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United Way of the Midlands Awards Funds to Critical Programs for At-Risk Kids

July 27, 2020

Child Saving Institute (CSI) recently received grants totaling $132,900 from United Way of the Midlands. Thanks, in part, to the generosity of United Way donors, CSI can continue offering free services to children who participate in the organization’s School & Family Enrichment (SAFE), KidSquad, Teen & Young Parent Program (TYPP) and Independent Living Skills (ILS) programs. United Way also provided funding to support the organization’s Emergency Shelter and Mental Health Services (Therapy) programs. Additionally, funds for COVID-19 response were included this year.  

“We are extremely grateful for United Way’s support of critical programs for the prevention, intervention and healing of child abuse, neglect and trauma in the Omaha area,” said Peg Harriott, CSI President & CEO. “United Way donors should know that these funds help children and families in their own community find hope and healing.”

What follows is the story of a child who received help through CSI’s Mental Health Services Therapy program.

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A young woman, named Rosie, received therapy services from Child Saving Institute (CSI) for three years. Rosie came to CSI in her freshman year of high school. This beautiful, bright and strong young woman also suffered from trauma, depression, anxiety and bi-polar illness.

Additionally, Rosie had very little stability or support from her immediate family. Her parents separated when she was a toddler. Her mother had her own struggles making it difficult for her to take care of her children. Her distant father was often homeless and unable to adequately care for himself and his family. Because of this, stability was fragile for Rosie.

Such experiences created feelings of isolation and loneliness. It also aided to severe trust issues. Rosie believed she couldn’t trust anyone and she didn’t want to be vulnerable. Eventually, with patience, kindness and acceptance, Rosie learned to trust another human being – her therapist.

For years, Rosie’s CSI therapist worked hard to help her believe in her own potential and ability to succeed. Rosie desperately wanted to graduate from high school. With much work, she did it! Rosie received her high school diploma this past May and has dreams of someday becoming a teacher.

Rosie is extremely proud of her achievements and her therapist couldn’t be more thrilled!

“Sometimes therapy is challenging but never, ever give up,” said Rosie’s therapist. “I always tell my clients who have no hope for themselves that I believe in them and they may borrow my hope until they discover their own,” she added.

With the help of CSI’s Therapy program, Rosie was able to find hope for a brighter future and strength to overcome life’s challenges.  

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This story is just one example of how CSI helps strengthen families and change children’s lives, in part because of United Way grants. CSI received funding for six programs.

KidSquad

KidSquad provides mental health and educational consultations to licensed childcare centers, teachers, and parents and families experiencing difficulties with behaviors presented by a child. The free program serves Douglas and Sarpy counties with a focus on providing services to low income or those living in poverty. When contacted for services, staff work with children ages birth to 6, their teachers and classmates, and their parents and families to ensure their social-emotional development is on par with their peers and that they are kindergarten ready when the time comes. In 2019, KidSquad provided consultation to 90 classrooms in 57 centers. Over 1,295 children were enrolled in these classrooms. The program also provided individualized support to 79 children.

Emergency Shelter for Youth

United Way funding allows CSI to provide a safe, secure living environment for youth who are in crisis and do not have other appropriate housing options. Youth receive one-to-one and group therapy during their stay, in addition to referrals to other needed services for themselves and their families. In 2019, Emergency Shelter served 68 youth.

Mental Health Services (Therapy)

With United Way support, CSI’s Mental Health Services (Therapy) program seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect and to intervene with families in which abuse and neglect has occurred. This is achieved by helping children and families improve coping skills and functioning, achieving better mental health. The Therapy Program served 456 children and families in 2019.

Teen & Young Parent Program (TYPP)

The Teen & Young Parent Program, a dual-generation program, focuses on safety, permanency, and child and family well-being to ensure safe, happy, and healthy families. With United Way funding, CSI is able to focus on those families who have the greatest need for services and connections to community resources, and provide services that other funding sources may not adequately cover. In 2019, 92% of the parents engaged in TYPP experienced an observable gain in parenting skills.

School & Family Enrichment (SAFE)

With United Way funding, the SAFE program offers home and school-based support for at-risk school-aged children and their families in Omaha and Millard public schools. The program works to improve the outcomes for children who experience barriers to learning because of difficulties at school and /or in their homes or neighborhoods. In 2019,113 children received services through CSI’s SAFE program. 

Independent Living Skills (ILS)

Youth who transition to adulthood have a much greater chance of ending up homeless than their peers do. With assistance from United Way, the ILS program helps teens and young adults develop the life skills needed to live independently and connect with other programs and services. The ILS program served 69 youth in 2019.

About United Way of the Midlands:

United Way of the Midlands (UWM) has served the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro for more than 95 years. Guided by best practices and community input, it approaches poverty in a specific way – a “united” way. With the support of volunteers, community partners and donors, UWM invests donor dollars efficiently and effectively in our local community. These dollars fund basic needs, education and financial stability programs at local nonprofits, creating a circle of support for people in need. Please visit unitedwaymidlands.org for more information.

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