Great Books For Great Kids

Did you know that reading skills are the greatest single predictor of future academic success?* Yet, 16% of people in the Omaha area are functionally illiterate. This means they struggle getting through the day because they can’t read well enough to order from a menu, fill out a job application, or help their kids with homework.** Nationally, on average, children in middle-income neighborhoods have 13 books per child. In contrast, for low-income children there is an estimated 1 book for every 300 children.

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The Junior League of Omaha has never hesitated to step up and help out with what the community needs. Through its own community project, A Book of My Own (ABOMO), the Junior League of Omaha has been helping to promote literacy and provide books at home to under-served children ages 0-18. Throughout the year, new and gently-used books are collected and ABOMO partners with community organizations such as schools, churches, Heartland Family Service, and the Boys and Girls Club to distribute books to children in need. Since 2011, ABOMO has distributed over 80,000 books in the Omaha community and worked with more than 70 community partners.img_9793

Recently, the Junior League of Omaha partnered with Runza® Restaurants for the 14th annual Great Books for Great Kids fundraiser. The funds collected benefited the Junior League of Omaha’s A Book of My Own community project. The League’s Board of Directors and project committee members staffed each of the 15 Runza locations to provide members of the community more information about the Great Books for Great Kids event as well as general information about the league. The event was a great success again this year and more than $5,000 was raised for the community project. ABOMO plans on using the funds to purchase books for upcoming distributions.

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If you are looking to give back and want to contribute to the community project, here are a variety of ways that you can donate to ABOMO.

  1. Donate books. A Book of My Own needs new and gently-used books. Donation bins are located at the following locations:

Back and Neck Care Center, 2055 N. 156th Street, Omaha, NE

Ridgeview Animal Hospital, 18142 Wright Street, Omaha, NE

Walnut Creek Veterinary Clinic, 96th and HWY 370, Papillion, NE

Roots and Wings, Countryside Village, 8712 Pacific Street, Omaha, NE

Bare Body Shop, Rockbrook Village, 10811 Prairie Brook Road, Omaha, NE

You can also contact the Junior League of Omaha office at 402.493.8818 or book@jlomaha.org to schedule a drop-off appointment. If you donate gently-used books, we would appreciate books that are in saleable condition with no torn cover, ripped pages or chewed marks. Also, we do not distribute books that have been wet or have mold or mildew.

  1. Donate money. 100% of monetary donations are used to purchase new books for the project. Donations can be sent to the Junior League of Omaha office.
  2. Host a book drive. Plan and host a book drive at your school, church or office. Contact the Junior League of Omaha office at 402.493.8818 or book@jlomaha.org for further information.
  3. Volunteer. Volunteers are needed to sort and prepare books for distribution. Contact the Junior League of Omaha office at 402.493.8818 or book@jlomaha.org for volunteer opportunities.

Visit the Junior League of Omaha’s Facebook and Instagram page, or follow the #JLOmaha to see more of this successful event. Special thank you to the A Book of My Own committee members who make this project successful: Liz Akert, Katie Anderson, Megan Black, Becca Bode, Meghan Bothe, Anne Bowen, Sarah Carse, Kristyn Chapman, Beverly Gorman, Erica Goven, Miranda Griffiths, Sara Hanke, Becky Heckman, Elizabeth Jamrog, Jessica Kozel, Steffanie Luteran, Katie Martens, Meghan McClain, Erica McDonald, Maria Michaelis, Kristi Mitchell, Summer Nabity, Kimberly Nolan, Taylor Pugh, Nicole Seckman, Tina Spatz, Jessica Thompson, and Lisa Tonjes Moritz.

*National Assessment of Educational Progress

**Literacy Center of the Midlands

Done-In-A-Day at the Rose Theater

The Rose Theater is home to the Omaha Theater Company. In 1948, Junior League of Omaha members alongside Emmy Gifford were inspired to start a theater for young audiences in Omaha and one year later, the Omaha Junior Theater was born. The League was instrumental in growing the Omaha Junior Theater, one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the United States. In 1970, the Junior League of Omaha(JLO) pledged money for a Cultural Education Series to be produced for Omaha schools in cooperation with the Omaha Junior Theater, the Omaha Ballet Association and the Nebraska Arts Council. During the 1980s, JLO approved community activities and a new project for the theater company. Over the years, the Omaha Junior Theater grew – it was renamed Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater in 1977 and again renamed The Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center in 1993. The Omaha Theater Company first staged a production at The Rose Theater in 1995. In 1998, in honor of the 80th Anniversary of the JLO, the League approved a grant to its past project – the Omaha Theater for Young People – now the Rose. This grant was a joint effort with the Junior League of Omaha Foundation, which contributed toward the grant. The relationship between JLO and The Rose continues. Many League members, past and present, have served on The Rose Theater’s Guild. Continue reading “Done-In-A-Day at the Rose Theater”