Tag Archives: University of Nebraska at Omaha

The Cinderella of Completely KIDS

Penny Court of Honor

The Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and Women’s Ball Committee inducted Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker into the 2013 Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation and Scholarship Ball Court of Honor on Oct. 19 at the CenturyLink Center. She joined fellow inductees Fr. Thomas M. Fangman, Jr., Bruce Rasmussen and Michael H. Simmonds.

‘I’ve just done the right thing for kids,’ says
Ak-Sar-Ben Court of Honor Inductee Penny Parker

Penny Court of Honor 2

Penny & Steve Parker

She looked like a present-day Cinderella, glowing in a blue cap-sleeved gown with a subtle glittery floral pattern embellishing it from the top down.

But it’s her years of dedicated service to youth that really tell the Cinderella story. She’s been a voice for the voiceless, an advocate for those less fortunate, a guide for thousands of children and families.

The Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and Women’s Ball Committee inducted Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker into the 2013 Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation and Scholarship Ball Court of Honor on Oct. 19 at the CenturyLink Center. She joined fellow inductees Fr. Thomas M. Fangman, Jr., Bruce Rasmussen and Michael H. Simmonds.

“I was shocked, and I said, ‘You’ve got the wrong Penny Parker,’ ” she said about her reaction to finding out she was selected for the Court of Honor. “I don’t feel like I’ve done anything extraordinary. I’ve just done the right thing for kids.”

Established in 1988, the Court of Honor is one of the most prestigious awards given by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation. Honorees are selected based on excellence in one of the following areas: agriculture, arts, business and industry, community service, education, philanthropy, professions, public service, sports or youth.

Penny has served for 22 years as the executive director of Completely KIDS, formerly Camp Fire USA Midlands Council. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University and received her bachelor’s degree in social welfare from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She then earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Prior to her work at Completely KIDS, Penny served as a caseworker and then supervisor for Douglas County Social Services, followed by a position at Child Saving Institute, where she managed a residential program for young mothers and their children. Later, as an employee of the Nebraska Department of Social Services, she became the first female child welfare administrator at the Omaha office, overseeing foster care, adoption and child protective services.

We all know it isn’t the dress that makes the princess. It is her actions and service to others. In keeping with the humble and gentle Cinderella spirit, Penny is quick to say that this significant honor is not about her; rather the agency, and the kids and families it serves.

“The theme to me is almost like hard work pays off,” she said. “If you have passion for what you do, give your all. Don’t worry about the recognition.”

CK Norris, YAN Programs Receive First Lady’s Award for Service Learning Project

First Lady Award - Norris

From left, Claudia Escandon, CK Norris YAN; Nebraska First Lady Sally Ganem; Norris Middle School Principal Ruben Cano; and Danny Walsh, UNO Service Learning Graduate Assistant at the ServeNebraska Luncheon. Due to a collaboration between the CK Norris YAN program, Norris Middle School and UNO, the First Lady awarded them the Outstanding School Volunteer Program for work on the Redbird 108 service learning project.

Experience continues to excite kids

By Adrielle Griffin
Completely KIDS Communications Manager
Posted: June 19, 2013

CK Norris and the Completely KIDS Youth Attendance Navigator program were selected in April to receive the 2013 First Lady’s Outstanding Community Service Award in the Outstanding School Volunteer Program category.

The award recognized volunteer efforts by Norris middle school students participating in the Completely KIDS YAN and Redbird Afterschool Academy programs in partnership with psychology students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Those efforts came together under a multifaceted service learning project called Redbird 108, named after the classroom in which the project is housed.

CK Norris students designed the Redbird Community/Family Room and the Redbird Closet. The room itself has a resource wall based on needs of Norris families and serves as a place for mentoring and relationship building. Students assisted in preparing for the open house of the room and continue to maintain the space throughout the year.

The Redbird Closet provides clothing, hygiene items and school supplies to Norris families. Students are responsible for clothing and supply drives, washing the clothes and organizing supplies.

Julie Dierberger, P-16 Coordinator at UNO’s Service Learning Academy, nominated the YAN program for the award.

“My YAN program is very fortunate to have her and the P-16 Initiative in our corner as we implement service learning at Completely KIDS and Norris Middle School,” Youth Attendance Navigator Claudia Escandón said. “Julie and Graduate Assistant Danny Walsh are amazing.”

Escandón said another phase of the project is in the works.

“This experience continues to excite students about helping others,” she said. “In the same way that students created and run Norris’ family and community room and Redbird Closet, students will work to transform a room at Hanscom Park Methodist Church into our Redbird Boutique. The space will serve as an in-kind donation center specializing in baby and elementary items.”

ASPA Names Parker Outstanding Nonprofit Administrator of the Year

Penny Parker ASPA-NE Award

Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker, center, received the 2013 Nonprofit Administrator of the Year Award by the Nebraska Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. She was nominated by Anne Hindrey, CEO of the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, and Volunteer Carol Russell.

Award recognizes excellence, professionalism, ethical standards

By Adrielle Griffin
Completely KIDS Communications Manager
Posted: April 16, 2013

The Nebraska Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration honored Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker with the 2013 Nonprofit Administrator of the Year Award during a luncheon at the Thompson Alumni Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha on April 3.

The Outstanding Nonprofit Administrator of the Year Award recognizes a Nebraska administrator who demonstrates a tradition of excellence through outstanding achievements, a commitment to professionalism, exceptional leadership qualities, high ethical standards and a devotion to nonprofit ideals, according to Rhonda Sheibal-Carver, staff assistant of the School of Public Administration.

Anne Hindrey, CEO of the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, and Volunteer Carol Russell nominated Parker.

ASPA Nebraska promotes excellence in public service by providing professional development and networking opportunities to Nebraskans serving the public in government and nonprofit organizations, as well as to students studying public administration.

CK Hires, Promotes Staff, Including Program Alumni

By Adrielle Griffin
Completely KIDS Communications Manager

Posted: March 28, 2013

Completely KIDS is pleased to welcome several new faces to the CK staff.

Amber Nawroth joined Completely KIDS in December as program coordinator for Marrs Middle School. She previously worked for Boys and Girls Club. Lulu Rangel, a University of Nebraska at Omaha practicum student, assumed the role of shelter coordinator in February. Rangel is an alumnus of the Completely KIDS Teen L.E.A.P. and Teen Advisory Board programs.

Additionally, several staff members have been promoted.

Sarah Christoffersen was promoted to Liberty Project therapist. Previously, she served as the CK 26 program coordinator. Ashley Crnkovich has been promoted to the role of program specialist. She formerly held dual titles as program specialist and Field Club program coordinator. Josh Gillman, formerly Liberty program coordinator, now serves as Liberty project manager.

Lisset Hernandez now holds the position of Field Club program coordinator. Hernandez has served as both program support and lead staff. She is also an alumnus of the Completely KIDS Highland, Teen L.E.A.P. and TAB programs.