Each year, Civic Nebraska’s Strengthening Democracy Awards recognize Nebraskans whose work embodies the spirit of a modern, robust democracy. Among our 2021 honorees are educators, administrators, students, and everyday Nebraskans. We’ll officially honor the winners on April 29, but before then, here’s a chance to learn a bit more about what makes them special.
Civic Nebraska honors Erica Kobza for her work with youth on social issues, as well as access involving food insecurity, clothing, and transportation in Fremont.
In 2020, Kobza co-founded an organization called Together 4 Fremont. The group is made up of local educators who value anti-racism, inclusivity, equity, and access. Then they educate, advocate, and act around those four values. One tangible way Together 4 Fremont lives its values is through the Feeding Fremont program, which addresses the needs of children who cannot access free food provided by the community because of a lack of reliable transportation. Feeding Fremont connected volunteer drivers with food-insecure families and, over many months of the COVID-19 pandemic, served thousands of Fremont children.
Kobza, who is transitioning from her role as dean of students at Fremont High School to becoming principal of Fremont’s Washington Elementary School, also was essential in creating The Hub, which provides access to clothing and food for students at Fremont High students.
As a part of Together 4 Fremont, Kobza also has advocated to the local school board for a statement to mirror the organization’s values. She also has educated through a series of “Together Talk” Facebook Live events, in which conversations focus more deeply on Together 4 Fremont’s four core values.
“Erica is very passionate about her values, and she holds her values deeply,” said Brent Cudly, a colleague and co-founder of Together 4 Fremont. “In just a short conversation with Erica, you can learn how much (our kids) mean to her … and that she values anti-racism, inclusivity, equity, and access. So to me, she was an obvious choice.”