Your support for Nebraska's kids is needed now more than ever!
LFS is on the front line helping kids and families through this COVID-19 pandemic--to stop child abuse, to provide diapers and other basic necessities to needy and at-risk families, and to help build strong families so children may succeed in school and in life. Your support for Nebraska's kids is needed now more than ever.
Centers for Healthy Families
At the Centers for Healthy Families in Fremont, North Omaha, and Council Bluffs, LFS focuses on prevention and early intervention services for expectant mothers and at-risk families with young children. Programming is focused on breaking cycles of poverty, ending child abuse and neglect, guiding families to self-sufficiency and helping families provide for the overall health and well-being of their prenatal to preschool-age children. The ultimate goal is to build strong families so that children may succeed in the classroom and in life.
Center activities teach essential parenting skills, building up caregivers’ “parenting toolbox” to create a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for their children. For example, the Nurturing Parenting Program is a 16-session class that teaches caregivers the skills to create nurturing routines, effective discipline techniques and to manage stress. Additional family life education at the Centers includes support groups and parent-child interactive groups. All of these classes increase caregivers’ knowledge of parenting and child development, equip parents with practical parenting skills, and build informal social supports. These and other family life education classes are offered in both English and Spanish. Center staff support families to create an individual goal plan, reviewing goal progress regularly and providing resource and referral information to ensure families’ needs and goals are met.
To encourage and reinforce healthy behaviors, families served at the Centers earn points for participating in activities that increase child and family health, family safety and family self-sufficiency. Families earn points for activities that include: prenatal and well-babychild well- check ups, early literacy programs, parenting classes and developmental screenings for their children. With earned points, families obtain needed child specific items such as diapers, hygiene items, clothing, children’s books and car seats. This helps families meet their children’s basic needs while encouraging parents to gain knowledge, increase their social supports through community connections, and build life-long healthy habits.
Center programming also includes the “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World” curriculum, which addresses core issues of poverty and self-sufficiency. “Getting Ahead” is designed to help participants understand and gain awareness of the factors that affect poverty. The curriculum helps those in poverty build up financial, emotional and social supports in order to open doors to new supportive social connections, jobs and resources, all with an ultimate goal of increasing self-sufficiency. Classes also teach participants skills necessary to analyze their lives and make plans for building personal and family resources.
Makayla: A Success Story
“I attended several parenting classes offered by the North Omaha Center. And it’s not the only place I took parenting classes at. I am a strong believer that we learn new stuff all the time. There is nothing wrong with learning new things, techniques, and keeping your skills sharp as a parent. It also helps to be around other parents that may be struggling with some of the same parenting issues that you yourself are struggling with. During the last parenting group I took at LFS, I met a couple of women who were struggling with parenting due to things they still suffer from what happened in their own childhood. I was able to share my story with them to give them hope” - Makayla
Makayla is the mother of four. She joined the Young Families Incentive Program at North Omaha Center for Healthy Families when she was pregnant with her fourth child. Makayla says: “As a single mother it is often hard to keep up with the needs of four children. LFS has helped remove part of that barrier by giving me the opportunity to earn points to shop in their Boutique for things I needed for my children. I have earned points for things that I have to do normally such as going to doctor’s appointments, library visits or other activities with my children.”
Makayla faced enormous challenges during her childhood but was always determined to do everything she could to build a happy and healthy family of her own. She finished high school and got two bachelor’s degrees. Her love for reading and writing and storytelling led her to great further accomplishments – Makayla just introduced her second book “Momma Do You Hear My Cry”. Makayla says: “My book is a raw and gritty urban novel about my life. The story sheds light on one of the most underrated crimes committed against our children. My story isn't just my story. It is the story of many women and young women who have had similar or worse experiences. Many of us have experienced trauma of some sort during childhood and due to the saying "Family business is family business" have held the hurt inside. I hope my story will be a conversation starter for many women and young girls like myself to start healing.”
Very often what our participants need from us is just support and tons of empowerment and reassurance. We want our participants to believe in themselves and in their strength. We want them to feel that the Center is the place they can get support and be connected with their community, feel solidarity and understanding. Makayla is someone that many of our Moms look up to. We are proud of Makayla and will be by her side whenever she needs us.
Links to Makayla’s books: