanded Businesses

90% 95% 50% 20% 200 90% 2,000 2,000 250

100% 100% 70% 10% 400 100% 4,000 4,000 500

Quality of Life Current



AA - Civic Engagement – Voting 30% AA - Marriage Rate 28% AA - Health Index (TBD) NO - Gun Violence -21% NO - Tourism (Arts/Culture)

50% 50%

100% 70%

-50% 100,000

-75% 250,000

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REVIVE! Omaha | 21

DO YOUR PART by Tawanna A. Black 2006 Empowerment Network State of African Americans and North Omaha Summit Five years ago the idea that AfricanAmericans could come together, work together, pray together and stay together was a lot like a unicorn… lots of people have heard of it, but we weren’t sure if anyone had ever seen it. We faced so many questions… What would make this effort different than all of the others? How would this new effort be successful without taking away the success of other African American organizations? How would we elevate new leaders without alienating those who have paved the way for decades? How would we bridge African Americans from all socio-economic sphere and from every part of the city to address issues that bind us together and disparities that have no respect for income or neighborhood? How would we show the larger community that ‘we’ as African Americans possessed the talent, creativity, innovation and personal and collective commitment to create and facilitate solutions that WOULD work? And how would we address systemic issues while acknowledging behaviors in our culture that hinder sustainable progress? We answered the first few questions with our strategies. Thirteen covenants with strategic action plans to address every major facet that contributes to quality of life would build the path toward systemic change. But 22 | REVIVE! Omaha

we knew there had to be more. We needed a movement of the people. Each and every African American had to play a role in changing our communities, man by man, woman by woman, child by child, family by family, business by business, church by church, and so on. The answer was thirteen individual covenants to support the organizational strategies. In each covenant area, from education to employment, from faith to arts and culture, we identified three things that every individual could do, for free, to improve the state of African Americans. To create those 39 action steps, we simply asked ourselves “What if?” What if every African American parent attended every one of their child’s parent-teacher conferences and built a partnership with their child’s educators for student success? What if every African American opened a savings account and started saving even five dollars a month for the future? What if every African American got a physical and established a relationship with a primary care physician, setting small achievable health goals? What if every African American believed, truly believed that God had equipped us with the knowledge, tools and resources that we needed to create new life for our community and that this was our moment to take personal accountability for making it happen?

Vice-Chair, African American Empowerment Network Board of Directors President, Innovations By Design, LLC

The answer is the future we’ve been dreaming of, that community where African Americans thrive! After five years and hundreds of African Americans taking the pledge and committing to live the covenant, every day, a lot has changed. More children are thriving in schools with the support of their families and communities. More adults are educated and employed pursuing career and entrepreneurial dreams. More families have secured safe housing that they can be proud of. Indeed we have much to be proud of, and yet we cannot stop. In business we say ‘ culture eats strategy for lunch.’ This simply means that it doesn’t matter how many sophisticated strategies we create and employ if we don’t build hope and commitment to change among the masses. The organizational strategies of the Empowerment Network and our partners continue to evolve, building on each success we strive for more sustainable impact. But those strategies are not enough. If each one of us doesn’t choose to do our part, large and small toward creating the future we dream of, then that future will remain a dream. As we celebrate five years, I recommit to the covenant and I challenge you to revisit and recommit to your covenants as well. We can do more. We must do more. WE are the one’s we’ve been waiting for. ©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Empowerment Covenants: Do My Part… Live the Covenant! Faith Join a family of faith and actively participate. Pray, study and apply what I learn. (Live our Faith) Actively discover my purpose and use my gifts, talents, and strengths. Support local ministries and my community with my time, gifts, and resources. Education (Prepare our Children)

Reinforce the importance and value of education. Attendance. Homework. Preparation. Graduation. Career.

Know what’s happening at school. Participate…conferences, volunteer, mentor, tutor, and/or adopt-a-class.

Read to children and have children read to you every day. Reduce television and video time.

Partner with available people & resources for help. Ex: Library, Family, Mentors, Tutors, Churches, etc

Health (Protect our Health)

Become educated on health (physical and behavioral) issues that affect African-American families. Establish a relationship with identified medical and dental providers and get an annual medical, dental and behavioral health check-up or screening.

Actively practice a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, not smoking, exercising, avoiding substance abuse and abstaining from high-risk behaviors associated with HIV-Aids, STD’s and teen pregnancy.

Healthy Families (Strengthen our Families)

Create a safe and healthy environment that nurtures and sustains the spiritual, physical, emotional and economic needs of my family and community.

Increase the quantity and quality of time spent with families.

Develop and understand the benefits of healthy marriages and stable families.

Economics (Build our Wealth)

Create and build personal wealth through: Employment (Jobs), savings, equities, investments, ownership and entrepreneurship. Enhance and expand networking and professional support and services.

Support black-owned business, businesses that support community efforts and employ African-Americans.

Educate ourselves and our children to understand and use our collective consumer spending power.

Crime Prevention (Love our Neighbor)

Develop stronger relationships with youth and neighbors. Help intervene and provide positive options.

Partner with my church, police, neighborhood and/or organization to help prevent and reduce crime.

Partner with my community to assist those currently in and coming out of the criminal justice system.

Civil Rights and Justice Understand my rights. Develop stronger relationships w/ police, leaders, elected officials, etc. (Stand for Justice) Hold accountable.

Call Human Rights & Relations or appropriate agencies to get information packets. Contact NAACP, FHAS, Human Rights & Relations if discrimination occurs and follow through with the process. Document everything.

Become aware of how the judicial system works. Work to improve the process. Stand up for youth.

Housing/Neighborhoods Educate myself about my rights and responsibilities as a renter, the advantages and responsibilities (Own our Homes) of home ownership, and how home equity helps build personal wealth.

Budget, manage credit, control spending and work towards owning my own home.

Join my neighborhood association and actively participate. Help to address transportation issues.

Voting/Politics (Raise our Vote)

Educate myself, my family (including my children) and my community on the issues and candidates. Register to vote. Vote early, encourage others to vote, and take someone with me to the polls.

Support the development of African-American candidates and political strength with a focus on 2012 and beyond. Environment (Clean our Neighborhoods)

Get educated on environmental issues that are impacting our community. Share information with others.

Make sure my home is free from the impacts of lead and other harmful environmental concerns.

Help keep my neighborhood clean. Participate in neighborhood clean-ups. Technology (Cross the Divide)

Work to make sure that children in my home and community have access to computers. Work to have a computer in my home. Work to have internet access in my home. (with proper supervision)

Communications/Media (Own our Communications)

Educate myself, my family and my community regarding the influence of the media. Reduce negative influences.

Limit TV & video game playing (especially during week) and support positive African-American media outlets.

Voice my concerns to media that broadcast and print inappropriate material.

THE EMPOWERMENT NETWORK: five years of working together to make a measurable, tangible change in our community…

Empowerment Network’s 4 Year Anniversary Conference and Luncheon – May 2011

Does collaboration work or is it just a buzzword? A small group set out five years ago to put it to the test. Each person perhaps motivated for different reasons, but nonetheless called together because they had all had enough of the negativity and lack of overall progress. Some came to the table skeptical. They had seen it before, but they came. Some came to see who else was going to participate, but they came. Some came because there was something in their spirit that wouldn’t allow them not to come, so they came. Overwhelmingly, people came because in their heart they hoped that this time it would be different. They came because they had a passion to see our people do better. Research showed that over 40 years, the African-American community overall was in a bad state, and in some cases, going backwards. There was no way that we could continue on the same track. Despite everyone’s best efforts and some anecdotal wins, overall progress was still not happening on the scale or pace that was expected or desired. There was good work happening, it just wasn’t coordinated. From day one, a core group committed to working together in a new, collective way to make a measurable, tangible difference in the community. 24 | REVIVE! Omaha

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Since that time, collaborative elected officials have been elected in North Omaha, five new organizations have been launched or expanded to fill gaps, many new programs and initiatives have been implemented, and residents and leaders have come together to make measurable change. While there was no expectation from the group to reverse the impact of 40 years of poverty, unemployment, violence, and other social issues in five years, the collaboration can report real, tangible change. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals have been positively impacted by the work.

Community Engagement: Connect. Communicate. Coordinate. Collaborate. Create. Celebrate. The Network has continued to host weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual meetings, summits, and conferences to gather input and feedback from the community. The meetings range in size from 10 to over 300. Consistently, the top priorities are employment, education, safe neighborhoods,

housing, health and families. While the group still maintains the original 13 covenant areas, the leadership strategy now focuses on seven core areas: 1) Employment and Entrepreneurship 2) Education and Youth Development 3) Housing, Neighborhoods and Transportation 4) Faith and Hope 5) Strong and Healthy Families 6) Violence Prevention and Intervention 7) Arts, Culture, History, Entertainment and Communications Beyond these collaborative efforts, each partner agency has expanded their own work. Elected officials have worked together to support each other’s efforts to pass over twenty pieces of legislation that will positively impact African-Americans and North Omaha. In other cases, the elected officials have supported each other in stopping legislation that would have had a negative impact on the community. These efforts are summarized and chronicled

throughout this special edition. Another encouraging sign, civic engagement is alive and well in Omaha. The Empowerment Network supported efforts lead by Project 10,000 and the North Omaha Voter Participation Project to register 13,000 people to vote. Community members, NAACP, and other organizations worked together to press the Douglas County Election Office to reopen voting polls and take additional actions to address the closing of nearly half of the polling places in Douglas County. Hundreds of mentors are stepping up. Neighborhood associations are building. Thousands of citizens are getting involved and supporting work throughout the city. Using the 7 Step Empowerment Plan and Urban Agenda as a framework, here’s a summary of highlights of the work that has happened in each area during the first five years (partial list, please go to for a more comprehensive list of initiatives and partners): continued on next page

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Summer Jobs Program

Sustainable, Living Wage Work: Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Business Development

The Empowerment Network’s employment and entrepreneurship strategies include: Summer employment and internships; work experience and hands-on training programs; career advancement plans; and business development, recruitment, and expansion. To date, the work has generated 1,500 summer employment opportunities through the Great Summer Jobs Program and now StepUp Omaha!, Summer Training Employment Pathway and Urban Pipeline. The Step-Up Omaha initiative is based on the programs created by the Empowerment Network, OEDC, Impact One, OPS, ENCAP, Hope Center, and Urban League. The Employment Pathway will be the next area of focus to help summer participants transition successfully to longerterm employment and training opportunities in partnership with Metro and Heartland Workforce solutions. Small and large employers are beginning to step forward with not only summer employment positions but long-term sustainable wage jobs and permanent career opportunities. Initial work on career advancement was started with the formation of the African-American Professionals Network. Over 400 participated the first year, which included a comprehensive survey and three well-attended professional development and networking events. On the entrepreneurship and business development side, the focus has been on recruiting jobs to North Omaha. While there has been some small scale successes, the blockbuster is the recruitment of a Wal-mart to locate at 50th and Ames. The City of Omaha Planning Department, Mayor Jim Suttle, Councilman Ben Gray, and others along with Wal-mart

26 | REVIVE! Omaha

officials announced the plans for the $30 million dollar project which will hire nearly 300 workers. In addition, the Network’s economic taskforce was successful in helping to launch several new businesses and has worked with OEDC and other emerging business professionals to create a fund that will help address access to credit and capital.

Successful and Prepared Children: Education and Youth Development:

Network partners have been extremely active in the education arena. The Network started with the AfricanAmerican Achievement Council plan as a base. The group then analyzed the nation’s best practices for increasing African-American Achievement. Some of the studies included the Children’s Defense Fund, Raising Minority Achievement, Harlem Children’s Zone, KIPP Charter Schools, SEED Boarding Schools, high performing public school districts, and other studies and other models with proven results for educating children of color. The Network then partnered with Building Bright Futures to conduct extensive community engagement, and was intimately involved in the development of the Community Action Plan. The efforts gained input from nearly 2,000 participants. A comprehensive strategic analysis was completed to draw comparisons between plans developed by OPS, Building Bright Futures, the Learning Community, The Empowerment Network, African-American Achievement Council, and the summarized findings from research of the best practices. In addition, the Empowerment Network consistently hosts community meetings with parents, community organizations and service providing agencies, faith communities, law enforcement, health specialists, educators,

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

and students to keep strategies updated and uncover new ideas. From this work, the North Omaha Cradle to Career initiative was created. The Network’s education strategy focuses on these core areas: Empowered Schools – including strong, collaborative leadership, effective teachers, challenging and aligned curriculum, and extended day and year learning time; coordinated and integrated service delivery (including tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs); parental involvement, engagement and support (including early childhood, health, etc); student engagement and attendance; and career exploration and employment. One of the first priorities was to bring Communities In Schools to Nebraska. CIS is the nation’s top dropout prevention organization. The initiative, which includes a full-time community site coordinator at each school, is now in ten schools within the Omaha Public Schools district. Another significant effort that was launched out of the Network in partnership with OPS is Career for Kids. CFK is serving 188 students, linking them with career exploration, internships, scholarship, and post secondary opportunities. CFK is a pilot that will lead to systemic change within the career pathways within OPS. The Network partnered with the Urban League, 100 Black Men, and Paul Bryant to launch the annual Black Male Summit. The Network is partnering with CIS, Sherwood Foundation, and OPS on the Omaha Education Association’s collaborative project focusing on teacher effectiveness, shared decision-making, and cultural proficiency to help continue increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap. Many of the Network partners and collaborators are providing great services to the school district. Network leaders are actively involved with the OPS Accountability Committee, African-American Achievement Council, Building Bright Futures Initiatives, Learning Community Council, and many other initiatives.

Over 100 housing units have been developed through Network partners OEDC, Family Housing Advisory Services, and Holy Name Housing, with 150+ more units approved by the City of Omaha. Neighborhoods once terrorized by violence now have residents moving back in and new homes going up. The North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance was launched out of the Network in partnership with City Councilman Ben Gray. New businesses are moving into North Omaha, including a long- called for Wal-mart that plans to hire nearly 300 people. Senior housing developments have been completed and large scale, mixed-income housing developments are in the works. The 30th and Parker area has twenty-one new homes, 80 more approved, and the potential of a mixed-income development. Senior housing is in the works. There’s great promise for the area.

Faith and Hope: Working Outside the Walls

The faith community has been active partners with the Empowerment Network. Pastors and faith leaders have championed adopt-a-block, adopt-a-school, prayerwalks, community engagement, positive activities and alternatives, and actively supported many areas of the covenant. There are some that ask, “where is the church and why aren’t they involved?” Churches have always been involved in a variety

Sustainable Communities: Housing, Neighborhoods, and Transportation Last year, the Empowerment Network, Omaha Economic Development Corporation, Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, and the City of Omaha received unanimous approval by the Planning Board and City Council to move forward with the North Omaha Village Revitalization Plan. The comprehensive vision is now part of the city master plan. Four areas of concentrated focus are included in the plan: 24th and Lake, 30th and Parker (the location of the original village plan), Malcolm X/Adams Park, and 16th and Cuming. With the intensive, community-based planning effort, interest from non-profit and for-profit developers has never been higher. It appears that the often talked about redevelopment of the core area of North Omaha is on the verge.

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 27

North Omaha Village Zone Community Meeting

of ways. Churches have extensive prison ministries, youth ministries, health ministries, and other programs that serve people in need. Recently, more churches are also getting engaged with housing development, financial programs, health ministries, and other efforts to help meet the needs of members and community residents. Over 100 ministries have participated with the Network over the past five years, and over 30 have actively adopted blocks in their neighborhoods. The adopt-a-block work starts with prayer and knocking on doors, and leads to community cleanups, block parties and positive activities, lawn mowing, housing rehabilitation, new home development, and most importantly neighbors getting to know neighbors. Areas which were losing residents just a few years ago are now finally attracting new families.

Safe and Thriving Neighborhoods: Violence Intervention and Prevention

One of the central questions during 2007 and each year after has been, “How do we decrease violence?” Since the Network’s initial work in this area over the past five years, gun assaults have been reduced by 21%. And after an all time high of homicides, the city has seen years where we’ve had a 31% decrease in homicides. Gun violence among youth has decreased measurably. There’s still a lot of work ahead. One shooting victim, one homicide is still one too many. The Network launched a comprehensive effort referred to as Omaha 360. The initiative which was created in North Omaha has grown to become a city-wide campaign to reduce and end gun and gang violence. Initially created 28 | REVIVE! Omaha

as a covenant area within the Empowerment Network with seven people around the table, Omaha 360 has grown to include hundreds of organizations, and thousands of residents have participated in events and activities related to the strategy. The work group consists of residents, community-based organizations, faith institutions, law enforcement, gang intervention specialists, after school programs, mentoring organizations, reentry programs, probation departments, elected officials, school officials and educators, the City of Omaha, Douglas County, Office of Violence Prevention, and many others. Impact One, an organization that was launched in partnership with the Empowerment Network, has been a vital part of the violence intervention strategy. Hundreds of individuals have been assisted by the organization and are now on positive paths of development. Most importantly, some targeted neighborhoods that have traditionally experienced high levels of violence have seen dramatic decreases in crime. When residents become active and involved, there is an immediate and measurable reduction. With this knowledge, the Empowerment Network worked with Councilman Ben Gray to launch the North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance. The group has come together under the leadership of Terrie Jackson-Miller, Board Chair Carl Christian and a newly elected board. They meet monthly with the leaders of North Omaha’s Neighborhood Associations. They are now an official 501 c3 organization and have developed an initial strategic plan to make North Omaha a great community, block by block. They have

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

already jumped into action, actively participating with the Network’s efforts of village stakeholders, neighborhood clean-ups, citizen patrols, and partnering with the Mayor’s office to develop solutions to address problem landlords and reduce the number of illegal guns coming into our community.

Health and Healthy Families Leaders from the Charles Drew Health Center, Nebraska Center for Healthy Families, Center for Holistic Development, Christian Couples Fellowship International, Creighton University, UNMC, and ENCAP provided leadership for the Health and Healthy Family Team during its first five years. During 2011, the planning group expanded to include the Douglas County Health Department, Lutheran Family Services, and Heartland Family Service. The planning team also hosted a major summit that attracted over 90 participants from large and grassroots health, human service, and family organizations in North Omaha. The goal of the Empowerment Network’s Health and Healthy Family team is to help create strong and healthy families. On the health side, the team focuses on the following priorities to improve overall physical and mental health: linking residents with a primary health home; addressing obesity and improving access to healthy foods; dealing with the STD epidemic; and, providing services to address post traumatic stress and conflict resolution. With regards to strong families, the focus is on the following priorities: meeting basic service needs; improving relationships; increasing the number of fathers actively involved in their children’s lives; increasing the marriage rate; and reducing teen pregnancies. The group has launched and expanded a number of collaborative efforts, including: Marriage Conferences and Workshops; Mentoring Programs; Teen Pregnancy Prevention initiatives; Fatherhood programs; Marriage is Cool, Healthy family programs; STD Awareness and prevention programs; healthy foods programs; and large scale summits and conferences.

Arts, Culture, History, and Entertainment: Connecting a Rich History with a Thriving Future It’s time for a comeback! An arts, culture, and entertainment district near 24th and Lake is beginning to see some early action. New festivals, like Christmas in the Village and Stroll Down Memory Lane, are attracting thousands back to 24th Street. A live music scene is beginning to build at 24th and Lake through Love’s Jazz and Art Center. The historic roots, “Street of Dreams” is coming back to life as the Great Plains Black Museum is casting a new vision. John Beasley and his board are working on plans to bring live theater to Lake Street. Artists and small businesses are getting involved with festivals and looking for opportunities to spread their wings of entrepreneurship. The Union for Contemporary Art is moving forward on an important piece of the puzzle. Read more online at

The North Omaha Arts Alliance work group has hosted a successful workshop with key organizations, and partnered with many agencies to design and produce an expanded week-long MLK, Jr. celebration, including the first Omaha Civil Rights Mobile Museum. The Malcolm X Foundation now has a new home and a vision to develop an international center and attraction. The new facility is seeing a significant increase in use, and the Foundation is launching new programs designed to engage, educate and inspire the next generation.


Moving forward, the Empowerment Network will intensify its focus on: 1) Personal Responsibility through the Empowerment Covenant; 2) Leadership Accountability through the Leadership Covenant; and 3) Comprehensive Collaboration through the 7 Step Empowerment Plan and Urban Agenda. At the core of the Empowerment Network is the focus on these three areas. There are hundreds of organizations working on various initiatives and strategies to empower neighborhoods, communities, and schools. Please join us on the journey as we continue working together to transform Omaha into a GREAT city, thriving and prosperous in every zip code and neighborhood! There’s a role for everyone.

Do Your Part! Take the Challenge and Live the Empowerment Covenant! REVIVE! Omaha | 29

7 STEP EMPOWERMENT PLAN and urban agenda

Transforming Omaha into a GREAT CITY, Thriving and Prosperous, in every Zip Code!

Personal Responsibility & Leadership Accountability • Setting the Environment for Transformation • E ngage residents, leaders, & elected officials regularly on issues, solutions, decision-making, implementation and evaluation in a solution-focused environment • E ncourage active neighborhood involvement, engagement, and leadership • I ncrease civic engagement - volunteering, service, mentoring • I ncrease voter education, participation, and empowerment • S upport positive media outlets, channels, and balanced coverage of North Omaha and African-Americans •A dvocate for urban policies that support transforming the economic progress and quality of life in every zip code, by addressing economics, education, housing, health, poverty & civil rights/justice

Comprehensive Collaboration & Impact: 7 STEP EMPOWERMENT PLAN 1. Employment & Entrepreneurship - Employment & Entrepreneurship Collaboration Sustainable, Living Wage Work - Everyone that wants a job, career, and/or to run a successful business (Summer Jobs and Internships; Targeted Job Training (Category-specific, high growth) and On-Ramp Programs; Career Development - Pipeline and Pathways - Entry Level and Mid/Senior Advancement; Business Development through Bus. Recruitment, Expansion and Entrepreneurship; Wealth-Building and Human Capital Development Investments; Access to Credit and Capital) 2. Education & Youth Development - North Omaha Cradle to Career Collaboration Graduation with Marketable Skill and Prepared for Post Secondary (Empowered Schools: Teacher Effectiveness, Building Leadership, Curriculum - Challenging/Interactive, Extended Learning Time (Day and Year); Integrated, Coordinated Community Services - Teams, Needs Assessments, Services Delivery (including: mentoring, tutoring, extended/out of school time), Data Management, Evaluation; Parental Involvement, Engagement and Support Services - Early Childhood Development, Parent Outreach, Inviting Environment, Communication, Shared Decision-making; Student Attendance, Engagement and Leadership; Career Opportunities (Career Days, Career Exploration, Career Camps, Internships, Entrepreneurship…) 3. Sustainable Communities - Housing, Neighborhoods, and Transportation - North Omaha Village Zone Revitalization Living in a Healthy Home and Neighborhood (Mixed-Income & Mixed-Type Housing and North Omaha Village Zone Revitalization; Civic and Commercial - Neighborhood Businesses & Retail, and Recreation; Improved Transportation - Access to Work, School, and Support Services; Environmental Justice – Address Lead, Water, Waste, and other environmental issues 4. Faith & Hope - Pastors, Ministers, and Faith Leaders Covenant Exposed to Message and Examples of Hope (Outside the Walls - Adopt-A-Block Neighborhood Partnerships; Prayer Walks, and Family Support; Youth and Adult Outreach; Events, and Ministries; Church-based Economic Strategies - Support North Omaha Businesses and Development; Common Community Language - Empowerment Covenant; CIS 5 Basics; 40 Developmental Assets; Gallup HOPE Model) 5. Safe Communities - Omaha 360 Violence Intervention and Prevention Collaboration Living in a Safe and Secure Place (Prevention - School Outreach, Employment, Conflict Resolution, Mentoring, Positive Activities; Intervention Street Outreach, Gang Intervention, Crisis Response, Family Support; Enforcement and Community Involvement - Suppression, Remove Guns, Arrests, Prosecution, Community Support; Reentry - Pre-release Training, Education, Employment Training, One Stop Center, Resources, Coaching; Support Services - Housing, Counseling, Transportation, Substance Abuse Treatment) 6. Healthy Families - North Omaha Health and Healthy Family Initiative Living in a Healthy Family (Basic Services and Family Support - Neighborhood Village Centers - Coordinated, Integrated Services Model; Selfsufficiency – Moving out of Poverty, Support Systems, Removing Barriers, Financial Literacy, Budgeting, EITC/IDA’s; Physical Health - Primary Health Home, Access to Healthy Foods/Obesity, STD/HIV, Heart Disease, Active Lifestyles; Mental/Behavioral Health - Substance Abuse, Post Traumatic Stress, Conflict Resolution; Relationships, Marriage, and Parenting - Teen Pregnancy, Relationship, Marriage & Parent Empowerment. ) 7. Arts and Culture - North Omaha Arts Alliance Easy Access to Culture, Arts, Positive Media, and Technology (Strengthen the African-American and North Omaha Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Community; 24th and Lake Arts, Culture, History and Entertainment District and Malcolm X International Center; Establish the arts industry as an economic engine/Integrated into the North Omaha Village Zone Revitalization Plan)

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©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. Charles Drew Health Center, Inc.





inkk h t in h y t a u w o e y h y t C ingg the wa haannggin Ch ! e r a c h ! e lt r a e a c h h t lt u a aabo ut he

2915Grant GrantStreet Street •• 402-451-3553 402-451-3553 • 2915

Five years ago, summer employment for youth and young adults was nearly non-existent. Communitybased agencies launched programs during the summer of 2008 and have continued each year since then. This year, the programs were united under one umbrella, Step-Up Omaha! By working together, the Empowerment Network and City of Omaha in collaboration with community partners are expanding the initiative and providing opportunities for 500 youth and young adults to gain valuable job training and work experience during the summer. We’re working to provide jobs, internships, vocational training, academic recovery and remediation, life skills training, and community service opportunities. Over 970 applications were received for the 2012 campaign that integrates academic training, work experience and jobs. The application process is now closed. STEP-UP OMAHA! recruits, trains, and places prepared Omaha youth and young adults, age 14 to 24, in mutually beneficial paid summer jobs and work experience opportunities. STEP-UP OMAHA! has been building on the Empowerment Network and community partners’ successes in hiring and placing over 1,000 participants over the past four years. In 2012, Mayor Jim Suttle, the City of Omaha, Empowerment Network and community partners are challenging the business community, philanthropists, and community organizations to help us put 500 youth and young adults to work. Employers over the past four years have included nonprofits, educational institutions, governmental agencies, and for-profit businesses. 32 | REVIVE! Omaha

It’s not too late to support the initiative with funding or jobs. There are four ways that businesses and organizations can invest in this vitally important initiative: 1. Hire participants from the initiative and provide a high quality work experience. 2. Provide work experience opportunities that are subsidized or partially subsidized. 3. Sponsor participants financially. Participants will be placed on a separate work site. 4. Make a financial contribution to support the initiative. Businesses and organizations that would like to support the initiative, please contact STEP-UP OMAHA at 402-502-3763 or e-mail at

STEP-UP OMAHA! is a community-based initiative of the Empowerment Network and City of Omaha in collaboration with community partners: Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands, ENCAP, Heartland Workforce Solutions, Hope Center for Kids, Impact One Community Connection, Latino Center of the Midlands, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Economic Development Corporation, Omaha Public Schools, Urban League of Nebraska and Victory Boxing Club.

BUSINESS SPONSORS & PARTNERS: American National Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Lindsay Manufacturing, Woodmen of the World, ConAgra Foods, Pinnacle Bank, AT&T, Coventry, UPS, Omaha Steaks, Cox Communications, Wells Fargo Bank, Physicians Mutual, Security National Bank, American Harvest, and Max I Walker.

Please go to or call (402) 502-3763.

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

proud to call Omaha home! Proud to call Omaha Home!

ConAgra Foods and the Jones Family At ConAgra Foods, we like to talk about how proud we are to have our brands found in 97% of American kitchens and at the world’s most popular restaurants. But we often forget to mention how grateful we are for the support that we get right here in Omaha. We count on all the consumers in our hometown to buy our products, but we also know that we have to be a very active member of the community if we are going to be able to attract and retain the best talent for our company. One of the ways we accomplish this goal is to enter into strategic alliances with non-profit organizations with the objective of executing initiatives that benefit both organizations, as well as the community. It’s a concept that we refer to as creating shared value. The Empowerment Network has been an incredible partner for us at ConAgra Foods as we have embarked on our journey to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment. Our active involvement with initiatives in North Omaha has been a source of immense pride for our current employees. Being able to sponsor insightful events put on by the African American Professionals Network has been a great source of development and an enabler for introducing professionals who are new to the Omaha community. And the integration of the Corporate Explorer Camps into the education agenda will strengthen our pipeline of African American young professionals. This anniversary stands out for me, personally, as the leader responsible for driving the diversity transformation at ConAgra Foods and as a mom who moved to Omaha with 10 year old twins – five years ago! I’m so proud of our progress at ConAgra Foods and I praise the Empowerment Network for the role that they have played. But it is the renewed sense of community that has been created that is the greatest source of value. Tia, Cory, and I are proud to call Omaha home – thanks in great part to Empower Omaha! Looking forward to the next five years. Yours in the Journey,

Angela Y. Jones Angela Y. Jones, Vice President Diversity & Inclusion

To the entire staff and community leaders of the Empowerment Network, on behalf of ConAgra Foods, thank you and congratulations on five years of partnering to create shared value!



is critical to the African-American community‌


by Dell Gines

This past recession has hit African Americans extraordinarily hard. At a faster pace than most other ethnic groups, we have seen our savings dwindle, our unemployment rate soar, and have lost our homes. Many economists predict that when the economy recovers, it will not be the same as we once knew it. Companies will contract out more work, and they will require a more flexible and knowledge based workforce. If you combine this with the critical issues in our community, including our challenges in the education system, our returning citizens from incarceration, and the limited traditional economic development that occurs around many of our homes, it is clear we need a strong strategy. It is because of our economic condition and the change that our economy is undergoing that entrepreneurship must be made an African American priority.

34 | REVIVE! Omaha

Here are three reasons why: 1. The need to create jobs 2. The need to develop our communities 3. The need to provide role models for a sustainable future Currently, the national African American unemployment rate is 13%, over one and a half times the national rate. All of the net new jobs over the past five years have been created by small businesses. Big corporations are actually eliminating jobs at a staggering rate. If you combine this with the fact the African American business owners are more likely to hire African American employees, including those who have been incarcerated, you have a winning solution in entrepreneurship. Many of the key urban core areas that we live, work, and play in are on the decline. By adopting an entrepreneurship development strategy, one can create local businesses that help our communities recover. These entrepreneurs create businesses that attract local, regional, and national

dollars back to our community, improving overall community health and wealth. One of the most important features of entrepreneurship is that it provides positive role models to youth in our communities. As these entrepreneur role models increase, more of our children will see it as a viable opportunity. This puts us on a solid foundation for future economic growth and well being. Entrepreneurship is a powerful and necessary strategy for job creation, community development, and providing role models to create a healthy economic future. We must continue to look for innovative ways to develop and support African American entrepreneurs in our communities.

THE AUTHOR Dell Gines, Community Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank

Š2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

the tradition continues…

Davis Companies wins Small Business Administration’s National Minority Business Champion Award Dr. and Mrs. Dick C.E. Davis Sr. are proud to accept the SBA National Minority Business Champion Award for 2012. The Champion Awards are presented to individuals who promote small business, volunteer time and services to small business interest groups, advocate the cause of small business through legislation, or use their professional expertise to assist small business owners.

Going forward, the singular focus of Davis Companies— and the Davis family—is building businesses. We have helped develop a 2020 vision to re-tool Omaha’s black business, investment, and professional eco-system. That strategy includes a groundbreaking entrepreneurial education component, investment and incubation of local small business projects, and partnerships with local and national firms. Under the banner of our newest company; Davis Business Ventures, this new era of development will be led by the next generation of Davis’ working closely with an emerging pool of young business leaders and thinkers. Dr. and Mrs. Dick C.E. Davis Sr.

We are entrusting them with the task of turning this vision into a new reality in our city. We will continue putting our core values into action: “ask the most of ourselves before we ask of others” and “an equity dollar is as important as a charitable ten dollar gift.” We are grateful for this recognition and excited about the possibilities for our community -- and the city -- this national spotlight provides.

1313 Cuming St., Suite 200 • (402) 399-9090

by Thomas Warren At the Urban League of Nebraska (ULN), our motto is “Empowering Communities, Changing Lives”, and we are spiritually engaged in improving the social and economic conditions in North Omaha. We administer programs in Education/Youth Development, Employment/Career Services and Violence Prevention. We are also a traditional Civil Rights organization and we engage in advocacy in the areas of juvenile justice and child welfare reform. Our objective is to break the multi-generational poverty that exists in North Omaha and afflicts the AfricanAmerican community. My appointment as President/CEO of the ULN in 2008 happened after the establishment of the Empowerment Network which was started in 2006, but was officially launched in April 2007. Working cooperatively with newly elected officials and executives of community based organizations through the Network provided an opportunity to begin the transformation of North Omaha. As a service provider, the ULN developed a comprehensive strategy to prepare the “next generation’s workforce” by focusing on education, employment and civic engagement. We feel that education is the key to improving the life chances of those who are less fortunate. We assessed the state of the education system in the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) District and identified areas for improvement. In 2008, OPS reported a 55% graduation rate for AfricanAmericans overall, and a 47% rate for African-American males. Also, it was

36 | REVIVE! Omaha

reported that on any given day, 10% of our students are absent from school. Our programs range from serving “at-risk” youth in our Urban League University summer school which offers credit recovery and enrichment programs to facilitating post-secondary educational opportunities in our Whitney M. Young Jr. Leadership Academy. At the ULN, we recognize that there is a direct correlation between school attendance and academic achievement and we developed a Truancy Reduction program at Northwest High School. The program was designed for the student to have a neutral advocate who wasn’t an agent of the school district or an officer of the Juvenile Court system. We offer an effective intervention strategy to address the unique needs of the student and address any personal issues that they may have. As a result of our advocacy, in partnership with other agencies and officials, legislation was enacted that changed the truancy reporting policies in the public schools and raised the awareness of this statewide problem. In addition, the Juvenile Court system was required to respond to the increase in Truancy referrals in order to efficiently manage their caseloads. The ULN’s Whitney M. Young Leadership Academy identifies those students with promise and potential and we facilitate post-secondary educational opportunities. We work with many first generation college students, and we provide assistance in enrollment into college, scholarships, financial aid, and

ACT test preparation training. As a result of our efforts in collaboration with others, we have experienced an improvement in academic achievement and graduation rates. In 2011, the overall graduation rate was 71% for African-Americans and 62% for AfricanAmerican males. Two out of every three African-American graduates enroll into a post-secondary educational institution. There were a record number of African-Americans enrolled at the University of Nebraska – Omaha, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Metropolitan Community College and their retention rate exceeded the campus averages for the general student population. As we prepare the next generation’s workforce, we are following the lead of President Barack Obama, who stated at the National Urban League Conference in 2010, “Education is the most important Civil Rights issue confronting the AfricanAmerican community,” and “eight out of every ten jobs in the next decade will require some post-secondary education.” It is important that our youth and young adults are equipped with the basic skills that are necessary to obtain employment and the workplace etiquette to retain employment. There is a direct correlation between education and employment, employment and income, and income and economic opportunity. Education is an economic development issue, and the key to improving an individual’s quality of life and breaking the cycle of poverty that exists in our community. Visit to learn more!

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

The mission of the Urban League of Nebraska is to be an empowering voice in the community advocating for economic self-reliance, parity, power, civil rights and equal opportunity for all. The vision of the Urban League of Nebraska is to lead Nebraska in closing the social economic gap in the African American, other emerging ethnic communities and disadvantaged families in the achievement of social equality and economic independence and growth. The Urban League of Nebraska administers programs in Education/Youth Development, Employment/Career Services, and Violence Prevention:

• The Urban Youth Empowerment Series • Whitney M. Young Jr. Leadership Academy • Youthful Offender Re-entry and Truancy Reduction programs • After School programs at Monroe Middle School • Work Experience and Community Service Projects

(402) 451-1066

Urban League of Nebraska’s Signature Events: • African-American Leadership Awards Ceremony • “Opportunity Fair” for College students seeking internships and employment opportunities • Scholarship Reception: Over $100,000.00 in ULN scholarships awarded to high school graduates during the past 5 years • “Striving for Success” Summit for African-American male 9th grade students from the Omaha Public Schools District • Economic Empowerment and Employment Expo • Annual Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon

Communities In Schools of Omaha

by Shelley Henderson

Community Works with OPS and Partners to Make it Happen In April of 2007, I attended my first Empowerment Network meeting. At that time, I was the P-16 Coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. As an onlooker, I had reservations. For a few months, all I did was look. The goals were too lofty. It wasn’t personality-proof enough and didn’t seem inclusive. Too much of a machine. Too much talk, but no evidence of action. Some of the same North Omaha leaders I remember as a little girl who grew up on 16th and Pinkney Street were committing to doing things differently. I wasn’t a North Omaha leader, nor did I aspire to be. I’d never be a part of that group. I am a proud mother of five children. My youngest son, RJ, had just turned 1 year old when I heard George Fraser, the guest speaker at the Empowerment Network’s official launch five years ago, talking about aligning and connecting the dots. Fraser and Willie Barney were speaking boldly about African Americans being empowered and taking charge of their personal livelihood and North Omaha. There was conversation about birth to career strategies for education. Knowing that my own son would need to be ready in four more years for kindergarten, I seriously doubted that those strategies would trickle down to families and teachers, permeate our schools and change outcomes for his cohort. 38 | REVIVE! Omaha

A Network principle, “personal responsibility,” haunted me. I love North Omaha, and my own God-given destiny is entwined with the education and development of Omaha’s youth. Whatever I could do, I would. Working with the Network’s newly forming Education and Youth Development covenant work group, we examined national models for collecting impact data and coordinating services. We considered Ready by 21, Strive and other models as we worked closely with Omaha Public Schools on selecting strategies. During this time, I traveled a great deal with my UNO work and happened upon Communities In Schools in a number of cities. I became even more involved and helped the Empowerment Network with its first Great Summer Jobs Program in the summer of 2008. It was an attempt to prevent another summer like 2007 when there were 31 shootings citywide in 31 days. By November, I had grown impatient, and wrote a bold three page email to the national CIS group. They responded within 15 minutes. Since I was so compelling, the Network had all the right partners in place and I had “hacked” into the network, the National Office started a dialogue with me and a series of next steps that would lead to its Board voting to approve starting the replication process in January of 2009. The Network education team and co-chairs were committed to ©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

meeting this critical need that had been identified by the community and by building principals. With support from Freddie Gray, Dr. John Mackiel, and Mr. Harvey, we continued to move forward gathering more research and searching for financial contributors. When you see it, you get it. There were many, many questions about how a national organization and its model can effectively be implemented locally considering all of the dynamics at play in Omaha, but specifically North Omaha. A site visit was arranged, and Mr. Harvey and I were able to get an up close and personal view of affiliate and site implementation. We were able to both meet with and shadow to a degree a high school CIS Site Coordinator. Just in the short time that we visited Aisha, she interacted with students, parents, teachers, the school social worker, the assistant principal, and the principal to name a few. We were struck with her intimate knowledge of all of the students and how the school staff relied on her services coordination. Her attention to both the art and science of implementing the CIS model was evident. Her interpersonal skills were exceptional and each interaction was documented. She showed us how all of the services, interactions and case notes were used to measure impact. This site visit set into motion Mr. Harvey’s commitment to ensuring district support of CIS. We learned later than Mr. Harvey and Dr. Mackiel had observed the CIS model 11 years earlier and had experienced resistance in trying to bring the model to Omaha.

the community and to the school district to deliver results. I appreciate the Empowerment Network leadership for embracing me, the Network agency serving as an incubator for CIS and the Network partner organizations for availing themselves to the students and families we serve. We were reminded recently by CIS National Board Chair, Elaine Wynn, that CIS is in Omaha because of the communities’ strong desire to have it here. I am no longer an onlooker. The goals are lofty but nothing less than the best is acceptable. North Omaha will be dropout free.

After a summer of thinking strategically with the district, the Empowerment Network and the CIS National Office about growth and expansion, the plan for a six-school pilot was organized. By October of 2009, Omaha Public Schools had committed stimulus State Fiscal Stabilization Funds for dropout prevention funds to start the work. The Sherwood Foundation—sparked by Omaha Public Schools commitment to seed funding—has been a lead funder since our initial replication. RJ will be graduating from kindergarten this spring. Birth to career strategies for education and youth development are set, and the work is underway. There is much work to do. However, 521 students and their families are being served everyday by Communities In Schools this year. 10 schools have partnered with us: North, Northwest, King Science, Lothrop, Kellom, Conestoga, Franklin, Kennedy, King and Skinner. School-wide and individual needs are known and services are coordinated and brokered to meet those needs. I commend our Site Coordinators for being on the frontlines every day, making every moment matter, and embracing the CIS mission and model. I praise Omaha affiliate leadership for putting the systems together from the start to best position us to undertake the process. We are on a fast track to become accredited to make good on our promise to Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 39

oedc investing in

people and projects

Michael Maroney, President and CEO Omaha Economic Development Corporation

Michael Maroney, President and CEO of Omaha Economic Development Corporation, was one of the first to get on board with the Empowerment Network. The timing was perfect. Maroney had rejoined the staff of OEDC in 2005 and had just set out to plan the next steps for the organization. Maroney says it this way, “In 1977, the organization had invested in an independent research study and economic development plan that outlined the housing, economic, and employment conditions in North Omaha. Interesting in charting a course

40 | REVIVE! Omaha

forward, OEDC decided to commission an updated study. Using the 1977 study as a baseline, the 2006 updated economic plan revealed a shocking story. In every indicator, North Omaha residents where no better or in most cases worse off. As a community we had been losing ground. It was obvious that what was happening was not working. In reviewing that comparison document, we realized that we had to do something different. I was wondering, what can we do?” “It was later in 2006 that I met this crazy young man who was talking

about a profound concept,” Maroney remembers, “why don’t we work together?” He was speaking of the early conversations regarding the Empowerment Network. Maroney joined founder and facilitator Willie Barney, Teresa Hunter, and Greg Johnson for some early conversations. Maroney had this to say about the transition in thinking and working: “We had been operating in silos and vacuums, and based on the research we were not making the difference that we all wanted. We were working, but not seeing the impact or affect

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

that we wanted. The Network focused on connecting the dots. It made us ask, why couldn’t we work in a more cohesive and collaborative way. The larger community, corporate, business and political leadership were always expressing concern about the fractured black community. They were always asking why we couldn’t work together.”

for people to know that this is a vision and blueprint. It can be modified as we move forward. Nothing is etched in stone, but shows the kinds of things that help the whole vision fit together. It makes sure that the projects build on each other and that there is consistency.”

redevelopments in the 24th and Lake Area, the Fair Deal Urban Village. The development will be a mixedincome, mixed-used development featuring a senior village, market rate homes, affordable homes, artist workspace and gallery, and eventually commercial space.

Over the past five years, Maroney and OEDC has been key players “Now, with the evolution of the and partners with Network efforts Network, we have created, as close to including: Project 10,000; the Great we’ve ever had, a single voice. For the Summer Jobs Program and now most part, we are speaking together Step-Up Omaha!; Alliance Building with a united front. In a sense, I think Communities; Impact One; North we’ve surprised people with our Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, North willingness to collaborate. Now, I’m Omaha Cradle to Career Strategy, not sure the community knows how and, housed the Empowerment to deal with us. With the Village Zone Network as a fiscal agent before plan we now have many opportunities the group received its own 501 c 3. for everyone to participate. It has the Simultaneously, OEDC led efforts to potential for anybody who wants develop the North Omaha Village to be a part of the change in North Revitalization Plan, rehabbed the Omaha. We have a way for all of the 100 year old Margaret Apartments, pieces to work together.” This is the facilitated the development of something different that Maroney and 21 new homes in the Prospect others envisioned. “This vision makes Hill neighborhood, and is now aRevive wholeOmaha lot more sense. It’s important embarking on one of the first major Ad_Layout 1 5/9/12 1:42 PM Page 1

“I was born and raised in North Omaha. I have worked in this community for over 40 years. This is the most comprehensive effort and most community-based plan that we’ve ever had. We developed this plan. There have been lots of plans developed for us, but we developed this one from the bottom up. We have created the environment to finally make substantial progress in North Omaha. Now is the time for all of those who said we needed a plan and needed to work together to make an investment in the vision and the projects that we have identified. We have a vision. We have a plan. We have the experience. We have the leadership. Let’s see what the business community and city leaders do now.”

on University... Creight where diversity is appreciated and students thrive. Diversity students receive nearly $5 million in scholarships and grants annually... only at Creighton. JAMAL JACKSON Bellevue East High School ram BSBA ’09, 3/3 Pre-Law Prog JD, MBA ’12

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ALIC IA Oma AMEDE h CU ’1 a Northw E 3, M arke est High ting Majo School r • 402.280.2703

Read more online at

REVIVE! Omaha | 41

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” - Martin Luther King Jr. North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance The ring tone on my cell phone is the theme song from the American television series, “Mission Impossible”. It seems today that what we are faced with in the world, our nation, our local government and most importantly our communities and neighborhoods is an Impossible Mission. In most cases, in the television series the action lasted right up to the final seconds, with the episode often ending in a freeze frame as the IMF team made their escape, another successful mission concluded. Well, the work of the North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance is not a television series; yet, the mission will be challenging to say the least. The issues facing our neighborhoods are many. However, I believe the answers reside in the individual households, around those kitchen tables, and at local neighborhood membership meetings. It simply begins with communicating with each other, getting to know each other, and removing those fears so we can dialogue, obtain unity of purpose and accomplish the seemingly impossible task that we face. At every level of our society we have become entrenched in our individual doctrine, politics and points of view. Therefore, the mission, if we choose to accept it, will be to find ways to compromise. We must place our cities, communities and nation above our personal agendas. “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” As we begin this work of organizing the North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, let’s take that word alliance seriously. A great dictionary definition of alliance is: “merging of efforts or interests by persons, families, states, or organizations”. 42 | REVIVE! Omaha

by Carl Christian and Terrie Jackson-Miller

The mission is major, but God does not place our challenges and obstacles before us to frustrate us, but to show us who we are. -Carl Christian, NONA Chairman Through the early discussions and inclusion of community involvement by the Empowerment Network, the need of focus and cooperation of neighborhoods was a common consensus. Thus, included in the long range goals of the Network was the creation of the North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance. On June 4, 2011, the North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance (NONA) opened its doors on the Turning Point Campus. In its 10 month existence, the alliance has been busy building the foundation of the organization with the formation of the board of directors, hiring of an executive director, and the creation and coordination of the Neighborhood Association Leadership. Through the joint efforts of the Network and NONA, residents, through their neighborhood associations, now have a voice in which to participate in the growth and development of the North Omaha community. NONA Board of Directors includes the following: Carl Christian, Chairman (Conestoga Place Association) Primus Jones, Vice Chairman (Omaha Public Schools) Ella Willis, Treasurer (Neighborhood Action & Fact Association) Anita Johnson, Secretary (Wells Fargo Bank, N. A.) Clifford Scott (Omaha Housing Authority) Eric Burgin (Monmouth Park Neighborhood Association) Roslyn Moore (Miller Park Miller Park-Minne Lusa Neighborhood Association) Theola Cooper (Omaha Police Department, NE Precinct) Trudy Swanson (Clairmont Heights Neighborhood Association) NONA Executive Director: Terrie Jackson-Miller

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Launched only three years ago, Impact One Community Connection is the conduit connecting the people of the community with the resources of the world. The Impact One team works to assist high at-risk youth, gang members and the forgotten members of society in becoming positive contributing members of the community.

Measurable Results and Outcomes Impact One has worked with over 1,000 individuals and families. The group currently has 450 active clients. In a short time, Impact One’s model has been proven highly effective. Schools where the Impact Team has worked have reported measurable decreases in behavior issues. Hospitals where our Crisis Teams assist consistently report on the productive and essential work that Impact One does in emergency situations. Gun violence in our targeted group has decreased significantly over the past three years. Most importantly, youth and young adults who had previously been counted out are now graduating from high school, going to college, entering the workforce, and becoming productive, successful citizens. Street and School Outreach Impact One Community Connection has Street Outreach Specialists (SOS) who work in a variety of locations throughout North Omaha and the city. The Street Team has developed relationships with at-risk youth and young adults in the community. Through these relationships we are able to assess their needs and provide immediate assistance. Gang Intervention & Mediation Street Outreach Specialists provide direct gang intervention and prevention to at-risk youth in the community. We guide them away from negative activities and move them towards positive endeavors, such as employment and education opportunities. Crisis Intervention & Support Services Impact One has a team assigned to address emergency situations that occur within the community. The Emergency Response Team focuses on direct street mediation, prevention of gang retaliation, hospital and home visits, court assistance, funeral and family support. Employability & Summer Jobs In addition to our employability program Impact One provides summer job opportunities for youth and young adults throughout the community. Program participants engage in employment and life skills training prior to being placed at various job sites throughout the city. Re-entry & Referrals Prison Re-entry focuses on addressing the various issues individuals face when they are released from prison. We have an internal program that provides assistance for reentry needs and we’ve established partnerships with various re-entry service providers within the community and we utilize their programs to help address many of these issues.

Learn more at

In the Spring of 2007, while serving in the capacity of Chief of Police with the Omaha Police Department (OPD), I was invited to attend a community forum at Salem Baptist Church on Police – Community relations. This forum was being held in part, as a result of the ongoing, persistent problem of gun violence that occurs in North Omaha. In preparing for the event I had a conversation with Willie Barney, who convinced me that that this gathering would be different from past “Town Hall” type meetings. Instead of complaining about what the Police Department was or wasn’t doing, we would be focusing on solutions. It would start with taking personal responsibility and holding individuals accountable for their actions. This was one of the events that led to what became the African-American Empowerment Network. Due to my position at the time, my involvement with the Empowerment Network provided me with an opportunity to enhance our community policing efforts. The individuals who were participating were genuinely concerned about public safety and understood the need for a cooperative working relationship with OPD. At one of the first meetings that we held after the initial summits, I invited representatives from our Gang Intelligence Unit to present a public briefing on the level of activity in North Omaha. I felt that it was important for those in attendance to know exactly what we were dealing with when combating this problem. There was a sincere appreciation for our willingness to share information, which is essential to developing an effective community policing strategy. It also complimented our comprehensive approach that included the elements of prevention, intervention and enforcement. This meeting was a part of the Empowerment Network’s Crime Prevention Covenant which preceded what has now become Omaha 360, a very comprehensive community based violence reduction strategy.


safer communities My Personal Involvement In

Omaha 360

By Thomas Warren, President and CEO, Urban League and Former Chief of Police, Omaha Police Department

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At the inception, the Empowerment Network was a proactive, grass roots mobilization that provided the residents of North Omaha the ability to have an impact on improving their quality of life. Public safety and reducing violent crime has consistently been identified as one of the priorities whenever we have administered a community survey. The Empowerment Network has been in a leadership role in developing a comprehensive strategy to improve the social and economic conditions in North Omaha. The covenant areas cover every aspect of quality of life issues. However, it started with a concern that people need to feel safe and secure in the privacy of their homes and in their neighborhoods. Contrary to public opinion, the overall crime rate in the City of Omaha is at a 25 year low. Although we still have a problem with periodic outbreaks of violent crime, the frequency of these incidents pale in comparison to our peer cities in the Midwest Region of comparable size. After 5 years, and as a result of the collaborative efforts of residents, community-based organizations and the Police Department we have a much safer community. In addition to Omaha 360, I am also actively involved with the Empowerment Network’s Leadership Advisory Team, Employment Collaboration, and the North Omaha Cradle to Career Education Strategy.

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine


Empowerment Network

by Teresa Negron,

Sergeant of Omaha Police Department, Co-chair of Communications and Media for the Empowerment Network

Having lived in the Omaha area for approximately 40 years, this is the first time I have seen the sustained effort of a group of people working together in a positive way for a common goal. This has been accomplished by the leadership and facilitation of the Empowerment Network. The accomplishments in North Omaha, and also the city of Omaha, are not only measurable, but also visible. In every covenant area, new organizations have formed where needed, and existing organizations have collaborated together. As a result, long lasting partnerships have been built. The success of this effort is a result of everyone working together. Organizations looking to advance understand the need to know what is progressing. This helps the organizations determine how best to bridge the gaps,

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which in turn provides everyone the opportunity to be successful. I have worked in the Crime Prevention and Intervention area for over 19 years. The Empowerment Network and Omaha 360 have brought individuals together to discuss reasons violent crime was trending in the wrong direction. Due to these collective efforts, there has been an overall reduction in the violent crimes over the past five years. In addition, there are more African

American officials elected in the city of Omaha and at the state level. Registering people to vote was an initiative the Empowerment Network was heavily involved in, which produced positive outcomes. In closing, I would like to communicate two notions. First, we can do more when we work together, rather than against one another. Second, get empowered to work with an organization that has created history making changes, not only in Omaha, but the state of Nebraska.

REVIVE! Omaha | 45


by Jannette Taylor Executive Director, Impact One and Co-chair of Empowerment Network: Violence Prevention & Intervention PHOTO BY SURREAL MEDIA Lao-Tzu said a journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. Who knew that a thousand steps later we’d be at this place? When the Network emerged five years ago, everyone knew that there were issues plaguing the community and those issues needed to be addressed. Through the leadership of Willie Barney and support of Network members, the Empowerment Network set out to foster change in the community. The model seemed simple. The Covenant by author Tavis Smiley would be the framework used to address the perils of North Omaha. With dedicated work groups, it became apparent that we were doing good work and transitioned into The Covenant in Action (Tavis Smiley). The covenant being the principles we live by and the goals we strive to achieve.

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When I initially became a member of the Empowerment Network, I expected to be a part of a movement fighting for social change. What I did not expect was to be changed personally, professionally, mentally and spiritually. The Network introduced me to the idea of mass movements on a local level. Willie would ask each of us if we are doing our part and if we are living the covenant. There was no room for complaining about something if you weren’t willing to roll your sleeves up and start working towards a solution. If you weren’t living the covenant, you couldn’t be an example to others. The Empowerment Network became a place for brainstorming and collaboration. It was a place where people of different backgrounds, life and professional experiences, and

varied skill sets could come together collectively to make a difference. We all had something to offer and our talents were utilized for the larger plan. My personal experience with the Network has been multifaceted. I was introduced to a plethora of people who would serve as official and unofficial mentors to me. My belief that North Omaha would once again be the great community it was when I grew up was validated by others who believed the same. I was afforded opportunities that helped me progress professionally. I was given an opportunity to work with the community and implement real change on a ground level. The Empowerment Network served as the catalyst that created the Great Summer Jobs Program, and highlighted what grass-roots

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

organizations could do with limited resources. There 150 youth employed during the summer of 2008. While working with the young people in the program, it was clear they were facing a multitude of challenges. A plan was formulated to address the needs and fill the voids. With help from the Empowerment Network, Impact One Community Connection Inc. was created on June 1, 2009. We simultaneously began the second year of the Great Summer Jobs Program that day. We had a total of 150 youth employed and we immediately began seeing a decrease in shootings, homicides, and other crime in our targeted area. The Network helped launch Impact One, and helped ensure there was funding for the summer jobs program thereafter. We are currently embarking on our fifth summer of youth employment, with over 750 jobs provided to date. This summer we will have an additional 500 summer jobs for youth. This would not have been possible without the Empowerment Network.

Impact One has served as the lead agency in regards to gang intervention and prevention. Our goal has always been to work with the highest at-risk youth to ensure they are given the same opportunities as other youth. We seek the most marginalized young people in the community and we connect them with opportunities that will transform their lives. While our primary focus is in gang intervention and prevention, we also provide education and employment opportunities, reentry services, and assistance to families who have been impacted by violence. We have served over 1,000 individuals in the community. Impact One has 447 clients who have been active in the last two years. We currently have 52 confirmed high school graduates for 2012 and expect this number to almost double when the official lists are available. We have worked with young people who were told they’d never amount to anything; they are now at Iowa Western, Texas A & M, University of Nebraska Omaha/Lincoln, Midlands College, Wayne State and

Metropolitan Community College. We have young people who came out of the summer jobs program and now have permanent full and part-time positions. The Network played a pivotal role in Impact One’s mere existence. Impact One will continue to work on the specific needs of young people, as other Network partners focus on other areas of interest in the community, such as housing, arts and culture, and community development. One of the great things about the Network is that we all recognize what our own specialty areas are without being intrusive to others. We find a way to “do our part” and remain focused on areas we specialize in. Acknowledging that, we know that each part fits together and those individual parts collectively make up the entire puzzle. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.“

~ President Barack Obama (speech, Feb. 5, 2008)


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REVIVE! Omaha | 47

Creating a diverse workforce

and addressing health disparities…

a model with measurable successes

by Dr. Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, Co-chair of Empowerment Network Health and Healthy Families

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The Creighton University’s Health Sciences pathway is a great example of what’s possible. Creighton and the Empowerment Network are exploring ways to partner on the North Omaha Cradle to Career Strategy. CU signed on as a partner with the Network’s Promise Neighborhood Village Zone approach. The Health Careers Opportunity Program is producing results and points the way for other organizations and businesses.

Creighton University’s Health Sciences – Multicultural and Community Affairs (HS-MACA) would like to join others in wishing the Omaha Empowerment Network (OEN) a happy 5th Anniversary. OEN definitely serves as a positive catalyst for constructive change in our community. The Network has a mission, “To transform the City of Omaha into a GREAT city, thriving and prosperous, where all citizens are engaged and empowered and have full access to the incredible opportunities that are available here.” This is similar to HSMACA’s mission, “To promote Creighton University Health Sciences as a recognized leader in the training and development of a multicultural healthcare workforce that serves to reduce health disparities in underserved and diverse communities through research, culturally proficient education, community interaction and engagement.” Through our Community Interaction and Engagement HS-MACA provides a variety Community-Based Programs which include the following:

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• Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP): This program serves students from the fourth grade to college and health science professional schools by providing educational opportunities and exposure that allows under-represented students to become more competitive in the academic field. • The Center for Promoting Health and Health Equality (CPHHE) whose goal is to reduce health disparities and increase the health of minority populations through communityuniversity collaborative research, education, and implementation. • Free Glaucoma Screenings and referrals throughout the metropolitan area. • One year long Post-Baccalaureate program for students aspiring to enter medical or dental school. • Community-Orientated Primary Care Program that seeks to increase student involvement in public health research, strengthen mentoring and tutoring services; and increase the number of medical school students

interested in health disparities research. • HS-MACA also provides diversity and cultural competency training for medical and dental school students. • These programs also provide academic counseling, mentoring and tutoring to students in the health science schools. Partnering with The African-American Empowerment Network and Empower North Omaha initiative is a natural and logical step as we move forward in addressing the major health concerns for the citizens in North Omaha. Dr. Kosoko-Lasaki, Associate Vice president Health Sciences at Creighton University, is active and is an engaged supporter of the Network where she serves in a leadership role on the Health Committee. We invite you to examine our mutual core values, which include the inalienable worth of each person and our appreciation of ethnic and cultural diversity coupled with service to others.

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

BUILDING STRONG AND HEALTHY FAMILIES by Doris Lassiter, Executive Director for Nebraska Center for Healthy Families, Co-chair of Empowerment Network Health and Healthy Families

The North Omaha Health and Healthy Family team will continue to move forward in collaboration with lead partners on its key strategies. The coalition will intensify their focus on teen pregnancy prevention and continuing efforts to improve access to healthy foods.

Teen Pregnancy

The North Omaha Health and Healthy Families Committee believes that one of the key factors for reducing poverty is if we as a community reduce the number of teen births. In an effort to carry out this strategy, the Health and Healthy Families Committee accomplished the following: In partnership with community leaders, Christian Couples Fellowship International launched “Marriage is Cool” a program for Middle and High Schools that seeks to change the mindset of the kids as regards postsecondary education and marriage as an institution. They bring married minority professionals into schools and share statistics of a successful life with them. The Nebraska Center for Healthy Families provided teen pregnancy prevention education to over 1,000 students enrolled in human growth and development classes in OPS; an intense 8 week teen pregnancy prevention education program to over 800 middle school students at Salem Baptist Church; and, teen pregnancy prevention education to 300 participants attending youth conferences sponsored by New Era Baptist State Convention. A Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative led by Nebraska Center for Healthy Families, Douglas County

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Health Department and the University of Nebraska Medical Center was created. A committee consisting of Creighton University, Building Bright Futures, Center for Holistic Development, Charles Drew, One World Community Health Center, Boys and Girls Club, Inc., and Nebraska Children’s Home Society conducted a review of over 10 evidenced based teen pregnancy prevention curriculums. With this research in hand, the groups applied for two grants. A federal grant was submitted and approved, but not funded. One teen pregnancy prevention grant was approved by the State of Nebraska and is being administered by Douglas County Health Department. Services are being provided to youth residing in the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center.

Chronic Disease

Obesity is a major contributing factor that leads to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes among African Americans in Omaha. African American women in Douglas County have significantly high rates of obesity. In an effort to address this critical issue in Omaha, the following strategies were implemented: The Nebraska Center for Healthy Families collaborated with Douglas County Health Dept to develop a strategic plan to address chronic

disease that lead to obesity in Omaha. Douglas County secured a Community Putting Prevention to Work grant to serve the Omaha community from CDC. This grant was administered by Douglas County Health Department. The Empowerment Network and Nebraska Center for Health Families conducted focus groups and surveys associated with Healthy Corner Stores and to work with Faith and community organizations to change congregational and organizational policies that would promote healthy eating and decrease chronic disease prevalent among African American populations. Over 30 African American churches and organizations signed on to become partners in this effort and to change policies that will impact over 8,000 predominately AA congregational members. Nebraska Center for Healthy Families sponsored a 2-day FaithBased Chronic Disease Conference at Creighton University and a Community Awareness Event at the Empowerment Network’s Neighborhood Community Meeting at North High School. There is much work remaining, but small successes are mounting. To continue the progress and accelerate the pace of transformation, the group will continue to collaborate on strategies and work in the areas identified as part of the North Omaha Health and Healthy Family Initiative.

REVIVE! Omaha | 49

North Omaha Collaborative Elected Officials: Working Together to Change Policy and Allocate Funds Based on Community Priorities

Twin Cities site visit with Angela Glover-Blackwell, President/CEO - PolicyLink

North Omaha Collaborative Elected Officials have been working together to develop, sponsor, and support legislation based on the priorities identified by the community. There is an unprecedented level of collective work and results. Significant legislation has been signed into law. In just three short years, these officials are showing what’s possible through collaboration and partnership. Here’s a partial list of legislation, policy and funding changes developed, sponsored or supported by North Omaha collaborative elective officials in the past three years. It takes incredible teamwork. Many elected officials, organizations, and residents were involved in this work. This outline highlights the impact from the leadership and active involvement of North Omaha’s collaborative elected officials.

Jobs, Careers, and Contracts:

Preliminary results – Long requested Wal-mart is coming to North Omaha; Summer employment programs for youth and young adults which had disappeared long ago, finally revived; Small and emerging business ordinance created – had previously been eliminated; Workforce development finally brought back to the City – major changes underway a. Wal-mart opening a $30 million new store in North Omaha – 275 Jobs (Mayor Jim Suttle, Omaha Planning Department, Councilman Ben Gray, and others)

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b. STEP-UP OMAHA! - 500 Summer Jobs with the potential for long-term employment; over 1,500 Summer Jobs since 2008 (Empowerment Network, Councilman Ben Gray, Mayor Jim Suttle and City of Omaha) c. Bill passed: Summer Jobs and Intern Funding for 150 Summer Jobs (State Senator Council and Councilman Gray) d. Small and Emerging Business Ordinance – Millions in contracts for small and emerging businesses in targeted areas - (Mayor Suttle and Councilman Gray) e. Workforce Development – Transitioned from the state back to Omaha under Heartland Workforce Solutions (Mayor Suttle, Councilmen Gray and Chris Jerram) f. Bill passed: Green Jobs and Energy Code Legislation (State Senator Council and State Senator Cook) g. Bill passed: Health care careers are high paying and in demand; added health care employer to the State Workforce Development Board; plan to reduce the current shortage of health care workers in the state and create these high-paying careers. (State Senator Cook) h. Bill passed: Helps the almost one in ten Nebraskan families, elderly, and people with disabilities who struggle with food insecurity. This law

enrolls Nebraska in a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach program operated through a public-private partnership and funded by Nebraska non-profits; removes an existing policy that prevented Nebraskans in need of temporary nutrition assistance from building longterm assets that will help them out of poverty. (State Senator Cook)

Neighborhoods and Community Development:

Preliminary results – New homes developed; neighborhoods becoming safer; created plan and environment for more development; funds allocated to organizations of all sizes; North Omaha finally attracting the interest of for-profit developers; revitalization plans for North Omaha finally coming to fruition a. New Market Tax Credits – Millions of dollars now available for development in low-income areas (State Senator Council priority bill) – based on a bill that has generated $900 million in new development in Missouri

b. Formation and launch of the North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance (Councilman Ben Gray, Empowerment Network, NONA Board, Neighborhood Associations) c. Omaha Housing Authority Stabilization – (Fred Conley – Board Chair, OHA Board, Councilman Ben

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Gray, New OHA Executive Director – Cliff Scott) d. Stabilized 30thand Ames – reducing violence and police calls; new development – (Councilman Gray, Business Owners, Omaha Police Department, Community) e. Expanded financial corridor on Ames – (Business community, Chamber, Councilman Gray) f. North Omaha Village Zone Approval (Empowerment Network, City Council, Mayor’s Office, City of Omaha, Planning Board, NIFA) g. Balanced City Budget, Targeted Funding Allocations, Investments (Mayor and City Council) h. African-American Unity Fund assists Grassroots Organizations – (Foundations, Empowerment Network, Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing, State Senator Council, Freddie Gray, and others) i. Turnback Tax Funding Allocation assists North Omaha Cultural and Tourism Groups (Bill passed: State Senators Ashford and Chambers; Managed and Implemented: Councilman Gray, Commissioner Rodgers, and Senator Council) j. Major Development Projects in North Omaha – (City of Omaha, Mayor’s Office, Community Developers) • Adams Park and Fontenelle Park – New plans introduced • Malcolm X Building – Malcolm X Foundation and Turnback Committee

• Upcoming Mixed-use, Mixed-Income Developments at 30th and Ames, 24th and Lake, and 30th and Parker

Education: Preliminary results – African-American High School Graduation Rate increased from 55% to 71%; % of graduates going to post secondary increased from 53% to 69%; reading scores are improving; K-6 performance showing measurable improvements; record numbers of minority students attending college

a. OPS Careers for Kids – Over 188 students positively impacted and linked with career exploration/scholarships (Freddie Gray and Dick Davis; OPS Board and Admin) b. Bill passed: Plan helped to solve Community College Funding – (State Senator Cook – Priority Bill) c. OPS Superintendent Search – (School Board President - Freddie J. Gray – Appointed to Committee) d. Learning Community Coordinating Council CEO Search – (Freddie J. Gray – Chair of Committee) e. Communities In Schools – (OPS, Freddie J. Gray, Shelley Henderson, Empowerment Network) f. Funding for After School/Academic Programs – (Learning Community Coordinating Council – Freddie J. Gray, Kris Carter and Ernie Chambers; Subdistrict 2 – Freddie Gray - Chair) g. Expanded Summer School Options,

Early Childhood Opportunities, Pathways for Graduation – (OPS Board and Admin; Building Bright Futures) h. Expanded Dual Enrollment/High School and College – (OPS Board and Admin, Metropolitan Community College, University of Nebraska – Omaha) i. Launched School-based Health Centers – (OPS Board and Admin, Building Bright Futures, Charles Drew Health Center, One World Community Health Center) j. Mayor’s After School Program and Mayor’s Truancy Prevention Programs (Mayor and City Council) k. Focus School Legislation – (Saved the only Extended Day and Year Focus School in the state - (State Senator Council, Freddie Gray, OPS Board and Administration) l. Focus Program continued to Lewis and Clark Middle School and Burke High School – (OPS Board and Admin) m. Central High School receives International Baccalaureate Program (IB) Accreditation – (OPS Board and Admin) n. Lewis and Clark Middle School applies for International Baccalaureate Program (IB) Accreditation – (OPS Board and Admin) o. Defeated Bill to Reduce the Size of the OPS Board – (Senator Brenda Council, OPS Board and Admin)

• Outward Bound – New urban ropes course, only the 2nd of its kind in the county • Redevelopment of 48th and Ames Area – Apartments demolished, new developments announced • New Affordable Housing Developments – Margaret Apartments, Prospect Hill/ Village Development, St. Richards, 45th and Lake (OEDC, Holy Name, City of Omaha, Habitat for Humanity) • Senior Housing Developments – Salem Village Senior Apartments – NeighborWorks and Shannon Heights – Greater St. Paul and Excel Development

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REVIVE! Omaha | 51

Photo (above): North Omaha Cultural Committee Photo (at left): Women in Leadership Awards

j. Bill passed: Children’s Health and Treatment Act – Reform Nebraska’s child welfare system and behavioral health system – end the practice of Medicaid wrongly denying behavioral health treatment to Nebraska’s youth. (Senator Tanya Cook – Priority Bill) k. Bill passed: Expungement of Juvenile Records (Co-sponsored by State Senator Council)

Health/Justice/Civil Rights/ Voting Rights: Preliminary results

– Increased access to Healthy Foods; reduced number of youth in detention; increased school attendance rates; increased testing for lead and funding for lead paint removal; protected voter rights; enhanced health services available to low-income families a. Juvenile Justice Reform (County Commissioner Chris Rodgers; State Senator Ashford and Legislature) b. Alternatives to Detention – Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative in Douglas County and State of Nebraska c. Reentry Task Force (County Commissioner Chris Rodgers) d. Defeated Voter ID Bill (State Senator

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Brenda Council, Councilman Ben Gray, Community Members) e. Defeated the Bill to make Nebraska Winner “Take All” Voting State (Community, Elected Officials) f. Healthy Neighborhood Corner Store – improving access to healthy foods (Douglas County, Empowerment Network, County Commissioner Rodgers) g. Bill passed to allow use of EBT Cards for healthier foods at Farmer’s Markets (State Senator Council, Ag Committee) h. Bill passed: Lead Testing of Children (State Senator Council) i. Bill passed: Enable the City to receive $200,000 to continue Lead Hazard Prevention Program (State Senator Council)

l. Bill passed: law ensures no one is burdened with a criminal record for the simple and common act of hanging an air-freshener or a parking permit from their rear-view mirror. (State Senator Cook) m. Proposed Healthy Foods Bill based on successful Pennsylvania model (State Senator Council - Passed and Vetoed by Governor; New bill submitted) n. Bill passed - saves each of our local trauma-care hospitals up to one million dollars per year; ensures that hospitals are reimbursed fairly when they care for Nebraskans injured at work. (State Senator Cook – priority) o. Ban the Box Bill (State Senator Council – In development)

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

in recognition of the Empowerment Network’s 5th anniversary

Quotes from leaders

“You set it up just like we talked about in the Covenant with Black America. I travel across the country. It’s rare to see a group actually implementing at this level.” -Tavis Smiley, Best Selling Author, Talk Show Host

“It has been a great pleasure to watch as the Empowerment Network energized the North Omaha Community to tackle difficult issues, often by themselves if needed. There is a new feeling of accountability and cohesion as we see the community taking charge of its own destiny. We see the pride as a united community takes steps to become what it can and should be. Thank you for accepting the Health Department as part of the Network.” -Dr. Adi Pour, Douglas County Health Director

“The Empowerment Network provides great leadership, bringing community organizations together as collaborative partners with the City of Omaha and my administration. Their mission of working together to transform Omaha into a great city has seen a resurgence of activity in the North Omaha Community.“ -Mayor Jim Suttle, City of Omaha

The partnership of OPS and the Empowerment Network is making a significant difference in the lives of students and their families throughout the school district. Under the leadership of Mr. Willie Barney and the strong network of Omaha community individuals and agencies, the challenges of ensuring Omaha as a great city for all citizens are being embraced and addressed with enthusiasm and positive results. -Dr. John Mackiel, Superintendent of Schools, OPS

The Omaha Empowerment Network has developed a transformative leadership model of urban engagement which can be utilized in urban centers across the country to engage citizens to create healthy community environments by revitalizing educational structures, health care delivery, workforce training, affordable housing, economic development and police community relationships. Dr. Joseph White

“I have not seen this level of community organization and planning in any community I’m familiar with, not in my 25 years of public service in my experience working for Mayors Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson, and my own terms in office.” “The Empowerment Network…It is so unusual and unique that you don’t even know it. I don’t think you appreciate it. Communities don’t come together like this. They come together around crisis… these days around disasters. They don’t come together to do long range planning like you’re doing. Omaha has the opportunity to reach a new level of greatness. Make it so.” -Shirley Franklin, former Mayor of Atlanta and CEO/Board Chair Purpose Built Communities

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REVIVE! Omaha | 53

Connect and Build Strong Relationships

“stay the course, Omaha” -George Fraser

George Fraser, President & CEO of FraserNet, was the keynote speaker for the public launch of the Empowerment Network and Empower Omaha! five years ago. He returned in 2008 and provided great encouragement to all of the early partners and challenged the Network to “stay the course.” Here’s a short recap of some of the key comments that he made four years ago. The words are just as relevant now as they were then. He spoke with prophetic clarity. April 4, 2008 – Empowerment Network’s 2nd Annual Rebuilding the Village Conference George Fraser, one of the most influential African-American voices of our time, kicked off the day by reminding us that we are a powerful people. He touched on several pieces that came from his first book, “Success Runs in our Race.” It is an excellent piece of work and an incredible resource, one that every AfricanAmerican should read. George Fraser has made it his purpose to help African-Americans build strong relationships, networks, businesses and communities. He publishes the awardwinning “SuccessGuide Worldwide: The Networking Guide to Black Resources.” He is also the founder and host of the annual PowerNetworking Conference, “where thousands of Black professionals, business owners, and

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community leaders gather to discuss and do business with each other.” During his morning presentation, Mr. Fraser challenged the audience to come together and stay committed to rebuilding the community. He commented, “Omaha is doing something great. Stay on the path. God has given you everything you need. Don’t let it go to waste.” He also issued an early challenge to the group when he referred to an article that appeared recently in the USA Today. The article pointed out that this next generation of African-Americans will be the first to not do as well as their parents. “We cannot afford to let this happen,” Fraser said. Fraser came back to the podium in the afternoon and presented a compelling case for building relationships. He illustrated very clearly that, “Business is about relationships. If your business is not about relationships, you don’t have a business.” He went on to say that success is determined by how well we cultivate, nourish, and build relationships. Recognized as one of the leading authorities on networking, he challenged us to take things to a new level. He asked, “If success is driven by networking, what then is the definition of networking?” Then, he provided the answer: “GIVING!” He stressed that most people believe networking is about receiving.

Networking is about giving. He provided simple, but profound truths. One of the most stirring moments was when Mr. Fraser described the different types of relationships that we have in our lives. He spoke of three types of networks: 1) Personal, 2) Operational, and 3) Strategic. Fraser’s presentation was met with a standing ovation. He had truly hit home with the participants. Reflecting on the moment, it was pointed out that the Civil Rights Movement was at its strongest, and was most effective, when people of all races came together to fight the battle. In the room on the April 4, 2008, we had one of the most diverse audiences that we’ve had for an Empowerment Network and Empower Omaha! meeting. Empowerment starts at home. As African-Americans, we must embrace our responsibilities and do what we can to help ourselves. Every individual and family can do something to help improve our neighborhoods, community, and city. Alliances with other partners throughout the community, who are sincere and willing to form true partnerships, will help accelerate and expand our efforts. We are well on our way to developing those types of relationships. Fraser’s words, comments, and insights were timely, provocative, and right on point.

©2012 Revive! Omaha Magazine

john powell

Dr. john powell, founder of the Kirwin Institute and now, Chair of the UC Berkeley – Center for Diversity and Inclusion, has taken a strong interest in the Empowerment Network model. Dr. powell visited with the Empowerment Network for the first time nearly two years ago. Since that time he has shared the Network story with other leaders and communities that are interested in making measurable change through community engagement, empowerment, broad-based coalitions, and collective work. He is a recognized expert in the areas of community development, race relations, diversity, opportunity indexing, and transformational leadership. He has a proven track record of helping communities and organizations with framing and communicating goals and strategies to be inclusive of all, yet targeted enough to make measurable progress among subgroups who are most in need.

What are the most significant opportunities facing African Americans? “We’re in a fluid situation. Every time there is a crisis, there is also an opportunity. To some extent, the country has lost part of its focus on fairness, inclusiveness, and equity. All of those issues are important, not just for AfricanAmerican, but for all Americans.”

How can we accomplish specific goals in a larger context? “I talk a lot about Targeted Universalism. Goals are universal. Strategies are targeted based on our situation. You have an overall umbrella goal and targeted strategies. Strategies are based on how people are situated in different communities. Sometimes we have universal strategies, but those don’t work. Targeted Universalism gives you a language that includes everybody, but doesn’t gloss over the fact that we have different experiences and different pathways. We need to hold on to both universal goals and targeted strategies, built upon and informed by people’s differentiated situations.”

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What type of leadership is most needed at this time?

“There’s more than one kind of leadership. We definitely need African-American leadership. Both experienced and emerging leadership can be helpful for the African-American community and the whole society and region. We need leadership that can also relate to other communities. There was a time when our community was fairly simplistic and we needed leaders who were mostly internally focused. We still need leadership who can look at what’s going on internally, but we also need leadership that can bridge to other communities. We need leadership that can negotiate existing conditions. We need leaders who can understand and move people towards a new vision. We also need new institutions. Outside of the church and community organizations, we don’t have many institutions that make up the African-American community anymore. Many of the problems we are dealing with can’t be addressed unless we can look at things in a very organized way. And, secondly, as we begin to organize, how do we also form the necessary coalitions with other organizations. Each of those has a different orientation towards leadership.”

What are the top priorities that we should focus on? “Groups have to engage and develop a sense of priorities that they have energy behind and they have passion behind. One of the mistakes is we must realize that you can’t just focus on one, they are all interrelated. You can’t solve housing without jobs, can’t solve jobs without thinking about education, and you can’t solve education without thinking about housing.”

How do we sustain movements over time? “Part of it is vision. It takes a lot of energy, resources, and passion. It must be built into our everyday practice. When we buy stuff, we don’t have to think about if we have to pay taxes. It’s built in. Part of (success) is making things more routine.” “Part of the outcomes means for people who are negatively impacted the most to have a seat at the table in the design, execution, implementation, and evaluation of these efforts. They are involved at every level. People call that community engagement, I call it democracy.”

REVIVE! Omaha | 55


Directory To advertise, call: 402-490-1542 or email: For subscription information, please visit

Annie’s Tax Services Inc.

Individual & Business Preparation Fast Refund • Professional Service 6501 Ames Avenue • Omaha, NE 68104 (402) 453-8124 • cell (402) 630-0730 e-mail: May 1st, 2012 - December 31st, 2012 Mon. Wed. and Friday 9a.m.-2p.m.

Mary Mudd, Realtor® Mobile: (402) 980-4987 • Voice: (402) 697-6844 I can help you to BUY, BUILD or SELL your HOME as well as RELOCATE anywhere in the United States.

Psalm 127:3 Child Care Ministry

“Behold children are a Heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is His reward.” Monday- Saturday: 6am-7pm Ages: 6 weeks - 14 years old Bibilical and Educational teachings 3020 Huntington Ave, Omaha NE. (402) 614-4257 • (402) 850-3729 Transportation provided.

James Stinson, Jr. Allstate Insurance Company

719 N. 132nd Street, Omaha NE 68154 (402) 498-2718

5LINX Product and Services Tracey McMillion National Expansion Leader

Carl M. Christian “I’m never too busy for your referrals.” (402) 689-9453 • (402) 731-5008

Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering As seen on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and the Travel Channel 3223 N 45th St. (Turning Point Campus Bldg A) Big Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream on sale at Hyvee (79th & Cass, 145th & Stonybrook, 156th & Maple, 36th & L) Broadmoor Market and Wohlner’s Grocery (402) 455-MAMA (6262) • For hours, visit

LOOKING FOR EXTRA INCOME? Earn Long-Term Residual Income with my Home Based Business Opportunity. (505) 409 -1652 (24 hours)

Styles of Evolution Clothing for Men, Women and Students

Need a special order? We can help! 2522 N. 24th Street (402) 455-2426


CHURCH Directory To advertise, call: 402-490-1542 or email: For subscription information, please visit

Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church

Morning Star Baptist Church

Rev. Terry L. Arvie, Pastor 5501 N. 50th Street • 402-451-4245 Sunday School 9:00AM Sunday Morning Worship Service 10:45AM Prayer Meeting, Bible Study & Youth/Children Ministry: Wednesday Nights @ 7:00PM

Rev. Dr. Leroy E. Adams, Jr. Senior Pastor 2019 Burdette Street 402-342-0018 Sunday Service 7:30AM & 10:15AM (First Sunday 10:15AM Service Only) Sunday School 8:45AM (excludes 1 Sunday) st

Salem Baptist Church

Rev. Dr. Selwyn Q. Bachus, Senior Pastor (402) 455-1000 • 3131 Lake Street Sunday Worship 8:30AM & 11:30AM

Dayspring Ministries Christian Center

Pastor Edward and Juanita King Sunday Morning Worship 9:00AM 402-573-5188

Joy of Life Ministries, Inc. COGIC Pastor Eric L. Butler 6401 N. 56th Street • Omaha, NE (402) 399-9628 •

Sunday: 9:30AM Sunday School (all ages) • 10:30AM Sunday Worship 6:00PM Sunday Evening Worship Wednesday: 7:00PM Adult Bible Study / Chosen Generation Coalition (youth) “Come where we say… the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

Joy of Life Ministrie

6401 North 56th Street Omaha Phone 402-399-9628 ~Fax 402-502-2447 ~ “For the joy of the Lord is your strength



Jehovah Shammah Church International Pastor Edna Perkins, Pastor, Prophetess One Church, Two Locations • 5401 N 90th (NW Campus) • 402-502-7752 • Sun Service 8:30 a.m. Midweek Service Tues. 7 p.m. 3020 Huntington Ave (Main Campus) • (402) 390-6036 Sunday Service 11:30 a.m.

Sundays: 9:30am Sunday School (for all ages) 10:30am Sunday “WhereWorship Life is for Everyone!” Martin & Lynnell Williams, Founders & Senior Pastors 6:00pm Sunday Evening Worship Sundays

Corporate Worship 10AM Children’s Ministry 10AM (6 Months-5th Grade)

Wedne 7:00pm 7:00pm


Corporate Prayer 6PM

“COME WHEREWorship WE SAY…THE & Word 7PM JOY OF THE LOR Youth Ministry (6th-12th Grade)

Come experience life at the next level!

103rd & Fort Streets • 402-341-1866 •

This contest is sponsored by the ConAgra Black Employees Network. Some of our ERN members favorite brands are showcased below.

Just send us a photo of yourself with your favorite ConAgra Foods brand. In five words or less, tell us why it’s the food you love for your chance to win!

Submit your entry to: Or mail to: ERN Contest ConAgra Foods, Inc One ConAgra Drive, 1-382 Omaha, NE 68102

Submission Deadline: 6/30/2012 All photos and stories become the property of ConAgra Foods and Revive! Omaha.

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