Offering opportunities for positive change to individuals, families & communities.
The Connected Youth Initiative seeks to build Connected Youth Communities and collaborations across rural Nebraska to help unconnected young people with experience in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, those struggling with homelessness, or who are disconnected from a family structure. The Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) is youth driven and utilizes community resources to improve youth opportunities and networks for housing, transportation, health care, connections to peer and adult supports, educational attainment, employment, career pathways, and financial empowerment.
Thanks to the federal Social Innovation Fund grant and a substantial investment from private and community partners, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation has expanded into rural communities the older youth system of care model. The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is a powerful approach to transforming lives and communities that positions the federal government to be a catalyst for impact—mobilizing private resources to find and grow community solutions with evidence of results. With the simple but vital goal of finding what works, and making it work for more people, the Social Innovation Fund and its' grantees create a learning network of organizations working to implement innovative and effective evidence-based solutions to local and national challenges in three priority areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development. Central Plains Center for Services is partnering across the state in bringing the Connected Youth Initiative to rural Nebraska.
Who will be served
The initiative will serve “unconnected youth” in rural Nebraska communities. Unconnected youth are defined as young people between 14-24 who find themselves disconnected from a positive life course because they:
To build Connected Youth community collaborations across Nebraska to remove barriers and help unconnected young people reach their full potential. Without the support of a family structure the barriers can seem insurmountable.
About the Connected Youth model
While each community’s CYI will look different depending on the needs of youth and resources in the area, required components include:
State Wide CYI Sites:
Brittney Livingston- 402-875-3594
Lindsey Drake- 402-580-9247
Stephanie Wilhelm- 308-635-7413
Diana Boutwell- 308-212-2488
Blue Valley (Southeast Nebraska)
Collena Lashanzky- 402-729-6510
Becky Horton- 402-721-4157
Tina Avis- 402-721-4157
Hall County- (Hall County Community Collaborative)
Jessica Guitterez- 308-930-9046
Leonor Fuhrer- 402-640-2409
Caroline Sabin- 308-520-3743
Improving Youth Opportunities