In late 2018 and early 2019, Collective Impact Lincoln partnered with storyteller Gabriella Parsons to bring narratives in our six focus neighborhoods to life. Through a series of portraits and short films, Stories of Impact explores neighborhoods and gives voice to their residents, concerns, ideas, and day-to-day lives.
Near South neighborhood, October 2018
Carlos Riverra moved from Miami to Lincoln about a year ago. He works in telecommunications and has a goal of opening a mobile car washing business in Lincoln. A mobile car wash is just how it sounds. Every piece of equipment needed to wash a car – vacuums, hoses, supplies, etc. – on wheels. Carlos can clean the exterior and interior of people’s cars, without the car having to leave their driveway, for $15. When asked what brought him to Lincoln, Carlos looked at Niem and said, “This little one right here.”
Everett Neighborhood, November 2018
The Lemus family has lived in the Everett neighborhood for more than five years. Adolfo, 19 (right), notes the misconceptions people have of his neighborhood. “People say this side of town is bad, but it’s not as bad as people say it is,” Adolfo says. “There’s some drug problems in the neighborhood, but that doesn’t represent the whole neighborhood.” Adolfo’s younger brother Andres says he likes the diversity of cultures he sees in his neighborhood.
Near South Neighborhood, October 2018
“Something I’m proud about living in Lincoln is the way people embrace diversity. At the same time, some people reject diversity. I try to surround myself with people who welcome diversity with open arms.”
– Ronda Chase
Clinton Neighborhood, November 2018
Florine Joseph is a longtime resident of the Clinton neighborhood, where she has lived for nearly 30 years. Florine serves as a board member with the Clinton neighborhood association and works five days a week in The Salvation Army food pantry. Her involvement in Lincoln spans a lifetime career in public service to community empowerment to everyday conversations with her neighbors.
When asked about her experience in the Clinton neighborhood, Florine said, “I want to be received as Florine Joseph no matter where I live or how much income I may have.”
Over the years, Florine’s commitment to serving the community has been honored through numerous leadership awards.
“They say I’ve helped people,” Florine says with a smile. “I like to think they’re right.”
Nile Grocery, Hartley neighborhood, November 2018
Originally from Sudan, Wal has lived in Nebraska for 16 years. He moved from Georgia to Omaha, and later to Lincoln where he started his own business.
Wal owns Nile Grocery on North 27th Street. The store has been in business for almost eight years, offering the community a diverse selection of African and Middle Eastern grocery foods and products.
Back in Omaha, Wal studied computer science at Metro Community College, but Wal says that his priorities have shifted since he was in school. He saves the income from Nile Grocery for his children to go to college.
In the future, Wal hopes to return to school to continue his education.
“For now, it’s more important for my children to go to school than it is for me,” Wal says.
University Place neighborhood, December 2018
Originally from Juarez, Mexico, Alejandro Martinez has lived in Lincoln since 2016, when he began attending Nebraska Wesleyan University. He studies communications and Japanese.
Alejandro says he hadn’t heard of Nebraska before 2015, when he applied for a scholarship to go to NWU through First United Methodist Church. The church, a staple of the University Place neighborhood, offers scholarships to international NWU students to help pay for housing.
Alejandro says it took time for him to build a community here, but through internships and service learning opportunities, he’s gained an extended perspective of Lincoln. “University Place is a really diverse neighborhood,” he says. “On one side we have people that live well – college students that dedicate themselves to work and school – and then we also have families that live in poverty. I’ve known many kids who are not treated well by their families, but they can find sanctuary in either the church or at school.”
After he graduates, Alejandro hopes to work as an educator and teach English or Spanish, possibly abroad or in his favorite country, Japan.
The Belmont neighborhood is home to working families, community members, educators and individuals who all make Lincoln unique. The Belmont Recreation Center is a common place for the neighborhood, serving youth, students and families through its programs and activities. Through Lincoln Literacy’s Family Literacy program, the rec offers English classes to families of children who attend Belmont Elementary and Educare of Lincoln. The mothers enrolled in the program dedicate themselves to learning English five days a week while their children are in school. Lincoln Literacy started its Family Literacy program in 2008 with five sites, and now offers more than 15 family literacy classes across the city. These classes empower migrant mothers and families with community resources, activities and literacy skills, helping families to establish a newfound community in Lincoln.
University Place neighborhood, December 2018
Linda London has called the University Place neighborhood home for more than 50 years, when she and her husband started their business, London Stringed Instrument Repair, on North 48th Street. Since then, Linda has gained a reputation – not only in the neighborhood but across Lincoln – as a master of her craft and a staple in the local music community.
Linda works and lives in the UP neighborhood and has built a community around her customers, many who’ve become her close friends over the years. Since her husband died unexpectedly, Linda has kept the business running with all the tools, parts and knowledge he left behind. She is 78 and has no plans to retire.
“I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t here,” Linda says. “This is my life – all my friends are here, my customers are my friends. I like what I do and there’s never a day I don’t want to get up and go to work – it’s simply a joy.”
Lulu’s on N Street, December 2018
Karen Lamb has lived in Lincoln since 1984. A former resident of the Clinton neighborhood, Karen and her family have immersed themselves in the Lincoln community over the years through their faith, hard work and dedication to building meaningful relationships.
Karen, a long-time pastor and community leader, owns Lulu’s on N Street, formerly the Korn Popper shop. There, she fosters her love for the community by selling nutritious lunches and fresh pastries to the downtown crowd, while also catering at various events in Lincoln. Soon, Karen hopes to turn Lulu’s into a nonprofit and launch a pay-as-you-can program, which would effectively help feed homeless individuals downtown.
“I have always seen my cooking and baking as an extension of ministry, “ Karen says. “I used to joke and say, ‘I’m feeding the body and the soul.’ [Lulu’s] is really a ministry of hospitality — caring for people, giving them something that’s worth what they’re paying, and of course, feeding people who are hungry.”
Belmont Neighborhood, December 2018
Lindsay Limbach is the Family and Curriculum Specialist for Lincoln Public School’s Community Learning Centers. She is passionate about empowering youth and connecting students and families with the resources they need. Before this, Lindsay was a school community coordinator for Belmont Elementary School and Goodrich Middle School. Through her years of service in the Belmont neighborhood, Lindsay has fostered lasting, meaningful relationships with students and their families.
“The Belmont neighborhood has so much to offer,” Lindsay says. “One of the things I love about it is how intergenerational [the neighborhood] is. I’ll go to Schmick’s, the local grocery store, and see former Belmont and Goodrich students working there now. Everybody knows each other a little bit — it’s that intergenerational feel. That’s where a lot of the pride comes from.”
Belmont neighborhood, December 2018
Anas, Mohammed, and their daughter Laaly are from Iraq. They recently moved to Nebraska from Texas, and now live in the Belmont neighborhood. Anas takes English classes through Lincoln Literacy’s Family Literacy program, offered at the Belmont Rec Center on weekdays. Laaly is seven years old and in second grade at Belmont Elementary.
“Arabic people usually don’t dance, but I like to dance!” Laaly exclaimed during the Belmont Rec’s Cultural Night, while her parents looked at each other and laughed. Families like Anas and Mohammed’s are what make the Belmont neighborhood vibrant and unique. We are so glad to celebrate their story and welcome them as they call Lincoln their home.