Members of the media who wish to make inquiries about Completely KIDS may contact Adrielle Griffin by e-mail at or by phone at 402-397-5809, ext. 210.

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Author Says Empathy is Key to Successful Children, Reducing Violence


Contact: Adrielle Griffin, Director of Marketing and Communications
(402) 397-5809, ext. 210

2018 Author Luncheon Speaker Dr. Michele Borba - empathy

Dr. Michele Borba keynotes Completely KIDS℠ fundraiser

OMAHA (April 19, 2018) – Speaking to a crowd of nearly 470 people at Hilton Omaha on Wednesday, Dr. Michele Borba shared nine essential habits of developing, practicing and living empathy with our kids.

The Completely KIDS Guild brought Borba to Omaha for the Completely KIDS Author Luncheon, a fundraiser which generated more than $83,000 for the agency. Borba is the author of Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

“On behalf of the guild, I want to thank the Omaha community for supporting our Author Luncheon,” said Anne Medlock, Completely KIDS Guild President. “Your continued desire to help us serve the families of Completely KIDS is greatly appreciated. Thank you to Dr. Borba for her passionate advice on this very topical subject, “What if a key to ending violence across the world is a simple as instilling empathy in our children?’ ”

2018 Persons Behind Completely KIDS winners - empathyExecutive Director Penny Parker presented the 2018 Persons Behind Completely KIDS award to Brownell Talbot School and Jenna Mu, senior, Brownell Talbot.

This year’s program included an introduction of the speaker by Completely KIDS alumni and junior support staff, Claire Murphy. Lunch included a southwest pan-seared chicken salad topped off with Nothing Bundt Cakes bundtinis for dessert.

2018 Author Luncheon Keynote Speaker Introduction - empathy

The 2018 Author Luncheon committee includes Medlock, event co-chairs Andrea Gutta and Jennifer Slattery, and guild board members: Brandi Ballan, Mandy Bierman, Kate Brownrigg, Traci Copple, Karly Jurgensen Daniel, Jenn Dannehl, Leslie DeBoer, Shannon Dombrowski, Erin Sullivan Downs, Desri Gocken, Bridget Greer, Shelly Grote, Denise Gruidl, Cari Harris, Traci Harrison, Julia Hernandez, Alison Johnson, Kristin Lewis, Amy Lindsay, Julie Lyons, Alyson Manning, Rebecca Maw, Ashley McMahon, Angela Rock, Christine Schulte, Rachel Skradski, Marjean Stamm, Janet Thayer, Abby Tipton, Barbara Tripp, Liz Walenz, Laurie Webb and Carrie Weiler.

For more information about Completely KIDS, visit


Scripps Howard Foundation Awards $5,000 Grant to CK

Scripps Howard Foundation Check Presentation

Larry Forsgren, VP/General Manager Local Media for KMTV, left, and Mark Halverson, VP/General Manager for Scripps Media Omaha, right, present Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker with a $5,000 check to support the nonprofit’s Weekend Food Program.

Scripps funds will support weekend food efforts in Omaha

Scripps Howard Foundation LogoOMAHA (Dec. 19, 2017) – The Scripps Howard Foundation and its Omaha stations presented Monday a $5,000 check to Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker. The grant will be used for the agency’s Weekend Food Program.

“We are so grateful to the Scripps Howard Foundation for its generosity,” said Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker. “We’re encouraged by the employees who, while deciding which cause is important to them, advocated for children and who recognize the hunger issues present within our community. To put into perspective the tremendous difference this grant makes, $5,000 feeds all of our children who receive bags of food for one weekend.”

The Weekend Food Program combats childhood hunger in the Omaha area by providing bags of nutritious, child-friendly food every Friday to more than 450 elementary and middle school youth in the Completely KIDS afterschool program.

Mark Halverson, VP and General Manager for Scripps Media Omaha, said employees were interested in supporting an agency that works with kids and fights childhood hunger, resulting in the selection of Completely KIDS for this year’s grant award.

For more information about Completely KIDS, visit or call (402) 397-5809.

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Completely KIDS educates and empowers kids and families to create a safe, healthy, successful and connected community. In supporting this mission, Completely KIDS assists more than 2,000 children and families each year in overcoming barriers to their success. The work at Completely KIDS takes place before and after the school day. The agency provides a safe, academically supportive and enriching environment at seven OPS elementary and middle schools, a parochial school, three homeless shelters and its building. Completely KIDS also offers expanded services to the families of the children it serves in the form of literacy, educational support, mental health services and referrals to other agencies as needed.

The Scripps Howard Foundation, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the philanthropic arm of The E.W. Scripps Company. With a special commitment to the regions where Scripps does business, the foundation helps build strong communities and improve the quality of life through support of sound educational programs, strong families, vital social services, enriching arts and culture and inclusive civic affairs. The Scripps Howard Foundation is a leader in industry efforts in journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development, literacy and First Amendment causes.


ConAgra Brands grant promotes fitness, nutrition for kids, families

Healthy KIDS Healthy Families Norris

Fitness, nutrition offered more extensively over Completely KIDS sites

By Adrielle Griffin
Completely KIDS Director of Marketing and Communications

Healthy KIDS Healthy Families JacksonCompletely KIDS was pleased to be able to provide the Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families program over the past year thanks to funding by the Nourish Our Community grant from ConAgra Brands Foundation. The goal of the program was to engage low-income families to participate in physical activities, learn about healthy food choices, and to provide regular access to fresh, nutritious food.

“The staff at Completely KIDS is committed to the health and wellness of the children and families we serve,” said Ann Lawless, Director of Community-Based Programs. “We saw the opportunity to apply for this grant as a way to uphold that commitment and provide more extensive programming in the areas of food, nutrition and physical fitness.”

As part of Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families, Completely KIDS partnered with numerous youth fitness providers to offer activities for children in its afterschool program. Activities included First Tee golf, ballet, indoor soccer, ballroom and hip-hop dancing, and yoga.

Parents participated in family fitness classes such as yoga, Zumba and Insanity LIVE.

Additionally, Visiting Nurse Association provided its Cooking Matters class to children and families at multiple Completely KIDS sites. Cooking Matters is a nutrition-education program that helps families learn skills to prepare healthy meals on a budget.

Children practiced math and reading skills while working through recipes that demonstrate alternative, healthier ways to eat some of their favorite foods. Recipes incorporated well-balanced portions of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, protein and dairy. Kids participated in activities to reinforce the concepts of healthy eating. Parents learned what to look for on nutrition labels, how to meal plan and prepare a grocery budget while getting the kids involved in the shopping and food preparation.

Completely KIDS recognizes the importance of parent-child engagement and offers opportunities through regularly scheduled Family Nights for families to share a healthy meal together and participate in a fun activity. Through the grant program, Completely KIDS offered more nutrition and fitness-focused activities. For example, both parents and children hopped on a bike equipped with a blender that as each person pedaled, the blender turned fresh fruit into delicious smoothies.

With a commitment to getting healthy food into the hands of low-income families, Completely KIDS sends home bags of weekend food every Friday. During warmer months, the nonprofit also distributed fresh produce grown in its community garden, something that is often tended to by children in the afterschool program.

Due to participation in the Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families program, 64% of participants indicated a positive score in relation to exercise and health, while 73% of families stated that because of the Weekend Food Program, they felt secure their children would have something to eat.

“With Healthy KIDS, Healthy Families, Completely KIDS has been able to establish regular physical activity and nutrition education into our curriculum,” Lawless said. “These concepts play such a vital role in the holistic approach we take in working with families impacted by poverty. The grant allowed us to make it a standard across all of our sites.”

Penny Parker Honored for Support of Families

Penny Parker Families

From left, WOWT Evening News Anchor John Knicely; Sarah Schoenrock, niece of Penny Parker; and Penny and Steve Parker. Penny Parker received the Heartland Family Service Family Advocate Award during the Salute to Families Banquet on Thursday.

Award given during Heartland Family Service Salute to Families Banquet

OMAHA (Nov. 20, 2017) – Heartland Family Service honored Completely KIDS Executive Director Penny Parker with the Family Advocate Award during the Salute to Families banquet on Thursday at Happy Hollow Club.

The award is given to an individual or group who has “demonstrated direct action in services or issues that strengthen families,” according to the agency’s website.

“For nearly 40 years, over 25 as the executive director for Completely KIDS, Penny has worked tirelessly on the front lines caring and advocating for children and their families,” said Carla Patton-Ochsner, who nominated Parker for the award. “ ‘Miss Penny,’ as the children so affectionately call her, is a friend to every child who walks in the doors at the agency. Her passion for families in our community has made Completely KIDS a beacon of hope for many.”

One of Parker’s proudest contributions, as noted in the banquet program, is providing a safe place for children and families. She believes in advocating for social justice and providing a voice for the voiceless.

Parker was honored alongside four other area families: the Karla and Scott Cassels family, leadership; the Dr. Viv and John Ewing family, community service; the Simone and Tony Jones family, commitment to family; and the Anne and Sean Rich family, challenged and successful.

For more information about Completely KIDS and its work in Omaha, visit

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