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The Nebraska Growing Readers (NGR) program, which is a collaboration between Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, the Nebraska Department of Education, the Statewide Family Engagement Center, and Unite for Literacy, has aimed primarily at providing free books for licensed childcare providers who can share them with their families, but the books have also been distributed to other organizations where children and families can access them. Al-Hindi said he learned of the program in December of 2023 when Nghia Le, the Director of the Learning Center, showed him the books, which they thought could be useful for the adults in ESL classes to use.

With trust and local ownership, has come a sincere interest in the work Rooted in relationships is doing and a desire to sustain that work within North Omaha. Temeshia Qualls says that she has seen the pieces of the puzzle come together with Rooted work and feels something meaningful is being passed on to the families they work with. But Debra Nared asks an important question: “we may have an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than us, but what happens afterward?”

TransformED accents Rooted in Relationships’ mission to collaborate with communities and with other state entities so as to build stronger infrastructure for early childhood mental health. As Bradley puts it, “It's imperative to continue to collaborate with other initiatives and programs that support child care providers and the rest of the early childhood workforce. If we can figure out how to integrate practices, we can reduce redundancy and maximize impact.” What better way then for Rooted to celebrate its first 10 years and to set off on the next 10 years of working with communities and with state partners.

The voices of Nebraska’s youth proved to be a powerful force, swaying Governor Jim Pillen to support crucial legislation impacting food security for 150,000 children in Nebraska. The young advocates, representing communities across Nebraska, presented compelling arguments at Legislative Days, ultimately influencing the governor’s decision. Their success highlights the transformative impact of youth advocacy in shaping policy.

In January, Tucker Turtle Came to visit North Platte preschools and the local library as part of Rooted in Relationships' work to teach children how to self-regulate emotions.

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