Alysia is an Interior Designer at RDG Planning & Design. She’s been there since graduating and really enjoys it. Alysia said the firm treats everyone like family and is extremely supportive in helping individuals succeed and pursue their interests. Like being involved in the community!
Speaking of community involvement, Alysia stays busy! Having been born and raised in Omaha (technically Elkhorn), she has a deep passion for investing in the community and helping make it a better place for everyone. She currently serves as the President of the Friends of Nebraska Children, serves on the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Young Professional Council, sits on Opera Omaha’s Community Advisory Panel, volunteers for the American Heart and Stroke Association … ALL while being an active member of the Junior League.
Alysia considers herself a cat lady, but not a crazy cat lady. Gus is her main squeeze, and she’s constantly teetering on whether or not to adopt another passive aggressive cuddle bug. Check back in a few weeks.
She thoroughly enjoy party planning and dinner parties. Which is also why she enjoys working out. Life is all about balance.
This year she is taking some sort of creative class each month. She previously enrolled in pottery classes at the Union for Contemporary Art and cooking classes Metro Community College. Have any suggestions? Send them her way!
The Junior League of Omaha wrapped up the year and the decade with the announcement of an exciting new focus area: hunger and access to healthy foods. On December 2, the Board of Directors decided on this focus area after assessing criteria including membership interest, opportunity in the community to make an impact, sustainability, variety of volunteer opportunities and potential barriers.
The decision comes as a result of a tireless process led by the Community Research and Development (CRaD) committee. They assessed needs in the Omaha metro in three different areas: hunger and access to healthy foods, abuse of women and children and opportunity youth.
The CRaD committee worked to set up and host around 30 service learning opportunities in these three areas between June and November. Members completed the service learning opportunities and provided valuable feedback which was compiled by the committee. This feedback was critical in making a decision on a new focus area.
“The CRaD team has been working diligently all year to ensure that education and volunteer opportunities were available for members to learn and participate in with the three focus areas. The focus area and research teams have collaborated with local organizations to envision future strategic goals and programming for years to come. We are grateful to have such passionate women involved in this process and for the participation and feedback from all of our membership,” said Emily Barr,| Junior League of Omaha Community Research and Development Chair.
Building on the impact made over the last 100 years, the Junior League of Omaha is entering this new decade with an exciting area of focus and renewed commitment to voluntarism.
This year our League president, Kerri Palmesano has turned our focus towards extending kindness. In the spirit of her theme, “Throw Kindness Like Confetti”, we have included some ways that you too can spread kindness.
Leave a note tucked in the pages of a book for a stranger to find
Deliver homemade baked goods to your neighbor(s)
Pay someone a genuine compliment
Clean up the trash in a public place
Offer to run an errand for a busy friend
Buy a book that you think a friend will like and give it to her
Hold a door for someone
Our League kicked the year off by learning from Ferial Pearson, the founder of The Secret Kindness Agents. Ferial provided thought provoking conversations with our members this past fall that has catalyzed our work to be more inclusive and equitable. We commend her work to spread kindness and encourage you to watch her TEDx Talk.
Please click here if you would like to join Secret Kindness Agents mailing list.
Lisa was born and raised in West Central Iowa and her parents still live on the farm she was raised on.
She went to Iowa State University to major in Agriculture Business and ended up with a dual degree in Economics and minors in International Agriculture and Speech Communications. Lisa loves Iowa State and Agriculture!
Buckentine joined the Junior League of Omaha because of her good friend and fellow League member Jessica Holdenried. Jessica encouraged a whole group to join and Lisa says the group has had a great time meeting new people in the League!
Lisa and her husband, Adam Buckentine, live on an acreage south of Council Bluffs with their Bichon, Lucy. They hope to have more animals in the future including mini cows, goats and horses!
Lisa loves biking! She regularly rides on the Wabash Trace Trail by her house for Taco Ride and looks forward to RAGBRAI every year!
This year certainly has flown by. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words…so below is a short review of the first part of the League year in photos!
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Junior League of Omaha. I can’t tell you how much I have learned from fellow new, active and sustaining members. You all make this experience so fulfilling. I look forward to seeing what 2020 brings us all!
Kerri Palmesano, President
Mark your calendars for Brunch 5K on April 18 at Askarben Village.
How to follow us: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook: @JLOmaha Don’t forget to like, tag us and share!
Our member spotlight series features one of our current active members and their contributions to the League and our community. First up is Sammi Kaisser, 2019-2020 Nominating Chair.
Sammi grew up in Woodland Park, CO and is a mountain girl at heart. Pikes Peak is in her parents’ backyard and she love visiting the mountains.
She was the Rotary Southern Colorado Athlete of the Year her senior year. Her two sports were basketball and volleyball – she was a guard in basketball and averaged 10 points a game!
Sammi is currently working her dream job as the Director of the Academic and Career Development Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Connecting students to opportunities is her passion and she feels fortunate to get to do it her job every day! Her most recent work-related endeavor is finishing up her final degree. She is set to graduate with her PhD in Educational Leadership and Higher Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this August!
She met her husband Steve in college at UNL. People joked, and still do joke, that they are a lot alike. In fact, they share three of the same top five CliftonStrengths (Woo, Positivity and Includer).
Finally, Sammi loves being a mom to two kids Will and Whitney. Will is a construction loving three year-old who is fearless at the pool and likes to catch bugs. Whitney is a six-month old sweetheart who just started solid foods and loves her big brother.
The New Members kicked off their League year with their first meeting in August at Security National Bank, where the women got to know their core groups and learned about their upcoming year.
Our growing population of New Members is exciting to see each year.
In September, New Members volunteered at CASA Douglas County. CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, supports advocates for children who are abused or neglected to provide them with a safe, healthy environment in a permanent home. New Members learned more about CASA while volunteering and cleaned storage rooms.
October activities included diversity and inclusion training from an external trainer, Ashlei Spivey. Diversity, equity and inclusion are core vales of the Junior League. New Members learned the importance of courageous conversations and more about equity and inclusion.
In November, New Members and the New Member Committee planned to join Board and Management for Friendsgiving; however, the Omaha weather got in our way! We look forward to celebrating the season with New Members at the holiday social in December.
New Member Committee is focused on building a knowledge base for New Members and sharing the training and community impact opportunities available to League members. The committee is focused on engagements which provide experiences and build lasting connections both within the League and out in the community.
Recruitment for next year’s New Member group begins in February. For more information about joining the Junior League of Omaha, visit https://www.jlomaha.org/join-us/.
I have decided to change up the formatting of the letter this month. Ultimately, my message is that I am extremely thankful for the Junior League and each and every one of our members. Being a member of Omaha’s chapter has brought me wonderful experiences in the community and within our League. It has also introduced me to so many wonderful volunteers, leaders and friends, like you! Thank you for all you do for the League and our community. We are extremely lucky to have you as a member.
I am . . .
THE 100 YEARS of HISTORY – The Junior League of Omaha has a rich history and continues to evolve as we learn more and grow. Dominique Morgan engaged 18 participants on November 9, in identifying their “why” for being involved in Diversity and Inclusion work, experiencing a deeper understanding of intersectionality, and assessing their power, influence and access.
HEADQUARTERS – Our newly renovated space is almost one year old and I can’t imagine our growing League without it! It is a central zone for members, a gathering space for productivity and learning and a place where so many positive relationships have developed. The renovation that took place last year was able to provide us with two meeting spaces that are often both being used. Thank you for helping keep our “HQ” such a professional and welcoming place to be.
AWESOME SUSTAINERS – Including our November GMM guest speaker, Wendy Moore. Wendy discussed her experiences with CASA as well as her experience as a foster parent, raising nieces and a nephew. Sustiners, we hope you join us for the holiday social in December! It will take place December 10 at Champions, from 6-8:00 p.m. You can RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW MEMBERS – Our growing population of New Members is exciting to see each year. The New Members had planned to join Board and Management for Friendsgiving this month; however, the Omaha weather got in our way! We look forward to seeing as many New Members as possible at the holiday social in December!
KNOWLEDGE – I am blown away by the amount of knowledge in our League members. We are lucky to have such an intelligent, hard-working, dedicated and enthusiastic members. Not to mention kindness! Thank you for taking the theme this year and throwing kindness like confetti. Continue to show appreciation to those around you as we move into the busy holiday season!
FOUNDATION – We are so grateful for the Foundation. President Cathi Arnold attended our October GMM and presented us with a check for $14,000…their largest donation to date! Thank you to all of the members of the Foundation and all those that contribute to the Foundation.
UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITY – I am always fascinated by the various opportunities the League has to offer! A plethora of training and social events are on the calendar in addition to book clubs and affinity groups. As we move into the second semester of our League year, I encourage all members to look at how you might get involved with the League!
LEAGUE FOCUS & IMPACT – The Community Research and Development Committee has spent the last year researching our three focus areas. The Board of Directors will determine the next focus area with the help of all the data collected throughout this League year and communicate that to everyone in December. The three focus areas have all been identified as needs in Omaha and I am certain the Junior League of Omaha will have great impact regardless of what focus area we start with.
In the spirit of fall, I tested out my baking skills with these applesauce muffins. A recipe from the new Junior League of Omaha Cookbook. They’re easy to make, filled my kitchen with the cozy scents of the season and they’re super tasty!
I had most of the ingredients in my kitchen. Straying from the recipe slightly, I opted to use whole wheat flour and baked these as full size muffins because I don’t own a mini-muffin pan.
Once all the ingredients were blended together, I poured my mix into the muffin tray and stuck them in the oven. Despite making larger muffins, they were pretty well baked through in the same amount of time called for in the recipe.
Then, I dipped each delicious muffin top in butter and rolled them in my cinnamon-sugar mix for an absolutely divine topper!
These were simple to whip up and they’re a crowd pleaser! I highly recommend.
If you don’t already have your own copy of A Century of Serving: A Centennial Cookbook Celebration, you can purchase online via the Junior League of Omaha website.
The Junior League of Omaha (JLO) hosted its third annual Bargain Bash at the Ralston Arena on Saturday, August 10, 2019 and Sunday, August 11, 2019. The event raised funds which help JLO to support community programming throughout the year.
The rummage sale featured designer and name-brand clothing, shoes and jewelry for men, women and children as well as baby supplies, toys, kitchenware, home decor and furniture. One of the standout items for sale this year was a 10 piece, hand-painted bedroom set.
For a $20 donation, early bird shoppers could shop 90 minutes before the official opening to get their first pick of the items for sale and enjoy coffee with donuts.
Bargain Bash co-chairs said the committee sold 50 presale tickets and they were elated to see a line of customers waiting Saturday morning when the event officially opened to the public. In total, shoppers purchased $14,000 in merchandise throughout the weekend.
Also of note, nothing went to waste. JLO donated unsold inventory to Heartland Hope Mission, where items will be donated directly to flood victims who lost their homes and personal belongings.
Still not sold on shopping secondhand? Here’s a little more motivation to thrift:
Find unique pieces and valuable items at great prices
Reduce waste through reusing gently loved goods
Think of thrifting as a treasure hunt – you never know what you might find
One-of-a-kind goods that tell a story
Are you feeling motivated to shop secondhand?
Comment with some of your favorite thrifted purchases below!