Here we go! Another (after-)school year is here

Our Youth Civic Leadership staff is busily preparing for students to return to our after-school spaces in Lincoln and Omaha, where we reinforce civic learning while providing a safe place for kids to continue their educational journeys.

The start of the school year is upon us, which means our Youth Civic Leadership staff is busily preparing for students to return to our after-school spaces in Lincoln and Omaha. On Friday, Aug. 11, team members gathered at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus to prepare, prime, and psych up for all things Community Learning Center-related.
As we like to say: “We, the people” includes our youngest Americans, too. Civic Nebraska’s Youth Civic Leadership efforts include before- and after-school programs and service-learning clubs in Lincoln, Omaha, and Greater Nebraska. We asked our site leaders and school community coordinators at a number of our after-school sites what they have planned for, or what excites them about, the 2023-24 school year. Here’s what they said.
“This year, we’re focusing on helping students build resiliency and agency via community involvement, civic engagement, and cultural connections. We’ll seek to do those by giving students the opportunity to become active agents in positive change in their communities and own lives.”
Logan Niedzielski, school community coordinator, Campbell Elementary Community Learning Center (Lincoln)
“The Sherman Sharks are back again for another amazing year of programming. We plan to continue to support our youth with a multitude of Social-emotional learning activities while focusing on their educational welfare. Our goals are to support our community while building a brighter future for our students. We are teaching our young ones what it means to be active participants in their communities.”
– Lafayette Townsell, interim site director, Sherman Elementary Community Learning Center (Omaha)
“Our theme this school year is superheroes. Lothrop youth will kick off our first session with providers teaching character and leadership skills with STEM and physical activity with LIIT, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts. We are eager to work with our youth as we continue to create a modern and robust learning environment for all the youth and families we serve.”
Equasha Smith, site director, Lothrop Magnet Elementary Community Learning Center (Omaha)
“As civically engaged citizens and middle-school students, we exemplify innovation and optimism. We cultivate a culture of kindness and empower our youth through Social Emotional Learning. The objective of our program is to support the Omaha Public Schools goals of the Portrait of a Graduate in keeping with Lewis & Clark’s #WeNotMe motto.”
Tracy White, site director, Lewis & Clark Trailblazer Afterschool Academy (Omaha)
“We are excited about our empowering after-school opportunities for students to learn, grow, lead, and succeed. We are looking forward to our New American Youth Leadership Academy this year to foster a space for our youths to enhance skills in the areas of leadership, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, asset development, and service learning. Our goal this year is to provide quality programming to our Link community through effective communication, diversified program and club offerings, strong partnerships, and centering students’ voice and choice.”
Haroon Al Hayder, school community coordinator, Lincoln High School Community Learning Center
“We’re ready to build on the amazing things we accomplished last year. We are focusing on building community through clubs, open hours, and events like This Is Northeast, our multicultural night that will take place on Sept. 20. We are super optimistic about returning clubs such as Dungeon & Dragons, Feminist Collective, Korean Culture Club, and eSports, plus new opportunities to expand and better serve students and families. Whether students need a space after school to get help with homework or just want to hang out in a safe, inclusive place, we are here for them.”
Alexis Lipson, school community coordinator, Lincoln Northeast High School Community Learning Center
Introducing youth to civic engagement allows them to develop critical thinking, civic leadership, and civil discourse skills. Engaged, informed citizens must be able to evaluate situations and act for positive change. Students who can think critically about, and make meaning of, societal issues are better able to navigate their individual environments – and succeed in them.
Cheers to the new year! Welcome back, students!

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After School Programs

  • Sherman Elementary School

    5618 N 14th Ave.
    Omaha, NE 68110

  • Lewis and Clark Middle School

    6901 Burt St.
    Omaha, NE 68132

  • Lothrop Magnet Elementary

    3300 N. 22nd St.
    Omaha, NE 68110

  • Campbell Elementary School

    2200 Dodge St.
    Lincoln, NE 68521

  • Lincoln High School

    2229 J St.
    Lincoln, NE 68510

  • Lincoln Northeast High School

    2635 N. 63rd St.
    Lincoln, NE 68507