Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Unfortunately, for many children and families, hope can seem unfamiliar. Child Saving Institute (CSI) has a rich 130-year history in the Omaha community of providing hope and healing to local children and families.
CSI originated in 1892 and was first known as an orphanage to safely house infants that needed a home, later becoming Omaha’s leader in infant adoption and pioneer of early childhood education locally. Today, the organization has evolved to meet the changing needs of the community—continuously providing hope and healing across its 16 programs to more than 2,500 children and families each year. From foster care to mental health services, early childhood education to an emergency shelter, CSI works to help children and families heal, grow and find hope for the future.
While deeply rooted in history, CSI is looking to enhance the future of care in the Omaha community as it plans to expand its services and physical footprint by launching a $46,000,000 capital campaign. CSI’s Campaign for Hope will allow the organization to continue to meet the dynamic needs of those it serves today, and over the next 100 years.
“The Campaign for Hope will allow CSI to continue to provide the critical services to more children and families in need on an expanded campus in a more deliberate, responsive and timely manner. Our community has a need, we are responding,” said Cindy Heider, Campaign for Hope Chair.
CSI has diligently evaluated the evolving needs of local children and families including the rapidly growing need for pediatric and adolescent therapy, an expanded emergency shelter, supportive early education services and additional access to high-quality early childhood education.
To expand these services, CSI will nearly double its physical building space centrally located at 45th and Dodge Street. This two-year project will allow for an on-site mental health clinic to be added to the facility, a newly built emergency shelter housing 16 beds for youth, four additional early childhood education classrooms with a STEAM classroom, and innovative treatment childcare classrooms added within its early childhood education center to address the needs of preschoolers unable to attend traditional school environments.
In the past six years, CSI has doubled the size of its mental health services program to meet the growing needs of the Omaha community. Yet, CSI has a waitlist of over 150 children and youth waiting to receive imperative therapy and medication management services. A purposefully designed mental health clinic providing therapeutic space that is conducive to address trauma, promote safety and allow for healing is critical for Omaha’s young population.
CSI’s current emergency shelter was originally built for young children, but the older teens who live there today have very different needs. The new emergency shelter will add robust educational services, a physical activity space and allow for youth to have their own bedrooms—all of which are essential to a youth’s successful physical, emotional and mental health.
As a leader in early childhood education for the last 50 years, CSI has evolved with the changing needs of children who need additional support. Unfortunately, there are many vulnerable preschoolers living in poverty and experiencing the impact of trauma in the Omaha community. Their ability to develop healthy relationships—a key element of academic success—is negatively impacted by their experiences and environments, putting them at risk of expulsion. The Campaign for Hope enables CSI to directly provide supportive early education services for preschoolers unsuccessful in traditional early learning environments to help them to heal and prepare them for kindergarten… and for life.
Additionally, the need for high-quality early childhood education continues to outpace the availability on a national, state and local level. Locally, families often experience a nine-month wait, or even longer, in order to gain access to a childcare facility. The proposed expansion of CSI’s early childhood education center would increase its licensed capacity by 25%, enabling more Omaha families to receive high-quality early childhood education services and prepare more kids for kindergarten.
The project directly addresses the growing needs of the community, while also enhancing the day-to-day experiences of children, families and staff members at the organization. CSI has hired Kiewit to serve as the contractor and TACKarchitects to design the facilities.
“CSI is excited to be closing out yet another year with hope. Hope for all children and families living in Omaha despite their current or past circumstances. Together, we truly can build a stronger community. However, we can only do this work with the support of those around us. Thank you for the decades of past support, and we look forward to moving into the future together,” said Jaymes Sime, CSI President & CEO.
The Omaha community can join the effort in building a stronger community through CSI’s Campaign for Hope initiative by visiting childsaving.org/campaignforhope.