The Junior League of Omaha, trying to ease the fears of children going into the foster care system, packed 100 crisis backpacks with a stuffed animal, pajamas, hygiene items and an educational toy or activity. Members recently delivered them to the Nebraska Families Collaborative.
The nonprofit will distribute the packs to children who need them. The packs are part of the Junior League's Project Hope Pack.
“It is a bright spot in a difficult situation,” said Jennifer Thielen, chairwoman of the project. “The feedback has been wonderful. It is amazing — we had a goal of delivering 200 packs this year and we have already delivered 450.”
By the end of the year, the Junior League of Omaha plans to have delivered more than 600 Project Hope Packs to such agencies as the Project Harmony Child Protection Center, Nebraska Children's Home Society and CASA, in addition to the Nebraska Families Collaborative.
All items in the backpacks are donated.
Thielen heads a league committee of 11 people but said that the project has engaged the entire membership.
“People just want to help,” she said.
Leslie Mayo, Junior League of Omaha president, said each month the committee asks the membership for various needed items and the response has been supportive. League members also have held donation drives for items.
The Nebraska Families Collaborative network includes five area organizations: Boys Town, Child Saving Institute, Heartland Family Services, Nebraska Family Support Network and OMNI Behavioral Health.
For more information on donations, geting involved with Project Hope Pack or for Junior League of Omaha membership, call 402-493-8818 or visit www.jlomaha.org.
* * *
The Omaha Academy of Ballet drew the curtain on its 50th anniversary celebration by announcing a scholarship in honor of two legacy ballerinas.
The Wendy Larson and Sharon McGill Scholarship was established to honor the women who were teachers at the academy and principal dancers with the original Omaha Ballet Company.
Longtime board president Betty Quinn, who recently retired, also was honored for her contributions to Omaha's ballet community.
Larson and McGill were hosts for the pre-performance party at the OPPD Atrium on March 3. More than 110 alumni and friends gathered to celebrate “Decades of Dance: A Tribute to the Omaha Academy of Ballet.”
The event raised more than $19,000, with proceeds going to the continued operation of the Omaha Dance Project, a branch of the academy that provides performing opportunities for community dancers.
* * *
On April 4, two days after the city's primary election, the 56th annual Omaha Press Club Show will skewer politics and life in the Big O on the stage at the Holland Performing Arts Center.
Newsmakers, including candidates for mayor, will join media and stage personalities in “Legends, Lovers and Liars.” Directing the event this year is the husband-wife duo of Keith Allerton and Rebecca Noble. Sue and Steve Seline are honorary chairmen.
The event will start at 5:30 pm with cocktails in the Holland's new Ovations lounge, followed by dinner and a nightclub-style show in the Walter and Suzanne Scott Recital Hall.
Chris Christen is general chairwoman. Committee members are Sally Stalnaker, Jill Bydalek, Scott Darling, Trudy Darling, Kaleigh Wiese, Allison Hillyard, Karen Huber, Cathy Wyatt, Stephanie Horeis and Stacie Hamel.
The nonprofit Omaha Press Club Foundation produces the show as a fundraiser for scholarships and intern awards. Last year, the foundation awarded more than $28,000 to 14 journalism students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University.
For ticket information, visit www.opcshow.org or contact reservations chairwoman Bydalek at 402-384-9316. For more information, contact Christen, executive producer for the Omaha Press Club Foundation, at 402-630-5843 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
Psychologist Dr. Michael Osit will be keynote speaker at the Completely Kids Guild's fundraiser, the Author Luncheon.
The event will be April 10 at Hilton Omaha, with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m., followed by the luncheon and speaker at noon.
Osit's talk will be based on his book, “Generation Text: Raising Well-Adjusted Kids in an Age of Instant Everything.”
Event chairwomen are Ann Marie Abboud and Susie Zindel. Honorary chairmen are Joy and Gordon Watanabe.
During the luncheon, former Completely Kids board member Dave Erker and philanthropist Charles E. Lakin will receive the Men Behind Completely Kids Award for their contributions to the nonprofit.
Reservations for the event can be made at completelykids.org or by contacting Blair Bonnesen at 402-397-5809. Cost is $75 for patron reservations, which includes a signed book; $50 for individual reservations; and $30 for educators.
* * *
Mosaic has been helping and advocating for Omaha-area people with intellectual disabilities for 100 years.
It will cap off its yearlong centennial celebration, “A Century of Service, A Legacy of Love,” with a gala Oct. 24 at the Mutual of Omaha Dome.
Gala chairman Judy Tamisiea recently hosted volunteers and staff for a reception at Mosaic's headquarters in Omaha to begin the planning process. Attending the event were Deryl and Ramona Hamann, who will serve as the gala's honorary chairmen.
Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, will speak at the gala. He will highlight his work to transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on acceptance, inclusion and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
For additional information on Mosaic and the gala, visit www.mosaicinfo.org, contact Davina Leezer at email@example.com or call 402-896-3884.
To share information about benefits or social news, contact Karen Sundell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON THE CALENDAR
Wednesday: Omaha Town Hall lecture series with Joel Sartore, St. Andrew United Methodist Church. email@example.com
April 4: Omaha Press Club Show, Holland Performing Arts Center, www.opcshow.org
April 5: MAD Fashion, Omaha Law League, Hilton Omaha, www.omahalawleague.org
April 6: Big Bash for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands, Champions Run. bbbsomaha.org
April 7: “See the Story” fundraiser for Omaha Youth for Christ/Campus Life, Embassy Suites La Vista, www.yfcomaha.org
Notre Dame Sisters' Celebration of Spirit Dinner, Roncalli High School, www.notredamesisters.org
April 11: Omaha Creative Institute's Spring Fling, Omaha Creative Institute.
April 17: Reception-fundraiser for the Kim Foundation, Corkscrew Wine & Cheese. firstname.lastname@example.org
April 23: Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce's Omaha Business Hall of Fame Gala, Holland Performing Arts Center, OmahaChamber.org/HOF
April 27: Torchlight Ball to benefit D.R.E.A.M. youth programming, University of Nebraska Medical School Truhlsen Events Center. www.allaboutomaha.com
— Send calendar items to email@example.com.