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LISA ROSKENS WITH ‘RAPID REWARDS’

OMAHA HOSTS THE WORLD CUP CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY

SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM

FEB/MAR/APR 2017


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in this ISSUE

CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY

features

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16

RAISING THE BAR omaha equestrian foundation

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UP CLOSE • OUT FRONT area business executives share their giving values

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UNITED TO TRANSFORM LIVES fred & pamela buffett cancer center (part one of two)

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VIPS: VERY INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE our series of continuing inspiring profiles

departments/columns

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connecting to our callings

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connecting to our role models

GAME CHANGERS • JUDITH KOHOSKIE RICKETTS presented by planitomaha

32

SPOTLIGHT ON grief ’s journey (fka ted e. bear hollow)

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connecting to our transformation

SPOTLIGHT ON playsmart

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HE SAID/SHE SAID mike & mary from KMTV’s morning blend

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metroSPIRIT

connecting to our roots

with mary vandenack

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OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION omaha giving

43

SWARTZBAUGH, FARBER & ASSOC. todays savings

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VONDRAK DENTAL impact!

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28

VW LAW planning matters

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WAKING WORDS FROM ROB KILLMER realigning our egos

events

47

SCENE

connecting to our champions

highlights from recent charity & cultural events

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SAVE THE DATE upcoming events in the coming quarter

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FEB/MAR/APR 2017 • VOL. 29 NO. 1 Press releases and other editorial information may be sent to: P.O. BOX 241611, OMAHA, NE 68124 or e-mailed to: Editor@SpiritofOmaha.com Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Creative Collaboration

Andrea L. “Andee” Hoig

Leo Adam Biga Sara Boyd Daniel Flanigan Roger Humphries Marianne Johnston Elissa Joy Debra Kaplan Wendy Moore MORNING BLEND’s “Mike & Mary” Jim Scholz Kara Schweiss Mary Vandenack Stephanie Vondrak D.D.S. Mike Watkins Michael J. Weaver, J.D.

Editor/Creative Director

Robert P. “ROB” Killmer Community Engagement

Tracy Fisher Dana Carlton-Flint Special Thanks

Counterparts Printco Graphics

metroMAGAZINE /

QUARTERLY is wholly owned and operated by the publisher and is not affiliated with any other publication, operating solely on subscription and advertising revenues and the good will of the agencies and charities we support; all of which are very important to the continuing growth and quality of this publication. Thank you to all who support this endeavor. OFFICE/SALES

402.932.3522 | sales@SpiritofOmaha.com MISSION STATEMENT ALH Publications exists to inform, inspire and connect those who give back to the community through volunteerism and philanthropy, recognizing the ongoing efforts of area businesses, organizations and individuals who better our community. Contents of this magazine are copyrighted by ALH Publications, Inc. in their entirety. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written consent of the publisher. ©Copyright 1990 – 2017 ALH Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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advertise with us... MAKE THE CONNECTION! “We have generations of individuals that have passion, and generations that have need. When those two meet, great relationships occur. metroMAGAZINE and mQUARTERLY consistently help connect and foster those relationships.” ~ NATE DODGE PRESIDENT, NP DODGE COMPANY

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words FROM MY HEART

mQUARTERLY • LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

journey

Life comes at us fast and furious at times. I feel as if days, weeks, even years go by in the blink of an eye. As I was preparing for our annual presentation of The BIG Event on January 19th I found myself creating a lot of potential problems in my head. None of these problems had manifested but for some reason I could not stop myself from creating a long list of things that might go wrong. The morning of the event my mind was in full problem-creating mode; that’s when I heard this voice (you know that voice that speaks to you from within, you could call it your higher guidance, God, the Universe, the voice of Divine intervention.) All I know is that it spoke from a place of confidence, peace and love. The words I heard were, “Andee, it’s ‘enjoy the journey’ day.” I remember stopping what I was doing and, importantly, taking a break from the problem-creating mode and asked “What?” Again I heard, “Today is ‘ENJOY the JOURNEY’ Day!” I remember smiling to myself, shaking my head, as we do when something clicks and saying, “Yes!” I realized that what I had been taking part in was a distraction—a preoccupation that consisted of creating stories about what could go wrong and how that would potentially impact everyone’s experience in attendance, yet the only experience I was impacting was my own. I was reminded that if I didn’t slow down, breathe and ENJOY the JOURNEY of that day I was going to completely miss the experience myself. So many people had come together to make the event magical, people were showing up to celebrate the giving spirit of our community and I didn’t want to miss out on the beauty of what had been created and—luckily—I didn’t. This was a good reminder on how easy it is to become distracted by “lower vibrational” energies, by the potential preoccupations of life; the end result being, we don’t experience life fully (or even partially for that matter.) I wish to share here a list that I’ve created and will refer to regularly myself for staying “in the present” each moment so that I can fully experience life: Breathe: I notice that when I am creating stories in my head and I start to worry about what “might happen” I stop breathing at times or my breath becomes very shallow. Taking deep, rich, cleansing breaths and feeling the power of each breath—the life force of each—brings me back to the present and to the perfection of life. Slow down: One thing at a time: We have become a society of multi-taskers. Focusing on one thing at a time allows me to show up at my best in each moment. It’s hard to be fully present when you are doing five tasks, ten tasks and sometimes more in one moment. Meditate:Taking one or more meditation breaks during the day also helps me be fully present. A meditation break for me can mean listening to music that calms and relaxes the mind for a couple of minutes; imagining being by the ocean, the mountains, wherever that place of solace and joy is…and just breathing. Visualize and think about what I do want: I find it interesting that at times it is easier for me to think about all of the things that I don’t want (or that I wish to avoid) when it’s just as easy to think of the opposite. What we think about, comes about. Be Grateful: Whenever I start to worry or to feel fearful; whenever I get into creating stories from a place of worry, I remember everything that I have to be grateful for. The people in my life, the experiences and opportunities that have brought me to this place in time, everything that makes me uniquely me. It’s transforming. Life is a series of events, some small and some BIG, but all are important and significant to our own unique journey. My wish for all of us is to minimize the daily distractions that show up in our lives. And when we do find ourselves distracted, creating stories that lift us up VS bringing us down. Pause and remember that life is happening for us, not to us. Embrace and enjoy the experiences that create those magical moments big and small. Everyday IS “Enjoy the Journey” Day!

ANDREA L. HOIG ahoig@SpiritofOmaha.com

“I've learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you.… Transforming fear into freedom - how great is that? “ ~ Soledad O'Brien “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.“

~ Andee! 7

mQUARTERLY • FEB/MAR/APR 2017

~ LAO TZU

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: JIM SCHOLZ as seen in The Giving Guide & Event Book 2017


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international INITIATIVES

the centurylink center wasn’t designed specifically to be a world-class equestrian competition venue, but it happens to be perfect for one—and the omaha community itself boasts several advantages as a host site that even some of the most renowned cities on the globe couldn’t offer.

WhEn thE omaha equestrian foundation (OEF) hOsts thE LOnginEs FEi WOrLd Cup FinaLs MarCh 29 thrOugh apriL 2 at thE CEnturyLink CEntEr, it WiLL bE aChiEving a MiLEstOnE signiFiCant nOt OnLy FOr thE OrganizatiOn, but aLsO FOr thE City OF OMaha.

for World Cup Finals hosting possible in another important way, roskens added, and helped Omaha beat out larger cities like London and hong kong.

“We’ve had great crowds at the international but this will be four times as many people,” West said. “We’ve had to have great partners. We’ve contracted with new people, we’ve hired an extra employee, we are “the second piece of it is that the international created contracting and working with the Omaha Convention a community, it created an environment, it created an and visitors bureau on handling all our housing needs energy and excitement in Omaha and the broader because we’re expecting to have somewhere in the equestrian community. i wouldn’t want to host the neighborhood of 15,000 room-nights for this event.” World Cup Finals if i didn’t feel like people wouldn’t get excited about it,” she said. “this energy and the size of the event and number of people involved excitement convinced me that we could host the plus the global aspect adds layers of complexity, West World Cup event not just from a technical perspective, added. time zones and language barriers and the but from an exciting international sporting event involvement of multiple governing bodies all have had perspective.” to be considered as plans progressed. “We have contracted with experts all over the world,” he said. Jon garner, director of sport for the event, has seen equestrian competitions in cities all over the world but however, five years of hosting the international made said Omaha offers some singular advantages. it clear that OEF, the facility and (best of all) the

“this is the first world championship in sports, except for boxing title fights, that Omaha’s ever hosted. this is a great event for Omaha because it puts Omaha on the world stage in a way it’s never been before,” CEO Mike West explained. “it’s very complicated, very complex and very exciting. We have an obligation to do a great job to lay the groundwork for what potentially could be multiple, different professional championships that we never even thought of—the way they once didn’t think of the things we are hosting now like the nCaa College World series, the community are all up to the task of hosting the even “One of the exciting things about the finals being here larger World Cup Finals, roskens said. u.s. Olympic swim trials and the pinnacle bank is that sometimes in the big major centers they can get (golf) Championship.” lost. so having it in a city like Omaha, it will really “the CenturyLink Center was not built to be an OEF was created in 2010 primarily to bring large-scale stand out on its own like the major event that it is. outstanding equestrian venue; it just happens to have that’s what i’ve noticed about the city; they really do equestrian events to the area, founder and operating been built in a way that makes it an outstanding get behind special events,” he said. “One of the hopes board member Lisa roskens said, and it’s been a equestrian venue. you couldn’t host it here in any is that we’ll ultimately start to reach a new audience whirlwind of success since 2012 when the other building,” she said. “plus, the way the city is laid and create new fans across north america for organization first hosted the international, a out—with the venue so close to the airport, with all equestrian sports. to put it in an area of the country, competition of jumping and dressage (riding with the hotels and restaurants and the Old Market and an an area of the world, where it’s never been before— emphasis on form) events. the international set the exciting arts and entertainment district—it’s a huge that’s potentially a massive opportunity for sure.” stage for the even bigger World Cup Finals. advantage. “in order to host anything of this caliber, you have to have proven you can host at various levels leading up to it. so the international was critical, because we couldn’t even host an FEi-sanctioned event until we had hosted the top level of a u.s.-level-sanctioned event,” she said, explaining that FEi (Fédération Equestre internationale) is the top-level international federation for equestrian sports. “We literally would not have been allowed to bid. there are very specific requirements you have to meet and you have to be able to show that you’ve met them.”

Energy and excitement both the FEi World Cup dressage Final and the FEi World Cup Jumping Final will be part of this spring’s events and feature the world’s best horses and riders in their respective classes. Five years of hosting the international with flying colors made the designation

Readiness the logistical undertaking for the World Cup Finals is massive as well, West said, even with five years’ experience hosting the international with some of the same elements. the number of vendors increases from 60 to 200, for instance, the restaurant area expands from 8,000 square feet to 20,000, and the educational expo doubles in size to 20,000 square feet. up to 5,000 area schoolchildren will be brought in over the course of the event for field trips and the chance to experience the equestrian world, well above the number the international has entertained. and then there are the accommodations for more than 120 members of the international press and media teams organizing broadcasting for 61 countries and delayed u.s. broadcast on nbC. Finally, the arena will provide seating for 13,000 spectators, 2,000 more than in the past.

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“another piece of the puzzle is that we have a great and highly reputable group of people involved in this event from our steering committee to our staff; they knew we had the support of the community and we had people who could execute the event. that may sound obvious, but there are a lot of cities that have great staff but don’t have the same kind of community support: the government, the not-for-profit, the private sector, all the sections of the community.”

Volunteering the community has also stepped up by providing a plethora of volunteer support, too, West said. “being part of doing something for the community and making a splash is a really fun thing. and it does not matter what your skill sets are, there’s something for you.”

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STORY BY KARA SCHWEISS | PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF OMAHA EQUESTRIAN FOUNDATION

• mQUARTERLY

OMaha pLays hOst tO thE WOrLd’s

top equestrian athletes

omaha equestrian foundation

HOSTS THE WORLD CUP

CONTINUED


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international INITIATIVES

OMaha equestrian FOundatiOn the human team members will be executing the final touches when the equine competitors already on the continent will arrive to horse-hospitable quarters within the CenturyLink Center just days before competition, roskens said. the horses traveling from points abroad will arrive on a large chartered plane in stall-like crates. “they will land at Eppley airfield. they’ll go through usda inspection, the people traveling with them will go through customs and immigration, and they’ll then be shipped by van directly to the CenturyLink Center where they’ll be in quarantine. none of the other horses will arrive until (the overseas horses’) blood tests have cleared the labs in ames, iowa; we are fortunate in that there is a usda lab only a few hours away,” roskens said. “so these horses arrive on saturday and will hopefully be cleared for u.s. horses to arrive on Monday. and then the competition starts on Wednesday.” top horse-and-rider teams qualify for the World Cup Finals in the months leading up to the competition, West said. “We will, for the World Cup Finals, have the top riders in the world. Olympic-caliber riders, the absolute best,” he said. however, one event including local riders, the grand prix, takes place on saturday night and emphasizes performance over competition, roskens said. “it’s an opportunity for our local riders and the riders we’ve gotten to know and love from the international Omaha to be able to participate with the top riders in the world,” she said. riders will perform to live music, showcasing local musicians, and some of the participants will include Olympians and paralympians.

International visibility Competitions will also feature opening ceremonies with performers like the Omaha symphony and Chip davis, she added. “it will be a pretty blockbuster entertainment experience before the horses even trot in the ring. it will feel like a party and expose people from all over the world to the Omaha arts scene.”

CEO MIKE WEST

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and like any great party, everyone is welcome, West said. Even people who’ve never been around horses will enjoy the competition, the entertainment, the food and drink, or the world-class shopping.

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• mQUARTERLY

raising

omaha equestrian foundation

HOSTS THE WORLD CUP

CONTINUED


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international INITIATIVES

OMaha equestrian FOundatiOn

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raising

this is a great EvEnt FOr OMaha bECausE it puts OMaha On thE world stage in a Way it’s nEvEr bEEn bEFOrE. ~ MIKE WEST CEO, OMAHA EQUESTRIAN FOUNDATION

“it’s an incredible experience for people of all ages, and having the competitors so accessible and being able to get up-close and see the amazing things riders and horses do—it’s striking,” West said. “i do believe we have something for everybody, and i would challenge anyone to come in and not find something that would be incredibly entertaining for them…so be a part. if you’re a volunteer or you just come down for the shopping or educational expo, or if you want to see the world-class competitors, be a part of the first world championship event ever hosted in Omaha.” “We really want people to be part of this, whether you come down and just enjoy the free family expo or buy tickets for the whole week—this is really something. this is Omaha’s first world-championship event and is really an opportunity to be a part of putting Omaha on the international map,” roskens said. “i think the Omaha community has been incredible, but the Omaha community is always incredible. this town has done so much with not a large group of people. i think we think we’re bigger and better than maybe the outside world views us. and because we’re always trying to prove ourselves to the broader world, we make things happen that probably sometimes even surprise ourselves. Just look around and what’s been built here and what’s happened. i’m not surprised the Omaha community embraced this as fully as it has, but i’m incredibly grateful.” omaha equestrian foundation

HOSTS THE WORLD CUP


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?• !

giving back

• LEADING THE WAY

OUT FRONT • UP CLOSE WITH... CARMEN TAPIO NORTH END TELESERVICES, LLC NORTH END TELESERVICES’ COMMITMENT IS FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND RESIDENTS TO FULLY PARTICIPATE IN AND REALIZE THE BENEFITS THAT COME FROM COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND REVITALIZATION PROJECTS. WE EXTEND THIS COMMITMENT THROUGH JOBS, FAIR WAGES AND A CULTURALLY RICH AND DIVERSE WORK ENVIRONMENT, CREATING CAREER PATHWAYS, TRAINING AND LONG-TERM DEVELOPMENT OF SKILLS AND CONTACT CENTER COMPETENCIES. What is your favorite quotation and by whom? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5, The Holy Bible What is the one thing that you love most about the Omaha metro? It is such an easy place to live. I love traveling the various parts of the city and seeing all that it has to offer in business, entertainment, neighborhoods and restaurants. There are many beautiful places in this city.

NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR STRENGTH AND CONFIDENCE, BEING SELF-AWARE IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO, AND IT IS OKAY AND GOOD TO LEAD WITH YOUR HEART.

~ CARMEN TAPIO PRESIDENT AND

If you could give all human beings one virtue, which would you choose and why? It would be Grace because it is a trait I first recognized in my mother. Her Grace helped me to better understand the Grace of God and that Grace can be a way for all of us. When you were young, what did you most dream of doing when you grew up?

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER NORTH END TELESERVICES, LLC

I didn’t really dream of being any one thing because my parents taught me at an early age that I could do anything I put my mind to. Their confidence in me gave me the confidence to try different things and different paths. My father taught me early to create a life vision for myself and a five-year plan. That plan was more about how I saw my life rather than what I would be.

What event in the past, present or future would you like to witness in person? As I write this the day after election day the event in the past, present or future I would like to witness in person would be the true coming together and healing of America, a return to statesmanship and a focus on liberty and justice for all. For which activity or discipline would you most like to receive a lesson from an expert? To learn to play tennis from Serena Williams.

If you decided to go on a personal pilgrimage of some kind, where would you go and what would you do? I would go to the mountains to be in and with nature and wonder at the darkness and light of the evening sky. What historical time period would you most like to visit? The historical time period I would like most to visit is the Edwardian period. Like a lot of people I was a huge fan of Downton Abbey!

What historical figure would you most like to meet or be mentored by? Abraham Lincoln. I admire his strength, perseverance and conviction.

WWW.NORTHENDTELESERVICES.COM • HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/NORTHENDTELESERVICES • 402.934.3624

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• mQUARTERLY

OUT FRONT • UP CLOSE WITH... BILL ALFORD VIP SEDAN & LIMOUSINE VIP SEDAN & LIMOUSINE BELIEVES IN SERVING OMAHA AND THE SURROUNDING METRO AREA NOT ONLY BY PROVIDING SERVICES TO OUR VALUED CLIENTS, BUT TO LOCAL CHARITIES SUCH AS REBUILDING TOGETHER OMAHA, A LOCAL NONPROFIT THAT PROVIDES FREE HOME REPAIRS TO THE ELDERLY, VETERANS AND THE DISABLED, AND TO MAKE-A-WISH, WHICH SERVES TERMINALLY ILL CHILDREN IN OUR COMMUNITY. What is your favorite quotation and by whom? “If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

What is the one thing that you love most about the Omaha metro?

Who has most inspired you as a mentor and how? I would say my dad and my mom. My dad is the most honorable, honest person, and has such a tremendous love of people and [is such a] servant of God. My mom and her love of God expressed through her love of books, theology, philosophy, questions in general, and her absolute devotion to her family.

I love the blend of small-town values with large city entertainment (and restaurants!)

If you decided to go on a personal pilgrimage of some kind (spiritual, philosophical, sabbatical) where would you go and what would you do?

What does your “perfect day” look like?

My daughter Kate has opined that the conditions in Haiti are amongst the worst in the world. She has been there and served there—and a number of other places—modeling the love of [Jesus Christ] to Haitians by serving them. I think I would opt for a stint trying to help by serving there. I can think of no more life-changing perspective opportunities to demonstrate/practice love.

Working out at Title Boxing Club (the best hour of the day), going to work with my staff at VIP Limousine, dinner out at Plank with my lovely bride Lynette and finishing the night on the sofa with her watching an episode of House of Cards (or a rerun of Boston Legal).

What event in the past, present or future would you like to witness in person? I would love to have witnessed Rome in all its glory, Alexander the Great in his conquests, King Solomon in his splender and wisdom, Abraham Lincoln as he wrestled with the war and saving the Union. But having to choose one, I would choose [to witness] the biggest revolutionary the world has ever known, the One who said “the first shall be last, to be great you have to be the least, love your enemies and love others as yourself.”

What life experience has strengthened you the most? The downturn of the economy of 2007-11 and my divorce during that time helped strip away a lot of pride and helped me confront critical issues in my life. [I also idenitified] deficiencies in my character that likely I would not have addressed otherwise.

I LOVE THE SYMBOLISM OF THE HOURGLASS. EACH GRAIN REPRESENTS TO ME A MOMENT, MY OPPORTUNITY TO TOUCH, ENJOY, INFUSE ENCOURAGEMENT DEMONSTRATE LOVE, AND MAKE AN IMPACT IN THE LIVES OF FAMILY, FRIENDS, WORK ASSOCIATES, AND OUR CLIENTS. ~ BILL ALFORD OWNER VIP SEDAN & LIMOUSINE

If you could give all human beings one virtue which would you choose and why? Common sense, as it appears to be the least common of virtues.

FACEBOOK: SEARCH “VIP SEDAN & LIMOUSINE OMAHA AND LINCOLN NE” • VIPLIMO.COM • 402.934.5466

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focus feature

• PART ONE OF TWO

fred & pamela buffett

THIS one-of-a-kind FACILITY WILL BRING CANCER RESEARCHERS AND CLINICIANS TOGETHER IN ONE SPACE, WORKING together TO MEET THE PROMISE OF serious MEDICINE, extraordinary CARE FOR OUR CANCER PATIENTS. ~ DANIEL DEBEHNKE, MD, MBA CEO, NEBRASKA MEDICINE

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FEB/MAR/APR 2017


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STORY BY MELINDA SOMMERFELD | PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF NEBRASKA MEDICINE/UNMC

• mQUARTERLY

IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THE significance OF THIS PROJECT FOR THE CAMPUS, COMMUNITY AND REGION. THE entirety OF THE CANCER CENTER PROJECT WILL TAKE US TO THE next level IN TERMS OF BOTH RESEARCH AND PATIENT CARE. ~ JEFFREY P. GOLD, MD UNMC CHANCELLOR

part one: nebraska medicine/unmc

UNITING TO TRANSFORM LIVES

CONTINUED


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focus feature

• PART ONE OF TWO

fred & pamela buffett CANCER CENTER YOU HAVE cancer. the diagnosis is felt by nearly everyone. yes, everyone: the ripple effeCt begins. in a lifetime, one in two will be diagnosed with CanCer. think about that: one in two. there is simply no other disease that strikes with suCh forCe as a CanCer diagnosis. the strides made in cancer research, care and treatment as well as survival rates over the past decade have been challenging. the more scientists learn about cancer through lab testing and clinical trials, the more complex solutions become. and, it’s not one cancer scientists are studying; it’s an infinite number because the more they’ve learned, the more they are led to the individual genetic makeup individuals have playing a vital role in their diagnosis. FRED AND PAMELA BUFFETT

the challenges have also led to innovative discoveries. because of the perseverance of researchers and medical practitioners over the past five decades, cancer care has never been more advanced than it is today. the prevention methods are more refined, the tools and technologies used for diagnosing cancer at its earliest stages are evolving, the treatment approaches used have fewer side effects and those who were once given a terminal diagnosis are now surviving. more than ever there is a renewed national and local focus on cancer research and care.

The future of cancer care is here

PAMELA BUFFETT (LEFT) AND SUSIE BUFFETT

building on the legacy of leading cancer innovation, nebraska medicine and the university of nebraska medical Center (unmC) have embarked on creating a state-of-the-art cancer center – the fred & pamela buffett Cancer Center – with the focus of inclusion for all areas of cancer expertise to provide a uniquely personal experience for their patients. over the past year, driving down dodge street many have probably noticed the new 615,000 square-foot building near 45th and saddle Creek bearing the name fred & pamela buffett Cancer Center. the new cancer center is scheduled for completion this may with patient care beginning in June. “it is important to recognize the significance of this project for the campus, community and region. the entirety of the cancer center project will take us to the next level in terms of both research and patient care,” said Jeffrey p. gold, md, unmC Chancellor.

PAMELA BUFFETT, DR. KEN COWAN AND PETER BARTLING

it is the largest project ever for nebraska medicine and unmC and will provide 1,200 jobs at the medical center and 4,657 new jobs to the metro area. it will also infuse $537 million annually into the economy.

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the fred & pamela buffett Cancer Center is named in recognition of a gift from pamela buffett through her foundation, the rebecca susan buffett foundation. pamela’s husband, fred “fritz” buffett, died in 1997 after fighting kidney cancer. the creation of the building also received unprecedented support from the state of nebraska, city of omaha and douglas County – entities that recognize the importance of the health of nebraskans and the boost the new cancer center brings to their economies. “this is a collaborative effort to bring a sizable amount of economic development to our community and state,” said michael yanney, a leading advocate for the construction of the cancer center.

Coming together historically, cancer services were scattered throughout various buildings on campus, but the buffett Cancer Center will bring together cancer research, inpatient cancer services and outpatient cancer care areas. “this new building will bring researchers and clinicians closer than they have ever been and will lead to new discoveries in our approach to precision medicine in cancer care,” said kenneth Cowan, md, phd, director of the fred & pamela buffett Cancer Center. for over 50 years nebraska medicine and unmC have been touching lives from across the world, treating people from all 50 states and more than 42 countries. they have led innovations on complex and rare cancers and are founding members of the national Comprehensive Cancer network and big ten Cancer research Consortium. they are also the only national Cancer institute-designated cancer center in nebraska, offering patients access to treatments and clinical trials not found elsewhere in the region.

Greater possibilities the concept started simply enough – bring everyone together – and through ongoing collaboration researchers and physicians will accelerate the discovery process for patients. the evolution of the project over the past few years has been profound. “this one-of-a-kind facility will bring cancer researchers and clinicians together in one space, working together to meet the promise of serious medicine, extraordinary care for our cancer patients,” noted daniel debehnke, md, mba, Ceo, nebraska medicine. through generous philanthropic visionaries, the C.l. werner Cancer hospital – supported with a gift from the C.l. werner foundation – will bring 108 new inpatient beds to the top three floors of the buffett Cancer Center.

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to transform lives THIS PROJECT, AND ITS vision FOR A new era IN FIGHTING CANCER, AGAIN SHOWS NEBRASKANS WHAT A treasure THEY HAVE IN OUR MED CENTER. ~ WALTER SCOTT “i am proud the cancer hospital is in omaha and hope everyone shares my excitement about this state-ofthe-art initiative. it is my sincere desire this unprecedented collaboration will help alleviate suffering and offer hope to individuals and their families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” said werner. a multidisciplinary outpatient center will also be located within the buffett Cancer Center. the 10-story research tower of the project is supported with a gift from the suzanne and walter scott foundation and will be named the suzanne and walter scott Cancer research tower. “this project, and its vision for a new era in fighting cancer, again shows nebraskans what a treasure they have in our med Center,” said walter scott. “it will solidify omaha’s reputation as one of the nation’s leading centers for patient care and medical research.” Cancer researchers work tirelessly to identify the “why” and “how” and knowing patients will see cancer research lab lights on 24/7 will hopefully provide renewed hope and inspiration.

Brightest minds

dr. armitage – in lymphoma research and care, it allows the current program, known worldwide for its treatment of lymphoma, to take a significant step forward in continuing to attract additional expert physicians and scientists to the program.

Helping the human spirit along with having the best and brightest minds in cancer research and care, the buffett Cancer Center will offer patients, visitors and staff motivating and meaningful works of art and programs that tap into elements that extend beyond curing a disease by creating an atmosphere of hope and resilience.

SARAH THAYER, MD; C.L. WERNER; CHANCELLOR JEFFREY P. GOLD, MD AND BRAD BRITIGAN, MD

the healing arts program will be comprised of four primary elements to help reduce pain perception, anxiety, stress, loneliness and depression and to provide new insight and clarify feelings about a cancer diagnosis and treatment. The four elements will include: • Therapeutic programs

nebraska medicine and unmC have recruited nearly a • Physical art collection third of the 150 newly created physician and physician• Leslie’s Healing Garden scientist positions at buffett Cancer Center. their focus is to strengthen the innovative teams that built the • Chihuly Sanctuary cancer programs over the past five decades and find the very best research scientists and clinical physicians the medical field has to offer and bring them to omaha. “art creates a compassionate, supportive and inspirational environment. through artists and aesthetic experiences, the healing arts program Big impacts leading the era of precision medicine – basing diagnosis recognizes that art is intrinsic to wellness and healing,” noted dr. Cowan. and treatments on the genetics of an individual – the korff estate provided a gift to establish the glenn korff the university of nebraska foundation rallied to raise precision medicine prostate Cancer Center of the initial private funds for the buffett Cancer Center. excellence fund at the university of nebraska they are now pursuing a programmatic goal of $100 foundation. it will provide the buffett Cancer Center million to continue to impact cancer research and care with expendable funds needed to help recruit top long after the structure opens this year. all told more urology cancer specialists and other nationally recognized scientists, and to obtain the latest equipment than 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations – since the beginning of this campaign in 2013 – have used in prostate cancer patient care and research. provided funding for the construction, research and recruitment initiatives of the buffett Cancer Center. ruth and bill scott provided a gift to establish the James o. armitage precision medicine nearly 120 of those contributors have made lymphoma/leukemia Center at buffett Cancer Center. partnership contributions that will be permanently the gift not only honors an international leader – recognized as the cancer center’s future. part one: nebraska medicine/unmc

WALTER SCOTT TOURING CANCER CENTER RESEARCH LAB

MIKE YANNEY, GAIL WALLING YANNEY, MD; UNMC CHANCELLOR JEFFREY P. GOLD, MD; DALE CHIHULY AND WALTER SCOTT JR. AT THE CHIHULY SANCTUARY ANNOUNCEMENT

UNITING TO TRANSFORM LIVES


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SILVER ANNIV. MEMBER

STEP BY STEP, professional dance instructor Elizabeth (Edwards) Colclasure built two businesses from the ground up and turned a fun concept into a full-scale fundraising event that pairs her love for dancing with her affinity for children’s charities.

As good as she was in the communications field, Colclasure’s real passion was dancing. So in 2004, she founded her own dance studio, Omaha Ballroom, instructing classes as well as managing all the advertising, web design and event planning. After bringing on additional instructors for Omaha Ballroom, Colclasure expanded into a second, related business in 2006. Dance Central DJ and Events provides deejay service to weddings, holiday gatherings and other events, but offers an uncommon bonus: dance instruction before the big day.

Through 23 straight seasons—two per year—since its 2005 debut, the ABC network television dance competition series “Dancing with the Stars” has been consistently ranked in the Nielsen top ten. So, hoping for modest success on a local scale, in 2008 Colclasure created Dancing with the Omaha Stars to raise money for charity. The debut event “When I tell people what I do, their face lights up. They can’t believe that I dance all day,” brought in around $15,000. In its seventh year, Dancing with the Omaha Stars raised she said. “When I first started teaching, it wasn’t ‘How can I get rich teaching dance?’ it more than $105,000. was ‘How can I do what I love every day?’ We’re just focused 100 percent on it, and it’s all we do for a living.” “It has worked out really well,” she said. “I knew all of these radio and TV people from college and then I knew how to dance, so it has been really easy to pair up the two things.” Pairing up Year after year, Colclasure has managed to convince elected officials, media personalities, community leaders, business executives, notable athletes and other local celebrities to pair up with her or another dance instructor to learn a choreographed routine and perform in front of what is usually a sold-out audience at a venue like a CenturyLink Center ballroom or Ralston Arena. She also recruits a panel of celebrity judges and corporate sponsors, and oversees ticket sales and promotion. Everyone involved volunteers his or her time. Most of the participants are accustomed to being in the public eye, she said, but very few of them have any dance experience. Regardless, as many as 15 local “stars” have stepped up every year.

By “we” she means herself and husband James Colclasure, Jr. The couple met in 2015 at a dance competition where Indiana native James had been hired to install a dance floor. They quickly discovered how much they had in common: James grew up dancing and involved in performing arts, and he knew about the event business through his father’s deejay experience. Before the “When I tell people year was over, James had relocated to Omaha to become what I do, Elizabeth’s dance partner and business partner, and last summer they became partners for life. their face lights up.

They can’t believe that I dance all day.”

“It just fell right into place…Doing things all by myself was a lot of work. Now my husband and I run it together,” she said. “And we practice what we preach. We go out dancing, we travel to competitions, we compete and we take ELIZABETH (EDWARDS) COLCLASURE F students with us. We’re currently competing on the country circuit, with each other and our students.”

“The coolest thing is, we’ll ask people like the Omaha Police Chief (Todd Schmaderer) and (metroQUARTERLY publisher) Andee Hoig, who are really busy,” she said, adding that rehearsals take weeks during a period when the participants are also raising money from friends, family, colleagues and the community. “They’re kind enough to take the time to do this.” On the right foot Proceeds benefit charities like Ronald McDonald House Charities Omaha, Angels Among Us, and Sunshine Kids, reflecting Colclasure’s admitted soft spot for organizations serving children and families. “Every charity helps kids,” Colclasure said. “I have a 13-year-old son. If anything ever happened to him I know how hard it would be to run my business and do what I love to do.”

The couple plan to focus on competing professionally in 2017 to qualify for the 2018 UCWDC Worlds Country Dance World Championships taking place next January in San Francisco. Dancing with the Omaha Stars is on hiatus for 2017, but set to take place in March 2018, which provides more time for planning than in the past and the opportunity to serve the community in a new way. Since both Omaha Ballroom and Dance Central operate primarily during evenings and weekends, the Colclasures are hoping to take advantage of their daytime availability and work with local hospitals to teach dance to young patients for therapeutic and entertainment purposes. “My inspiration was Lily (Dodson), who danced in last year’s show with my husband,” Colclasure said. “She’s a cancer survivor, 9 years old.” They also plan to continue promoting dance in the community. With their shared love for all things dance, they find it easy to cultivate a fun, lighthearted and welcoming atmosphere for both Omaha Ballroom and Dance Central, Colclasure said.

What Colclasure loves to do is dance. She took ballet lessons in childhood at a studio owned by her aunt, but transitioned into ballroom dancing right out of high school after “I am a big fan of doing things that just make you just feel good. Dancing is one of those answering an ad for dance instructors. She then taught classes at a local studio while things. I think one way I inspire people is by finding the fun in the little things. You don’t studying advertising and public relations at the University of Nebraska Omaha. An need anything to learn how to dance,” she said. “The biggest challenge is to express how internship at Journal Broadcast Group fostered connections that would later come in handy it’s not a serious thing, there’s no experience needed, there’s no prerequisite; we’re all for Dancing with the Omaha Stars, and the promotions experience she gained there would there to have fun and nobody’s there to judge anybody. Dancing’s not hard; it’s simple also come to serve her well. and it’s really fun. Once you can get down a few basics, you just run with it.”

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CLIENTS CAN’T GET AWAY WITH telling certified “I think the motivation before was just to lose weight, but this time it was because I personal trainer Dontae Franklin that fitness is unachievable for them. It’s not just because wanted to be there for my kids, and I wanted to be alive and able to move and play he’s very good at his job, it’s because his conviction that anyone can lose weight and and be an example for them.” achieve better health comes from a place of experience. New health, new future “I’d always been big,” Franklin said. “I had a nickname of ‘Fat Cat’ when I was three Five years later, Franklin doesn’t just keep up with his kids (now 6 and 12), he’s entered years old. Every nickname growing up I remember was like ‘Big Dog,’‘Big Tank.’ I was running events. The man who was once exhausted by a flight of stairs recently squatalways the biggest kid. By junior high I was 215 pounds. In high school I was around lifted 425 pounds, a personal record. And he’s turned fitness into a new career, earning his NASM CPT designation (National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal 275, played a little bit of football. And right after high school I was 316… Trainer) in 2013 and working as a personal and group trainer since. I’m five-foot-ten.” As a twenty-something, he lost weight, gained more, repeated the pattern. And so it went until July 2011 when Franklin turned 30, an age when most men are in peak physical shape. Instead, he was well over 100 pounds overweight with borderline high blood pressure and the kind of heavy snoring often associated with sleep apnea. “I was out of breath even tying my shoe. I would just feel sluggish and bad all the time. I would go to work and pretend like everything was okay, but I felt terrible,” he said. At the time, he worked with at-risk youth and children through Heartland Family Service and earned some money on the side as a security guard for an alternative school, but he struggled with exhaustion well before the end of the day. At home, he lacked the energy to fully engage with his two young daughters. “I went to buy clothes one day and realized I had ballooned into a size 50-inch waist and 4X t-shirt. I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I really did some soul-searching for a couple of months. I had a little dark time and was kind of depressed about all the weight I had gained.”

The same compassionate nature that drew him to the human services field transferred well to his current work with his Life Time Fitness clients. “It was a lateral move. I’m still working with people, it’s just in a different way,” he said. “It’s a connection I can’t explain, but personal training is satisfying because I get to connect with people on a different level.”

“I knew that if I didn’t change now, I wasn’t ever going to. I decided I was going to change. Or I was going to die.” DONTAE FRANKLIN F

He realized the extra weight that started out as a nuisance had started to become a threat. Change or die “I used to think I was normal, but looking back, I wasn’t. I don’t have the best family history; diabetes and heart disease run in my family,” he said. “I knew that if I didn’t change now, I wasn’t ever going to,” he recalled. “It was 11/1/11. I decided I was going to change. Or I was going to die.”

Clients see Franklin’s now-fit physique and are first surprised, then inspired, by his story, he said. “I think it gives me a lot better perspective on how people are doing and how they feel. You know, I can relate,” he explained. “When I’m talking to that person who’s 300 pounds and they say ‘There’s no way I’m ever going to get to 150,’ I can tell them it’s not about getting to 150, it’s about maintaining habits. Your habits will dictate your health and your future, and what you look like.” A trainer’s job is to push, Franklin said, and he especially enjoys showing his clients how they’ve progressed.

“It’s the sustained effort. Anybody can do anything temporarily— for a couple of days or a couple of weeks or a month—but can you do this consistently for a year or however long it takes to get to your goal?” he said. “Six months later you show them their first workout. Their first workout is now their warm-up.” Acknowledging every triumph Franklin’s own journey continues.

Franklin’s first step was to not dip into the Halloween candy his daughters had collected “The first step was diet and controlling my appetite. I’ve always had a large appetite, the night before. This small accomplishment gave him enough initial confidence to make always had maybe food addiction. Even now I struggle with food. It’s hard every other small changes, like downloading a calorie tracker app and sticking to his resolve single day,” he said. to make better food choices through the holidays. He even found inspiration in the But he credits his personal stubbornness for keeping him on track, along with weight-loss reality show “The Biggest Loser.” acknowledging every triumph. “I decided that if other people can do it, I can do it too,” he said. “I was just as big as these “Your goal needs to be big to drive the behavior and the action. And then you kind people that are on these shows. I believed that nothing is impossible.” of take that goal and chunk it into smaller increments until you hit your first and Through a persistent combination of careful eating and the development of a new subsequent milestones,” he said. “Then you celebrate the successes. My first pound, exercise habit—plus a different way of thinking—the weight came off steadily, I celebrated. My first day I didn’t have candy, November 1 after Halloween, I nearly 70 pounds in the first year alone. Losing 100 pounds had once seemed celebrated that.” impossible, Franklin said, but not only did he eventually meet that goal—he And he has a constant reminder of why all the work is worth it, Franklin said. surpassed it by 45 pounds. “I think it was my mindset. The reasons were different this time. I just wanted to be alive, “Now I can devote more energy and time to being there for my family,” Franklin added. I wanted to be healthy and change my habits and who I was. I wanted to become a “My older daughter says, ‘I look at pictures and now I can hardly remember you looking different person and not just look like a different person,” he said. so different.’” 24

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nothing IS IMPOSSIBLE

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game CHANGERS

• PRESENTED BY

JUDITH KOHOSKIE RICKETTS PRESIDENT, TD AMERITRADE CLEARING

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judith kohoskie ricketts has gone far in her 22-year career with td ameritrade, but all along the way she’s also helped others advance their own careers through her commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as mentoring activities.

PRESENTS game

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JUDITH KOHOSKIE RICKETTS

CONTINUED


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game CHANGERS

• PRESENTED BY

wise AFTER earning A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA LINCOLN IN 1995, IT LOOKED LIKE JUDITH KOHOSKIE RICKETTS’S NEXT STEP WOULD BE TO ENTER GRAD SCHOOL AT NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY IN BOSTON. INSTEAD, SHE TOOK A POSITION WITH OMAHA-BASED BROKER TD AMERITRADE AND NEVER LOOKED BACK.

that’s not just a TD Ameritrade thing; we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of being that better investment firm, so it’s important to stay with what’s happening in the environment and adapt to that change.”

Diversity and inclusion One change Ricketts is especially passionate about is diversity and inclusion, a cause for which she received the company’s 2016 Impact Award.

revolutionize our client experience,” she explained. “We’re really trying to challenge ourselves to be thoughtful in the way that we recruit, and how we continue to engage our associates to make them feel included and ensure we have absolutely the best ideas coming in.”

Envisioning the future

Part of what inspires Ricketts’s interest in “D & I” is her “Immediately out of college I was encouraged to apply at aspiration to create a better working environment for the TD Ameritrade and ended up in a career that has just next generation. been filled with incredible changes. It’s a dynamic “The Impact Award was created in an effort to help industry, and working for a company like TD Ameritrade promote, at the executive level, TD Ameritrade’s “An interesting organization that (TD Ameritrade) has been an amazing experience,” said Ricketts, who dedication to diversity and inclusion. It is awarded operations has helped to support is called ‘Rock the currently serves as President, TD Ameritrade Clearing. annually to a leader in the business who’s displayed, Street Wall Street.’ This model is a club format for high“I’ve worked in a number of different areas at the firm, and acted and proven their dedication to changing the school girls; we’ve kicked off a school in Dallas/Ft. Worth that’s something we encourage from a career-path workforce, making it more diverse and inclusive,” she and we hope to kick off a school here in Nebraska in the perspective—taking our unique skills and abilities and explained. “I was honored to accept the Impact Award, fall,” she said. “TD Ameritrade will send in teachers and encouraging folks to take on new and expanding roles but it was really on behalf of our entire organization, our professionals, and then we set up the high school over time—which is exactly what I’ve had an which over the last several years has made this a focus.” girls with mentors who are women leaders at TD opportunity to do.” Ameritrade. We talk about what the markets are and Ricketts has also taken the push for broader diversity what professions are in financial services and STEM in Ricketts grew up in several East Coast states as her father outside the company and into her industry. general, and we try to introduce the concept that you was transferred first by the military and then through his don’t have to be in one of the in-the-box professions; insurance career. The family landed in Omaha shortly “There are industry groups like SIFMA (Securities Industry you can be an engineer or mathematician.” before the start of Ricketts’s freshman year of high school, and Financial Markets Association) and others that we try making it possible for her to attend and graduate from to participate in across broker operations, to help Although her 15-year-old and 10-year-old sons and— Millard North High School before moving on to UNL. Later, influence—SIFMA has a diversity and inclusion especially—her 12-year-old daughter see firsthand that when her TD Ameritrade career required travel, Ricketts committee that I’m a member of—to shape those women can be very successful in what were once was able to take it in stride, and she also put her regulations and speak on behalf of our clients to ensure traditionally male-dominated fields, Ricketts said she psychology background to good use. that our retail clients and our institutional advisors have a enjoys helping share that vision with a wider audience. voice in the industry,” she said. “That work extends into “Working in a large company with great locations across our institutional group with ensuring that there are “(Rock the Street Wall Street) has had a really profound the country, each site has its own unique elements to it. female advisors on the platform and things like that. So impact on the girls involved. If they weren’t collegeWhen you deal with large groups inside of a business and there are a number of industry groups and there are a lot bound, some of them are becoming college-bound. If workforces, it’s really important to be cognizant of that,” of situations where we have a strong voice because of the they were college-bound, some of them are picking STEM she said. “I think that psychology degree has helped me size of TD Ameritrade and that extends into the ‘D & I’ professions because they realize it’s open to them,” she daily: being self-aware, emotional intelligence…it’s space as well. I try to leverage that as much as possible.” said. “It’s a very cool thing we’ve been a part of and we’ll useful to have some understanding of human behavior.” continue to support that into the future.” A vigorous workforce includes a wide spectrum of Ricketts said her psychology background also fostered her personality types, so diversity and inclusion extends Ricketts also has just begun serving on the board of the ability to embrace change. beyond traditionally associated characteristics like gender Women’s Fund of Omaha, an organization with which and race to those less visible, like experience and the very she has already been involved several years. “I’m very “I’ve been fortunate to continue here for two decades way people think, Ricketts said. much looking forward to being part of that at a greater because I love learning and adapting. It’s exciting to me level.” And at TD Ameritrade, she continues to support to have a challenge or a new element of the industry to “If I sit down with people I’ve hired who are wired exactly the next generation of leaders through structured and like me, we’re not going to come up with the next idea or casual mentoring. interact with,” she said. “Things change very fast, and

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JUDITH KOHOSKIE RICKETTS I FEEL LIKE I’M JUST GETTING started WITH WHAT I CAN DO AND WHAT I CAN contribute. ~ JUDITH KOHOSKIE RICKETTS “I had a boss a couple of years ago whose motto around this was ‘Be one, have many.’ And that’s a mantra I’ve tried to take on as well,” she said. “We do have a formal program here at TD Ameritrade and I’ve participated in that over the years, and I do a great deal of informal mentoring as well and try to speak on the topic at leadership classes and so forth to help promote that. It can be invaluable and there is a good deal of effort in our leadership courses to promote mentoring at all levels.”

This special feature is sponsored by planitomaha. planitomaha is dedicated to honoring women whose influence not only impacts the boardroom but the community.

“Welcome to

one of the largest and most prestigious meeting planning firms in the midwest omaha magazine B2B winners since 2008

Contributing more Outside of the workplace, Ricketts said she’s looking forward to expanding her community and nonprofit activities now that her children are all at an age of greater independence and her husband, Don, is starting his second year as a stay-at-home dad after 20 years at TD Ameritrade. “I feel like I’m just getting started with what I can do and what I can contribute,” she said. “I’d like to continue to be able to contribute more to the community and involve my immediate family in that.” And just like she was open to new things at the beginning of her TD Ameritrade career, she’s open for the future. “I don’t think there’s an exact role or title; I think I’ve learned through the years that if you aspire to something specific like that, you might miss the mark for other reasons,” she said. “I love the job I’m in and I want to continue to learn and grow as a leader.” PRESENTS game

changers

JUDITH KOHOSKIE RICKETTS

national, regional and local meetings and events nationally recognized as a leader in the meetings & event industry supporting our community through our nonprofit work and the boards/organizations we are members of planitomaha has been providing event and meeting management solutions for over 18 years. we are a client-centric firm that provides unmatched service and professionalism. while proudly located in the midwest, our crazy-talented event team works from new york to la and everywhere in the middle.


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• TED E. BEAR HOLLOW EVOLVING INTO GRIEF’S JOURNEY

TED E. BEAR HOLLOW NOW grief’s journey Rebecca was introduced to Grief’s Journey (fka Ted E. Bear Hollow) when her husband’s sister died suddenly, leaving two small children and an extended network of family and friends shocked and confused. Rebecca recalls playing with the kids in the weeks following. She felt ill-equipped to handle their questions – in part, because no one really knew what had happened to cause her sister-in-law’s death, but also because she was afraid of saying something that would upset the kids, and, by extension, the adults in her family. Cathy sought out Grief’s Journey when her parents called her – panicked – from another state. Her teenage sister was withdrawing from them, and she wasn’t eating following her best friend’s death in a tragic airplane accident. Her parents were hoping their social worker daughter would have the solution. Surely, they thought, she’d know how to help her sister feel better. Karen first experienced Grief’s Journey with her grandchildren. Their dad, Karen’s thoughtful, witty, son, had recently lost his battle with cancer. Karen thought she was there for the kids, yet she discovered a refuge for herself and a meaningful avenue for her continued healing. By sharing her story with the new families who joined her as program participants, hope grew. These three women aren’t program participants. They’re a few of the professional staff who lead approximately 350 volunteers, annually, to conduct the agency’s work.

Grief’s Journey now serves people of all ages. Seven of their eight core programs are for youth ages 3-18 and their adult caregivers. Their eighth program is a support group for adults who don’t have children enrolled in their family programs. These adult participants may have attended their programs as youth or as adults whose children were formerly enrolled, or they may be new program participants altogether. Perhaps Grief’s Journey’s most significant additions over the years have been their highly regarded training and education programs. In fact, their impact on our area’s ability to provide competent grief support has been profound. In just the past year, they’ve conducted over 100 educational presentations, trained 43 new grief support group facilitators and offered 5 continuing education workshops. Their Grief Awareness Conference, now in its fourth year, has grown annually, providing professional development for approximately 400 area teachers, counselors, mental health practitioners, healthcare workers and HR professionals. Keynotes have addressed: Grief and Social Media, Grief in the Workplace and Supporting Grieving Children and Teens Following a Suicide Loss. While attending a professional conference recently one of the organization’s staff happened to be seated between two individuals who had lost parents in the past year. Initially, it can be difficult to know how to respond when hearing someone share that they have recently lost one or both parents. It’s challenging to know how to avoid saying the wrong thing, but that Grief’s Journey staff member understood an important principle in attempting to support those dealing with loss.

Founded in 2001 as Ted E. Bear Hollow, Grief’s Journey was an organization “We can get hung up on saying the right thing, or we can remember all we really need dedicated solely to assisting young children who were grieving the death of a loved one. to do is listen.” She was grateful that she could also say, “Have you heard about the These kids brought their adult caregivers with them to something called KidsKamps, great programs at Grief’sJourney?” Saturdays filled with arts and crafts and play activities designed to help them express their emotions, remember the individuals in their lives who had died and develop new Free grief support programs offered in 2017 and healthy methods of coping. Monthly Support Groups: These open or “drop-in” groups are for families to attend at any time, so they are a great way to get a “taste” of the programs without making a big Today, the agency is providing free grief support, outreach and services in six counties commitment. During the group sessions, youth and adults work with trained facilitators surrounding the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area. They are serving about 800 in separate age/developmental groups. Adults meet in a group of their own, concurrent individuals annually at their main facility and are working with more than 10 school with the children’s groups. A light breakfast is provided. (Meet monthly, year round.) districts, 12 youth-serving agencies and 24 public libraries to make sure their free grief support services are accessible to those who need them. 8-Session Support Groups: In this core program at Grief’s Journey, the same families attend for all eight sessions as they progress through a series of grief-related topics. The philosophy of its founders and a great number of the activities are the same today Having the same people in the group provides comfort and security and promotes as in 2001. But Grief’s Journey has been on its own journey – an evolution mapped better outcomes. Following a potluck meal, youth and adults work with trained out in response to requests from its program participants, referral sources and the facilitators in separate age/developmental groups. Series begin throughout the year schools and social service agencies trying to positively impact the myriad causes of and are held once each week. (Meet at regular intervals year round.) grief in our region. Through this evolution, the agency has developed new programs. In addition to its core bereavement support, Grief’s Journey now offers support groups for families who are grieving a life-changing illness or injury. Through their work alongside schools and other social service agencies, they help develop programs that address grief due to immigration, incarceration and other types of separation. With this evolution, they have significantly increased their work with kids and families coping with terminal diagnoses, serious illness, gang violence and military injury. Their commitment is continued evolution in response to the community’s most critical grief support needs. 32

Day Camps: Held in the spring and summer months, these themed afternoons are filled with crafts and activities to honor and remember special people who have died. Families work together with volunteers in a fun, light-hearted atmosphere. (Held six times annually.) Tinsel & Tears (Holiday Camps): These afternoon camps help grieving families as they prepare for and navigate the winter holidays. Families work together with volunteers to make special holiday memories and crafts to honor the lives of those who have died. (Held eight times annually.) mQUARTERLY • FEB/MAR/APR 2017


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• mQUARTERLY

ted e. bear grows up Camp Hope - A Retreat for Grieving Teens: This weekend overnight camp is a special program for teens who have already attended Grief’s Journey programs with their families and are ready to experience programs on their own. Campers enjoy hanging out with other teens and participate in a variety of activities such as horseback riding, drumming, hiking, photography and a campfire. All food and drinks for the weekend are provided. (Held twice annually.) AHA (Adults Helping Adults Group): An open support group for grieving adults, no children are present for this program. (Meets bi-weekly, year round.) CARE (Coping Around Real Life Experiences): Whether someone has cancer, ALS, dementia, or any other serious illness or injury, it takes a major toll on the entire family. In order to support these families, Grief’s Journey offers a grief support group designed specifically for families who are grieving due to a serious illness or injury, some of whom are anticipating bereavement. Who: Youth ages 3-18 and their adult caregivers grieving loss due to a serious illness or injury. This is an open group that one may attend at any time. (Meet monthly, year round.)

Did you know? Grievers are: • 5 times more likely to die by suicide.

Training programs

• 9 times more likely to drop out of high school. • 10 times more likely to engage in substance abuse.

Child Grief Facilitator Training (offered three times annually): A 20-hour comprehensive training that prepares adults to lead grief support groups. Facilitator training includes a training manual and curriculum manual, which can be used personally or professionally once training has been successfully completed. CEUs are awarded.

• 20 times more likely to experience behavioral disorders, depression, health problems, poor school performance, anxiety and numerous other life-limiting complications. (US Census Bureau, National Principals Association and the Center for Disease Control on the vulnerabilities of youth who have lost a father)

Did you know? As a result of the death of a loved one: Training participants learn how to facilitate grief support groups, develop their skills in listening and supporting people who have experienced a loss and discover new activities to engage children in sharing and processing the changes that they have experienced following the death of a loved one. They also learn more about the steps one can take to offer direct support in places of employment, home, church or social circles.

• 15% have broken things or damaged property • 20% have hurt themselves physically in some way • 41% acted in ways they knew were not good for them • 45% had more trouble concentrating in school (New York Life, 2013 “The Grief Journey of a Child” from the perspective of youth responders)

Periodic Topical Workshops have included: • Using Art in Grief Expression: Art Techniques From the “Inside Out” • Forgotten Mourners to assist individuals with disabilities who are unprepared or under-equipped to deal with the difficulties of grief. • Understanding Self-Injurious Behavior in Youth: A Practical Introduction • Grief and Immigration Related Loss • Grief and Traumatic Brain Injury • Suicide Postvention • Sandtray Therapy

Did you know? • 1 in 4 employees is grieving at any time. • 30 work days are lost per year by each employee coping without support from co-workers or managers. • 20% will continue losing work days for more than one year. • $125,000 is the average annual cost, in lost productivity, to an organization of 400 employees. (Statistics provided by The Grief Recovery Institute)


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spotlight on

• mQUARTERLY

• PLAYSMART

playsmart • HELPING BUILD futures TO CREATE A CULTURE THAT respects ALL STUDENTS YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GOOD, SOLID core OF leaders. ~ CHAD SOUPIR PLAYSMART REGIONAL DIRECTOR

Since 1997 Playsmart has been providing athletic and academic opportunities to American’s youth, and in Nebraska we remain committed to this mission and welcome you to join us in our efforts. On June 5-9, we host our annual Playsmart Academy at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in South Omaha. Regional Director Chad Soupir, principal of Elkhorn Valley Middle School, proudly leads the inspired middle-school-aged youth. “It makes me happy and proud of them to see what they learn and how they grow into confident leaders,” said Soupir. “Middle School can be a challenging age. is an awkward time of life; working with and respecting each other for their differences can be difficult. To create a culture that respects all students you have to have a good, solid core of leaders in your building. At our Leadership Academy we help them become this type of leader.” Middle school students are selected to attend the academy based upon principal and teacher recommendation. Sixteen middle schools are represented from throughout the Omaha and rural communities in Nebraska. Among these schools are Bennington Junior High, Elkhorn Valley Middlle School, Elkhorn Grandview Middle School, Omaha Public middle schools, Nebraska City Middle School, Weepping Waters Middles School, and Gretna Middle School. The focus of the Playsmart Leadership Academy is to bring kids together from different backgrounds, cultures, and communities and to provide them with the tools, support and skills needed to lead. The program helps kids with leadership potential, who need someone to believe in them and give them the support to stand up for what is right.

In an article written by Leah Cates, the passion and energy of the Playsmart Academy founder Derek Leathers was noted. Leathers almost did not finish high school. As a junior, the struggling student athlete planned to quit school. However, with the encouragement of one inspirational coach, Leathers continued pursuing an education, excelling both on the football field and in the classroom and eventually going on to play football at Princeton University. Upon graduation, Leathers wished to change the lives of students as his high-school mentor and coach had altered the course of his. With the assistance of five fellow Princeton graduates, Leathers helped to develop Playsmart Academies in Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Florida, New York and Nebraska. The mission was to empower middle-school-age students from diverse backgrounds to become strong leaders, using sports as a vehicle and motivation.

At the Leadership Academy the students delve into the Playsmart Five Pillars: Teamwork, Honesty, Hard Work, Sportsmanship, and Respect. Through athletics, teambuilding exercises, a great selection of guest speakers, and the guidance of counselors, students learn to become “one percent better” each day.

Students attending Playsmart Academies are encouraged to stand up and speak in front of all their peers. For many students this opportunity to meet new friends proves to be a highlight of the Playsmart Academy experience.

Each February, students return to report to Playsmart directors on literacy projects they have chosen to implement in their respective schools. After successful completion, the young leaders receive a $250 grant to give back to their schools.

Playsmart will reach out to Middle School principals sometime this February to request recommendations for students to attend the 2017 Playsmart Academy. For more information, contact Chad Soupir, Elkhorn Valley Middle School.

equipping TOMORROW’S 34

leaders

mQUARTERLY • FEB/MAR/APR 2017


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2017

The following events & organizations were announced as WINNERS at metroQUARTERLY’s recent presentation of The BIG Event! Please JOIN US in congratulating the following organizations and events!

BEST EVENT: 1ST - 2ND ANNUAL

BEST EVENT: SPEAKER / SPECIAL GUEST

OUTSTANDING GUILD AWARD

Alzheimer's Association NE Chapter

Growing Hope Gala

Children's Hospital & Medical Center

Rainbow Connectors Guild

Omaha Children’s Museum

Hero & Hope Gala 2015 featuring LeAnn Rimes BEST EVENT: FOOD & WINE

BEST EVENT: PUBLISHER’S CHOICE

Food Bank for the Heartland

Celebrity Chef: Anne Burrell

JDRF Heartland Chapter BEST EVENT: FAMILY & FESTIVALS

Promise Gala: Going Platinum for a Cure

Nebraska Children's Home Society

Sand in the City BEST EVENT: THEME

BEST EVENT: M.A.D. 25

Heartland Family Service

Carnival of Love Gala

BEST EVENT: UNDER 500

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – NE Chapter

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands

Out of the Darkness Community Walk

20th Anniversary On the Road BEST EVENT: HEATH & WELLNESS

to the Club Angels Among Us

An Evening Among Angels BEST EVENT: OVER 500 Open Door Mission BEST EVENT: EDUCATION

There's No Place Like Home Midlands Mentoring Partnership

Mentoring Awareness Luncheon BEST EVENT: OVER 1000 Omaha Zoo Foundation BEST EVENT: WALK/RUN

Zoofari: Rock & Roar Susan G. Komen Nebraska

Race for the Cure

FIRST PLACE: BIG CONNECTION WINNER Heartland Family Service • Carnival of Love Gala


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G IVINGBACK!

GET EXCITEDABOUT

CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY

FROM THE PUBLISHERS OF

3 Great Ways to Connect

with the most important events in the 2017 Charity & Cultural Calendar • The Giving Guide & Event Book 2017 Print Editon • The Giving Guide online at WWW.SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM/THE-EVENT-BOOK/ • Enter, update and search 2017 events 365/24/7 at WWW.SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM/METRO-MAGAZINE/COMMUNITY/CALENDAR/

Distributing now in celebration of these great nonprofits & businesses: 100 Black Men of Omaha Abraham Catering AKSARBEN Foundation All Makes Alzheimer’s Association of the Midlands American Heart Association American Red Cross Heartland Chapter Assistance League of Omaha Autism Action Partnership Avenue Scholars Ballet Nebraska Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska BLUEBARNTheater Boy Scouts of America Mid-America Council Boys Town Carson Wealth Management Group Catering Creations Catholic Charities Centris Federal Credit Union CenturyLink CHI Health Foundation Child Saving Institute Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha

Children’s Square U.S.A. Collective for Youth Completely KIDS COUNTERPARTS COXCommunications Creighton University Athletics Dog & Pony Productions Douglas County Sheriff Embassy Suites Conference Center –La Vista Omaha Equestrian Foundation Film Streams First Responders Food Bank for the Heartland Founders One • Nine GALLUP Gesu Housing, Inc. Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska Goodwill Industries Great Western Bank Grief’s Journey (fka Ted E. Bear Hollow) HEALing Embrace Heart Ministry Center Heartland Family Service Heritage Services Hilton Omaha

Hope Center for Kids Jet Links Joslyn Art Musuem Josyln Castle Justice For Our Neighbors Nebraska KANEKO Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska Make A Wish Nebraska Max I. Walker MECA (CenturyLink Center) Methodist Hospital Foundation Metro Area Youth Foundation Metropolitan Community College MOTION CONTENT HOUSE Nebraska Ataxia Nebraska Children and Families Foundation Nebraska Children’s Home Society Nebraska Enterprise Fund Nebraska Greats Foundation Nebraska Humane Society Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc. NET Notre Dame Sisters NP DODGE OBI Creative

Ollie Web Center, Inc. Omaha Academy of Ballet Omaha Children’s Museum Omaha Community Foundation Omaha Community Playhouse Omaha Design Center Omaha Home for Boys Omaha Performing Arts Omaha Public Library Foundation Omaha Schools Foundation Omaha Symphony Omaha Zoo Foundation Open Door Mission Opera Omaha Outlook Nebraska, Inc. Paramount Parking Partnership 4 Kids Patricia’s Catering Pinnacle Bank planitomaha PlaySmart PRINTCOGraphics QLI –Quality Living, Inc. Rebuilding Together Omaha Rejuvenating Women

Restoration Exchange Omaha Ronald McDonald House Sam & Louie’s Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue, Inc. Scott Conference Center Siena/Francis House Special Olympics Nebraska STEPGroup Susan G. Komen Nebraska Take Flight Farms The Dreamweaver Foundation The Durham Museum The Kim Foundation The Phoenix Academy The Salvation Army The Salvation Army KROC Center Ultra Chic Boutique United Rent-All United Way of the Midlands Vandenack /Weaver LAW VIP Limo Visiting Nurses Association WELLCOM Women’s Center for Advancement YMCA of Greater Omaha


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KMTV MORNING BLEND’S

SHE SAID

mike & mary What personal life challenges have strengthened you the most?

he said • she said Anyone who has been married remembers that magical time before saying “I do.” The weeks and months prior are full of anticipation, excitement and occasional anxiety. I left the television industry in 2008 to lead a small company’s marketing and advertising division. Unknown to me, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. In the spring of 2009, my paychecks stopped coming. My wedding was a couple months away. We’d purchased a new house and I was having a hard time selling my existing one. Financial difficulties were beginning to set in right before what was supposed to be the best time of my life. The stress of the upcoming wedding, uncertain job status and then owning two homes was challenging, to say the least. Anyone who has been through extremely stressful periods knows that it can affect you emotionally and physically. At one point it became so overwhelming my body reacted with rashes and hives. It became so severe I had to go to the emergency room because it spread to my inner throat, making it tough to breathe. It was a period in my life I learned that mindset is half the battle. Expecting life to always be easy and joyful is unrealistic. Then I learned that by simply recognizing the ups and downs of the journey, I was able to handle them with a sense of control. Sometimes we depend greatly on our expectations. However, when you stop expecting things to be a certain way, you can appreciate them for what they are. Experiencing difficult times gives you the strength to turn your wounds and worries into wisdom. Fortunately, I’ve still not experienced the personal stress at the levels I did in 2009. But I know now that I am better prepared to handle even minor challenges that come along. So how did that tough year turn out for me? I did get married, I sold my house, I grew my own business, and eventually got back in to the television industry. It turned out to be a pretty great time in my life.

~ Mike DiGiacamo

A viewer emailed once, sort of complaining that I’m happy all the time. She wondered whether I’ve ever had a bad day. That prospect was amusing to me! Of course I’ve had bad days. I’ve just learned that happiness is a choice. That lesson came early in life. I “grew up fast,” as some people might put it. My mom wrapped my brother and me in love. She nurtured and encouraged us. She worked tirelessly to provide for us. My father was very different. I’ve heard he was a good man when he was younger, before I was born. But the truth is, I never saw that side of him. I saw a man who drank a lot. He had an awful temper, and was abusive. I feared him, and didn’t want to be around him. When I was in elementary school, a teacher gave us an assignment to write about the happiest day of our lives. I can only guess what that meant to my classmates. My choice: the day my parents got divorced. It was the beginning of the rest of my life! Those eight years living with him were challenging. The time since has been challenging, too. We haven’t talked in 15 years, something which stirs mixed feelings. It was difficult to walk away from that relationship, but I couldn’t ignore my own well being. Seeing a lack of accountability in my father helped me refine that quality within myself, and I can’t imagine my life at home or work without it! I learned to surround myself by good people—and not just anybody. I developed a keen perspective, so more trivial things don’t rattle my cage. And that speaks to the strength I discovered…the feeling within that I’ve “got this” – no matter what “this” is. I learned that having one lemon in your life doesn’t mean souring on all of humanity. I learned that being a father does not make you a dad – and that moms, grandmothers, stepdads, aunts and uncles can make great dads themselves. I have learned that respect is love, and love is everything. Love is everything.

~ Mary Nelson 40

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MARY E. VANDENACK Mary Vandenack, while a lawyer by profession, has studied extensively in mind/body areas of fitness and wellness. She is Yoga Alliance RYT-200, Power Pilates certified and ACE certified.

finding ways TO INSPIRE others TO POSITIVE ACTION~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

To “inspire” means to influence, move, or guide; to spur on; or to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence. It is possible for any one of us to provide inspiration to others and doing so is an act that can make the world move in a different direction. Consider some of the negative messages that you heard along the path of your life. Do you still have negative self-views? A body image issue? A lack of confidence? Social inadequacy? How could that be different for you if you had missed negative messages along the way and instead been benefitted by more positive and inspiring messages? You can choose to act in ways that inspire others. As you do so, you may find that you also inspire yourself or simply experience the inspiration of others more often.

Focus on Positive Comments. Last fall’s election cycle was a great demonstration of the impact of negativity. Such division and anger resulted. Skip the negative judgmental “you” statements. Instead, find something positive to say as often as possible. If you can’t find something positive to say, consider staying silent. Believe in Others. Instead of trying to control the direction of others on your path, provide guidance. Then, set them free to figure things out. You can be a safety net but help people learn to fly. Believe that others can achieve their goals and help them to believe in themselves. Acknowledge Contributions of Others. To the extent you have been successful, it’s unlikely you did that without help and support. Acknowledge contributions. And, consider providing paths to success for others.

Express Enthusiasm. When you are excited about something, express it. Exude passion and energy. Doing so is contagious. Be a Great Listener. People really want to be heard. Listening is a special skill. Listening helps you to connect emotionally with the other person. When you listen, you are more likely to respond in a way that will enhance the relationship and what each of you do as a result of the connection.

Reach for the Stars. Aim high. Refuse to give in to those who say you are reaching too high. Believe that you can accomplish that which you set your mind to.

Care. You are most likely to inspire others when you reflect genuine care. Show your care in your words and actions.

Connect with Those Who Inspire You. If you are inspired by someone, seek to get to know them. Even if they live across the world, there exist avenues of connection.

Excel at What You Do. It is true that people will observe what you do more than listen to what you do. Excellence is inspiring. Excel in your work. Excel in your relationships. Excel in your hobbies.

Read and Share Inspiring Writings. Keep yourself inspired by reading that which is inspiring. Then, share what inspires you on to others to pass it on.

ENVISION YOUR FUTURE: PREVENT DISEASE DISCOVER HEALTH! YOU DESERVE A BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY SMILE! Dr.Stephanie Vondrak • Dr. Ashley Rainbolt Vondrak Dental (402) 289-2313 info@drvondrak.com

THE CHOICE IS YOURS! 41

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Sara Boyd is President and CEO at the Omaha Community Foundation

omaha giving

• OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

the landscape: MORE THAN

JUST NUMBERS, it’s people

While most of us have some understanding of what’s happening in our community, it’s often difficult to know the full scope of our challenges. We have much to be proud of, but we also have great disparities. For example, we all know that poverty exists locally, but many may not realize that it’s growing—having increased 65 percent faster than national rates since 2000. To dig in deeper, we launched The Landscape, an online data-driven reflection of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area. It looks at six areas of community life—Health, Neighborhoods, Safety, Transportation, Education, and Workforce—with specific indicators in each area to provide a broader perspective on how our community is faring. The Landscape is designed to help those most invested in our community— whether through their donations, their work, or their advocacy—make connections between issues and trends in different areas. This data is a first step in finding ways to improve the quality of life for all people in our community. But, data alone does not tell the whole story. We must also consider how our friends and neighbors who experience these challenges daily are affected. To get started, we spoke with Edwina Shepard, a resident of the Kountze Park / King Science Center neighborhood for over 40 years, to understand what some of these data points might mean to her. In her story, we hear her strength of character, her hope, and her activism amidst what she saw in her own neighborhood as deteriorating circumstances. Edwina raised her children as a single mother. Single parent families are growing locally—by almost double the national rates. And we know that most of these families are led by women. Considering that there is an average $10,000 wage

42

gap between men and women, this limits single mothers’ ability to support their children and break cycles of poverty. Furthermore, Edwina describes the transition of her neighborhood from mostly home ownership to more sara boyd renters. While we often hear how affordable it is to live here, nearly half of all renters spend more than the recommended 1/3 of their income on housing—this is before utilities, groceries, and healthcare bills are paid. Public transit also played an important role in her life and her ability to work. But for many residents, our limited investment in public transit has made commute times unreasonable and housing and transportation costs unaffordable. Our lower income neighbors spend two to three times more of their income on housing and transportation than neighbors with higher incomes. I’ve highlighted a few challenges here, but there is much more to understand. We believe in the power of community. We believe that success does not live with one neighborhood, one organization, or one sector alone. We must reach across the lines between neighborhoods, organizations, sectors, political parties, or any geographic boundaries that might divide us. That is why The Landscape is so important to us. Because it’s not just data, it’s people. It’s our people. It is our challenge to look in the mirror of our community and commit to a vision better than what is currently reflected—to share and pursue a new vision of our community. If there is anywhere that can do it, it’s here. Visit www.thelandscapeomaha.org to learn more about how where you can get started.

mQUARTERLY • FEB/MAR/APR 2017


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overlooked area in financial planning is the reduction of income by disability of the breadwinner. How would you continue to pay normal bills if you became disabled and unable to work? Many employers offer short-term and/or long-term disability income benefits in their group insurance programs. Employer plans are often capped at a level that replaces just half to two-thirds of an employee’s income. These are generally not portable; if you change employers, the coverage in your new position may be less or different. An advantage of individually owned disability insurance for which premiums are paid with after-tax income is that benefits received are not subject to income tax. Disability benefits are stated in increments of hundreds of dollars per month. If the insured person is disabled and meets the definition of disability in the policy, after the specified waiting period has been met, the benefits will be payable until the end of the benefit period, if continually disabled. The definition of disability may be different from policy to policy, and should be evaluated prior to selecting a plan. Some policies use definitions tied to occupation, while some require certain physical restrictions in determining eligibility for claims. Many coverage options are available in the marketplace. Most common are benefit periods to age 65, some of which can be continued to older ages if the insured is still working. Ten-year benefit periods are also available, which might be appropriate for situations in which it is not anticipated the additional income will be needed after children are independent, or after the mortgage has been satisfied, for example. Another consideration in purchasing disability income insurance is the “waiting period” or “elimination period”. This determines how long the disability needs to exist, before any benefits can be due. Waiting periods vary from 30 days to two years for longterm disability insurance. As waiting periods increase, premiums will decrease. If you have an adequate emergency fund, made up of cash or liquid assets sufficient to cover expenses for, say, six to 12 months, this will allow you more flexibility in comparing insurance options. Other factors to evaluate in comparing products would include whether the coverage is contingent on qualification for Social Security Disability benefits. Some policies will reduce benefits by the amount of government benefits you are receive on claim. This can also work to lower the premium for your individual policy. Insurers offer varying provisions related to disabilities resulting from mental health or addictive behaviors. Often the benefit period for these causes will be limited to two years. Residual benefits, which may pay a lower benefit if you are still able to work at a reduced income, can help to fill the gaps before or after a period of total disability. Sometimes a disability will be recurring, so many policies include a provision for waiver of the waiting period if the recurrence is manifested within six months of a prior claim eligibility period. While comparing long-term disability insurance, be sure to evaluate the benefits available for catastrophic disabilities, as well as options for cost of living increases while on claim, future increases dependent on changes in earnings, and automatic benefit increases. It might be time for you to evaluate your need for income replacement in the event of a disability! For more information, please contact your trusted advisor at Swartzbaugh-Farber – ‘Client Centered – Client Advocates™’. This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor or plan provider. Securities Offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a Registered Broker Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Swartzbaugh-Farber & Associates, Inc. is independently owned and operated.

A CHILD’S JOURNEY AND

stephanie vondrak d.d.s.

APPROACHING my reception area, I looked over the counter to glance at my next patient, a beautiful yet terrified 12-year-old girl. The tiny child was visibly trembling as she nervously waited for her turn to meet me— another “Dentist.” According to her mom, I would be the third doctor to attempt her much-needed dental treatment. The last appointment failed so badly that general sedation in an operating room was recommended to complete simple fillings and remove already loose baby teeth! As I studied her face, I could see the sadness and shame. I thought to myself, “Don’t worry, Anna...We can do this!” (Editors Note: Not the patient’s actual name.) With Anna, trust was the key. Although we could never pinpoint a previous “bad” dental experience, Annas fear was instinctive. She simply did not want be “out of control” or vulnerable. Her distress applied to all medical situations including a flu shot in her pediatrician’s office, or a strep test at the ENT. To help her, I needed trust. Anna would have to believe that I would listen to her concerns, answer her questions and that I would not judge her for what she was feeling. Most of all, I knew that I could not begin treatment until Anna was ready. Ten months and eight trust-building visits later on a quiet fall afternoon, Anna was our only patient. Our methodology leading up to today included: several hygiene visits cleaning a few teeth at first then adding more, education on plaque control and food choices to avoid future decay, practicing at home with dental mirrors and cotton rolls, intraoral photos celebrating her improved brushing and flossing, anxiety management by her counselor and a dental studentlike visit in which we taught Anna how to use a handpiece, prep a stone model and place a filling all by herself. Earbuds secure and her playlist ready, I looked her in the eye and said, “Anna, you can do this.” She nodded through her tears, willing herself to trust, and we began. Our goal had been one filling, maybe two, and with Annas permission we accomplished four! During her next visit, three more fillings were placed and two baby teeth extracted all without a single tear! In the next phases of her care, we will tackle Annas crowded teeth and constricted upper jaw, making an appliance that will guide her growth, open her airway, and allow her permanent teeth to erupt into a healthier arch form. Even more exciting, this type of intervention will likely reverse her diagnosed acid reflux helping her feel better and eliminating the need for medication! I share this story for two reasons. First, I am so grateful that Anna was willing to place her trust in us. The opportunity to help her has been amazing and it is one that we will never forget. Second, I believe Annas story is an excellent example of the power we all have as humans to positively impact each other when we take the time to recognize the opportunity. You see, I viewed Annas dental work as much more than removing decay and placing fillings. For me, Annas tremendous dental fear presented an opportunity to help her on a much deeper level. By giving Anna the tools she needed to conquer her greatest fear and reach her most challenging goal, she proved to herself that she can accomplish anything! Congratulations Anna, I am so proud to be your doctor! *Look for our ad in this issue of mQUARTERLY Dr. Stephanie Vondrak is board certified by the American Academy of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine to treat patients suffering from Sleep Apnea with sleep apnea appliances.

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planning matters

• WITH VW LAW

asset protection TRUSTS Traditional estate planning focuses on disposition of assets and tax planning; however, an important part of estate planning is asset protection planning. Asset protection planning can be used to protect oneself from a variety of creditor types. Additionally, there are strategies that can be utilized to provide asset protection for your beneficiaries.

When one person creates a trust for another person, such a trust is a third-party trust. In most states, a third-party trust has fairly solid asset protection. The degree of protection for a third-party trust will depend on state laws and the specific provisions of the trust.

There are many strategies that can be utilized for asset protection planning purposes. Many of the strategies are very simple. For example, there are certain protections for qualified plans, life insurance, and home ownership. Anyone interested in asset protection planning should first consider the simple techniques; however, in some instances, more significant asset protection strategies may make sense. One of those strategies is the creation of an asset protection trust.

Sometimes, it makes sense for an individual to create a trust for him or herself. Such a trust is called a selfsettled trust. Historically, individuals desiring to create asset protection trusts might choose an offshore asset protection trust. Several states noted the advantages of allowing self-settled trusts. Such states have passed laws that allow individuals to create such trusts, remain a beneficiary of such trust, and have assets placed in such trusts protected from unknown future creditors.

mary e. vandenack

Alaska was the first state to pass laws allowing for such trusts. There are now 15 other states that have passed laws allowing for such trusts. Unfortunately, Nebraska has not passed asset protection trust laws; however, a Nebraska resident can establish a trust in another jurisdiction. It is best if the person creating the trust has connections in the state in which the trust is established. There are a variety of rules that generally apply to creation of a self-settled trust regardless of the state of creation. A significant rule is that the trust must be created before there is a significant threat of creditors or potential creditors. That is, if you have already been or are about to be sued, it is too late. If a lender is foreclosing on your property, it is too late. If your spouse is in the process of filing for divorce, it is too late. Some individuals have sought to set up trusts in jurisdictions to which the individual has no connection. Someone setting up such a trust should have some connections. Some assets must be maintained in the jurisdiction in which the trust is established. There must be a trustee in the state in which the trust is established. The trustee must have the power to accomplish trust administration; however, the creator of the trustee can create an investment committee to handle investments and a distribution committee to make distribution decisions. While there have been some successful challenges to asset protection trusts, such challenges typically have involved “bad facts” such as pre-existing creditors. An asset protection trust should be considered at a time when one is not being chased by creditors.

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THE power OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

andee hoig A SPEAKER WITH inspiration AND impact! ie ue

ng ds,

ort

TAKE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S community service EFFORTS TO the next level! ANDEE IS AN enthusiastic AND knowledgeable SPEAKER. ANDEE’S EXPERIENCE IN WORKING WITH BOTH THE NONPROFIT AND CORPORATE SECTOR OVER THE past 25 years WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING OUR AGENTS LEARN innovative WAYS TO TAKE THEIR COMMUNITY SERVICE ACTIVITIES TO THE next level. GIVING BACK IS A must FOR EVERY BUSINESS AND ANDEE delivers WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING ORGANIZATIONS CREATE AND implement STRATEGIC GIVING PLANS AND NONPROFIT PARTNERSHIPS. ~ MIKE RIEDMANN PRESIDENT, NP DODGE RESIDENTIAL SALES DIVISION

• Devise a fresh new approach to step up your community involvement and impact • Create and implement a powerful giving strategy • Connect with the community with greater purpose and impact Andee will show you how to connect with the community on a deeper level, and create greater impact in the community while creating an exceptional giving culture that engages employees and clients through THE power OF COMMUNITY SERVICE! I believe THAT BUSINESSES & ORGANIZATIONS (BOTH LARGE AND SMALL) HAVE AN incredible OPPORTUNITY TO create THE GREATEST impact IN BUILDING STRONG COMMUNITIES THROUGH GIVING BACK. I LOOK FORWARD TO serving YOU AS YOU SERVE OTHERS . ~ ANDREA ‘ANDEE’ HOIG PRESIDENT & CEO, ALH PUBLICATIONS, INC.

to speak to both large and small audiences or provide one-on-one consulting. • Andee Tois available learn more or to schedule your event with Andee call: 402-706-8260 or email: ahoig@spiritofomaha.com Request a full bio with all of Andee’s speaking topics


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event galleries

look for the LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE HIGHLIGHTED ORGANIZATIONS IN THE EVENT BOOK 2017!

ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION 43RD ANNUAL WOMAN OF THE YEAR GALA

UNITED WAY OF THE MIDLANDS ANNUAL MEETING

LUTHERAN FAMILY SERVICES OF NEBRASKA FANDANGO® AND WICKER & WINE®

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CENTER FOUNDATION CHILDREN’S GALA

THE DURHAM MUSEUM SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY MAKES SPIRITS BRIGHT

JOSLYN CASTLE TRUST JOSLYN CASTLE GUILD PATRON PARTY

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES IN OMAHA WINGS & WHEELS

WELLCOM EXCELLENCE IN WORKSITE WELLNESS AWARDS

• VIEW & PURCHASE ADDITIONAL PHOTOS OF THESE EVENTS now! AT SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM

Purchase photos from these events online or from your smartphone, and metroMAGAZINE will donate 10% back to that organization. Join us in giving back! Enter the code “GIVE10” on the checkout page of your shopping cart. • please remember to trade with our advertisers, whose support helps make our promotion of these important events possible

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FEATURED EVENT

spotlight

omaha symphony guild

SYMPHONY DEBUTANTE BALL 2016

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAN FLANIGAN

debs & stags

ESSENTIALS: When: December 27 Where: Embassy Suites La Vista Why: The Debutante Ball has honored and celebrated the volunteerism and philanthropy of many Omaha area families for 51 years. It recognizes thesefamilies’ support of the Omaha Symphony and other charitable organizations in our community. Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Steven Davidson Attendance: 634 Amount Raised: Over $100,000

2016 OMAHA SYMPHONY DEBUTANTES

2016 Deb (left to right, front to back): Maddie Simon, Claire Hofmann, Scout Petersen, Lauren Kopp, Louise Hasebroock, Sara Flaxbeard, Anna Stienike, Madison Hoy, Krissy Hosman, Caitlin Kelley, Claire Wilson, Molly Kuehl, Jordan Walsh, Alexandra McCashland, Clare Crockett, Laura Theisen, Addison Baffert, Avery Shepherd, Taylor Nihsen, Madison Johns, Maggie Abboud, Olivianne Fitzgerald, Lucy Heldridge, Catherine Belford, Anna Gottsch, Grace Neary, Maddie Reed, Kathryn Gay, Elizabeth Baxter, Morgan Crockett, Amanda Ilg, Victoria Liakos, Mia Seina, Elle English, Rachel Mazzotta, Taylor Crandall, Rachel Zetzman, Emily Pape, Jackie Petersen, Samantha Draper, Monica Siegel, Morgan Pattermann, Elise Pape 2016 Stags (left to right, front to back): Sam Maenner, Jack O’Malley, Jack Goldstein, Skyler Blossom, Nick Gratton, Costen Bishop, David Cavanaugh, Spencer Mullen, Jarett Gustafson, Mike Flinn, Sam Frankel, William Gottsch, Jack Vosik, John Ellis, Teddy Murphy, Allen Reed, Ben Bonebrake, Luke Peterson, Thomas Fulcher, Tate Moyer, Joey Kamm, Jack Lyons, Tanner Magid, Zach Pusic, Nicholas Pellett, Alex Lindquist, Thomas Koch, Eddie Johnson, Joey Lydiatt, Peter Pellett, John Goding, Charlie Kenney, Max deMayo, Patrick Carter, Joey Machado, Drew Homa, Will Schenken, Collin Healy, Mitchell Hagan, Toby Greene, Jack Johnson Mission: Proceeds will be used to help fund the Omaha Symphony’s educational and outreach programs. Over 30,000 students benefit annually.

2016 OMAHA SYMPHONY STAGS 48

For more Information: omahasymphony.org/guilds

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mQUARTERLY

| debutante ball

FRONT: LISA STROHMYER, JONI LINDQUIST, DANIELLE BUNZ, LAURA DOLL, JANET NICHTING AND CINDY MAGID MIDDLE: CATHERINE MAHONEY, SALLY ENGLISH, CHRISTINE STEVENS, PATTY BUSER AND BECKY WINCEK BACK: JULIE LYONS, ANNE MEDLOCK, STACY WILSON, SUSAN HEIM AND JENNIFER PETERSON

LAURA AND TYLER MULLEN AND PARKER MULLEN WITH CONNOR AND ALYSSA MULLEN

BECKY WINCEK, SUE HADDIX, NICK NEMER, LAURA PETERSON WITH KATHY AND JOHN PETERSON

JULIE WEISS, JORDAN WALSH, DANYELLE WALSH AND KELLY LANDEN

KYLE AND MOLLY REGELEAN WITH LORI AND ALAN BALDWIN

KATE, ANNE, LIBBY, ALLIE AND NICK BAXTER

CHARLES KENNEY, JACK JOHNSON, JOEY KAMM AND ZACH PUSIC

FITZGERALD AND DRAPER FAMILIES

PHIL AND DIANE KNICKY WITH TONEE AND TIM GAY

STEVE DAVIDSON, KIMBERLEY HORD, DANIELLE BUNZ AND JAMES JOHNSON


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Photography by Dan Flanigan

RELIEVING

Rigors

Arthritis Foundation 43rd Annual Woman of the Year Gala When: October 20

JOHN KNICELY AND MARY MAXWELL

CHIP MAXWELL, JIM MAXWELL, MARY MAXWELL, MIMI REED, TIM MAXWELL AND JEFF MAXWELL

MARY MAXWELL AND ANN MARIE ABBOUD

PATRICK MCDERMOTT, MARY MAXWELL, ANN MCGILL AND MICHAEL MCDERMOTT

Where: Omaha Marriott – Regency Why: Mary Maxwell was honored for her iconic humor, passion and concern for others in the Omaha community. She continues to positively impact countless nonprofit organizations throughout the Midlands. From her public speaking career to being a devoted Nebraska football fan, Mary has engaged and inspired people in Nebraska and across the country. Arthritis Foundation Nebraska Leadership Board Chairman Carlo Rinaldi said, “We thank Mary for her outstanding role with the Arthritis Foundation and the Omaha Community. We are privileged and honored to recognize her as the 43rd Woman of the Year honoree as we continue to raise money to help find a cure for arthritis.” Proceeds raised will support research both locally and nationally, juvenile arthritis programs and ultimately to find a cure for arthritis, a devastating disease. About: The Arthritis Foundation is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of arthritis, which strikes in Nebraska alone, 340,000 adults and 1,800 children, and is the nation’s leading cause of disability.

TORI MCCARTHY, MIKE MCCARTHY AND AUSTIN MCCARTH

Some of the service provided by the Arthritis Foundation, Heartland Region-Nebraska include Camp Spirit, a yearly camp for kids with juvenile arthritis and activities such as Family Education and Fun Day.

DAWN AND SID DINSDALE

Attendance: 140 guests Amount Raised: $125,000 For more Information: Sally Stalnaker at 402.201.2864 sstalnaker@arthritis.org | www.arthritis.org/nebraska

SHERI RINALDI, CARLO RINALDI AND SALLY STALNAKER

MARY JO LANGDON AND SUSIE ZINDEL

SANDY PARKER AND ELLEN WRIGHT

JULIE COLLINS, MARY ERIXON AND KATHY WICKSTROM 50

FATHER TOM FANGMAN, CHERYL WILD GOODRICH AND LIN SIMMONDS

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Photography by Debra S. Kaplan

STRENGTHENING

Community United Way of the Midlands Annual Meeting When: October 21

ANN AND KEN STINSON WITH SHAWNA FORSBERG

ANNIE AND DR. KEN BIRD WITH DR. AMY HADDAD AND STEVE MARTIN

Where: Omaha Hilton Hotel

DR. MARY HAWKINS AND LANCE FRITZ

MIKE AND GAIL YANNEY

Why: United Way of the Midlands provided a report to the community on its 2015-2016 efforts and shared goals for future impact at its Annual Meeting and Luncheon on Friday, October 21, 2016. The event is an opportunity to report on the work that’s been done over the past year, and frame the challenges our metro area continues to face with respect to poverty. The keynote speaker was Ken Stinson, chair emeritus of Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc. and chair of United Way’s Strategic Planning Committee. Stinson noted that while the scope and nature of the community’s needs have changed since UWM began in 1923, its mission remains the same: to help its neighbors stand strong by providing resources to address their basic needs and foster their future success. Among recent accomplishments, Stinson noted the creation of a community investment committee, a review process that would assure funding of the strongest local programs and expanded engagement in research, data analysis and communication with thought leaders across the metro area. Also at the meeting, Steve Martin and Dr. Amy Haddad received the Citizens of the Year Award. United Way of the Midlands CEO Shawna Forsberg announced the organization’s 2025 Community Impact Goals.

DAVID BROWN AND MELISSA MARVIN

MOGENS BAY, SHAWNA FORSBERG, SHARON MARVIN GRIFFIN AND CINDY BAY

Attendance: 440 About: In partnership with donors, volunteers and community partners, United Way of the Midlands addresses the basic needs of people in our community who live in poverty. This includes food, stable housing, domestic violence/sexual assault services and medical care. Readiness for school and work are also important, as UWM aims to help individuals and families move toward financial stability.

LORI NEKOLA, NICOLE EVERINGHAM, CARY MOHIUDDIN, SHAUNTEL VAUGHN AND MEGAN ADDISON

MIKE REILLY, DR. ANNE HERMAN AND DR. ADI POUR

For more Information: 402.342.8232 | www.unitedwaymidlands.org

CAPTIONS

CAP51

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Photos courtesy of Dan Flanigan and LFS

FAN

Friendly Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska Fandango® and Wicker & Wine® When: November 4

CHIP JAMES AND RUTH HENRICHS

DAN AND MARTHA PETERSON WITH RUTH HENRICHS AND TRACY AND JOHN JERKOVICH

Where: Hilton Omaha Why: To create and restore safe and happy childhoods! Attendance: 450 Amount Raised: $175,000

RUTH HENRICHS, ERIC GURLEY, DEB WIENS AND STEPHANIE CARTER

AMY STUDTS, JILL CONWAY, SARAH WILLSON, JAMIE VAN ROEKEL, TYLER WILLSON AND SEAN CONWAY

ROGER AND RITA GOREE WITH RONDA AND PHIL COLLING

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE WOMEN (CREW)

Mission: Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska expresses God’s love for all people by providing quality human care services that build and strengthen individual, family and community life. About: Established in 1892, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS) is a faith-based, not-for-profit, multi-service human care agency with locations across Nebraska and an office in Council Bluffs, Iowa. LFS demonstrates its mission through three broad service areas: Behavioral Health Services, including mental health counseling, sexual abuse/incest treatment, substance use treatment, and specialized counseling for children, adolescents, adults and families; Children Services, providing infant, international and foster care adoption services and searches, foster care, pregnancy counseling, maternal health care and family support services; and Community Services, providing refugee resettlement services, immigration legal services, AmeriCorps and other education and employment services for new populations. For more Information: 402.978.5646 | LFSneb.org

JONI AND BRUCE RASMUSSEN, INEZ AND KELLY SUMMY, BETH AND GARY MATTERS WITH LYNN AND JON HALL

MRS. NEBRASKA USA UNIVERSAL AMANDA REINERT WITH HUSBAND BRADY REINERT

CAPTIONS

CAP52

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Photography by Debra S. Kaplan

MISSION

Possible Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation Children’s Gala

LOLO, BETH AND BEN ROWE

ROBERT AND ADDIE HOLLINGSWORTH WITH STEPHANIE AND ROBB PANTANO

A sell-out crowd of more than 1,500 people supported the 2016 Children’s Gala Nov. 5 at CenturyLink Center Omaha to help Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Make the Impossible, Possible for children across the region and beyond. The event broke the record for most dollars raised, generating more than $880,000 toward the Changing Lives Together Capital Campaign to expand Children’s main campus and regional presence, elevate pediatric critical care and foster ground-breaking research.

MELISSA DUFFY, CARRIE JENKINS AND SHANNON HOY

DR. RICHARD AND GERALYN AZIZKHAN WITH DR. JOSEPH STOTHERT AND OMAHA MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT

Honorary chairs for the 2016 Gala were John and Carrie Jenkins. Stephanie Pantano and Addie Hollingsworth served as event co-chairs. The Friends Board president is Leslie Mayo. The 2016 Gala’s theme was “Making the Impossible, Possible,” honoring the Children’s doctors, nurses and staff as well as patients and their families who make the seemingly impossible, possible every day through their work, attitude and spirit.

JENNY HAMLIN, ANNETTE AND DR. MOHANAD SHUKRY WITH JEFF AND DR. ANDREA DUTOIT

“We are grateful to so many people for the success of this event, including the Gala committee whose dedication and enthusiasm have inspired us, to the leadership of the Friends Board, the Children’s employees for their beautiful silent auction baskets and to all of the community volunteers who worked to make the 2016 Gala a memorable one,” said Beth Greiner, executive director of the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation. “We are honored to have our community’s support in our ongoing effort to improve the life of every child in our region.”

MARY AND RODRIGO LOPEZ

For more Information: 402.955.6851 | ChildrensFoundationOmaha.org

SUE AND JOHN KNICELY

MIKE BROWN WITH STACY AND GARY ZOUCH

CAPTIONS

CAP53

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Photography by Debra S. Kaplan

GETTING

Sentimental The Durham Museum Sentimental Journey – Making Spirits Bright When: November 18

DAVE AND SUE MORRIS WITH BRUCE AND GERRY LAURITZEN

GERRY AND BRUCE LAURITZEN WITH CHRISTI JANSSEN

Where: The Durham Museum Why: Sentimental Journey celebrates the friends, sponsors, members and visitors that make The Durham Museum what it is. Special Guests: Mayor Jean Stothert, Honorary Chairs Bruce and Gerry Lauritzen, Board Members, State Senators and Community Leaders

HAROLD MAURER, SENATOR BEN NELSON, ROMAN UHING AND JIM WARREN

DIANE AND SENATOR BEN NELSON

Sponsors: Gerry and Bruce Lauritzen, First National Bank, Riverton Management Resources, LLC, Valmont, HDR, Mammel Foundation, Union Pacific, Kiewit Corporation and Tenaska Attendance: 312 Amount Raised: $167,000 Mission: The mission of The Durham Museum is to provide relevant entertaining and educational opportunities within the region that exceed customer expectations, while preserving our community’s vibrant cultural history.

BACK: KAREN AND JIM LINDER, POLINA AND BOB SCHLOTT WITH ROBERT DUNCAN FRONT: WASHINGTON AND VALERIA GARCIA, KAREN DUNCAN AND ANNE THORNE WEAVER

About: The Durham Museum in Omaha’s beautiful art deco Union Station is home to permanent exhibits that preserve Omaha’s vibrant history, traveling exhibits covering subjects ranging from history and culture, to science and industry, and many entertaining, educational, family-oriented activities. The Durham Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and has strong ties with the Library of Congress, National Archives, and The Field Museum. For more Information: 402.444.5071 | www.durhammuseum.org

FRED AND ROSEMARY OHLES WITH KAREN AND ROBERT DUNCAN

JIM AND KAREN LINDER

HAROLD AND BEVERLY MAURER

MIKE MCCARTHY, DR. JOE AND MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT AND GEORGE LITTLE 54

ROBYN AMIS AND LISA ROSKENS WITH LYNNE AND JOHN BOYER

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Photography by Dan Flanigan

CASTLE

Trustees Joslyn Castle Trust Joslyn Castle Guild Patron Party When: November 9

JEAN LAHTI, MARTY WEISS ANNE WEAVER AND RUTH KEENE

MIKE AND JAN BROWN, DICK AND LAURA WORICK WITH MAUREEN AND ROBERT LEE

Where: Joslyn Castle in Omaha Why: The Patron Party was the kickoff for the Joslyn Castle’s annual Historic Home Tour & Boutique which was held on November 10 and 11. Guests to the Patron Party enjoyed preferential shopping at the unique gift boutique located throughout the Castle featuring various local and regional vendors. Sponsors: Joslyn Castle Guild Attendance: 75

MELISSA MARVIN AND SUSAN TRACY

SHERRI MOORE AND JEANNIE OWEN Amount Raised: Over $10,000 Mission: The Joslyn Castle Guild directly supports the ongoing restoration and preservation of the Joslyn Castle. About: The Joslyn Castle Trust preserves and shares the Castle and its gardens and grounds to enrich the community. For more Information: 402.595.2199 | www.joslyncastle.com

CATHERINE MAYDEW, POLO DAVIS AND FRANCIE PRIER

FRANCIE PRIER AND FELLA

GINNY CASEY AND MARGIE CHARTRAND

MINDY FORAL

DALIA SUDAVICIUS AND NELLIE MACCALLUM

FELLA, VICKI HERRERA AND RICK KLAAS

AMY WIECHMANN AND JAMIE CHAMBERLAIN

ANN ETIENNE AND HEIDI WILLIAMS

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event galleries

Photos courtesy of Ronald McDonald House

TAKING

Flight

Ronald McDonald House of Charities in Omaha Wings & Wheels When: September 9 Where: Signature Flight Support

LINDSEY RAI REASNER, RONALD AND SCOTT VOORHEES

DEVELOP MODEL MANAGEMENT

Why: The mission of RMHC is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Attendance: 300 Amount Raised: $100,000 About: How the proceeds will be used – to help defray the cost to provide accommodations to the families of critically ill children receiving treatment at Omaha’s medical facilities. While the actual cost is $120 per night, families are asked to pay $10 each night. No family is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.

STACY COPE, RONALD AND LINDSEY RAI REASNER

JOEL AND LISA LONG WITH RONALD

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For more Information: www.rmhcomaha.org | 402.346.9377

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Photos courtesy of Bemis Center

ART

Patronage Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Benefit Art Auction When: October 28 Where: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Why: To commemorate 35 years of supporting artists and contemporary art in Omaha and to raise critical resources for the Bemis Center’s artist-centric programs that advance the work of today’s artists year-round. Attendance: More than 700 Amount Raised: Nearly $325,000 Mission: Founded in 1981, by artists for artists, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts supports today’s artists through an international artist-in-residence program, temporary exhibitions and commissions, and innovative public programs. For more Information: 402.341.7130 | bemiscenter.org

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Photos courtesy of Assistance League®

HOLIDAY

Cheer

Assistance League® of Omaha Christmas Caravan Preview Party Gala When: November 2 Where: Champions Run 1ST ROW: BARB KASSON, LEONA BRAKKE , KATHY HITZEMANN AND NANCY JOHNSON 2ND ROW: LYNDA CHARTIER, JAN JACKSON, AND DONNA SCHRECK 3RD ROW: JOY CLAUSSENIUS, MARCIA ALLEN, JUDY LEISE AND ROBIN WIAR 4TH ROW: KAY HOTHAN, LINDA MILLER, CHARLENE LIESVELD AND CHERYL SHETLAR

Why: Benefitting Assistance League of Omaha’s philanthropic programs including Operation School Bell® CAPTIONS Attendance: 272 Amount Raised: $35,000 Mission: Assistance League of Omaha is a nonprofit service organization whose members identify, develop, implement and fund ongoing philanthropic programs to serve specific needs of children and adults in the Greater Omaha area. For more Information: 402.342.4288 alomaha.org | alo@alo.omhcoxmail.com

JAN JACKSON AND LEONA BRAKKE

PHYLLIS HEIDEMAN WITH LANCE AND LINDA LARSON AND DONNA LAMMERT

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Photos courtesy of Partnership 4 Kids

WINE &

Wisdom

Hops and Grapes Fall Festival Partnership 4 Kids When: November 4 Where: Field Club of Omaha Why: Hops and Grapes Fall Festival is a special fundraiser benefitting the group mentoring and goal-setting, and No Excuses University programs for the 5,400 students served by Partnership 4 Kids.

JOSH RUETH, MOLLY VERBLE, KARIME RIOS AND NERIS FRANCE

Attendance: More than 300 guests Amount Raised: $50,000 About: Every child comes to Partnership 4 Kids with a story of survival, endurance and a desire to “do better.” P4K’s mission is to mentor these children for college today, and careers tomorrow. Together we will build a better community by inspiring hope, engaging minds, and preparing our children for college and careers. For more Information: www.p4k.org | 402.930.3000

COLLEEN NOVY, THERESA ROBINSON, DEBBIE LANGLE AND CINDY BACON

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event galleries

HEALING

Helpers The Kim Foundation A Time for Hope & Healing

BACK: ROBERT WILCZEWSKI, VICKI WITKOVSKI, MARK WOLF, BRIAN MASTRE, THOMAS JOINER, ROXANNE STANARD AND SCOTT STANARD FRONT: CAROLE WILCZEWSKI, JULIE ODERMATT, LARRY COURTNAGE AND KATHY COURTNAGE

The Kim Foundation was proud to present “A Time for Hope & Healing” on November 9 featuring Dr. Thomas Joiner, a leading suicidologist in the United States. The luncheon aligned with the foundation’s mission to serve as a supportive resource and compassionate voice for lives touched by mental illness and suicide. An extended session with Dr. Joiner featured a survivor panel and a memorial activity that followed the luncheon. There were 445 people who attended the annual event at Embassy Suites in La Vista raising over $27,000. The Kim Foundation is dedicated to reducing the stigma too often associated with mental illness and suicide prevention while working to expand the opportunity for quality mental health care across Nebraska. For more Information: Julia Hebenstreit, Executive Director 402.891.6911 | jhebenstreit@thekimfoundation.org

LARRY COURTNAGE

JULIA HEBENSTREIT, THOMAS JOINER, JILL HAMILTON AND LORI ATKINSON

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Photos courtesy of OneWorld

VISIONS OF

Kindness OneWorld Community Health Centers, Inc. OneWorld Milagro Dinner When: November 10 Where: Embassy Suites Downtown/Old Market

LAURA AND MICHAEL ALLEY

DR. ALEX DWORAK, SARAH DWORAK AND FERIAL PEARSON

Why: “Milagro” is a Spanish word meaning miracle and is an opportunity to celebrate the many “Milagros” our volunteers provide the patients of OneWorld. In 2015, more than 35,000 individuals were cared for at OneWorld in over 153,000 visits. Attendance: Approximately 375 Amount Raised: Over $132,000 Mission: OneWorld Community Health Centers, Inc., in partnership with the community, provides culturally respectful, quality health care with special attention to the underserved.

ELOISE AND PERRY POYNER

ANDREA SKOLKIN, DR. JANE BAILEY, DR. JOHN PETERS, DR. CAROL DRAKE AND DR. KRIS MC VEA

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For more Information: 402.502.8940 | oneworldomaha.org

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event galleries

Photos courtesy of KANEKO

HEARTS WIDE

Open KANEKO

Open Space Soirée 2016 When: November 11 Where: KANEKO

ANNE NELSON AND ANNE THORNE WEAVER

NICK HUFF, KAREN LINDER, POLINA SCHLOTT, KRISTAE ZANDBERGEN, BOB SCHLOTT AND PETE ZANDBERGEN

Why: The KANEKO Open Space Soirée is the organization’s annual fundraising event, with all proceeds benefiting KANEKO programming and operations. Attendance: 425 Amount Raised: $170,000 Mission: Creativity begins with an idea – seeing things differently. Our purpose is exploring the creative process – how a new idea is born into the arts, sciences, and philosophy. There is no restriction for creative activity. Imagination has complete freedom. Supporting and promoting freedom in creativity is KANEKO’s mission. For more Information: 402.341.3800 | thekaneko.org

GARRISON HIRSCH AND WENDY CHAPMAN

MARK MACK AND ROBERT DUNCAN

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Photos courtesy of Outlook Nebraska

HEALTHIER

Outlook Outlook Nebraska

2016 Vision Beyond Sight Banquet When: November 18 Where: Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center–La vista

CRAIG MACFARLANE

MELISSA SALTZMAN, KEVIN TINGLEY AND JOHN WICK

Why: The annual program and dinner is Outlook Nebraska’s largest fundraising event of the year. The event celebrates the capabilities of the 35,000 individuals in Nebraska experiencing vision loss and builds awareness of Outlook Nebraska’s growing Employment and Enrichment Programs. Outlook Nebraska produces and sells janitorial paper products, and nearly 70 percent of our workforce is legally blind. Attendance: 600 Amount Raised: $65,000 Mission: To Positively Impact everyone who is blind or visually impaired. For more Information: www.outlooknebraska.org

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event galleries

Photos courtesy of Nebraska Ataxia

EVENING OF

Firsts

Nebraska Ataxia Let’s Go Steady Fundraiser When: September 24 Where: Creighton Prep, Omaha Why: At our inaugural fundraiser, we celebrated our successes, educated the community about living with ataxia, raised money for our support programs, and connected with friends and community partners who fully engage in our mission. In addition to our fall fundraiser, Nebraska Ataxia holds support group get-togethers and special events throughout the year. Please join us!

MARK SIDWELL, LINDA SNIDER, SUSAN GRUENLING AND JON PEARSON

Attendance: 470 Amount Raised: Over $100,000 Mission: Helping those affected by ataxia through hands-on assistance, education and awareness, support for caregivers, and funding for medical therapies, equipment, and research. For more Information: 402.979.6331 | www.nebraskaataxia.org

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Photos courtesy of Mark Holiday Photography

AIMING

Higher WELLCOM Excellence in Worksite Wellness Awards Luncheon

MALORIE MADDOX AND REBECCA VINTON

ED BURCHFIELD, REBECCA VINTON, JEFF HAGEMAN AND FRANK VENUTO

WELLCOM recently honored 31 of the Midlands’ healthiest companies at their annual luncheon on Tuesday, October 11, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in La Vista. The luncheon featured a keynote address from Rebekah Gregory, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor. Nebraska’s Lieutenant Governor, Mike Foley, and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert were also on hand to assist with the awards presentation. The Excellence in Worksite Wellness Awards Luncheon honors organizations for positioning wellness programs as a strategic business opportunity and making a difference in their employees’ lives. “It’s exciting to recognize forward-thinking organizations of all sizes on their achievements in creating a supportive environment and overall culture of health and well-being at the worksite,” said Rebecca Vinton, President & CEO of WELLCOM.

MICHELLE MILLER AND REBEKAH GREGORY

DR. JOANN SCHAFER, DR. KYLE MEYER AND SARAH SJOLIE

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For more Information: 402-934-5795 | www.elevatingwellness.org

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event galleries

Photos courtesy of HEALing Embrace

HEALING

Huggers HEALing Embrace HEALs to the Pavement for Pregnancy and Infant Loss When: October 15 Where: Lake Zorinsky, Omaha

FAY HAUER, MINNIE MOUSE AND ISAAC SOMMER

DAVE AND ANGIE DIEHL WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Why: To raise money to support families that have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss with financial resources, free grief resources, weighted birth day bears, care packages and community awareness. Attendance: 1000+ Amount Raised: $50,000 Mission: We exist to... Journey alongside warrior families going through pregnancy & infant loss offering hope, healing & support; and to serve as an advocate and catalyst for options to honor those children lost. For more Information: healingembrace.org | 402.819.4002

PHILLIP AND STACIE WILLIAMS WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

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Photo courtesy of PlaySmart

PLAYING FOR

Keeps PLAYSMART

Iron Chef: Fall Harvest When: October 15 Where: Werner Valley Lodge, Valley, NE Why: To bring awareness and benefit for Playsmart Leadership Academy Attendance: 100 + Funds Raised: $40,000 Mission: Playsmart Leadership Academy is dedicated to providing leadership opportunities for students who may not otherwise have the chance. The organization helps kids reach their academic and life potential through sports. Vision: That America’s children will have the necessary skills, abilities and values to be successful academically and in life. For more information: 402.289.0362 | www.playsmart.org/our-cities/omaha/

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Photos courtesy of Creighton University Athletics

JAMMIN’ Jays Creighton University Athletics Bluejay Jamboree When: October 21 Where: Mutual of Omaha Dome

JANIE AND HARRY HOCH, JR.

JANIE AND HARRY HOCH, JR. AND COACH GREG MCDERMOTT

Why: Increasing student-athlete scholarships is a top priority for Creighton Athletics and donor support is critically important and appreciated. Every gift made to the 2016 Bluejay Jamboree will be in direct support of student-athlete scholarships. In 2016-17, Creighton Athletics will award the equivalent of 95 scholarships, considerably below the 142 scholarships the NCAA allows for Creighton’s 14 varsity athletics programs. The average annual investment to provide the current 95 scholarships exceeds $5.2 million. Donor loyalty and support of the Bluejay Jamboree will allow us to address our greatest need of providing scholarship assistance. Attendance: Over 600 Amount Raised: Over $400,000 For more Information: gocreighton.com/GIVE

CREIGHTON SOFTBALL TEAM

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Photos courtesy of Merrymakers Association

MENTORS OF

Merriment Merrymakers Association Toast to Greg McDermott When: November 10 Where: Embassy Suites, La Vista Why: 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of the Merrymakers Association.The Toast is Merrymakers’ single major annual fundraiser. It was the 26th anniversary of this event, traditionally a roast of a prominent Omaha figure. The 2016 event was a “toast” to the Creighton Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Greg McDermott.

GARY GROTE, MELISSA HEGARTY, STEVE PATTERSON, GREG MCDERMOTT, SANDY PARKER, CRAIG POHLMAN, MARK QUANDAHL, PETE HANLEY AND MARY MAXWELL

Attendance: 310 Amount Raised: $200,000 Mission: To improve the quality of life for seniors by encouraging active participation, increasing social interaction, and sparking memories through professional entertainment.

JOYCE TORCHIA, MARY LINK, KASEY HARRISON, DIANA SAPP AND JIMMY LINK

For more Information: 402.697.0205 | www.merrymakers.org

STEVE POWELL, GREG MCDERMOTT, PAT GARVIN AND BRUCE RASMUSSEN

365/24/7

VIEW 100s OF EVENTS FOR 2017 as registered and updated 365/24/7 by local area charitable, cultural and giving organizations and enterprises on our website at

C

SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM’S

OMMUNITY CALENDAR PAGE

www.spiritofomaha.com/Metro-Magazine/Community/Calendar/

CATCH THE LATEST EVENT UPDATES by visiting our extensive calendar pages or each organization’s individual event links

REGISTER YOUR OWN EVENTS by settting up a free account • ASK US HOW at CONNECT@SpiritofOmaha.com

LET US HELP YOU PROMOTE YOUR EVENTS by creating a free account on our calendar page and registering your event info using our BEFORE YOUR EVENT/AFTER YOUR EVENT resources

PROMOTE YOUR GIVING AGENDA in our weeklyCONNECTOR E-newsletter and other mobile & online resources, on our FACEBOOK page, and in the pages of our quarterly publication:

ASK US HOW AT

CONNECTING OUR COMMUNITY

people. parties. passion. purpose

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FEATURED EVENT

spotlight

M.A.D. 25

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mQUARTERLY

| we went M.A.D. in 2016

IN 2016 WE CELEBRATED 25 YEARS of serving those who give back in our community… and we went a little M.A.D. in the process. In the spirit of giving back and in celebration of our 25 year milestone we committed to participating in 25 charity events… they had to be physically challenging…a walk, a run, a biking event or jumping into a frozen lake! We documented M.A.D. 25 with some amazing photos, some of which are seen on this page. THIS YEAR, we’re once again inviting the community to RECRUIT US! If you would like for us to consider your event go to SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM and look for Eli the Elephant on the left hand side of the home page. We also encourage you to LIKE our metroMAGAZINE Facebook page. We will notify you if we can send a M.A.D. 25 Team to your event, and we’ll post photos from all of the challenges on our Facebook page. You can also email CONNECT@SpiritofOmaha.com if you wish to become a M.A.D. 25 Team Member! WE HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US!


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The information in this section appears as supplied to us by the organizations presented. ALH Publications, Inc. accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or integrity of any of the information provided. Please double-check for updated details with event organizers.

community CALENDAR

save the date FEBRUARY 25

featured EVENTS FEBRUARY 1

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Hilton Omaha | 1001 Cass Street | Omaha The largest fundraiser for Phoenix Academy, an intervention school for K-8th grade students struggling in reading and math. Year after year, a powerful and often well-known keynote speaker conveys Phoenix Academy’s mission on the importance of education. This year the keynote speaker is Angela Duckworth, psychologist and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Proceeds provide tuition assistance to students who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend Phoenix Academy. Individual ticket prices start at $100 402-390-0556 | http://phoenixacademyomaha.org 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM

2017 OMAHA HEART AND STROKE BALL American Heart Association Embassy Suites Conference Center – La Vista | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista The 28th Annual Omaha Heart and Stroke Ball, attended by more than 1,000 individuals from Omaha’s business, medical and social communities, is the annual black-tie optional gala benefiting the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. We will be celebrating our work and mission, our donors and volunteers, and—most importantly—the lives saved and improved because of the American Heart Association and our supporters. $300 Individual 402-810-6842 | www.omahaheartball.org

FEBRUARY 10

5:30 PM – 10:30 PM

MARCH 1

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS Special Olympics Nebraska Embassy Suites Conference Center – La Vista | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista An inspiring breakfast hosted by Special Olympics Nebraska. This year’s keynote speaker is TBD. A Special Olympics Global Messenger will also share an inspirational message. Join us for a hot breakfast with friends and learn about the important work of Special Olympics Nebraska in your community. Gold Table-$5,000 Silver Table-$2,500 Bronze Table-$1,000 Individual-$100

MARCH 3

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

SAVING PLACES - A PRESERVATION CELEBRATION Restoration Exchange Omaha TBD Set inside a historic building, Saving Places is a night to celebrate the work being done to preserve Omaha’s historic structures and honor the people who are making it happen. $50 - $75 402-679-5854 | www.restorationexchange.org 9:00 AM

HEAT THE STREETS RUN AND WALK

Hilton Omaha Downtown | 1001 Cass Street | Omaha MarianFEST (Funding Education in the Servite Tradition) is Marian’s annual benefit dinner and auction held each February. Marian’s 35th annual MarianFEST will feature a Superhero Gala from our new base of operations, the Hilton Omaha Downtown. We’ll share an evening of socializing and mobile bidding to help our mission to fund scholarships, need-based financial aid and Marian’s operating budget. $150 per ticket 402-571-2618 | http://marianhighschool.net 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

HEARTLAND FAMILY SERVICE CARNIVAL OF LOVE GALA Heartland Family Service Friends Guild Embassy Suites Conference Center – La Vista | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista The Heartland Family Service Friends Guild and honorary chairs Joe and Kacey Lempka invite you to Revel in Rio for an evening of fun and games. Guests again will use an electronic bidding service to bid and keep tabs on their favorite silent auction items directly from their smart phones throughout the night. The evening will also include cocktails, appetizers, games, a raffle, dinner and live auction. Co-chairs for this year’s event are Julie Gibson-Beier and JoAnn Gould. $150 for an Individual Ticket • Table Sponsorships available from $1,500 and up 402-552-7424 | http://heartlandfamilyservice.org

FEBRUARY 25

The Living Room at the Mastercraft Building | 111 N. 13th St. | Omaha Join the Friends of Nebraska Children and the Nebraska Chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild for a 1950’s Cuban-themed craft cocktail competition benefiting the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. Prepare for a showdown between Omaha and Lincoln’s brightest and most innovative bartenders! Local mixologists will prepare their best craft cocktails using Brugal rum. There will be live music, authentic period photography and an amazing opportunity to make a difference for Nebraska’s most vulnerable kids. General admission is $75. VIP packages for two ($250) or four ($450) 402-819-9361 | www.perfectpour.org

MARCH 4

MARIANFEST Marian High School

FEBRUARY 11

7:00 PM – 12:00 AM

PERFECT POUR: A CRAFT COCKTAIL COMPETITION TO BENEFIT NEBRASKA CHILDREN Friends of Nebraska Children

PHOENIX ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP LUNCHEON Phoenix Academy

FEBRUARY 4

• mQUARTERLY

Midtown Crossing | 33rd & Farnam Heat the Streets Run is a professionally-timed 5K starting at Midtown Crossing and winding through the historic Midtown and Field Club neighborhoods. Walk for Warmth is an untimed, one-mile walk around Midtown Crossing. For the first time this year, we're offering a 400-meter sprint! This quick event will be one time around the loop at Turner Park with a downhill finish! Proceeds from the run and walk go to local energy assistance programs to help seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families pay their utility bills. The event is held in the cold winter months to bring attention to those who struggle to keep the lights on and heat their homes. 5K: $43, Walk: $27, Sprint: $10 402-250-3928 | www.heatthestreetsomaha.org

MARCH 25 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

SPRING GALA: FLIGHT Opera Omaha To Be Revealed • (402) 346-7372 | http://operaomaha.org

MARCH 25

7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

ARTVENTURE Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska

6:00 PM – 11:45 PM

20TH ANNUAL JDRF PROMISE GALA – PAST, PRESENT, CURE JDRF Heartland Chapter, Omaha-Council Bluffs CenturyLink Center Omaha | 455 North 10th Street | Omaha Celebrating a history of breakthroughs and a future of possibilities. Honorary Chair: Bret Michaels, Event Chairs: Jill & Jon Panzer. 6:00 p.m. Cocktails & Silent Auction 8:00 p.m. Dinner, Live Auction & Fund A Cure 9:30 p.m. Bret Michaels Band featuring a special guest. Visit: jdrf.org/omaha for full event, sponsorship, and auction details. Please see website for table & ticket pricing. 402.397.2873 | http://jdrf.org/omaha 73

UNO’s Mammel Hall | 6708 Pine Street | Omaha artVenture is a unique celebration of creative expression! Girl Scouts are matched with professional artists to work in a variety of mediums and the original art they create, as well as professional works, are sold at this silent auction event. Proceeds benefit Girl Scouts in Nebraska. This is an adult-only event. Patron Party beings at 6pm and the Main Auction begins at 7pm. Honorary Chair: Pam Alfrey Hernandez Event Chairs: Kim and Josh Weiss. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Patron Party $125 Main Auction: $50, Young Professionals: $35 402-779-8230 | www.girlscoutsnebraska.org

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The information in this section appears as supplied to us by the organizations presented. ALH Publications, Inc. accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or integrity of any of the information provided. Please double-check for updated details with event organizers.

community CALENDAR

LEARN MORE details about any of these events by searching our extensive Community Calendar at mQUARTERLY’s website: http://www.SpiritofOmaha.com/Metro-Magazine/Community/Calendar/

APRIL 1

5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

save the date CONNECT WITH over 100 nonprofits and learn more about their mission and how you can help! Order your copy of The Giving Guide & Event Book 2017 today at mQUARTERLY’s SpiritofOmaha.com.

APRIL 19

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

vinNEBRASKA WINE EVENT 2017 Partnership 4 Kids

OMAHA BUSINESS HALL OF FAME Greater Omaha Chamber

Ramada Plaza Omaha | 3321 S. 72nd Street | Omaha This grand celebration of great wines, gourmet food and amazing auction packages will feature premier wines from nationally and internationally recognized winemakers, paired with a selection of delectable hors d’ oeuvres. The event includes a silent auction with unique gift-items and wine-themed artwork as well as a live auction showcasing select bottles of wine, one-of-a-kind vacation packages and rare collectibles. $115.00 ($125 after March 1st) 402-557-6381 | http://vinnebraska.com/

Holland Performing Arts Center | 1209 Douglas St. | Omaha The Omaha Business Hall of Fame Gala is a program of the Greater Omaha Chamber through which businessmen and women, living or deceased, whose accomplishments in business are both outstanding and historically significant, are selected for induction each year. Donations from the money raised at this event are given to The Durham Museum to support the Omaha Business Hall of Fame exhibit and to the Chamber’s Young Professionals Summit. $250 per ticket 402.978.7957 | www.omahachamber.org

APRIL 2

APRIL 22

4:00 PM – 7:30 PM

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

CELEBRATION OF SPIRIT DINNER Notre Dame Sisters

DINING WITH DOGS Nebraska Humane Society

St. Robert Bellarmine Social Hall | 11802 Pacific St | Omaha All are invited to join the Notre Dame Sisters for an evening of merriment and thanksgiving at our 23rd Annual Celebration of Spirit Dinner! This event honors distinguished stewards with our Mother Qualberta Service Award and celebrates all of our guests for being faithful servants of the Lord. The evening includes a silent auction, $85 per person • $680 per table 402-455-2994 | www.notredamesisters.org

APRIL 4 – 5

Omaha Design Center | 1502 Cuming Street | Omaha Looking for a night out on the town with your best friend? Dining with Dogs is the event to attend. This benefit, hosted by the NHS Guild, Friends Forever, supports the animals at the Nebraska Humane society. It is uniquely designed with both canines and humans in mind. In facet, it’s the only dinner in town that invites you to bring your dog! Fido can put on his best collar and woof down hors d’ oeuvres while you enjoy a casual, fun, social hour, dinner, silent auction and oral auction. But the best entertainment is on the end of your leash! All proceeds benefit homeless animals, so as you enrich your dog you also help those still waiting for a new home. $100 per ticket 402-905-3483 | www.nehumanesociety.org

TABLE ART 2017 Omaha Symphony Gala

APRIL 24

Omaha Design Centre “Table Art 2017 celebrates the entertaining whimsy of nora fleming. Founder, Nora Napientek’s “dressed up interchangeable dinnerware” concept has bloomed into a business founded on simplifying the art of everyday entertaining.” (402) 681-4218 | www.omahasymphony.org/guilds/

APRIL 7

5:30 PM – 9:00 Wine Women & Shoes

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CENTER FOUNDATION Omaha Design Center | 1502 Cuming St. | Omaha Sip, shop and savor at this one-of-a-kind fundraiser that celebrates fashion and compassion! Taste luxury wines as you shop our fabulous Marketplace, full of hot shoes, cool jewelry and stylish accessories. This unique event gives you the opportunity to slip into your sassiest shoes and enjoy some time with your girlfriends while supporting the patients and families served by Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. $100 402-955-6851 | http://WineWomenandShoes.com/Omaha

APRIL 7

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

BOY SCOUTS CITIZEN OF THE YEAR LUNCHEON Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America Scott Conference Center | 6450 Pine Street | Omaha The Citizen of the Year luncheon honors an individual and corporation that have given a tremendous contribution to Scouting and our community. The 2017 Citizen of the Year is Gerry Lauritzen. The 2017 Corporate Partner of the year is Performance Auto Group, Mickey Anderson and Angie Quinn. $5,000 per table 402-431-9272 | www.mac-bsa.org

APRIL 29

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

REBUILDING DAY 2017 Rebuilding Together Omaha Rebuilding Together Omaha | 2316 S 24th Street | Omaha FREE 402-965-9201 | www.rebuildingtogetheromaha.org

APRIL 29

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

ANNUAL MEN OF HONOR GALA 100 Black Men of Omaha

FEATHER OUR NEST 2017 Fontenelle Forest

Omaha Hilton Downtown | 1001 Cass Street | Omaha The Men of Honor Gala serves to recognize individuals who, through their service, demonstrate an exceptional commitment to the mission of the 100 Black Men of Omaha (100) and raises needed funds to support 100 mentoring programs that serve at-risk Omaha youth. $100 per seat • $1,500 table 402.934.7065 | www.100blackmenomaha.org

Omaha Design Center | 1502 Cuming Street | Omaha Feather Our Nest is Fontenelle Forest’s annual gala celebration and fundraiser. The proceeds of this event open a door to the natural world for the youth in our community. This year’s Grand Opening of Raptor Woodland Refuge includes an opportunity for the public to view nearly two dozen live, non-releasable birds of prey in a unique outdoor setting. Various species of raptors including owls, hawks, turkey vultures and more, inspire both adventure and learning. Your participation will ensure that the over 40,000 children who visit Fontenelle Forest each year will walk amidst the variety of distinctive tree-house like mews. Your contribution will provide continued community access, conservation of native animal species, public education, and school programming, not only for Raptor Woodland Refuge but for all offerings at Fontenelle Forest. $125 per person 402-731-3140 | www.fontenelleforest.org

APRIL 8

6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

2017 BLUE JEAN BALL: A NIGHT OF STARS Make-A-Wish Nebraska Hilton Downtown | 1001 Cass St | Omaha Join Make-A-Wish Nebraska for an evening celebrating the true stars of our mission, our wish kids. Spend the evening helping make more Nebraska wishes come true by taking part in a raffle, silent and live auction. Hear the stories of children who’ve been touched by our mission and experience the power of a wish. $150 per individual ticket, $1,500 per table 402-333-8999 | www.nebraska.wish.org

APRIL 8

6:00 PM

THE GATHERING CUES Embassy Suites Conference Center – La Vista | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista The Gathering is a fundraising event to support the three mission schools of CUES: Sacred Heart, All Saints and Holy Name. $125 per ticket 402-451-5765 | http://cuesschools.org

MAY 2

5:30 PM

BOYS TOWN BOOSTER BANQUET Boys Town Embassy Suites Conference Center – La Vista | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista Each spring, we come together to celebrate the accomplishments of Boys Town’s student-athletes at the Boys Town Booster Banquet. The 2017 edition features dinner, a special guest speaker, and silent and live auctions. Being part of a sports team boosts children’s confidence and provides a way for them to have fun and still learn life lessons. With your support, the Boosters ensure that any Boys Town youth who wants to play sports, can. $100 a ticket or $1000 a table 402-498-3322 | www.boystown.org/boosters 74

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LEARN MORE details about any of these events by searching our extensive Community Calendar at mQUARTERLY’s website: http://www.SpiritofOmaha.com/Metro-Magazine/Community/Calendar/

CONNECT WITH over 100 nonprofits and learn more about their mission and how you can help! Order your copy of The Giving Guide & Event Book 2017 today at mQUARTERLY’s SpiritofOmaha.com.

• mQUARTERLY LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE GIVING GUIDE 2017!

MAY 6

5:30 PM – 9:00 PM

FOR THE KIDS BENEFIT Omaha Children’s Museum Omaha Children’s Museum | 500 South 20th Street | Omaha Race on over, raise a glass, and place your bets at the Museum’s largest annual fundraiser! Support the growth of our community’s children at this delightful evening that includes shopping, dinner and drinks. $150 402-342-6164 | www.ocm.org

MAY 11

11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

D.J.’S HERO AWARDS The Salvation Army Embassy Suites Conference Center - La Vista | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista The D.J.’s Hero Awards Luncheon is a fundraising event that benefits programs for children and families. Scholarships are awarded to outstanding young Nebraskans and a national speaker is featured. $150 per seat, $1,500 per table 402-898-5909 | http://salarmyomaha.org

MAY 13

6:00 PM – 9:30 PM

CABARET Child Saving Institute Hilton Omaha | 1001 Cass St. | Omaha Please join us for Child Saving Institute’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Cabaret 2017! Honored Chairs for the event are Ed and Kelley Prosser; General Chairs are Lauren and Mosah Goodman and Emily and Tasso Sideris. For more information—or to learn about sponsorship opportunities—please contact Cali Page. 402-504-3661 or cpage@childsaving.org. $175.00

MAY 24 – 25

12:00 AM – 12:00 AM

OMAHA GIVES! Omaha Community Foundation www.omahagives24.org | OmahaOmaha Omaha Gives! is an annual 24-hour charitable challenge organized by the Omaha Community Foundation to benefit metro-area nonprofits. This community give-together begins at midnight on May 25 with a minimum gift of only $10. We’ve got hourly drawings and prizes to boost your gifts. So gather your circles, schedule your gifts, and get ready to cheer for your favorite nonprofits throughout the day! 402-342-3458 | www.omahagives24.org

make the connection! Promote your business or organaziation with Omaha’s Philanthropic Voice! metroMAGAZINE/mQUARTERLY SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM

TRANSFORMING THE GIVING LANDSCAPE IN OUR AREA! 75

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The information in this section appears as supplied to us by the organizations presented. ALH Publications, Inc. accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or integrity of any of the information provided. Please double-check for updated details with event organizers.

community CALENDAR

save the date DON’T MISS these NOW THROUGH FEBRUARY 20

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

ART EXHIBIT: OPERATION OMAHA IVY BY E. TAYLOR SHOOP Lauritzen Gardens Lauritzen Gardens | 100 Bancroft St | Omaha For this exhibit, E. Taylor Shoop has focused his lens on ivy, as an architectural element, to create his unique, kaleidoscopic compositions. The duality of ivy, a plant which has been viewed as both an invasive weed and a revered religious symbol, generated a strong interest and driving curiosity in the artist. This show is the culmination of several months of scouting and photographing the city's collection of 'ivy', finding examples that encapsulate the aesthetic, practical, and mythical themes associated with this plant genre. The artist will be available at Lauritzen Gardens on January 15 and February 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. to discuss his work. Included with garden admission: $10 adults, $5 children 6-12

NOW THROUGH MAY 14 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

NATURE CONNECTS: ART WITH LEGO® BRICKS Lauritzen Gardens Lauritzen Gardens | 100 Bancroft Street | Omaha 450,000+ LEGO® bricks, 13 incredible displays, an ALL-NEW experience! Sean Kenney's third exhibit at Lauritzen Gardens features some fantastic NEW pieces, including a proud peacock, a giant dragonfly, and a not so itsy-bitsy spider, as well as a couple of old favorites. Inspired by nature and built from more than 450,000 LEGO® pieces, this indoor exhibit features 13 displays with larger-than-life sculptures that represent the web of incredible connections that sustain life on Earth. For more information about the artist, and to view other works, visit Sean Kenney's website at www.seankenney.com. $5-$10, free for garden members and children under 6 402-346-4002 | www.lauritzengardens.org

FEBRUARY 11

5:30 PM – 8:30 PM

2017 GROWING HOPE GALA Alzheimer's Association

make the connection!

Visit our COMMUNITY CALENDAR at SPIRITOFOMAHA.COM

Nebraska Innovation Campus 2021 Transformation Drive | Lincoln The 2017 Alzheimer's Gala will be a Roaring Twenties themed event taking place at Nebraska Innovation Campus on February 11, 2017. Tickets are $125 a piece, or you can purchase a table. More details are listed on our event page: http://act.alz.org/site/Calendarid=124036&view=Detail Please join us for this fun filled night including a catered dinner, silent auction, and Brewsky's Blazing Pianos! $125/ticket 402-420-2540 | http:// act.alz.org/site/Calendarid=124036&view=Detail

FEBRUARY 13 – 14 WAG-A-GRAMS Midlands Humane Society Delivered to Omaha or Council Bluffs Home or Office Looking for a unique gift for Valentine's Day? Midland Humane Society has your answer. Have one of our Canine Cupids deliver your personalized Valentine message, a single rose and heart-shaped cookie to your sweetie at their home or business. We have adorable dogs ranging from small to large to be your special canine cupid. This memorable Valentine's gift is only $40. Deliveries will be made to both Council Bluffs and Omaha on February 13-14. All proceeds support MHS. Contact Terri Gach-Mils with questions at tagmils@aol.com $40 http://midlandshumanesociety.org

FEBRUARY 14

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER Lauritzen Gardens Lauritzen Gardens | 100 Bancroft Street | Omaha Experience one of the most beautiful, exquisite Valentine’s Day dinners in Omaha at Lauritzen Gardens, in the intimate surroundings of the visitor and education center. All guests receive the first course, their choice of one main course, the dessert course and one glass of wine (Chardonnay or Merlot). Dinner reservations are required. To RSVP, contact Merri at (402) 346-4002, ext. 201 or m.sears@omahabotanicalgardens.org. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. $55 per person 402-346-4002 | www.lauritzengardens.org 76

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LEARN MORE details about any of these events by searching our extensive Community Calendar at mQUARTERLY’s website: http://www.SpiritofOmaha.com/Metro-Magazine/Community/Calendar/

CONNECT WITH over 100 nonprofits and learn more about their mission and how you can help! Order your copy of The Giving Guide & Event Book 2017 today at mQUARTERLY’s SpiritofOmaha.com.

• mQUARTERLY LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE GIVING GUIDE 2017!

FEBRUARY 18 – 25

12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

BARSTOOL OPEN Lincoln & Omaha What is a Barstool Open? It is an annual fundraising event at bars/restaurants for UCP of Nebraska programs to assist individuals affected with cerebral palsy and other disabilities to Live a Life Without Limits! SAVE THE DATE & join us for one of the Barstool Open Events below: February 18, 2017 (Downtown Lincoln) February 25, 2017 (Downtown Omaha) Visit our website or on facebook/UCPofNEBarstoolOpen for more information. Early Bird - $160 (foursome) or $180 (foursome) 402-502-3572 | www.ucpnebraska.org

FEBRUARY 26

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

ART & SOUP Visiting Nurse Association Embassy Suites Conference Center – LaVista | 12520 Westport Pkwy – LaVista Celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this award-winning event! As if this weren't amazing enough, local chefs from 20 of the area's best restaurants compete for prizes and bragging rights and YOU get to sample the results (along with delicious breads and treats) and cast your vote for People's Choice! It's the tastiest way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and all proceeds benefit VNA's Shelter Nursing Programs, caring for approximately one-half of the homeless men, women, and children living in Omaha and Council Bluffs each year. $50 for general admission/ $100 for Patron Party 402-930-4170 | www.thevnacares.org

MARCH 2

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

COMPLETELY KIDS AUTHOR LUNCHEON Completely KIDS Hilton Omaha | 1001 Cass St. | Omaha We are excited to announce that Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., will be our featured speaker at the 2017 Author Luncheon on March 2 at Hilton Omaha. Dr. Bryson is the co-author (with Dan Siegel) of two New York Times bestsellers— The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline. She has made frequent appearances for media outlets like TIME, Good Morning America, Huffington Post, Redbook and The New York Times. Patron, $100; Individual, $75 402-397-5809 | http://completelykids.org

MARCH 2

5:30 PM – 9:00 PM

CELEBRITY CHEF FEATURING MARC MURPHY Food Bank for the Heartland Embassy Suites Conference Center | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista Celebrity Chef has become an important tradition for Food Bank for the Heartland. Food Bank for the Heartland is thrilled to feature Marc Murphy at the 16th annual Celebrity Chef fundraiser on March 2. Chef Murphy is a featured judge on Food Network's Chopped. The dinner menu is inspired by Chef Murphy. Proceeds from Celebrity Chef benefit Food Bank for the Heartland's mission of providing emergency food for families in Nebraska and western Iowa. $150 for individual tickets and $500 for patron tickets 402-331-1213 | http://FoodBankHeartland.org

MARCH 4

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

RESTORE OMAHA Restoration Exchange Omaha Metropolitan Community College | Fort Omaha Campus | Omaha Spend the day gathering ideas, solutions and inspiration to restore and preserve your older home or building. Restore Omaha, March 4, at Metropolitan Community College, Fort Omaha Campus. The conference will conclude with the popular Restore Jam, in which attendees are invited to share before-and-after photos of their own restoration projects. $50 includes lunch and breaks. Discounts for Restoration Exchange members. 402-679-5854 | www.restorationexchange.org

MARCH 4

6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

CASABLANCA GALA Nebraska CASA Association Scott Center | 6450 Pine Street | Omaha Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA's annual fundraiser, CASAblanca, will be held March 4, 2017. The Scott Center on UNO's Aksarben Campus is the site for this dinner and auction. The public is invited. Benefits proceed CASA's mission to recruit and train volunteers assigned in the court to advocate for abused and neglected children. $50 ticket 402-477-2788 | www.nebraskacasa.org 77

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The information in this section appears as supplied to us by the organizations presented. ALH Publications, Inc. accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or integrity of any of the information provided. Please double-check for updated details with event organizers.

community CALENDAR

MARCH 9

8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

save the date MARCH 9

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

2017 YOUNG PROFESSIONALS SUMMIT Greater Omaha Chamber

ASSURE WOMEN'S CENTER IMAGINE BANQUET WITH DR. TONY EVANS Assure Women's Center

CenturyLink Center Omaha | 455 N 10th Street | Omaha 402.346.5000 | http://omahachamber.org

Embassy Suites Conference Center | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista The keynote speaker for this year’s event is Dr. Tony Evans, one of the country’s most respected leaders in evangelical circles. Dr. Evans is a pastor, best-selling author and frequent speaker at Bible conferences and seminars throughout the nation. He has served as the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship for 40 years, witnessing its growth from ten people in 1976 to now over 10,000 congregants with 100 plus ministries. $42 402-390-9700 | www.tony-evans.eventbrite.com

MARCH 11

5:30 PM – 11:30 PM

IRISH FEST Catholic Charities Embassy Suites Conference Center | 12520 Westport Pkwy | LaVista Every year, Catholic Charities holds Irish Fest, our premier fund raising event. This year Catholic Charities of Omaha is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Irish Fest. The evening includes silent and live auctions, cocktails and gourmet dinner followed by entertainment. Seeing your friends and having fun is the best part of the event! Visit website for pricing information 402-829-9261 | http://ccomaha.org

MARCH 17

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

ST. PATRICK'S DAY LUNCHEON Lauritzen Gardens Lauritzen Gardens | 100 Bancroft Street | Omaha Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at the greenest place in Omaha with a scrumptious lunch that's full of Irish spirit. The ConAgra Café's featured entrée will be corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes and Irish soda bread. For your listening pleasure, local musician Michael Murphy will perform traditional Irish flute music during lunch. In order to ensure seating, reservations are required and can be made by calling Merri at (402) 346-4002, ext. 201. Larger groups may be accommodated. Admission fees to Lauritzen Gardens apply and are not included in the lunch price. $7 and up 402-346-4002 | www.lauritzengardens.org

APRIL 1

4:00 PM – 11:00 PM

BASKETBALL BASH Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands Scott Conference Center | 6450 Pine St. | Omaha Guests will enjoy the thrills and excitement of the NCAA men’s college basketball semi-final games at a one-of-a-kind viewing party to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands. Guests will enjoy: • The NCAA semi-final men's basketball games • Snacks and a variety of hearty appetizers • Beer and signature drink provided by Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. & Cut Spike Distillery • Fun games, prize raffle, silent auction and a complimentary gift ** Guests must be 21 years of age to attend this event* $45+

APRIL 5 – 7

8:00 AM – 11:30 AM

SPEAKING OF CHILDREN Project Harmony Embassy Suites La Vista Hotel & Conference Center | 12520 Westport Pkwy | La Vista Speaking of Children is a three-day conference including phenomenal plenary presentations and break-out sessions for Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, CPS Workers, Medical Providers, Victim Advocates and Treatment & Prevention Providers. Everyone is encouraged to attend the luncheon, however registration is required. Conference & Luncheon $200 / Luncheon Only $75 402-595-1326 | www.projectharmony.com

APRIL 10

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

AMERICAN RED CROSS; A CENTURY OF SERVICE American Red Cross American Red Cross | 2912 S 80th Ave | Omaha American Red Cross is celebrating 100 years of Service in the Omaha, Council Bluffs Metro! Red Cross is hosting an open house. FREE 402-990-6893 | www.redcross.org/neia

APRIL 11

10:30 AM – 2:00 PM

ASSISTANCE LEAGUE® OF OMAHA STYLE SHOW Assistance League® of Omaha Champions Run | 13800 Eagle Run Drive | Omaha Assistance League of Omaha members model spring fashions from local merchants. Includes lunch and vendor shopping. $40 402-210-5571 | www.alomaha.org 78

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LEARN MORE details about any of these events by searching our extensive Community Calendar at mQUARTERLY’s website: http://www.SpiritofOmaha.com/Metro-Magazine/Community/Calendar/

CONNECT WITH over 100 nonprofits and learn more about their mission and how you can help! Order your copy of The Giving Guide & Event Book 2017 today at mQUARTERLY’s SpiritofOmaha.com.

• mQUARTERLY LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE GIVING GUIDE 2017!

APRIL 15

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

3RD ANNUAL TEEN CAREER FAIR 100 Black Men of Omaha Monroe Middle School | 5105 Bedford Ave | Omaha The Teen Career Fair is designed to open the minds of young men and women to possible career paths. They will have an opportunity to, meet professionals and learn about various careers for their future. After attending the event teens will be armed with the knowledge and resources necessary to purse their career interest. FREE 402.934.7065 | www.100blackmenomaha.org

APRIL 16

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

EASTER BRUNCH Lauritzen Gardens Lauritzen Gardens | 100 Bancroft Street | Omaha Seating times available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Easter Brunch at Lauritzen Gardens has become an annual tradition for many area families and sells out quickly. Reservations and prepayment are required. To make reservations, cancellations or modifications to existing reservations, contact Merri at (402) 346-4002, ext. 201 or m.sears@omahabotanicalgardens.org by Wednesday, April 12. Please let us know if your party includes a wheelchair or if you need a high chair or booster seat. $13-$30 depending on age 402-346-4002 | www.lauritzengardens.org

APRIL 22

5:30 PM – 9:00 PM

PINK RIBBON AFFAIR 2017 Susan G. Komen Nebraska Hilton Omaha | 1001 Cass Street | Omaha Save the date for a special evening out! This third annual event, chaired by Steve and Courtenay Swanstrom, will raise critical funds to support Susan G. Komen Nebraska's vision of a world without breast cancer. Fees TBD 402-502-2979 | www.komennebraska.org

APRIL 22

5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

BASH Creighton Preparatory School Creighton Preparatory School | 7400 Western Avenue | Omaha BASH plays a very important role in Prep’s ongoing commitment to deliver educational excellence to over 1,000 young men. The evening begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by a gourmet dinner, live auction and raffle. $150 402-548-3858 | www.PrepBASH.com

APRIL 28

6:30 PM

WISHBONE Kent Bellows Studios Joslyn Art Museum | 2200 Dodge Street | Omaha An Event Supporting Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. This year's fundraiser will be held in coordination with the Teen Salon - live arts student performance. $50 - per person 402-661-3887 | www.joslyn.org

APRIL 29

5:00 PM – 11:00 PM

BLUE JEANS AND DREAMS HETRA HETRA Barn | 10130 S 222nd Street | Gretna Join Host Couple, Susan and John Knicely, at 5 pm for social hour and silent auction. Meet and greet HETRA participants and horses throughout the evening. Buy your tickets or reserve a table at www.HETRA.org For more info call 402-359-8830. HETRA’s mission is to improve the quality of life both physically and emotionally of adults and children with disabilities through equine assisted activities. Where Horses and YOU make dreams come true! Pricing info on website 402-359-8830 | www.HETRA.org

APRIL 29

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

VISUALLY IMPAIRED COMMUNITY RESOURCE FAIR Outlook Nebraska, Inc. Westroads Mall | 10000 California St | Omaha Are you or is someone you know dealing with vision loss? We know how hard it is to find the information you need, learn about new services and find technology and tools that can help. That’s why dozens of community partners are coming together in one place to help you. FREE 402-614-331x221 | www.outlooknebraska.org 79

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waking WORDS

mQUARTERLY • LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

ROB KILLMER

realigning Ego gets a bad rap for being a big problem, and let’s be honest, that rap is pretty well deserved, but it doesn’t have to be if we learn how to become Masters of our Egos. Ego itself isn’t the issue; the issue is whether or not our Ego is the basis of our attitudes, motivations and actions—whether or not we are Ego-based (Ego-driven, Ego-defined, Ego-oriented.) Understanding Our Ego Ego is quite simply the part of us assigned to making sure we see ourselves as unique and special, and making sure others can see it as well, while helping ensure that we achieve something lasting in this one life we have to live. There may (or may not) be such a thing as reincarnation, where My Soul comes back again and again to refine (and redefine) Who I Am, but one thing is certain: there will only be one Robert Paul Killmer, and My Ego is assigned with ensuring that I make RPK count for something! The same is true for each of us, but the problem for all of us is that—not long after we arrive here—with a whole and intact connection to Our “Source” (Soul, Spirit, etc., I leave it to you to define your unique “sourcepoint” in your own way…) things start happening that either traumatize or transform our view of Self, and disconnect us from who we really are, teaching us new things about who we should perceive ourselves to be—such as shameful, evil, inadequate, unworthy, etc. (or their opposites: shameless, superior, over-achieving, entitled, etc.) As this indoctrination inevitably occurs, it actually begins to defile our Ego. The intent (often—but not universally—pure) of those helping to redefine us may not be to subvert or divert us, it may be simply to help us “adapt” to our three-dimensional environment and the social groups we’ve been born into. Unfortunately, despite their intentions, virtually all of us—regardless of the philosophy behind our training—find ourselves completely ego-oriented by the time our attitudes and interactions with others begin to really matter. And since, by that time, we’ve become disconnected from our Authentic Truth, Mission and Source—from our Original and Unique Design and Destiny—our Ego is left to muck around on its own , trying to make sure we count for something, while impaired by this new, defiled identity and orientation. That doesn’t turn out so well, and there’s a reason. The Dance with Destiny Ego is not meant to work alone. Ego is meant to steer our lives, but is not built to navigate and was never designed for that purpose. It needs Soul, Spirit and Source for that. When Ego takes its hands off the steering wheel and takes the map out of our Soul’s hands, things start to “go South” in a hurry. And, of course, since our Ego has lost the connection to Soul, Spirit and Source, it assigns itself the navigation responsibilities. Ego is meant to take directions from the Soul as it drives, not to determine the course alone. Apart from the Soul connection, we cannot achieve (or even discern) our Truest Destiny. Ego is meant to Dance with Our Soul, but it takes Two to Tango. Without the Soul connection, Ego spends a lot of time out on the center of the dance floor trying to do the tango by itself, and wondering why the attention it receives isn’t what it has been anticipating. People see us, alright. But they are snickering, or whispering behind our backs, or are offended by our presumptuousness, foolishness (or whatever else fills in the blanks.) “Look at that idiot out there working without a partner, what does he think he’s doing?” That’s not the kind of attention we are seeking at all, but it’s the kind we merit when we are disconnected from our dance partner, the Soul…with its inherent connection to Spirit and Source.

Here’s an analogy: Our Ego is a Little Red Balloon intended to attract attention to itself. It holds the “air” of our true Spirit inside it. It’s tied to the “string” of Our Soul, which is fastened to the “rod” of Our Source. When we enter this life, The Little Red Balloon is filled with Spirit, connected to Soul, attached to Source. But as events occur, and Ego gets disconnected from its authentic ROBERT P. KILLMER string and rod, it is no longer grounded or Editor@SpiritofOmaha.com anchored. It’s just a Little Red Balloon, flitting and darting around all over the place spraying out its Spirit and rapidly losing it…flying every which way, directionless, without proper guidance or anchoring. Oh, it attracts attention to itself, but for all the wrong reasons. And, sadly, it soon runs out of Spirit, and winds up “lifeless”, on the ground, where it is stepped on or picked up and stretched in some way its rubber wasn’t meant for, or discarded as trash. It’s a mean existence compared to what that Little Red Balloon started out to be. When our Ego is “deflated” in this way, it still remains hard-wired to complete its mission of making us stand out. If it can’t be the best at something, it will become the best at being the worst…any unhealthy device that will at least make us feel unique and special (even if it’s uniquely and especially flawed or marred!) And when this “I Must Be Unique” loop becomes the program, Ego will resort to any means to set itself apart from everyone else. Once this happens, humility is lost…Ego actually embraces a skewed perspective that see itself as “terminally unique”…and therein lies a snare. Humility is not feeling less than others, it’s realizing we are all essentially (at our core Essence) the same. Our uniqueness is in the special Fire only we can carry into this life, into our communities. A deflated, disconnected, spent ego has lost its connection to this unique Flame and becomes diverted—drawing attention to itself as nothing more than a matchstick (though a pompous, blustery matchstick it may remain). Only by becoming realigned with its original purpose—its Authentic Original Truth and Self—its Destiny—can it be restored to an authentic expression of its mission. Once that connection is restored, Ego gets it. “OH, wait! It’s not ME that’s so special, it’s the Fire I carry. Awesomeness!” Realigned, our Little Red Balloon is once again filled with Spirit, but the ballon’s loop has been tied off so we hold that Spirit. Reconnected to the “string” of Our Soul, and its understanding of Our Higher Purpose, and the Soul-connection to the rod of Our Source, the Ego is again properly and victoriously anchored, no longer spewing about out-ofcontrol, no longer a “lost tango” on center-stage. Now our Ego waves gently and effectively in the breeze drawing attention to itself as it rightfully should. “Look over here. I’m a Little Red Balloon. Did I catch your eye? Great! Because, you should see how unique and special the stuff is that I’m carrying inside of only me!” Ego isn’t inherently impure. It simply needs to be in collaboration with its Dance Partner. It needs to be connected and anchored properly to its Original Purpose and Design. When Ego is thus anchored, it basks in the opportunity to call attention to Who We Are, in an appropriate and beneficial way for all. For those who may be troubled by apparent “spiritual” references here, please consider using this legend. For my purposes, the term “Soul” is representative of Our unique, original, pure and undefiled Essence, while “Spirit” signifies whatever Support Systems exist for us (from whatever Source—internal or external) through which we obtain “higher guidance”. Source is our original Being and Beginning—our “Point of Inspiration”. I am not attempting to define these things for anyone, only to affirm that—however we define and relate to them—they universally exist for all of us, and are the touchstones by which our lives are granted meaning and purpose.

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metroMAGAZINE’s mQUARTERLY SPRING (FEB/MAR/APR) 2017 Issue