Connected Youth Initiative

Unconnected youth across the state can access an array of evidence-supported and/or evidence-informed programming via central navigation in their area. These programmatic supports and services are delivered by contracted Coaching providers across the state and by community collaborative partners. All CYI services are youth-led, strength-based and voluntary and available up to age 26. These program components include: 

  1. Central Navigation: coordinated approach via community collaboratives that ensures unconnected youth have access to services to avoid duplication of efforts and maintain connection to community. 
  2. Support Services Funds: emergency funding accessible via Community Response central navigation to address an array of basic needs. 
  3. Leadership and Engagement: empowering opportunities for young people for leadership and advocacy which is community-led and youth-driven via local Youth Chapters (e.g., Project Everlast). There are also opportunities for statewide and national leadership such as Legislative Days, State and National Youth Advisory Boards, and policy advocacy. 
  4. Opportunity Passport™: coaching curriculum that promotes financial literacy and asset-building. 
  5. Coaching: an array of evidence-based coaching services (e.g., voluntary case management) that provide goal-orientated, voluntary, youth-driven coaching with unconnected youth to develop skills in key domains, access services and enhance protective and promotive factors. Young people can come in and out of coaching, as needed, up to age 26.

 

Central Navigation & Support Services Funds

Central Navigation is a single point of contact for children, youth, and families in Nebraska when they need help. Young people and families voluntarily connect with Central Navigation and will work with one Central Navigator who will connect them with many different sources of assistance.  

Connected Youth Initiative is a part of each community’s Community Response system. 

Bring Up Nebraska Community Collaboratives have Central Navigators across the state to help children, youth, and families get connected to services and supports to prevent involvement in higher systems of care. Young people and families can also apply for Support Services Funds via Central Navigation which is flexible cash assistance to meet emergency or basic needs. 

As part of this Community Response system, CYI services are available to youth and young adults in every Nebraska county by contacting the Central Navigator in your area.

Leadership and Engagement

The goal of young adult leadership and engagement is to provide youth and young adults with opportunities to build social connections, develop life skills, gain leadership skills, and advocate for systems change. This is achieved through local Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) Chapters that serve as a resource for unconnected youth and young adults to build community. CYI chapters help young people find their place in their own community through networking and connections. They help young people develop skills to become thriving members of their own community. In return, the community benefits from having a safe place where young people gather and find acceptance. Young people receive support and training to find and use their voice. Young people also build their own leadership and advocacy skills to make an impact not only in their community and neighborhood, but also at a state and national level through various opportunities for advocacy. 

CYI Youth Chapters operate with the following core values: 

  • Leadership – preparing young people to deal with the problems of tomorrow. 
  • Unconditional Inclusion – giving young people equitable access and opportunities without discrimination and intolerance and providing them with a safe and loving environment. 
  • Respect – where young people’s voices are valued and lifted, and young people are cared for and supported. 
  • Relationships – young people have opportunities to develop meaningful relationships and social connections with peers, Adult Supporters, and the community. 
  • Hope – young people feel a sense of trust, security, and reason to keep moving forward.  

If your community or organization is interested in applying for CYI Youth Chapter membership, please contact Lincoln Arneal, Director of Leadership and Engagement.  

Please visit the Older Youth Resource Library to access information about training young leaders and ideas for engagement, recruitment and membership.

 

Opportunity Passport™

The Opportunity Passport™, a program developed by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative®, connects young people with essential financial opportunities as they transition into adults. The Opportunity Passport™ program, a core component of Nebraska’s Connected Youth Initiative, equips young people with tools for planning for the future and saving money for important expenses; while learning critical financial skills. Opportunity Passport™ offers a matched savings (up to 3:1) account to use toward purchasing a asset that gives young people a critical chance to manage finances, interact with mainstream banking systems, and set aside money for purchase assets. 

Opportunity Passport™ participants in Nebraska have met their savings goals and made the following asset purchases: 

  • Car 
  • Mortgage/Housing 
  • College tuition 
  • Investment 
  • Credit repair and reduction 
  • Business startup 

For more information about Opportunity Passport™ in Nebraska, please contact Crystal Aldmeyer, Assistant Vice President of Transition Services. 

 

Coaching

Young people in Nebraska have access to coaching services that provide goal-oriented, strength-based voluntary case management to develop skills, get connected to supportive services, build socio-emotional competence, build relationships, and enhance protective and promotive factors. Young people are truly in the driver’s seat. They determine how often and how much they engage with their Coach. Services are not tied to any specific program and available to young people up to age 26 – they can enter/exit Coaching services as needed throughout their transition into adulthood. 

Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) Coaching is built by stacking multiple best practices as the foundational framework of the model. Nebraska Children invests in CYI Coaches, available across the state, that are cross trained in these best practices and participate in ongoing technical assistance to maintain fidelity to the CYI Coaching model. The CYI Coaching model is grounded in the following best practices: 

  • Youth and Families Thrive™ 
  • Your Money, Your Goals 
  • Reaching Teens® 
  • Back on Track™ to College 
  • Askable Adults Matter 

The CYI Coaching model and other CYI components and best practices are used in partnership and in concert with many strands within Nebraska’s older youth system, including: 

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