Our Families in Action Board of Directors and team is pleased to welcome Lillian Miranda in the role of Associate Director, Families in Action. Lillian brings a wealth of experience in mental wellness, community programming, and leadership. She is a certified WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) Facilitator; and a certified Mediator with the State of Nebraska.
Families in Action has undoubtedly touched my life. Although my schedule has become exceedingly hectic with work and academics, I can truthfully say that my time volunteering has become the highlight of my week. It makes all the difference in my ability to reflect upon my week with a pure sense of joy and fulfillment.
Each week, I look forward to the precious time I get to spend with the beautiful children of the community and with the staff members of Families in Action, and each week I am reminded of the meaning of my life: to impact the lives of those around me in a positive way and to learn from them in the process.
Not only is it a stress relief from college life to run and play outside with the children, other volunteers and FIA adult leaders, but also, it continually reminds me of what I am most passionate about in my own life. It is easy to foster my desire to become a nurse by observing and participating in the health education that Families in Action provides, and even easier to integrate my desire to learn Spanish while conversing with Martha, Carmen or others on site.
However, for me the most meaningful part is the people who make up the program. Virginia, Gema, Alma, Consuelo, Irma, Martha, Kaela and the others in the community look out for each other on such a deep level. It is obvious how much the women and children care about each other as they go out of their way to welcome new guests and, as staff does, facilitate carpooling each week for those who do not have transportation.
There in an undeniable sense of community within Families in Action and I leave each week with a full heart knowing I am unbelievably lucky to be welcomed into such a loving group of people.
Creighton University Graduate,
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Families in Action was pleased to host Methodist College Mobile Clinic and nursing students last month at our 32 and K site. Nursing students, accompanied by their Professors, provided blood sugar screenings, height and weight measurements, bmi, and blood pressure checks. FIA’s literacy students, along with our Families in Action participants and staff, were honored to work with such a dedicated group of students and faculty.
FIA’s participants– men, women and children– credit regular participation in educational, nutritional and exercise programs conducted via FIA with meeting their health and wellness needs. Additional information was requested by participants concerning elevated blood sugar levels in children. FIA facilitated a brief question and answer forum on this topic on site with Dr. Cristina Fernandez (FIA Advisor).
Recently, Virginia McGill received the Tri-state area Lifetime Achievement Award for service within the Latino Community.
This award recognizes a non Latino(a)/Hispanic individual or business who has exhibited outstanding leadership in improving the lives of Latinos/Hispanics in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.
Congratulations and a huge Thank You to Virginia for her work!
Families in Action (FIA) received a grant this year (2020) to address Childhood Obesity with our partner, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.
According to the recent Community Health Needs Assessment, co-sponsored by Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, childhood obesity ranked as the number one concern of parents in the greater Omaha Metropolitan area. Childhood obesity is a health crisis on the national level, as well, affecting 17 percent of children and teens in the United States.
FIA is grateful for the support of the Children’s Learning Collaborative, Dr. Corinne Hanson and Dr. Barb Braden for their assistance in this endeavor, and for the commitment and dedication of Children’s in working with our organization, participants and community to address childhood obesity.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized Families in Action with a National Award for Innovation in Health Prevention and Promotion. Families in Action was honored to receive this award–a first for a stand-alone nonprofit in Omaha.
Interfaith Health Services, through Latinas in Action, launched a hands-on micro-business and sewing program. It is rare that a project of this nature succeeds from the beginning, and we believe our demonstrated ability to listen to participants highlights the trust we have built up in the community over the years. Our track record demonstrates commitment to the community at large and to forging new and innovative partnerships while serving a record number of families each month.
Our micro-business initiative started with the initial donation of twelve high-end wedding dresses from a Vice-President at Wells Fargo Bank who contacted us FIA seeking a way to distribute the dresses in the community. Our participants worked together to re-bead and sell the dresses to women in the South Omaha and surrounding areas seeking affordable wedding dresses.
One of our FIA participants, Ramona, offered to teach sewing classes to participants and women in the community interested in learning more about machine sewing, craft design and small business structuring. Many of our FIA participants have a knowledge of hand sewing but have never had the opportunity to sew using machines. Classes began with nine students signed up and attending, along with their children. Within a week, that number doubled with over a dozen women attending (word of mouth spread and participants brought friends). There is a great deal of excitement as the women learn more about sewing and business plans. Our waiting list for future classes is full, as well. Several business leaders in the community will be speaking with future classes about their own perspectives on business.
Ramona is a highly skilled instructor and she shared with that she studied sewing in high school and that in the decades since then, she has developed her natural gift for creating dresses and clothing. Ramona opened her own business in South Omaha making formal dresses for quinceaneras and is well-respected throughout the community. Her skills are evident in her teaching and class preparations. She is professional, patient and able to demonstrate correct sewing methods to each student at some point during each two hour classes each semester. Her hands-on approach makes the subject matter easier to digest and “easier to learn“, according to participants.
It has been inspiring to see women in the community so enthused about joining together and learning together. One participant, Martha, invited us to her house, to get to know her and her family a bit more and talk with her about the class. Martha has a dream of owning her own business some day. She shared that she is enjoying learning and being with other women. She is also grateful that children’s activities are provided on site so that her son can attend classes with her.
Some of the women involved in FIA’s micro-business program are survivors of domestic violence. Classes provide a way for women to support one another, as well as continue their own journey toward self-sufficiency. Domestic violence advocates have conducted several site visits to classes and recommend the classes in the community.
This latest program is helping participants learn more while provide concrete ideas regarding small business start-up and providing the tools for economic growth. At FIA, we rely on the support and hard work of so many collaborators, funders and participants. Without your support, our work would not be possible.
Virginia McGill y Gema Castillo Wolde
FAMILIES IN ACTION AND LATINAS IN MICRO BUSINESS
Desfile de Modas
Todo tipo de Vestidos, Novias, Quinceañeras, Damas, de Noche. Etc…
1326 S 26th St Omaha
(entre la woolworth y Popleton)
Cuando: Viernes, 30 de Julio
Hora: 5pm a 7pm
Para mayor información, llame a
Gema: 616-4721 ó FIA 660-6689
Spotlight on an FIA Participant
Vanessa, one of our Amigos in Action youth group members and her mom agreed to be this month’s featured on our FIA website. Vanessa, her mother and 2 brothers have been attending Families in Action for several years.
Here are some highlights of our conversation with Vanessa and her mom:
Something about me not everyone knows about me:
“I have a dog. I’ve had Bella since she was a puppy. She is a year and a half old but she is NOT named after the lead character in those books everyone read.” (Twilight series)
“Sleeping, eating, talking to my friends, soccer, saxophone, vanilla ice cream, my favorite school subject is math.”
In the future, I want to:
“Be a pastry chef or an artist.”
I am grateful for:
“My family and my life.”
A favorite memory:
“The day before Thanksgiving last year, my mom and I got up really early, around 6 in the morning. We went to No Frills in South Omaha and bought all the spices and ingredients for making a the turkey my dad got from his work. It was fun because it was just me and my mom cooking. We were surprised at how well the turkey turned out. We went over to my grandmother’s house to celebrate the day and let’s just put it this way—there were no leftovers from our turkey! Everyone else liked it as much as we did!”