Children’s home brings jobs to North Omaha

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April 18th, 2011

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Tagan Newbill helps Miguel Loarca get a drink of water at the Nebraska Children's Home Society's new early childcare center in North Omaha. (Photo by Angel Martin)

Omaha, NE – A building from the 1950s that’s been known for connecting willing parents to needy children throughout the metro has been renovated. And, now this historic building in North Omaha is also bringing jobs to the community.

Miguel Loarca plays in a new, child-proofed toddler room, filled with colorful mini tables and chairs, along with ABCs and 123s on the wall, at the early childcare center. He’s with Tagan Newbill, the early childhood program director of a newly-added program at the Nebraska Children’s Home Society. About two dozen adults joined this play date Friday in celebration of their newest addition.

Karen Authier is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Children’s Home Society. Authier said back in 2008, during their strategic planning, several community problems were identified, including employment, improving economic stability, and education for children and parents in the area.

“We want to be the neighborhood resource,” she said. “If they need assistance in parenting, if there are unplanned pregnancies, if there is a need for some guidance as to how to get through life crisis… And for teens, we have the teen chat group, so we’re working on keeping children in school and preparing the little ones for kindergarten.”

Nebraska Children's Home Society has renovated its historic North Omaha location (Photo by Angel Martin)

Authier also said this site provides a learning center and offers a homelike setting for people to get needed services like foster care. In February of this year, unemployment rates in Douglas County were at 5.3% while the state rate was at 4.7%. Much of Douglas County’s unemployment is concentrated in the poorest parts of the city, like the eastern sections of North Omaha. According to the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, 30 jobs were created thanks to the Nebraska Children’s Home Society.

Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle attended the openeing. He said the city’s working together with job seekers and providers to put people to work.

“If we can put all this together, if we would have this growth in our economy in the east,” Suttle said, “we will began to push down the poverty, and the other things that go along with poverty… the gun violence, gangs, broken families … these are the things we’re going to work on, and get this success story going.”

Currently, just four children attend the early childcare center. But organizers said the center, which has been open for a couple of months, will hold about 35 children.

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