Emily Koopmann: What Civic Nebraska means to me

Civic Nebraska's Campbell Elementary CLC site director on that special force that connects Lincolnites around our greatest asset -- our children.

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People. I love them.

Since people are my thing, math surely isn’t (you can’t have it all, I guess). But I’m pretty sure the transitive property is what I’m trying to describe here. Meaning if I love people, and people are found in community, then equally, I love community.

When you think 27th and Superior, what comes to mind? Did you say Walmart?

And how about 14th and Superior? The roundabout? Walgreens?

There was a time when those were my immediate associations as well. But the vibrancy of North Central Lincoln is too bright a light to keep it at just that.

The brilliance of this community comes in the form of Goodrich students dutifully walking to pick up younger siblings at Belmont and Campbell. In the form of kind-hearted staff and volunteers at Eiseley Library creating a home of summer learning for all ages. In the form of kids coming down from their third-floor apartments to play a game of pickup basketball in their complex’s parking lot. North Central Lincoln is my little light, and I’m going to let it shine.

In Lincoln, we have a special force that connects the microcosms of our community and grounds them around our greatest asset – our children. Lincoln Community Learning Centers, or CLCs, are the pinnacle of this collaboration between community, school, and family.

It is my work at Civic Nebraska as a school community coordinator for the Campbell Elementary CLC that brings my passion and joy for people to a point of no return. Every day, over 100 students come during the after school hours to engage in an extended learning opportunity – it’s thrilling. Every week I meet with the Campbell principal and we dream and scheme until our little heads explode – it’s refreshing. Once a month I see parents from our Family Literacy Program attend School Neighborhood Advisory Committee meetings and voice their praises and concerns for our community – it’s inspiring.

I’m all in. Fully invested. I’ve done a cannonball into the public pool that is North Central Lincoln, and I’m soaked in the mission to listen, unite, and collaborate. I deeply desire to – and intend to – celebrate this slice of the city.

Civic Nebraska means to me that there are no boundaries drawn on the dreams I have for my community. There is no limit to the character and capacity of my neighborhood. There are no labels or lines drawn as to what my students can create and accomplish. Their duplex, two-story house, mobile home, or ground-level apartment doesn’t define them – doesn’t define us. We live together in a global community that insists on keeping our children at the center and uses our public schools as a means to connect and rejuvenate the dreams we have for future generations.

Civic Nebraska isn’t just work for me. It’s people. And I love them.

— Emily Koopmann

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Patty Welch

Great article, Emily. You should be very proud of your work & accomplishments.

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