Home ➥ How You Can Help ➥ Reasons 23-45
125 Reasons, continued — Reasons 23-45
23. Joslyns Supported CSI
George and Sarah Joslyn (Joslyn Castle, Joslyn Art Museum) were among Child Saving Institute's earliest supporters. In fact, the Joslyns adopted their only child, from the agency. Little Violet was one lucky orphan-turned-heiress (but she wasn’t the only little girl to be adopted from CSI and become an heiress over the years). The Joslyns expressed their delight in their daughter with generous donations to the agency over many years. But it was in 1909 that the couple made the single largest gift ever made to an Omaha charity when they donated $25,000 toward the construction of a building specifically designed to house an orphanage. George challenged his fellow businessmen and city residents to raise an additional $50,000 within three months of his gift to ensure that CSI would not incur any debt in the project. With an extension of a few weeks, the people of Omaha did not fail.
Even young children saved their pennies to donate to the building fund. The new orphanage opened at 42nd and Emilie streets in 1911, debt free.
Child Saving Institute is grateful for the example the Joslyns set for philanthropy in Omaha, as it has carried through generations of Omaha area citizens right to the present. As we celebrate our 125th year of service, we again express our gratefulness for George and Sarah's generosity all those years ago.
24. Historical Support
In its 125 years of serving children and families in the Omaha metropolitan area, Child Saving Institute has a long history of receiving tremendous support from businesses, churches, and private citizens. In each generation, individuals have volunteered to guide the agency by serving on its Board of Directors. Child Saving Institute is grateful for their dedication and service to the kids.
Child Saving Institute Board Presidents Past and Present
||Rev. Rene Jensen
||Ron Carson Jr.
||Bruce D. Vosburg
||W.G. (Tommy) Thompson
||Allen J. Marsh
||Charles B. Svoboda
||Robert S. Wheeler
||James L. Amend
||F. Marshall Zahller
||Wallace E. Lillie
||F. Marshall Zahller
||Robert W. Hauptman
||Rev. Frank K. Hargrove
||Hon. W.W. Slabaugh
||Hon. Howard Saxton
||William A. DeBoard
||George F. Bidwell
In 1980, Wanda Gottschalk and a few other civic-minded philanthropic women who love children established the Child Saving Institute Guild. The intent of the guild was to provide an additional revenue stream to the agency to meet the agency’s growing and changing needs. The guild board began planning and hosting annual fund raisers to ensure that at-risk kids could receive the CSI services they needed after experiencing the trauma of abuse and neglect.
Guild members join by paying a membership fee, but the working Guild Board members serve two three-year terms, planning and executing as many as five events each year. In its 37 years, the guild has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to help CSI’s kids receive services.
In 2017, the guild planned and executed (or will execute) the following events:
- Dough in the Toe in February
- Golf Fore Kids in June
- Touch-A-Truck in September — a free family fun activity and “friend raiser”
- PurseOnalities in September
- Substitute Santa in December
CSI is grateful for the dedication and commitment of all guild members, past and present, to helping the children of metropolitan Omaha who have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect!
26. Kids 4 Kids
For the last 125 years, the people in the Omaha metropolitan area have known Child Saving Institute as the place to go when kids need help. CSI is also, however, a place that children help.
The tradition of kids helping kids harkens back to the agency’s earliest years, when Omaha children donated their pennies toward a building fund for the construction of the Child Saving Institute’s orphanage at 42nd and Emilie streets.
The tradition expanded outside the Omaha boundaries when the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) took over operation of the agency and asked the children and families in its parishes to help support for CSI’s kids. According to stories in CSI’s archives, children from all over sent their favorite teddy bears and rag dolls to the agency’s orphans.
During the Great Depression, children gave up portions of their sugar rations so their mothers could make applesauce to send to the kids at CSI. Once a year for many years, trains would stop in small towns across Iowa and Nebraska and kids and families would fill a boxcar with canned and fresh fruits and vegetables for the CSI kids. At least once, children and families in western Nebraska filled an entire boxcar with potatoes.
After 9/11, the spirit of giving grew incredibly strong, and many Omaha children wanted to send toys to the children in New York City (NYC), but NYC had already received too many toys to manage. These kids were not deterred, however, and their strong desire to help other kids led them to look much closer to home. CSI’s kids benefitted from their generosity as children brought arms full of gifts and jars full of money.
This generous tradition continues and each year, CSI’s kids benefit from children who donate their presents to the agency rather than keeping them for themselves. Sometimes, the birthday kids host themed parties, requesting items for infants — like diapers, formula, blankets, and onesies.
Each year, a number of girl scouts sell their cookies with an additional request — “buy a box of cookies for yourself and buy another one to be donated to the kids at CSI!” And CSI’s kids are grateful for and enjoy those special treats.
More recently, some of the children of Child Saving Institute Guild members who want to help support CSI’s kids have taken a slightly more formalized approach, organizing themselves (with parental guidance and assistance) into Kids 4 Kids. For the last three years, Kids 4 Kids has hosted an outdoor family movie night in Sumter Amphitheater in Papillion. The kids show a family-friendly movie, contract with food vendors, and gather good-will donations from participants, with all proceeds being donated to Child Saving Institute.
For all their support in the past and present, Child Saving Institute is grateful to the children who think about other kids!
27. Dick & Mary Holland, Honorary Chairs, Cabaret 2000
“Saving children is not a meaningless phrase. The experience at CSI is one of positive results for thousands. Our only negative is that our resources can only help a fraction of the needs. When we measure the staggering costs associated with poverty, abuse, and incarceration, to name a few, only then can we properly value the relatively small cost of helping a small child advance toward productive citizenship.”
28. Triage Center at Project Harmony
The Triage Center at Project Harmony, operated by Child Saving Institute, is the place where children are brought immediately upon being removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. When they arrive, transported by a police officer or an employee of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, they may be scared, angry, confused, distressed, timid, quiet, crying, resistant, relieved or any combination of these emotions among others.
The Triage Center is designed to be a place where they can feel the most important thing — safe.
The kids arrive after experiencing quite possibly the worst day of their young lives. Triage Center director Kim Bellinger and her staff are there to provide comfort in a home-like setting while the child’s caseworker can locate family members, another trusted adult, or a foster family who will welcome the child into their home.
The kids spend time in the Triage Center while they wait to talk with a forensic interviewer and, if needed, for a medical examination. They can have a meal or snack featuring comfort foods. The older kids and teens can spend their time in a living room setting that includes video games and television. Younger children can spend time in a play area filled with toys and games. There is also an area for infants and toddlers. Older siblings often hold younger siblings to comfort one another and create a feeling of security.
If they needed a medical exam, they are invited to shower and bag their clothing (as necessary for evidence) when the exam is completed. Every child who enters Triage receives fresh, new clothing that they choose from the center’s closet — undergarments, socks, shoes, shirts, and pants. They also get to choose a backpack and personal hygiene items to take with them to their placement.
The soothing atmosphere in the Triage Center allows kids to begin processing all that is happening in their lives and to find calm between visits with caring professionals.
29. Training School for Nurses, 1910 Annual Report
The training school offers a six months’ course in care of infants and infantile diseases and sick children.
Candidates for admission must be between the ages of 18 and 35.
Applicants shall be received on one months’ probation. When accepted, each shall receive three uniform dresses, six aprons, six bibs, caps, and $1 per week until the finish of the course.
Board, lodging, and a reasonable amount of laundry are provided free to all students. The above furnishings are in no sense considered as wages, because the opportunity of this instruction without cost to the student is more than equivalent for all services rendered.
A vacation of one week is allowed during the course.
When the term of six months is completed, the student, after passing satisfactory examinations, shall receive a diploma signed by the members of the medical staff and superintendent certifying her training in this institution.
30. Feeding Babies, 1929 Annual Report
It is expensive to feed infants properly. The certified milk and cream alone costs over $125 per month for our nursery. The late Dr. H.M. McClanahan and those associated with him made special investigations in many parts of the country and in Europe on the subject of infant feeding, and have adopted the best methods known to medical science. This accounts for the remarkable low mortality in our nursery.
31. To Those Wishing a Child for Adoption, 1918 Annual Report
The first step in obtaining a child for adoption is to secure an Application Blank from the Child Saving Institute. References are required from pastor, banker, doctor, merchant and two neighbors. Upon receipt of the filled out application letters are written to the addresses given, and a thorough investigation is made. The result is placed before a committee of the board of Directors whose approval must be secured before a child can be placed. A trial period of from three to six months gives the foster parents ample time in which to decide if they wish to keep the little one permanently.
32. Teen Parenting Program — Fall 2001 “Moments” newsletter
One young father’s story…
The Teen Parenting Program philosophy emphasizes that teen fathers are as responsible for the welfare of children as teen mothers, and that they are also equally willing and interested in accepting this responsibility.
One such “teenage dad” is Chris. Chris came to a “Teen Parenting Workshop” session without confidence and feeling timid because he had little parenting support in his life. Since the baby (boy) would live with the mother, Chris expressed concern that his interaction and bonding time with his son would be limited. He repeatedly talked about his fear of failing as a dad and that his child would not have good feelings about him. Chris shared his concerns and uncertainties regarding basic tasks of baby-care like changing diapers, feeding, bathing, and dressing. Chris was anxious to learn positive discipline techniques and ways to nurture his child.
During the 12-week-class, Chris gained confidence in his ability to be able to teach his son appropriate behavior. He learned about the importance of his own self-confidence and ways to foster positive self-esteem in his child.
Chris completed the workshop better able to parent his newborn son, more confident in his baby-care skills, and more aware of parenting responsibilities and privileges.
33. Visiting Homes, 1912 Annual Report
Personal visits are made before the execution of the final adoption papers. All the children are visited from time to time until they become of age. It is important to keep track of them. Recently we learned of a case wehre both foster parents had died after adopting one of our little ones 10 years ago and that the child was in Wisconsin near Milwaukee without a suitable home. The Superintendent went to Wisconsin and brought the little girl to Omaha and placed her again in a good home in Iowa.
34. Independent Living Skills — Johnna's Story
Johnna began participating in CSI’s Independent Living Skills program at age 15. She struggled in school, had a poor social network, and demonstrated anger in her behaviors.
Johnna spent time in foster care after reporting she was sexually molested by a family friend. The family participated in court-ordered therapy and Johnna returned home. Johnna did not feel safe, however, and ran away several times because her parents allowed the alleged perpetrator to be around the home.
Dinyal McCray, a specialist with Child Saving Institute’s Independent Living Skills program, received a call from Johnna’s school resource officer who asked her to pick Johnna up from school — the resourceofficer believed it was not safe for her to return home. The officer said Dinyal was the only person Johnna trusted. Working in partnership with Project Everlast and Nebraska Families Collaborative, they found Johnna placement with a relative.
As Johnna continued to work with Dinyal, she developed positive friendships, a support network, and participated in a weekly peer empowerment and independent living class. She participated in group discussions and controlled her emotions when disagreements arose. She participated in a homework assistance program where she earned the credits she needed to graduate high school. Johnna is the first member of her family to graduate from high school. Unfortunately, no one from her family attended her graduation. Child Saving Institute provided Johnna with a graduation gift. With Dinyal’s assistance, Johnna applied for grants and scholarships and recently began attending college.
Dinyal asked her if she felt ready to be independent of the program, but Johnna requested to remain in the program for ongoing support while she is in college.
35. Dinyal McCray — Independent Living Skills Specialist
Dinyal McCray, an independent living skills specialist with Child Saving Institute, has worked with CSI’s kids for four years.
“I enjoy working with teens and young adults to set goals and seeing their lives change for the better, despite unfortunate circumstances,” Dinyal said.
Dinyal previously worked with children in Omaha Public Schools as Positive Action Center Facilitator for grades kindergarten through six for three years and as Health-Aide for grade kindergarten through 12 for six years. Her job was to problem solve and create positive action plans for children sent to the office with a referral by the teacher for being disruptive. She also worked at the Spring Center with non-combative suicidal adults for three years — monitoring them, leading group discussions, and documenting behaviors.
She values working with individuals to help them navigate through independence and enjoys seeing them reach their goals. Successful outcomes include being able to maintain stability and confidence as a productive adult.
Dinyal earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
36. Independent Living Services at Child Saving Institute
Foster children who age out of the foster system are at high risk for homelessness and are less likely to finish high school than their peers.
The teenagers who are under Child Saving Institute’s care, however, reduce that risk by participating in the Independent Living Skills (ILS) program. Teens who have not been adopted by age 16 are assigned an ILS specialist who then meets with them individually to determine their needs.
The kids participate in one-on-one meetings with the specialist to ensure that they are getting their immediate needs met and establish a plan for the future — whether that includes getting a job, learning a trade, or going to college. They also participate in some group classes, like budgeting.
CSI’s ILS staff offers ongoing support for our kids up to age 24, two years longer than other agencies. The kids know they can call or come by any time and an ILS specialist will help connect them with the right resources, or just be there to listen and talk about what’s happening in their lives.
37. How Children Are Received, 1908 Annual Report
Children are received through legal relinquishment, by securing guardianship and by mutual agreement for temporary care. A home is broken up, one of the parents may have died, the other may be an invalid or otherwise incapacitated to care for the children. A blank form of relinquishment prepared by our attorney is filled out and executed and the children then are received for adoption. Many cases like this occur each year. A few parents, unworthy and unfit to have the care of the children, are persuaded to sign papers of relinquishment, but very few indeed are found in this class. The Institute stands for the home and often refuses to receive children when brought to the home.
Not long ago a woman brought two beautiful little girls to the Institute and asked permission to sign papers of relinquishment to have the children go to homes for adoption. She said her husband spent his money for drink while she and the children suffered for food and clothing and that she had become discouraged and had determined to go to another section of the country and start over. She was not permitted to sign the papers but her husband was seen and since then he has changed his manner of living and now brings home his earnings to support the family. Thus, the Institute prevented the breaking up of the home and was the means of reconciliation between the parents.
This is an example of scores of cases where the Institute has prevented the separation of parents and children. Mothers have brought their babies to the home to give them up for adoption and were shown that they ought to keep their little ones with the assistance which might be rendered unto them. Hundreds of parents have been assisted by caring for their children temporarily until they attained a position to take care of them.
38. The McKinsey Kids, “A Legacy of Love” 2012 Annual Report
In 1926, 35-year-old Hazel Moyer McKinsey made her way to Child Saving Institute’s orphanage to place four of her 10 children for adoption. Bone weary and beaten down from years of abuse and poverty, Hazel dreamed of a better life for her children, a dream she had lost for herself in taking this final, drastic-but-loving action. Travelling from Kearney, Neb., with Lavern, 3, twins Oral and Orvil, 2, and baby Cecil Lee, six months old, a pregnant Hazel dropped the little children off at the orphanage. The following day, January 1, 1927, Hazel wrote a postcard to her aunt in Iowa, noting that she was so very tired and questioning what she would do next. Hazel was never heard from again.
Many families suffered during the difficult years leading up to the Great Depression, and many children were placed for adoption by loving parents who simply could not care for them. We learned of Hazel’s story through her granddaughter, CSI supporter Bettie Bumpus, 80, who has spent much of her adult life trying to explore the mystery of her grandmother’s brief and tragic life.
From what can be pieced together, Hazel and Lester McKinsey had a volatile marriage. Only 5 feet tall and less than 90 pounds, Hazel had a baby nearly every year during her marriage and endured Lester’s brutality throughout. In 1925, Hazel and Lester and their family made their way to Colorado from their home in Iowa. Hazel’s brother owned a farm in Colorado, and they hoped Lester might find work with him.
Things didn’t turn out as planned and Lester turned to crime and was sentenced to prison. Left on her own, Hazel hoped to return to Iowa with the children, but ran out of money and food in Kearney, Neb. With the help of a local church and a few kind citizens, Hazel and her oldest daughter, Mabel (Bettie Bumpus’ mother), then 13, found work in a laundry. The oldest boys also went to work in a local grocery, but the family simply couldn’t make it.
With help from the church and a local attorney, Hazel made her way to Omaha with her four youngest children to place them for adoption at Child Saving Institute. Frances Lavern, 4, found an adoptive home, and twins Oral and Orvil, 2, were adopted by an Iowa farm family, the Cutlers. Baby Cecil Lee, who was in the process of being adopted by neighbors of the Cutler family, died of measles shortly after his first birthday.
With the help of the caring Kearney individuals, the other children were also able to make their way. The oldest child, Harry, then 16, took off on his own to find work. Bettie’s mother, Mabel, born in 1912, went to live with a teacher and his wife north of Kearney. Ralph, born in 1914, was sent to live with a Great Aunt in Iowa. Guy, born in 1915, was placed with a family in Buffalo, Neb., and eventually became a farmer near Arcadia. Martha and Frank both died as toddlers in Iowa before the family made the trek to Colorado.
“Each of them became successful in life,” Bettie writes from her home in Texas. “Some people give into their difficult beginning, but my mother and her brothers each had the strength of their mother and the Moyer family spirit.”
39. Therapy, 1999 Annual Report
In 1999, 132 persons benefitted from individual and family therapy.
40. Therapy, 2016
In 2016, 349 people benefitted from individual and family therapy.
41. Carmen Gottschalk, “A Legacy of Love” 2012 Annual Report
How much love—and strength—does it take to provide compassionate, tender care to a newborn for days or weeks and then let the baby go to another home? That’s something CSI volunteer Carmen Gottschalk did for nearly three decades while providing “Cradle Care” to infants making the transition from the hospital to home before placement with an adoptive family.
“It was very emotional for three reasons,” Carmen recalls. “My own loss—after falling in love with each baby and letting it go—then returning home to a house full of reminders, like baby bottles on the kitchen table. There was also the emotion I felt from witnessing the adoptive parents’ joy with their baby. And, of course, the pain felt by the biological mothers—usually teenagers—who were making the toughest decision of their lives when placing their babies. I cried a lot.”
Each baby not only made its way into Carmen’s heart, but into the hearts of her two daughters as well. Jodi was seven when Carmen took her first placement, and baby Carmen Tina was just six months old. In fact, it was Tina’s adoption from CSI that prompted Carmen to volunteer in the first place. “I had called CSI to express my joy and happiness with our new daughter, and I asked if there was anything I could do to help them out. I loved the agency so much and everybody I’d worked with there.
“I had a baby within a few days…and they just kept coming.”
In the early days, the average stay for Cradle Care was two to four weeks between birth and adoptive placement. Over the course of 30 years Carmen cared for 98 babies awaiting adoption.
“The transition to having an infant in the house was never hard. The biggest problem was being mobile,” she recalls. “Often times I had to call friends to bring formula by because I couldn’t leave the house.”
The spontaneity of the drop-offs often resulted in some funny situations, too. On one occasion, Carmen was serving as a room mother at her daughter Tina’s elementary school on Halloween. She was in full clown costume when a CSI staff person dropped a baby off at the school, prompting many curious questions from Tina’s young classmates. She also took delivery of babies on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all major holidays. The babies came so frequently and so unexpectedly, young Tina thought Roberta, the CSI caseworker, kept the babies in a drawer in her office, and would ask when bored or lonely, “Can you call Roberta and see if we can get a baby today?”
Even John Gottschalk, Carmen’s very busy husband and retired Publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, got called into service on occasion. “You could set him in the recliner and hand him a newborn and he was fine with that—very good at it, in fact.”
As you can imagine, Carmen slept little during the busiest years of Cradle Care. With most babies, they are wakeful at first, but grow out of that. Carmen never made it to the “sleep through the night” phase with the newborns she cared for—and sometimes she would have up to three infants a month.
“All that went into it—all the emotions, humor, work, lack of sleep—it was definitely worth it,” Carmen says thoughtfully. “It was overwhelmingly positive in what it brought to our family and what it taught my daughters about compassion and recognizing and understanding the needs of other people. As adults, they are caretakers.
“That’s always been my impression of CSI, too. The caseworkers, everyone who works there—they give of themselves. They are compassionate problem-solvers.”
42. Who Are the Children in Crisis? Spring 2003 “Moments” newsletter
Last month a teenage girl came to Kids’ Cottage because she had nowhere else to go — she had moved in with her boyfriend when her alcoholic mom kicked her out of the house. Her boyfriend threw her out when she became pregnant. He couldn’t deal with the responsibility.
As she was unpacking her things, a 2-year-old arrival had to be rushed to the hospital to treat his severe dehydration. His parents had spent the last weekend high on meth — and had forgotten to feed him for two-and-a-half days.
A week later, two brothers were driven to the shelter by their family’s caseworker. On a recent visit to their trailer home she found huge holes in the walls and floor, no food in the cupboards, and filth everywhere. The older boy was no longer attending school and his younger brother was so tired of being teased by the other kids about the condition of his clothes that he was starting to skip classes.
The next day, the police brought in a 3-day-old infant with her two older siblings. She had been born with drugs in her system and was connected to oxygen tanks and a heart monitor.
While the shift supervisor was introducing a 10-year-old boy to his new foster parents, a deputy sheriff delivered a 13-year-old boy. He had finished serving his time at the youth detention center (for stealing a car) but had nowhere to go during his probation. His mother couldn’t control him before his arrest, and had made no effort to learn parenting skills while he was incarcerated.
The following week, police came to the shelter with a family of four children — the youngest was 4 months old, the oldest 11 years old. Their mom had left them with a kind neighbor while she went on an overnight job-hunting trip to Kansas City. Three days later, with no contact from the mother, the neighbor called the police.
CSI provides shelter care for all these kids and those next to come through the doors.
43. Child Saving Institute Doors Are Always Open, 1911 Annual Report
The doors of Child Saving Institute are always open to deserving applicants. Children are sometimes found by the police and taken to the Institute; at other times parents are locked up in the station, their children must receive temporary care. Others are brought to the Institute from the Juvenile Court, Associated Charities, the City Mission, and friends who find little children in the midst of distress and neglect.
The Visiting Nurses’ Association often takes a poor mother to one of the hospitals for an operation. Her children are brought to the Child Saving Institute, returned to her in the event of her recovery.
44. From Heart-Ache to Joy, 1923 Annual Report
Not a case comes to our doors but it comes out of sorrow. Heart-ache at the bottom of it, heart-ache all through the development of it, nevertheless encouragement, comfort, hope and triumph are written all over the close of these trying cases. From darkness to light, from weakness to strength, from the anguish of despair to the joy of accomplishment, such is the common experience of those who, in their helpless despair, come to the Institute for aid.
Help for Mothers — Full of perplexity and trouble, the mothers of 182 children appealed for help and found it. Already 103 of those children have been returned to their own mothers. Of the remainder many are yet in the Home, receiving every care while the mother completes the necessary arrangements for receiving them again to herself.
Unable to Manage — Just as it is for some men, that they have no ability to manage affairs, so it is of some mothers. For this reason some of these children have been placed in new homes. There is a sorrow here, for the mother, but the joy of it is that good homes are waiting and longing to receive and provide for them with loving care.
Some Fathers Also — the fathers, whose affairs had gotten beyond control so that it was impossible to care for the their little ones, have come — 23 of them, having made the necessary arrangements for providing for their own, — and received their own children again with gladness. Some other fathers are awaiting the completion of such plans.
45. A Year Unlike Any Other, 2002 Annual Report
- CSI’s Board of Directors made the decision that Nebraska’s children would be better served by making CSI an independent stand-alone agency, ending an 89-year affiliation with the National Benevolent Association. This endeavor was made possible through the generosity of very special people committed to the welfare of Omaha’s children.
- In 2002, CSI’s stellar reputation in the community became a major factor as grants and contract were awarded — allowing CSI to develop and evolve program offerings to better meet the needs of the community.
Reasons 11-22 Reasons 46-66