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Strength in Service - Omaha Serves

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It also will provide more short-term mentoring opportunities that could then develop into long-term relationships. Case-Penrod says people often shy away from becoming a mentor, fearing the time commitment. But there are many short-term projects - Lemonade Days being a prime example -that are available for those who like working with young people but may not have an extended period of time to commit.

Lastly, My Community, Our Children works to strengthen existing mentoring programs through ongoing support like mentor recruitment, background checks, and training. “Lemonade Days is a national program that capitalizes on the power of engaging kids in building a business plan,” says Case-Penrod.

It pairs an adult mentor with a child to plan and implement a kid-friendly business- the lemonade stand. The two develop business strategies and carry out their plan on the first Saturday in May. “Angel Investors” provide all the necessary materials, thus removing any economic barriers that might prevent a child from participating. Financial literacy is woven in; participants save a third of their earnings, return a third to the community with a charitable donation, and keep a third for their own discretionary spending.

Strong neighborhoods are the backbone of a strong city. Omaha Serves partners with neighborhood associations in the Listening Project to identify neighborhoods’ specific needs and then develop strong service projects accordingly. Because volunteers who serve the community in which they live have an intimate connection to their neighborhoods, our goal is to have half of the volunteers come from the neighborhoods to transform the neighborhoods, Case-Penrod explains.



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