The Junior League of Omaha supports this vibrant community through countless volunteer hours, amazing fundraisers, and women and child-focused projects and scholarships. As a first year active in the League, I am thrilled to be able to present a great new fundraising option for our membership. That opportunity is through a local start up, called Together A Greater Good (TAGG). TAGG is an app that empowers users to support local nonprofits just by visiting participating businesses. That’s right, visit a participating business, TAGG a purchase, and the business will donate 5 percent of your purchase to the cause of your choice.
During the first month of being live on TAGG, the Junior League of Omaha has already raised $16.79. Six active league members have TAGGed so far, and I’m really excited to see what our whole group can accomplish. Those who have TAGGed have done so at Blue Sushi, Plank Seafood & Provisions, Beansmith Coffee Roasters, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, Bliss Boutique, Newman’s Pasta Cafe, Everbloom Floral & Gift, and Smoothie King. There are about 130 local businesses that are participating partners in TAGG, and will donate to causes of your choice. Additionally, the first $1,000 raised each month through the app is automatically matched by the 88 Restaurant Group, so that 5 percent donation is actually 10 percent at the beginning go the month.
It’s easy to see how simply frequenting TAGG businesses, that many of us already visit, can really add up to major funds for a worthwhile organization. Please consider downloading “Together A Greater Good” app today, and choosing to support the Junior League of Omaha without spending an extra dime. TAGGing a purchase takes about 30 seconds, watch this video tutorial. Start TAGGing today!
The Junior League of Omaha is hosting a new fundraiser this year and planning committee members are passionate. This April, the League will host a 5K fun run that combines two events that League members just love: running and brunching. The concept is pretty simple, really: run 3.1 miles, eat brunch, support the League’s child-minded community projects. And everyone’s invited. We asked the committee members what keeps them running.
Lisa Tronchetti will tell you she is an indoor runner. She remembers doing a 5K before, but lately she hasn’t made it past the one mile mark. Even though her distance has shortened, she keeps plugging away, because she has motivation. “I run to stay healthy and prevent Type II Diabetes,” she says. “Type II Diabetes is common for women in my family as they grow older and my hope is that by living a healthy lifestyle NOW with a healthy diet and a regular exercise schedule that includes a little running, I will greatly delay or prevent any onset of Type II Diabetes in my own health,” Lisa says. When the Junior League of Omaha announced a 5K run this spring, Lisa saw an opportunity to volunteer and get back on a training regimen. “I’m in my favorite Athleta pants and listening to the second season of Serial while I train,” she says.
It took Stacey Sellers a little time to warm up to the idea of loving a run. “I started running in middle school when I started cheer and dance, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I actually started to enjoy it,” she says. “Living in Charleston, SC at the time, the scenery and weather were perfect; and running outside was a must!” Stacey runs for enjoyment, opting out of a music playlist, no formal training program and no set distances. There is one thing she does commit to, a lacrosse ball she uses to massage her muscles after good run.
Colby Jensen prefers to run with a crew. “When I run with friends, we talk about our days, what’s new in our lives, etc. so no music is needed,” she says. Her friends and the training program she found with a quick Google search keep her focused when training for half marathons. “I train with friends to hold myself accountable and make the longer runs seem easier,” she says. But when no one is around, she’ll crank up a good Pandora station Jock Jams, Pop & Hip Hop Power Workout, 2000s Hip Hop – to name a few. Her Nike+ training app keeps her motivated when she runs on her own.
Lauren Hellman might just go crazy if she doesn’t hit the pavement. She takes all her frustrations and stress of the day out on the wide open road. Often she will bring her dog along for company. She uses this time to catch up on her favorite podcasts. When weather forces Lauren to run on a treadmill, she might deviate slightly from the podcasts and opt for some Taylor Swift. “My favorite item to have on a run with me is a great pair for shoes,” she says. Typically she gets her shoes from Altra Running. But she recently picked up a pair from Skora Running. “They may become my new favorite,” Lauren says.
No matter what your running style- or even if you’re not a runner- Lauren, Colby, Stacy and Lisa agree that there’s a place for you at the April 16 bRUNch 5K. Families are welcome to bring their kids for a 1K fun walk around Turner Park and if you’re not up for racing, you can purchase a ticket to the after-run brunch. Registration information is now available on jlomaha.org. We can’t wait to see you there!
A dedicated volunteer group made up of Junior League Omaha members and community volunteers were up before dawn to staff the 2015 Omaha Color Run. One group in particular had signed up to volunteer months prior to the event, at the very first suggestion that there would be a glitter station at the end of the race. “The only three words I heard of the announcement were “glitter” and “Color Run,” so I picked up my phone and text the chair of the event. locking in my participation,” says Veronica Wortman, League member and station captain. “I think I sent the text before the chair was even done making the announcement.”
The Color Run is a traveling fun 5K run with a community purpose. In each city, a designated nonprofit organization receives recognition and financial contribution for supporting the volunteer staffing of the event. Known as the happiest 5K on the planet, the Color Run plasters runners with colored corn starch mixture as they run. The event ends with a short rave-like party where the gathered crowd is blasted with more color. The Color Run announced a new theme this year on their website. “The Shine Tour is designed to uplift and inspire runners to stand out from the crowd, sweat sparkles, and continue to live their lives in a happy and healthy way.”
Within a week all of the “Shine Station” volunteer slots were filled. Over the course of the five hour volunteer shift, 16 women tossed 500 pounds of shimmery silver cornstarch compound over runners as they crossed the finish line. Covered in shine, and resembling the Wizard of Oz Tin Man, the women recall memories created that day.
“I had a great time with the fellow Shine Station ladies. I loved meeting some fairly new League members and catching up with some women I haven’t seen in a while. I personally loved being covered in shine! It reminded me of junior high when we’d slather ourselves with drugstore shimmer powder and jam to *NSync.” says Katie Triplett, League member and Shine Station volunteer.
“I would recommend bringing a SARS mask, hat and sunglasses. You’ll look ridiculous, but definitely worth it because really, it is about spending time with friends and making a difference to other in the community,” says Alysia Radicia, League member and Shine Station volunteer. She also laughed when admitting that by the end of the event she had so much shine in her hair that she had a good idea of how she would look when she aged. “I know that I can pull off the silver-grey hair look, which is a life goal of mine.”
League member and Shine Station volunteer, Claire Stevens recalls, “We had an awesome crew and this was a wonderful way to fulfill a fundraising shift requirement for the League with a fun group of girls.” Following the Color Run rules of tossing color at runner’s torsos rather than faces, Claire realized quickly she had limited aim and ended up getting more silver shine on herself. “That’s okay, I have always wanted to look like a twilight vampire- dream fulfilled.”
The Shine Station was staffed by Junior League of Omaha members and community volunteers. League members: Claire Stevens, Meghan Hope, Veronica Wortman, Jennifer Anderson, Katie Triplett, Teresa Riesberg, Sarah Hanify, Kristen Robert Buell, Kayla Petersen, Lauren Taylor Anderson, Ashley Wampler-Gloystein and Kati Jurgens Davis. Community Volunteers: Amy Morris, Caitlin Morris
The 2015 Omaha Color Run was an overall success. Check out the quick facts about the race in the below infographic.
Recently, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg and her husband Zach hosted a dinner party fundraiser in their home to benefit the Literacy Center, which provides basic literacy education, General Educational Development (GED) prep and technology training to adults in the community, free of charge. “I think the most important first step in hosting a fundraiser like this is to ensure you are raising money for a cause you care deeply about and have a personal connection established,” Melissa says. She is on the board of directors for the organization and became involved after hearing about what it’s doing to prep hundreds of students each year for GED testing, the work force and even simple, taken-for-granted tasks like reading a menu or a storybook to their kids. Every spring, the Literacy Center hosts a formal campaign to create awareness and raise funds to cover operating costs. While a lot of that campaign is done over social media, Melissa and Zach decided to take a more personal approach to raising money. “My husband and I both love to cook and entertain. I thought it’d be fun to have a party, host our friends and raise money for a good cause. For us, it is fun to prepare menus and cook together,” she says. Menu planning took about two weeks and the couple spent two days preparing the dinner.
Melissa started with a large guest list. Her intention was to cast a wide net with the invitation to spread general awareness. “I knew that not everyone would be able to attend, but that some might still be willing to make an online donation,” she says. She invited past and present co-workers, members of her book club, fellow Literacy Center board members as well as Junior League of Omaha members. The invitation was designed by a friend of hers that incorporated a book-related ABCs theme and suggested a “hardcover” donation of $20 or “softcover” donation of $10 to the Literacy Center. The invitation was sent electronically through Facebook and email.
“Zach and I wanted to play off the ABCs theme by offering appetizers, beverages and conversation at our event,” she says. The couple’s signature cocktail for the event was named “Teacher’s Pet,” an Old Fashioned made with apple-flavored whiskey. Zach and his sister spent a great deal of time putting together decorations of custom flowers made from the pages of old books that the local library was planning to toss. The evening of the dinner party, roughly 60 guests poured in and out of their house. There was no formal programming that evening, rather a cocktail party like atmosphere where Melissa and Zach could pop around to guests and casually pepper the organization’s mission and plans for their upcoming building plans and move into conversation. “We sat a laptop by the front door so guests could make a donation as they came in or left,” Melissa says. “Most of our guests were willing to donate about $50, and I am guessing that figure came from what they would have spent on a night out for dinner and drinks, which we provided that night.”
The donation results from the dinner party were quite impressive. Initially Melissa set her campaign goal at $750, then increased it to $1,000 for the party after receiving so many “hardcover” and “softcover” donations from those who could not attend. The evening ended with $1,300 donations made to the Literacy Center as a direct result of Melissa and Zach’s efforts. To put the total amount into perspective, $1,300 could pay for 10 students to take the GED test. Melissa and Zach will be hosting another dinner to benefit the organization next spring. “We were really thrilled with our friends’ generosity and were so pleased to have the money to go to the overall campaign.”
Women and Men are asked to run a 50-yard dash in heels that must be at least 2 inches high. The race is open to anyone age 19 or older with those registered in the Boomers & Beyond category being allowed to run in flats. Dashers can compete as an individual or in a four-person relay team.
Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories with top awards going to dash winners and creative costumes. Want to attend with feet firmly in place? Community supporters can purchase a Diva/Dude Doesn’t Dash drink ticket for happy hour only.
The dash will be run at Turner Park, located in the heart of Midtown Crossing. Dashers will have the ability to run in a closed course. For those who find running a challenge while wearing sneakers, this race can be particularly hazardous. Therefore the High Heel Dash Committee has put together several tips to offer before Thursday:
Wedges offer more stability than stilettos.
Non-slip stickers added to the bottom of shoes can increase traction.
Safety over speed.
Running in a heel can put more pressure on knees – a neoprene sleeve could help decrease pressure on the kneecaps.
Utilize some type of ankle support – whether it’s a wrap or lace up support.
Scan the course – watch for gravel and be aware of where your feet are hitting the ground as you run.
Stretch – focus on your Achilles tendon and hamstrings.
Heels must be at least 2 inches high but we recommend sticking with heels no higher than 2.5 inches.
If you go:
Junior League of Omaha 5th Annual High Heel Dash will be held at Midtown Crossing on May 7.
Event registration begins at 5:30 PM with the first Dash starting at 6:15 PM. Immediately following the Dash, an event happy hour will be held at Brix.
Pre-Register at Active.com. A t-shirt will be given to the first 75 registrations. Day of registrations will also be available.
The unique annual event allows runners (and FUNdraisers) to raise money for Junior League of Omaha’s community projects. Participants sport their favorite pair of high heels (2” or higher) and race approximately 50 meters in either a team relay dash, individual race for men or women, or a race for those over 50, who are allowed to wear flats. Runners are strongly encouraged to participate donning a costume as prizes will be awarded for originality!
“The new dash venue will be a great for Junior League,” said Shelly Ruwe, High Heel Dash chair. “Midtown Crossing provides a great location with visibility throughout the city and provides ample opportunity for the committee to seek underwriting and in-kind donations from the locally owned businesses in the area. We are really excited to be working with the staff of Midtown Crossing and feel the new location will be a great advantage to gaining more traction and notoriety in the community for the projects that Junior League of Omaha supports.”
Stay alert for more information on the 2015 High Heel Dash! Tickets on sale now, as fun in heels is afoot!
For many League Members, the Barn Bash has become a favorite fall tradition. Active member Lexie Frahm and her husband Shane graciously hosted the “friendraiser” at their home in Gretna for the second year.
One of the highlights of the event is a chili cook-off, which was done anonymously for the first time. In the end, Active member Alysia Radicia took home the coveted prize, the $150 pot created by cook-off entry fees and more importantly, bragging rights until next year’s event.
Attendees also enjoyed s’mores by the bonfire, a competitive game of bingo as well as a night of socialization and fun.
We asked Alysia to share her secrets; you can find that below!
Personally, I love food. And I especially love food when it is paired with friends, bingo, and fall weather – so the Barn Bash is my jam. Last year I participated in the cook-off but made a chili that was far too spicy for the audience. The buffalo chicken chili is still one of my favorites but I knew if I was going to win this year I needed an option that would have greater appeal to the judges. Wanting a chili that is delicious but still interesting was a challenge. I was chatting with one of my coworkers and he shared this recipe with me. He and his family are Filipino and have loved this recipe for many years. With strict instructions he directed me to the Asian Market on 78th and Dodge to purchase the Longaniza Sausage. This is the make or break ingredient of the chili. To help any future cooks, here’s a plan of its exact location in Asian Market. I only include this because I initially picked up the wrong sausage and was wildly disappointed. I would hate for anyone else to do the same. Also, I’m a designer and can’t help myself sometimes. With all the being said, all other ingredients are easy to find and come together to create the 2014 Barn Bash Chili Cook-Off Winner. If there are any questions any aspiring cooks have please let me know – I would be more than happy to share all my mistakes with you to help you out in the future.
Homemade Chili Con Carne with Hot Pork Longaniza Sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small can pimiento, diced
1 package of Hot Pork Longaniza Sausage, sliced diagonally
1/2 pound ground beef
1 (14 -ounce) can cooked red beans
1 (14-ounce) can stewed diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 stalks cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
olive oil for drizzling (optional)
cilantro leaf for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a saucepot. Add cumin in the hot oil. Add onions, garlic, and diced pimiento; saute until tender for 5 minutes.
Cook sausage with 3⁄4 cup water in separate pan over low heat for 20-25 minutes. Let sausage cool and slice, set aside.
Add ground beef and stir together in sauce pot cook for 5 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, and cilantro. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
Season with salt, sugar, and pepper; cook for another 5 minutes. Place sausage on top of chili. Drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with a cilantro leaf.