Greg Emmel and Carolyn T. Miller, Executive Directors
For Immediate Release: August 1, 2022
United Way of the Midlands Awards $45,000 Grant to the D2 Center
to Fund Youth Academic Navigator (YAN) / Reengagement Specialist Program
The D2 Center is pleased to announce it was recently awarded a $45,000 one-year grant from United Way of the Midlands (UWM). Thanks to the generosity of UWM donors, a Youth Academic Navigator (YAN) will continue to reengage and support high-risk youth ages 15-21 who are struggling to finish their high school diploma. YANs build a caring relationship and help students focus on attendance, academics, and connections to needed resources in the community.
As Omaha’s only reengagement center, the D2 Center’s primary goals are to get students back into school, keep them in school, and support them to finish their high school diploma. Each YAN serves as a case manager for about 50 high school youth voluntarily participating in the D2 Center program. These high-risk youth may not graduate on time, are attending an alternative school, or have dropped out. After completing intake/assessment, students are assigned a YAN, who checks in with their students frequently and communicates with other adults who care about the student’s progress. The D2 Center has a contract with Omaha Public Schools (OPS) to do outreach to students who withdraw from school but are eligible to enroll, and YANs attempt to reengage these dropouts to reenroll in school.
With the help of this grant, the D2 Center can provide a mentor/academic coach for disengaged and struggling high school students to help get them back on track to earn their diploma. In the past school year, a record-setting 110+ students participating in D2 Center services earned their diploma.
When Aryanna started the D2 Center YAN program in 2018, she had only nine credits toward graduation. Some of the challenges her YAN Evelia faced were behavior issues leading to expulsion from school, lack of motivation and dislike of school, frequent moves and phone changes, refusing to communicate or attend school for months at a time, transportation problems, and lack of support at home. Evelia persevered and never gave up on Aryanna, making home visits, seeing her at school, and gradually building a positive and trusting relationship. When she got close to graduation, Evelia even picked her up and took her home from school several times to be sure she’d finish. Aryanna said to Evelia, “You gave me hope and motivations… and you never gave up on me… I will be forever grateful to have you in my life.”
“The support of the United Way of the Midlands for the D2 Center YAN program is much appreciated. This collaboration truly makes a difference to young people in our community, and we are thankful to everyone who contributes to the United Way,” said Greg Emmel, D2 Center Executive Director of Programs.
About United Way of the Midlands:
For the past 99 years, United Way of the Midlands (UWM) has used its community-wide perspective to identify local needs that are going unseen or unmet – and how it can partner with corporate, government organizations, nonprofits and donors to tackle them. Today, UWM remains committed to uniting our community’s caring spirit to build a stronger tomorrow. It invests donor dollars in more than 100 local nonprofit programs that, together, form a circle of support around our community. These programs are addressing pressing social and economic disparities and providing the essentials families need to thrive, such as healthy food, a safe place to go after school and job support.
About the D2 Center:
The mission of the D2 Center is to connect out-of-school and disengaged youth aged 15-21 into an educational pathway with other resources and support needed to earn a high school diploma and prepare for post-secondary opportunities and a career. Our services are:
- Youth Academic Navigator: YANs are education-focused case managers who check in with their students frequently and help with issues as they emerge to ensure students are making progress and earning credits in school.
- Tutoring and Elective Classes: Tutoring is offered two afternoons a week and elective credit classes are offered in the summer. Certified teachers specialize in creating a small, caring classroom environment with a focus on individual students and their success.
- Career Navigator: Career Navigators assist students with postsecondary planning and connections for both career and educational opportunities. Services are also available to graduates.
- Reengagement Partnership: D2 Center staff members work closely with OPS staff to reengage students who have withdrawn from school but are eligible to enroll. Nearly all dropouts who choose to reenroll attend an OPS Multiple Pathways program.