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Rising Stars recap: the enduring power of CLCs

Up and at ’em! Early in the morning on Oct. 28, Civic Nebraska gathered with friends, colleagues and supporters at Sherman Elementary School’s “Shark Tank” for our Rising Stars Breakfast. The event highlighted the work and accomplishments of our six school-based before- and after-school programs in Lincoln and Omaha and celebrated the people who make them great.

That includes Liseth Reyna-Garrido and Renee Patton, staff members at our Trailblazers Afterschool Academy at Omaha’s Lewis & Clark Middle School. Liseth and Renee, who are both alums of the Academy, have returned to their old stomping grounds to help build young civic leaders.

Liseth touted the importance of belonging – a shy middle-schooler from 2010-13, she made new friends and built relationships under the guidance of the after-school staff.

“Ten years later, I’m following in their footsteps. I can only hope that someday, some of our current students will look back on their days in the afterschool academy, and remember that they always have someone in their lives who cares about them,” Liseth said.

Renee, a 2016-17 student in the Academy and a current education major, added: “I don’t have just one single special moment with a student to share, because honestly, every moment is special and different. I know a lot of teachers or staff like to hear the phrase You’re my favorite. But one of my favorite things to hear from a student is Thank you for listening.”

That sentiment ran throughout the entire breakfast program (which was deliciously catered by Big Mama’s Kitchen, by the way). The 100-plus supporters in attendance at Sherman got the first look at our new video, Rising Stars, that highlights our Community Learning Centers in Nebraska’s two largest cities. Enjoy it below!

Civic Nebraska’s Youth Civic Leadership Programs – a half-dozen before- and after-school programs in Lincoln and Omaha, outside-of-school middle-school civics clubs in Omaha, and student-led service learning in towns and cities across the state – expand students’ horizons so they can critically and creatively engage with the world right now. In 2022, Youth Civic Leadership expanded its efforts, activities, and resources to embolden K-12 students to become responsible citizens. Learn more about our Youth Civic Leadership programs here.