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We Are O.NE. – Edward Saunsoci

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

I am the oldest of 7 and grew up in North Omaha. Coming from a harsh background and tough upbringing, I never knew the opportunities I had here in Omaha. Of course, we are in a segregated city (North, South and West Omaha) but understanding that now, we’re on the cusp of making Omaha a destination for minds everywhere – and this has me pumped to help create that destination. I’m Native American and African American. Having those two cultures has shaped my creativity which has been so valuable.

The Omaha community is expanding and accepting the different cultures – it’s amazing to see!

How has living here shaped your life? 

Seeing the expanding of cultures in Omaha, and seeing other neighborhoods embrace those cultures has been such a dope community collaboration.

How do you make a difference in this community? 

I work for a nonprofit Abide and our mission is to “build culture to transform broken communities”. In working there, I’ve learned that where ever I am, I bringing my culture everywhere I go. So, with that in mind, my upbringing, my city and my culture has me operating in a loving and understanding mode with everyone I come in contact with.

Posted in We Live |

Using a beautiful thing – to do a beautiful thing.

Excerpt from We Don’t Coast magazine: omaha.com/wedontcoast
Photo: Admiral District

Every September, to celebrate national Good Neighbor Day, Alisa Roth and her team at Bloom Works Floral give away 10,000 roses – one dozen to each person who walks through the door. Here’s the twist: They ask that each person give away 11 of those roses to 11 people to create many, many random acts of kindness. Bloom Works has been doing this for 13 years now.

“It’s by far our favorite day of the year,” Alisa says. “We see lots of our loyal customers, but we also see a lot of new faces that just want to join in the giving. … Flowers make people happy, and it’s awesome to see the great response the community gives to us and each other in return.”  

Alisa won the 2017 Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award presented by America’s Small Business Development Centers Iowa. She was praised in her nomination for “putting her heart and soul into making Council Bluffs the best place it can be.”

Posted in We Care |

We Are O.NE. – Keegan Korf

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

I’ve been getting in trouble for talking too much since I was a kid. I turned that desire to gab into a speaking career. I want people to know that everyone has a voice and ideas to share.

If you’re too afraid to share your voice, seek out someone you trust to share it for you. Advocacy is a collaborative effort.

How has living here shaped your life? 

I fight for what is right while still being “Nebraska Nice.”

How do you make a difference in this community? 

As an advocate for Educational Technology for all students, I work in the Omaha Public Schools community and the Nebraska region to educate students, teachers, parents and community stakeholders in a dialogue about digital citizenship and media literacy in order to help children foster technology use to its full potential.

Posted in We Live |

Super powers united!

Excerpt from We Don’t Coast magazine: omaha.com/wedontcoast
Photo: Megan Smith

We Care – Iowa League of Heroes

The cowl. The scowl. It’s all there. But this Dark Knight isn’t foiling the Joker or going one-on-one with Two Face. This Dark Knight travels the region bringing the light, rallying the entire Iowa League of Heroes to elevate the lives of children and families facing the most daunting foes: sickness, family trauma, bullying…

“The biggest celebrities are those junior heroes who are fighting the difficult battles,” says The Dark Knight (TDK), aka Matt Morgan, League co-founder and sanctioned character actor.

Just last May, he and the League’s recently-acquired Batcar rolled up at Harlan Community Intermediate School to surprise student Jaxson Rold. Now a fourth grader, Jaxson’s arch-enemy is brain cancer.

“I think the coolest thing is the car and everything else he had,” Jaxson says. “He’s pretty amazing.”

Schools, children’s hospitals, special needs causes… Send up the signal and League members, including Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America and Super Girl, are there. Each has invested hundreds or thousands of dollars to ensure an authentic look.

“We want to make sure children don’t see a person in a costume but a hero in a suit,” Morgan says.

Balancing hero duties with hard-working alter-egos, each member lives the oath that Jaxson and his class recited with TDK: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

“It’s extremely difficult to put into words,” Morgan says, “but when a child looks up at you with amazement and wants something as simple as a hug from their favorite hero, the toughest of us can get overwhelmed.”

Posted in We Care |

Our Holiday Bucket List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Omaha is no exception to the magic. Here is our holiday bucket list, sure to warm your hearts and make the season merry and bright.

Carriage Rides

Jingle all the way with a carriage ride through the Old Market.

Menorah Parade

A tradition originating from New York, the parade shares the beautiful message of hope and light to our community and the world around us.

Hot Shops Winter Open House

This is truly the best time to see the Hot Shops in all its fiery, creative glory. Meet the artists, see their work and partake in live demonstrations.

See a show

Big name plays and musicals, local productions and acoustical wonders surround us. There are plenty of holiday classics to see at one of our venerable venues.

The Durham Museum

Santa himself says this is the place to be – featuring a Holiday Concert Series, Ethnic Holiday Tree Exhibit and of course the forty-foot-tall twinkling tree.

Christmas in the Village

A holiday tradition in the heart of North Omaha. Get into the cheerful spirit with horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, a living Nativity, toys from Santa and a holiday boutique.

 

Holiday Poinsettia Show Aglow

Lauritzen Gardens is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with a 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree, twinkling lights, glittering displays and the holiday express model train.

Holiday Island

Take a stroll through Gene Leahy Mall to see Holiday Island and hundreds of thousands of dazzling lights.

Ice Skating

Discover your holiday tradition on the ice at NRG Energy Ice Rink in The Capitol District or The Rink on Farnam at Midtown Crossing.


Photo by JHD Photography

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular

Ring in the new year with one of the largest fireworks displays in the region, drawing over 30,000 people.

 

 

Posted in We Entertain |

Small but Mighty Effort

Generosity and compassion are in our DNA. The Holcomb’s exude the spirit of We Don’t Coast–helping to make this a place where we lift others up and help others over.

Little Free Pantry

Photo: Bill Sitzmann
Excerpt from the “Omaha: We Don’t Coast” magazine: omaha.com/chamber

The way Vicki Holcomb sees it, “It’s just people helping people.”

When she and husband Steve needed a new project, they opted for outreach, co-founding Little Free Pantry of Omaha. The concept is simple: a wooden box with shelves (which Steve assembles himself) is placed in a yard or neighborhood and filled with jars of peanut butter, cans of tuna, boxes of cereal and canned vegetables. A sign encourages visitors to Take what you need. Leave what you can.”

“This idea certainly isn’t about replacing any sort of food programs in the city,” Steve says. “But this is a way to eliminate any limitations someone might have to getting to those.”

Vicki first heard of Little Free Pantries when boxes started popping up in Arkansas more than a year ago. After placing their first pantry in April, the Holcombs, both real estate agents with CBSHome, say they were flooded with phone calls and emails from people who wanted a pantry in their yard or neighborhood. With five Little Free Pantries now in operation, Vicki says she isn’t surprised Omaha has embraced the idea: “The support has been overwhelming, but I’m not shocked. People in Omaha are very giving.”

 

Posted in We Care |

We are O.NE. – Cassidy Conrad

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

I’m an Omaha native and a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I’m in my senior year studying Public Relations/ Advertising and Graphic Design. I am actively involved on campus through Greek Life and organizations for my major.

I love to see the world creatively and experience the world around me. I love my dogs, photography, creative design, dancing and I probably order too many green tea Frappuccinos for my own good.

Omaha is the city that I have grown up in, and the city that has grown me. The opportunities I have in higher education, community involvement and professional growth are not something I take lightly. Omaha is the kind of city that has everything I need as a young professional. It is big enough to have a variety of top-notch entertainment venues and attractions, yet small enough that it’s likely to run into someone you know wherever you go.

To give meaning to our lives, it’s important to give back and impact others.

As a part of my sorority, we work year-round to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause dear to my heart. We volunteer at local nursing homes to make connections with the residents, seeing their faces light up when we visit is something that really gives value to what we do. I am fortunate to have been able to partner with a variety of nonprofits to help create awareness using skills that I learn in class. The impact I see in others makes it all worth it.

Posted in We Inspire, We Live |

We are O.NE. – JoAnna LeFlore

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

My uniqueness spawns from a mesh of an African-American experience with a creative knack and community activism lens.

In other words, I am proud of my heritage, active in the arts and motivated to empower the people I encounter on a daily basis. I’m a connector of people and resources. I’m a storyteller. I’m sista with some style and a forward-thinking mindset, you better ask somebody!

I grew up with the outlook that it takes a village to raise a child. I believe in every aspect of this motto because it helped shaped who I am today. I am driven by the idea of helping others and using my gifts and talents to do so. I truly believe that we all need each other if we are going to create a legacy worth passing on to the next generation. If you think you can do it by yourself, I will bet you a thousand slices of sweet potato pie that you’re wrong!

My deeds are hard to list because they may not be as tangible as others. I’m the woman who works behind the scenes to make sure my friends, collaborators and others I work with are organized, disciplined and thoughtful about their work. I make sure there is consistency in the way that others promote the good they are doing in the world. Some people call that a publicist or consultant.

In my eyes, I’m the big sister that’s asking you questions and helping you get your life together. I don’t mind it that I may sound bossy while doing so, because I truly care about the growth of others around me.

We all have a greatness to achieve and I’m here to help create efficient processes and strong communications plans to get you there.

Posted in We Inspire, We Live |

CreativeMornings/Omaha Meet Tierra O’Neal

Omaha is part of the global CreativeMornings community. This monthly breakfast lecture series is designed to highlight our creative community and adds to Omaha’s strong arts and culture scene and growing reputation.

After our August event, we caught up with attendee Tierra O’Neal.

By JoAnna LeFlore

Meet Tierra O’Neal, a spirited local creative who charms you with her wit, artistic appreciation and passion for youth outreach. As the Branching Out Independent Living Program manager at Omaha Home for Boys, Tierra literally lights up when she talks about the work that holds her heart and feeds her soul.

She begins with the motivation for youth advocacy: “My impact would be to encourage and help our youth flourish into the leaders they are meant to be, by helping them remove barriers and connecting them to community resources.”

What an inspiring vision she has. She remains even more inspired ever since attending her first CreativeMornings session.

“Mike Smith was my first event, I was inspired due to the homeless youth population that he serves. A lot of homeless youth are former foster care youth and have experienced homelessness at one time or another. I am also very passionate about this,” Tierra explained.

“I work with current and former wards of the state between the ages of 14-24 that have experienced foster care. The focus is on their self-sufficiency and permanency in the areas of housing, employment, education and transportation,”

With a creative passion to encourage others, Tierra aims to help by connecting people while role modeling life in an optimistic manner. Tierra lives out this motto graciously. She brings a smile to the room whenever she enters and is often caught at community events networking and giving hugs. Essentially no one is a stranger to her because she can recognize the talents in others so easily.

“We should celebrate one another’s uniqueness with verbal praise on a regular basis! I make it my business to daily give compliments to people I don’t know, especially when working and or in the community.”

As you begin to understand Tierra’s personality, you might glean from her own inspiration, which comes from Ella Baker. For Tierra, Ella Baker is a cultural leader who was an advocate for freedom and justice. If you don’t know about Ms. Ella, you should Google her after you read this. Trust us, it is worth the 10 minutes of your life and we promise you’ll be inspired!

While Tierra is definitely growing her circle for youth advocacy, being connected to a creative community is still a priority for her.

“Being part of a creative community is very important to me because I feel that we are at a crucial time within our state where we are expanding, and in order to evolve efficiently we need to be able to collaborate effectively.”

Tierra definitely gets it. We’ve just got to find more ways to work together and be creative about doing it! If you’d like to collaborate with Tierra, you can catch her out in the community at local concerts or reach out to her via the CreativeMornings platform. We hope to see you at the next event!

Posted in We Launch, We Live |

We Are O.NE. – Jamaal Chinn

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

Being creative means you’re thinking.
And I want people to know that I am always thinking…

Being creative means changing your perspective and solving a problem in a new way – taking risks, ignoring doubt and facing fears. It means breaking the routine and doing something different for the sake of doing something different. It means mapping out a thousand routes to reach one destination. Being creative means searching for inspiration in even the most mundane places. It means you’re asking stupid questions – creating without critiquing. Being creative means you know how to find the similarities and differences between two completely random ideas.

It means challenging yourself every day.

I approach every day to be the best version of myself – for me and those I encounter daily.

With excitement and energy, I share my vision with others – helping them also find what motivates, inspires and drives them each day. Because when it is all said and done, doing what makes you happy is what matters – the things you would be doing even if you had all the money in the world.

I’ve been in the metro for almost two years now and this place has had an immense impact on me personally. I have gotten a lot of support from the community to chase my dreams, share my ideas and step out of my comfort zone and become part of this growing community. This is what has kept me here.

Posted in We Inspire, We Live |