Fall 2013 
Opening Doors Newsletter
From your friends at NeighborWorks Lincoln
In This Issue
Antelope Creek Village Update
Peer to Peer Visit
A Home to Call Their Own
Staff Update at NWL
Standing Out at Dawes Middle School
Quick Links
Find us on Facebook!
Be A Good Neighbor

Improve the quality of life in your neighborhood by adopting the following idea for increased safety and civic interactions.


Pick up litter near your home, even if you did not put it there. People are less likely to litter when they do not already see litter. You can stop the growth of trash in your neighborhood by taking away the existing litter. Neighborhoods that are kept neat and clean send the message that residents care about where they live.




Join Our Mailing List
Antelope Creek Village Update


Antelope Creek Village 1


NeighborWorks Lincoln is proud to announce the completion of the Antelope Creek Village Townhome development. Antelope Creek Village is part of the many revitalization efforts being made by NWL in the Malone/Hawley Neighborhood in addition to other Lincoln neighborhoods. The improvements result in increasing homeownership rates, rising property values, growing tax revenues and healthy neighborhoods for children and families.


The Antelope Creek Village development included working directly with many key stakeholders to design, finance and build this new, affordable and mixed-income housing. NWL would like to give special thanks to Brester Construction, Olsson's & Associates, Sinclaire Hille, the City of Lincoln's Department of Urban Development, US Bank, Mutual of Omaha, and Woods Bros Realty for their many important contributions to the project.  


The eighteen townhomes have sustainable living technologies such as geothermal heating systems and green building products. The units have two or three bedrooms and range from approximately 1,400 to 1,700 square feet. All 18 townhomes are complete and have been sold to new homeowners.


"We love the vision NeighborWorks has for our city...it's helping bring many different types and cultures of people together in neighborhoods that will only continue to improve the city. We especially love the community that the Antelope Creek Village Townhome residents have created so far! Really, NWL started an amazing life for our family...just by moving to Q Street. And we thank them!" -Erica Klemsz, ACV Townhome resident  


Antelope Creek Village is located in the Malone/Hawley Neighborhood between 23rd and 24th Street, and P and Q Streets.


Peer to Peer Visit



NeighborWorks Lincoln had the opportunity to host three NeighborWorks organizations as part of NeighborWorks America's Community Building and Organizing Peer Learning Site Visit training program, which was held August 6-7, 2013. The intention of the peer training is to facilitate adoption of impactful practices in community building, organizing, and resident leadership development across the NeighborWorks network. Participants attending were from HAPHousing, Inc. (Springfield, MA), Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, Inc. (Wilmington, DE), and NeighborWorks Badgerland (Oshkosh, WI).


NWL was selected as a host site for the peer training program because of the positive impact its community building implementations have had on the local community. Sessions revolved around three key initiatives. The first was the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI), a local model where neighborhood residents are trained as leaders and given grants to implement projects to improve their communities. A tour of the Malone Neighborhood coincided with the session, illustrating how the CEI supported the development of a community garden. 


The second area of focus was the Lincoln Policy Network (LPN). LPN is a collaboration of residents, government, and businesses that work together to develop strategies to address building and safety issues to strengthen and stabilize neighborhoods. A more in depth session outlined how the City of Lincoln's Problem Resolution Team was created as a solution-oriented approach to address challenges associated with problem properties.


Finally, the peer group learned about the Lincoln Community Scan initiative, where residents are trained with necessary tools to assess neighborhood structures and public spaces. Information gathered is used to assist residents in creating a plan for action, prioritize needs and work with the local government to address challenges or provide needed improvement processes.


Each of the aforementioned sessions was attended by local community members who shared their insight and experiences with the visiting members. Partners included members of the City Council, the Mayor's Office, Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln Public Schools and the Community Learning Centers, Urban Development, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Community and Regional Planning Department, local property owners, NWL board members, and numerous residents who are working to strengthen Lincoln's neighborhoods.  


A Home to Call Their Own



Jessica and her two children returned to Lincoln four years ago after living in North Carolina, Hawaii, and Japan. Upon their homecoming, Jessica was without a car and job while shouldering the responsibility of being the sole provider for her kidsJessica and her family stayed with her mom in a one bedroom apartment for a few months until she was able to find a job at a medical office, after which she was able to save up enough money to purchase a car and rent a three bedroom house. Slowly but surely, Jessica and her kids were establishing roots back in Lincoln and enjoying being reunified with family and friends.


However, Jessica knew she wanted more for her kids. She wanted a home they could call their own. She wanted her two children to be able to paint the walls in their bedrooms or have the luxury of going out in the back yard to climb their favorite tree. 


"I never thought this could become a reality until I heard about NeighborWorks Lincoln. NeighborWorks Lincoln provided me with the information and support I needed to make my dream of homeownership a reality. I would not be where I am today without NeighborWorks. We love our new home." -Jessica Stanton

"In three years time, Jessica went from being homeless to owning her own home. She has come a long way and she should have a lot to be proud of. I am proud to have worked with Jessica and the many people like her who have such interesting stories to tell as they pursue their goal of homeownership." -Gary Rumbaugh, Construction Manager

Staff Update at NeighborWorks Lincoln


The organization has experienced a change with the departure of long-time team member Mary Coffey, who resigned as Director of Homeownership Services in June 2013, after 20 years of service. Her departure prompted the creation of a two-person leadership team, which includes Mike Renken, Chief Executive Officer, and Shawn Ryba, filling the newly-formed position of Chief Operating Officer. Bill Porn, who has been with the organization for five years, was recently promoted to Homeownership Services Coordinator to continue to provide top quality homebuyer education and counseling services. NWL is committed to maintaining its nationally recognized Community Building programming with the hiring of an additional community builder, Sheree Goertzen, who has a Master of Science degree in Urban Studies and valuable experience in the field. In addition to adding a new Community Builder, a Special Projects Coordinator, Amanda Baskin, who is a licensed active Nebraska attorney, has also been hired. NeighborWorks Lincoln is excited to add Sheree and Amanda to the team.


Standing Out at Dawes Middle School


NeighborWorks Lincoln has been making the most of its collaboration with Lincoln Public Schools and the Community Learning Center (CLC) program. NWL was invited to become the lead agency for the Dawes Middle School CLC about 2 years ago in an effort to strengthen community development efforts in this area of the Lincoln community. 


In that short time, NWL has supported the design and implementation of a new and unique CLC academy structure. All academic and enrichment clubs fall under three general academies: Arts and Humanities; Sports & Recreation; Fitness & Wellness; and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). These academies include career awareness, field experiences, community service projects, and youth leadership opportunities, which have included a "Because of Dawes I Can..." mural, a neighborhood walkability study, a community photo project, and Dawes successfully hosting its first National Night Out event in August. 


NWL has forged many new partnerships to make these efforts possible. Key stakeholders who have been investing their time and resources to build a strong school and neighborhood community include Nebraska Wesleyan University, Nebraskans for Civic Reform, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Girl Scouts of Nebraska, CoventryCares, First United Methodist Church, HyVee, Russ's Market, Community CROPS, Raising Canes, Mojava, Urban Legend Legends, Kelly's Yogurt, Educational Talent Search, Junior Achievement, STARS Program, UNL 4-H Extension, and MADD Dads.


The vision of Lincoln Public School's CLC program is to assist and motivate student learning and youth development, while supporting families and community engagement. We have worked steadily on our program to meet the needs of our students to promote their individual and collective success. Our Dawes initiative has action steps that address goals in support of healthy families and strong neighborhoods. We achieve our goal of becoming a community school with the continued support of NeighborWorks Lincoln, Dawes staff and families, and community partners.


"I look forward to the opportunity to help grow and develop the Community Learning Center program at Dawes. I am impressed with the commitment and leadership at Dawes Middle School and I am excited about the possibilities." -Mike Renken, Chief Executive Officer of NeighborWorks Lincoln