New Year’s Resolutions in Lincoln, Nebraska

Happy New Year! So now it’s officially January 2015 and you’ve likely made a resolution or two that you are gearing up to follow through with. If you’re not set up for success, it’s that much harder to achieve it—and every step towards your goals involves preparation and a lot of effort over the months ahead.

Continuing Your Education

Goals in the area of self-improvement are also oftentimes career-focused, which goes hand-in-hand with engaging in experiences that allow us to learn how to be the best professional in our respective fields. We are fortunate to live in a time where there is a program of study out there for everyone, and plenty of options that allow for traditional and non-traditional students alike to reach their goals.

Flexibility is certainly one of the most important facets of any program; we are all busy people and to be successful at anything, there has to be a way to integrate it into our daily lives and hectic schedules without setting ourselves up for failure. The best part of so many post-high school programs today is not only their diversity but that they are specifically designed to incorporate time in the classroom with time in the field and various online applications—or can even be completed entirely online. Especially for those who aspire to be future business leaders, an MBA program will equip students with the qualitative and quantitative skills required to excel in the business world.

Nichole MacDonald, associate director of MBA programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, offers several key pieces of advice for those considering the pursuit of an MBA degree:

1. When prepping for admission into an MBA program, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is taking the GMAT entrance exam. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we help students prepare by offering GMAT Strategy Workshops. In these sessions, each section of the test is explained, sample questions are discussed and study plans are developed for success.

2.  One key consideration when selecting an MBA program is course delivery method. At UNL we offer both on-campus and online options. All of our MBA students receive the same caliber education because the same professors teaching on-campus are also teaching the equivalent course via the online route. This differentiates our online MBA program among the majority of other institutions.

3. When considering the realm of MBA programs, students should not only look at the cost of the program, but also the quality. Rankings are one way to measure these factors. Our MBA program is AACSB accredited and is ranked 6th in the nation among online programs by U.S. News & World Report.
Here are some of our most notable rankings of the MBA program at UNL:

Photo_Table_UNL_MBA_Lincoln_Nebraska

Although rankings are important, it is also wise to reach out to students who are currently enrolled in the program to collect feedback on various topics, such as advising and career services, collaboration between faculty and students, as well as networking in and outside the classroom.

4. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s MBA program can fit anyone’s schedule. Students take classes at their own pace, allowing time for work and other personal responsibilities. Eight-week sessions provide quality education with timely results. With the flexibility of online, on-campus or a combination, course scheduling can be customized around one’s other commitments.

Photo_David_O'Neill_Concordia_University_Lincoln_NebraskaDavid O’Neill, College of Graduate Studies Enrollment Specialist at Concordia University, also provides some helpful information for those looking into continuing their education:
“The one thing that we like to tell people about our program is that it will fit anyone.  Whether you are in marketing, human resources, or in a management role, our program is designed to accommodate multiple professions.  This past year, we’ve redesigned the entire program to be more student-oriented.  Jon Moberly, our MBA Program Director, has created a student advisory panel, which enables us to get direct feedback from our students.  Using this feedback, we have changed class structures, and improved the way classes are presented to the students.  All of that change came directly from our students.  If you want a program that truly believes that the student comes first, then Concordia is the place for you.

Going back to school is a financial commitment no matter where you go, but it is also a time commitment. When many students were completing their undergraduate degrees, they did not have a family nor a full-time job to balance with coursework.  No matter what institution or program students choose to pursue, it is always an initial shock for students trying to balance their professional lives, personal lives, and the demands of graduate level work. Graduate programs operate at a much higher level than undergraduate programs and do require work to be done outside of the classroom.  Concordia’s program is geared to accommodate working professionals by only meeting one night a week.  When you start our program, you know what night you will meet for the entire two year program.  Concordia provides textbooks and iPad’s to our students, at no extra cost, to relieve them of the financial burden and hassle of ordering books every 8 weeks.  Our Fallbrook campus is also conveniently located only five minutes from downtown Lincoln.  Our ultimate goal is that you feel you have received a return on your investment in every course you take with us, both time and money.

Furthermore, if going back to school is truly a desire of yours, tell your current employer.  There are many companies in Lincoln that offer financial support for their employees to go back to school or finish their degree.  It’s essentially free money that you are receiving to invest in yourself.  Asking never hurts and it shows that you have the drive to improve yourself.”

He adds, “Warren Buffett said it best, ‘…investing in yourself is the best thing you can do.  Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you.’ There is never going to be a fantastic time to go back and pursue your graduate degree, especially when you have a family and a full-time job.  However, investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do professionally.  Whether it’s continually doing on the job work training, finishing your bachelor’s degree, or getting your MBA, education has no limits.  There is no other way to surpass your goals, other than by constantly improving and educating yourself.

Everyone wants to do better.  It’s the people that step up to the plate and take a swing that hit the home runs.  Not taking initiative may keep you on the team, but if you want to excel in what you do, now is the time to make the change and go for it.  The only thing holding you back is you.”

Leading a Healthier Lifestyle

This is a resolution many of us set for ourselves–and one that really takes a commitment on a daily basis.

Photo_Janelle_Thompson_Lincoln_Racquet_Club_Lincoln_Nebraska“When embarking on a New Year’s Resolution or goal that pertains to health and fitness, it is important to note that it should become a priority,” advises Janelle Thompson, Ifpa Pro, Group Fitness Director and a Personal Trainer at Lincoln Racquet Club. “Put it near the top of your list of daily things to do.  Set yourself up for success with both a nutritional plan as well as a fitness plan designed around your interests and goals, as the two go hand in hand. Your goal will be met much sooner and with more ease when you implement these training components.

The Lincoln Racquet Club has so many ways to help those looking to commit to a resolution of leading a healthier lifestyle. From personal training to fun and motivating group fitness classes for adults and kids. We also offer nutritional counseling and all kinds of additional programs and classes both land and water based throughout the year.  We literally offer something for everyone.

A few of the benefits to adapting a healthy lifestyle through a regular exercise plan or routine would be:

1. Disease prevention–such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 2. Injury prevention
3. Increased energy–also attained through a healthy diet. 4. Healthy weight maintenance
5. Good mental health–physical activity can defend against depression, sharpen memory and stabilize mood. 6. Improved sleep

Bottom line, when you implement proper fitness and nutrition components into your lifestyle as a priority, improvements will be felt as well as seen.”

According to Thompson, a few training formats that remain impactful in the fitness industry for 2015 are:

HIIT or high intensity interval training–“If you have done Tabata style training or boot camp, then you are familiar with this type of training. HIIT continues to grow in popularity because it works for almost all fitness levels and results can come fairly quickly for most people. Also gaining popularity are shorter duration HIIT sessions which are key for those looking to stay fit on tight schedules.” she advises.

Bodyweight training–with or without a suspension trainer.

Group personal training and small group training.

Recovery– “Whether it’s in the form of foam rolling classes or implementing the proper stretching techniques, a focus on this important aspect of training is something we will likely see more of,” she adds.

Thompson also offers some helpful tips on setting resolutions. “Setting resolutions and following through can be a motivating factor in itself. First, determine a realistic goal that can be reached in an appropriate amount of time. Losing 10 pounds in 10 days is far from a realistic goal.  Keep the goal attainable and set benchmark goals along the way. Once a health and fitness resolution/goal has been determined, make it a priority and tell as many people as possible. Co-workers, friends and family can make it real for you and can help to hold you accountable. They may even be inspired and want to join you. The social aspect of varied group fitness classes with a balance of strength and cardio can also be a good source of motivation.

Next, establish a routine. A good rule of thumb is that it can take about 21 days to establish a habit. So, pick the time of day that you know that you are most likely to workout, arrange your schedule, and set your alarm. Make this “your time” and soon you won’t want to miss it. Take note here, you may even have increased and/or more sustained energy levels throughout the day, better sleep, and increased self-motivation to keep you going. Bonus!

Whether its weight loss, strength, athletic performance or just to look and feel better, the LRC has a vast array of options for you to choose from to help you reach your fitness goals. You will find our staff more than happy to recommend a path for you to get you on your way to meeting your health and fitness goals.”

Photo_Diane_Hesson_Play_It_Again_Sports_Lincoln_NebraskaWhether your resolution is to try out a new sport, get involved in a group sport, a fitness goal, or just to lead a healthier lifestyle, you’ll need to be properly equipped. Play it Again Sports has a great variety of new and gently used sports and fitness equipment that is reasonably priced, which is also perfect if another one of your resolutions is to save money! But the selection isn’t the best part; you can try everything out in the store to see if you like it before you commit. “Our inventory is always on display for our customers to view and try out prior to purchasing,” says Diane Hesson, owner of Play it Again Sports. “We offer plenty of cardio and strength equipment and a large assortment of the functional fitness items that are consistently in high demand.” She adds, “Resolutions can be difficult to put into place; so I’d recommend setting reasonable goals.  Make them attainable so that you feel that you’re making strides, no matter how small they might seem.  Thinking that you’re going to start exercising an hour a day 7 days a week – if you’re not already committed to some sort of routine – is simply setting yourself up for disappointment.  Start small and work yourself into a habit with realistic goals.”

Photo_Debbie_Reynolds_Hughes_Holistic_Harmony_Healthcare_Lincoln_NebraskaFor success with any health-related goals, it is also very important for your hormones to be in balance and working for you, not against you. Holistic Harmony Healthcare specializes in assessing which hormonal levels are out of balance, and restoring that balance with natural therapies.  Debbie Reynolds-Hughes, Nurse Practitioner and owner of Holistic Harmony Healthcare, explains, “There are many different factors that can disrupt optimal hormone balance.  My goal is to help patients with lifestyle changes, which can be really hard but it is the only way to have complete healing of any hormone imbalances that exist.

Your hormone levels will fluctuate and decline as you age, but you can restore proper hormone balance through natural bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. This can be delivered in a plant-derived compounded form that can be ingested with a lozenge, applied topically, or through Hormone Pelleting, which is a simple in office sterile procedure that inserts a pellet in subcutaneous tissue and slowly releases hormones over three months.  Once your hormones are in harmony again, the symptoms will usually disappear. When your hormones are properly balanced, your quality of life will improve. You’ll feel younger, more energized and more emotionally balanced. Hormones are the chemical messengers of your body, so when they’re properly balanced and functioning, all of your body systems work more smoothly.  With accurate testing, and medical supervision, you can discover your current hormone levels. If your levels are low, using a combination of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, nutrition plans, supplements and fitness guidance, our nurse practitioner can help you naturally balance your hormones and feel better than you have in years.

I am also board certified in anti-aging medicine, so I help people not only feel good on the inside but also on the outside.  My analogy is that if you are driving an antique car that starts to get rust and dents, you take it to the body shop to fix it up.  The same is true for aging; once you get your hormones balanced and you are feeling good but you look in the mirror and think ‘What the heck happened?’ you can also get your vibrant appearance back at any age.  Not that you need to look 20 years old again, but that your outside reflects how good you feel on the inside. This can be done with a variety of aesthetic services that we offer.

As it is my goal to treat the whole person, Holistic Harmony Healthcare offers a variety of services that serve to balance the mind, body and spirit.  This includes aesthetic services, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, a holistic bar full of items that provide nutritional support and detoxification options, nutrition therapy, lifestyle coaching including weight loss and fitness, and psychiatric services.”

Photo_Steve_Holzwarth_Profile_by_Sanford_Lincoln_Nebraska“Leading a healthier lifestyle is the perfect New Year’s Resolution,” emphasizes Steve Holzwarth, owner of the new Profile by Sanford location in Lincoln. “It will help you both short term and long term. As the cost of insurance is a current concern for most of us, it’s also something that will lower your healthcare costs. A perfect example of this is lowering or eliminating the need for medication. You will also feel better in your own skin and feel better overall.

If your resolution is leading a healthier lifestyle, it can be difficult to achieve success if you are doing it on your own. I would recommend having a partner go through the process with you. Whether that is your spouse, friend, family member, etc. It is best to have someone go through the process with you so you can have someone to hold you accountable when there may be hurdles to overcome. This is also where our 1 on 1 coaching is so important to our members’ success.

At Profile by Sanford, we can help people whose New Year’s Resolution is to live a healthier lifestyle. With our 1 on 1 coaching, our coaches are able to help keep the members accountable throughout the year. They teach them how to read a food label, portion control, social eating habits and just getting them on the right track to success. We also utilize up-to-date, state of the art technology that helps visualize your progress. Our SMART body scale measures your weight, BMI, BMR, total fat %, bone density, hydration % and muscle mass.

New Year’s resolutions are always tough. You wouldn’t be making a resolution if it wasn’t. Be strong and stick to it and you will have success. We have free orientation sessions Monday through Friday at 5:30 p.m. if you would like to learn more about our program and how it can work for you.”

Photo_Tammie_Collier_Farrells_Extreme_Bodyshaping_Lincoln_NebraskaTammie Collier, owner of Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping in Lincoln, provides insight into the importance of utilizing effective, proven methods for achieving success with your health and fitness goals:

“Oh, those dreaded New Year’s resolutions!   Farrell’s is a results based program offering cardio kickboxing, strength training and nutrition education all in one package.  Any one of them singularly can help you start down the path to weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.  But combining all 3 in your fitness routine is where you will see more measurable results faster.  At Farrell’s, we not only combine all 3 for our members but we offer a coach and individual instructors to guide you through a 45 minute workout.  Nutrition education is vitally important – you can work out all you want, but if you don’t adopt healthy eating habits, your results will be minimized!   We don’t ‘diet’ at Farrell’s but we do learn how to fuel our bodies with good nutrition so that you can lose fat and inches!   We help you track your progress throughout our 10 week program and celebrate at the end of the session by rewarding the member with the most transformation in that 10 weeks with $1000!

I distinctly remember recently coming across the statistic that nearly ½ of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution and out of that group, only 8% are actually successful in achieving them. A few simple things can help lead you to being one of those in the 8% category:

1. Set reasonable goals for yourself, with measurable results.  Don’t set too many goals for yourself.  Keep your list short.   As you achieve one goal, you can add another but making your list of goals too long can set you up for failure.

2. Share your goals with others (friends, family, co-workers), seek their support in helping you attain the goal and they can help keep you accountable as well!

3. Believe you can do it!  And equally important, understand that mistakes are part of success–don’t be afraid to make them and don’t quit when you do!

4. Have a plan, write it down, and schedule your workouts in your calendar just like you would an appointment or a meeting!

5. Reward yourself along the way – celebrate success!

In our industry, you’ll often hear of the latest craze in working out but honestly, it’s really about sticking to what you know works.   Cardio exercise combined with strength training to burn fat and build muscle is proven to be effective time and time again.  Don’t get caught up in fad diets!   Learn how to make healthy choices daily, rationalize your portions and treat yourself in moderation…but only when you’re working out regularly and maintaining a healthy diet the rest of the time!   Remember, diets are often a duration of time, with a start and end date.   They can sometimes be a short term fix, but without combining all three elements into your lifestyle, you’ll likely find yourself looking for a new fix again after the ‘diet’ is over.   Remember cardio, strength training and good nutrition!”

Photo_Kristin_Hain_Healthy_Home_Fitness_Lincoln_Nebraska“Getting healthy and fit should be a lifestyle change, not something you just decide to do on January 1st and quit a month later,” adds Kristin Hain, owner of Healthy Home Fitness.  “It’s important to be realistic when setting your goals and establish WHY you want to reach them.   Do you have a history of health problems in your family that could be prevented or lessened by living a healthier lifestyle?  Do you run out of breath when you try to play with your kids?   If you take time to come up with a really solid WHY you want to get healthy and fit, it will drive you through the days when you just don’t feel like exercising or eating right.  If the only reason why you start is because you want to fit into a certain pair of pants, it’s likely not going to be a strong enough motivator to keep you going long-term.  I encourage you to dig deeper into the reason behind your lifestyle change and find something that comes from your heart.  Then take a picture of it, write it down or find a way to put it on a piece of paper and tape it up so you look at it every day.  Put it on your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator and where you work out.    The other very important thing to do is not to put all of your focus on your weight.  Health and your progress should be mostly focused on your measurements and body fat percentage.  These numbers will show you a much better picture of your current health.  Get your body fat % tested before you start any new routine and then redo it again every 30 days.

Healthy Home Fitness offers a complete solution to get you on track to a healthier lifestyle.  It’s important to be sure you have a fitness plan, a nutrition plan and great support to guide you along the way so you can reach your goals and be successful.  Healthy Home Fitness offers a wide range of fitness programs anyone can do regardless of age or fitness level, each program comes with a unique nutrition plan that’s easy to follow and we offer a personal coach for one on one support plus an exclusive and private online group for additional support and accountability.  Fitness + Nutrition + Support = SUCCESS!

We are constantly coming out with new fitness and nutrition programs so you’ll never get bored or plateau.  We’ve got programs to fit into any lifestyle no matter how busy you are, we can help you find what will work best for you, your lifestyle and personal goals.

I offer free online coaching to my customers who use our programs and love to see the transformations that people go through on their journey to get heatlhy and fit.  I’m now offering a new monthly FREE 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge that’s open to anyone.  The group meets through a private page on Facebook and we provide a meal plan, healthy recipes, fitness and nutrition tips and great support and accountability during the week.  If anyone’s interested in learning more about the Clean Eating groups, please contact me via email at Kristin@HealthyHomeFitness.com.”

Photo_Jill_Robertson_Shape_Up_Lincoln_Nebraska“So many people make a resolution to be healthier each year, but many often give up if they don’t get results immediately,” notes Jill Robertson of Shape Up!. “I always suggest that people set their resolutions so that they are obtainable.  For example, I am going to lose ten pounds or I am going to give up sugar.  It is so much easier to accomplish than something so big or so restrictive that you just give up when you can’t accomplish it. Our Arasys Genius can give people the immediate results they are looking for so they stay motivated to continue with their healthy goals.

The Arasys Genius triggers all of the biological processes involved in physical exercise including building muscle, burning fat, detoxifying cells, boosting metabolism, enhancing lymphatic drainage and blood circulation.  The technology of the Arasys Genius also increases hormone production of DHEA, TSH, T4, T3, Free T3, GH/IFG-1, and HGH hormones.  It also provides significantly better results on visceral fat and increasing muscle mass.

One session hooked up to the Arasys Genius is the equivalent of doing 500 sit ups; however, you are laying back and relaxing.  Results are immediate and increase with the number of sessions.  The client burns fat, builds muscle, and loses inches without lifting a finger.  It is an amazingly easy way to jump-start your weight-loss goals.”

With all this talk about weight loss and kicking your fitness routine into high gear, another thing to keep in mind is that all of your clothes are no longer going to fit you soon. While it may be really exciting to go out and buy new clothes to show off your new, fabulous figure, it’s out of range in most of our budgets, not to mention time consuming, to buy an entirely new wardrobe. Furthermore, what about your favorite pieces that you just can’t bear to part with? Finding a professional who is adept at clothing alterations is the key; your wardrobe staples can be altered to look amazing no matter what size you are!

Photo_Nicole_Ruskamp_Colea_Alterations_Lincoln_Nebraska“It is bittersweet for my customers to lose weight,” says Nicole Ruskamp, owner of Colea Alterations. “They are happier and healthier, but none of their clothes fit.  Almost any garment can be altered to fit.  Oftentimes it is much more cost effective to adjust items rather than to buy new ones–especially for well made, good quality items that still have a lot of life in them.  Whether you need waists taken in, legs narrowed, or a complete re-structure, we can help. Every body is shaped differently and every manufacturer uses its own techniques for garment construction.   A professional fitting is always necessary to ensure that your old garments will fit your new body.  At that time we will discuss price and limitations, and we can tell you whether or not you’d be better off getting a new item.  Sometimes weight loss means being able to fit into those old favorites in your closet, which can be really exciting. However, these items may need some updating to look current and chic.  We are also able to style and modernize dated items to give them new life.”

Resolutions that seek to positively influence our health may not always specifically have to do with fitness or nutrition, and they can be made in response to a myriad of different situations in life.

For smokers who have resolved to quit in 2015 but don’t want to do it in “cold turkey” fashion, electronic cigarettes are a great method of cessation that has been highly effective for many people of all ages, no matter how long they’ve been a smoker. If you’re interested in checking out these options, GNS Vapor can certainly be of assistance. Just stop into any of the three locations across town and the GNS staff will be able to educate you about the products and how to use them to your advantage.

Especially for those who are caregivers of elderly family or friends, making health-related resolutions can be essential to the continued wellbeing of all parties.

Photo_Katie_Hammer_The_Waterford_Lincoln_Nebraska“When people think of making New Year’s resolutions they usually think of things that will be a benefit to them, such as losing weight, exercising daily, taking a vacation, or just being healthier,” explains Katie Hammer of The Waterford at College View and Wilderness Hills. “Along with this people usually make the same resolutions every year because they don’t follow through completely. However, as a caregiver you can sometimes get caught up in your work and not take that little bit of time to take care of yourself or even make any resolutions.

Here at The Waterford at Wilderness Hills Memory Care we know the role of a caregiver can be very tiring, emotional, stressful, and much more. It can especially take a toll on those who are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia. A healthy lifestyle is a must for a caregiver’s mind, body and spirit. Making resolutions can help maintain this type of lifestyle so you don’t break down and become ill. Here are a few resolutions we offer to caregivers to consider making every year in order to keep a healthy lifestyle so they are able to continue doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.

1. Rest! Take time each day to remove yourself from situations that stress you out and make you tired.
2. Ask for help! Do not feel guilty for asking someone to help you out when you need a little down time.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle! Try exercising every day even if it is just a few minutes, and try to maintain a healthy diet.
4. Take care of your emotional health! Talk with others about your day and how things are going for you. Seek their advice when needed, and enjoy doing hobbies that interest you.
5. See yourself as a hero! Value yourself as a caregiver, and know your work every day brings happiness into your client/resident’s life.

We would like to remind everyone how important it is to take proper care of themselves, especially during the winter months when more illnesses are going around. It doesn’t matter if your job is working in an office, working at a restaurant, a nurse, a teacher, or even a stay at home mom, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to continue to do the best job you can.”

Aside from being a caregiver, one can also resolve to contribute to positively affecting the health and wellbeing of others in our community in other ways. Donating blood or plasma is one of those ways that we can all help, and there is a great need in our community for both. Biomat USA, Inc., located at 2002 N Street, is one of the places where you can make a plasma donation in the Lincoln area. Biomat is part of the Grifols network of plasma donation centers where people donate plasma that Grifols uses to produce into life-saving medicines.

Plasma contains hundreds of essential proteins and antibodies that are vital in the body’s ability to maintain critical functions, including controlling bleeding and fighting infections. Without enough of any one of these proteins, a person could have or develop a life-threatening illness, such as an immune deficiency, genetic emphysema, hemophilia, rabies or tetanus.

Plasma-protein medicines, made from the plasma of caring donors in our community, are the best way to restore and replace any deficiencies of these critical plasma proteins. Treating just one patient with genetic emphysema for a year requires 900 plasma donations. To create enough medicine for a patient with hemophilia for a single year takes approximately 1,300 plasma donations.

The proteins found in plasma that are extracted and purified into life-saving treatments are unique to the human body. These proteins can’t be synthetically created or replicated in a lab. And considering that many patients depend on plasma-based medications for lifelong treatment of their illnesses, there continues to be a need for committed plasma donors to help treat these patients. That’s why donations are so important and greatly appreciated.

Every step of the process, from plasma collection to the production of plasma-protein medicines, is managed by Grifols, which allows them to safeguard the health and well-being of their donors as well as the safety and quality of the plasma going into these life-changing medications. This is just one of the ways we can all resolve to help save and improve lives in our community in the coming year.

Becoming a Homeowner

This is another resolution that requires many steps from setting the goal to achieving it, and being thoughtful of many different factors that will come into play. The process can, however, be easier to navigate with a little help from experienced professionals.

For those whose goal is to become a homeowner in 2015, it will be essential to assemble a team that includes a mortgage lender on the financial side as well as a good buyer’s agent to find suitable properties and negotiate the terms of the contract once you’ve found “the one.” This way you are well informed and prepared to make the best decisions along the way. The first step in the process is to determine your price range and the financing options that are available to you.

Photo_Lisa_White_Gateway_Mortgage_Lincoln_Nebraska“It is always a good idea to contact a mortgage lender prior to looking at homes,” advises Lisa White of Gateway Mortgage.  “This way you can get pre-approved prior to looking at homes, and you know exactly what price range to shop in. However, it is important for a prospective borrower to understand not only what home price they qualify for, but also what monthly payment they are comfortable with and what is included in that monthly payment.  When a prospective borrower completes the initial loan application, I take the time to review and discuss his or her overall credit report.  I will discuss with them the importance of making payments on time, keeping their monthly debt to a minimum, not opening any new accounts, and continuing to save if need be.

Gateway Mortgage offers a free application process.  It is at no cost to the prospective borrower to complete a loan application, and have their credit pulled.  I am here to educate the borrower on the different loan programs, down payment requirements, and credit requirements.  Gateway Mortgage has access to a program that will assist in improving one’s credit scores and overall credit profile.  This is also at no cost to the prospective borrower.”

So if you’ve just resolved that 2015 will be the year you buy a house, now is the time to take the first step towards your goal and visit a Mortgage Lender to see where you are at compared to where you need to be.

Make sure to check out our Buying a Home story in the May issue for a wealth of helpful information from local experts!

No matter what your resolution, there are always local resources available to lead you along the path to success—you just have to know where to look. One of the best parts about living in Lincoln is that there are so many professionals who are using their knowledge and talent daily to help others reach their goals and live their dreams. With a fresh start and a new year ahead, if you haven’t already made your New Year’s resolutions, it’s never too late to set a few goals for 2015!

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Business Planning in Lincoln, Nebraska

Now that we’ve officially welcomed a new year, we can start or continue to plan for what’s to come in the next 365 days! For businesses, this may include a host of things aimed at improving current operations. However, sometimes planning for the next year includes things that are simply necessary in continuing to keep things moving along smoothly and successfully. No matter what’s in the works or what your goals are for the coming year, planning ahead properly and getting the right resources into place is essential.

Planning to Utilize Leadership & Development Tools

All of the most effective business owners understand that developing talent and utilizing each person’s strength to its full potential is essential, as well as the benefits of utilizing experts for things that they don’t specialize in themselves. There are several great ways that a few local companies can help with both!

Photo_Nat_Crawford_Cornerstone_Leadership_Solutions_Lincoln_NebraskaCornerstone Leadership Solutions offers plenty of tools for businesses of all kinds, small or large, to implement in 2015. “We of course offer leadership development courses and team building workshops for both for the seasoned executive as well as the first time manager,” says Nat Crawford of Cornerstone Leadership Solutions. “But we are especially proud of our 3 tools we use for nearly 100% of our clients:

PROFILES PERFORMANCE INDICATOR™ is a DISC personality-style employee performance test. The employee performance report this test provides can be used to manage employee performance in order to make every employee more valuable and productive. The reports help you understand how an individual can be understood, motivated, and managed so that you can improve job performance.

The PROFILES PERFORMANCE INDICATOR™ also provides recommendations for improving employee performance. Recommendations include: how to respond to job-related stress, frustration and conflict; how to stimulate employee motivation; how to conduct effective performance appraisal; and how to determine whether the employee is internally motivated or will need external stimulation. The PROFILES PERFORMANCE INDICATOR™ is used to understand employees’ behavioral characteristics and to use this knowledge to increase performance of employees.

The PROFILEXT® is a multi-purpose, total person employee assessment used for pre-employment screening, selection, development, training, managing, and succession planning. This employee assessment measures how well an individual fits specific jobs in your organization, and the results can be used during the training or succession planning stages. PROFILEXT® is customizable, and peak job performance models can be developed by company, position, manager or geography.

The PROFILEXT® is used as a pre-hire screening tool to find the best-matched candidate for a particular job. It is also used to develop job descriptions and job performance models.  PROFILEXT® reports help managers interview and select people who have the highest probability of being successful in a role, and provide practical recommendations for coaching them to maximum performance.

The CHECKPOINT 360°™ is a leadership assessment used primarily to evaluate the leadership skills and effectiveness of your managers and leaders. This leadership development survey compiles a feedback system from direct reports, peers, and supervisors, with a personalized program for developing specific leadership skills based on that feedback. The reports explain how to improve training, management techniques, and communication for greater success.

The CHECKPOINT 360°™ is a 360-degree leadership assessment used to help managers identify and prioritize their own development opportunities and leadership skills. It is also used to surface management issues that could lead to low employee productivity, morale, satisfaction, and turnover.

Between our Columbia, SC office and our home office in Lincoln we have a combined 50 years of consulting, strategic planning, and leadership development experience. We’ve worked with hospitals, universities, retail stores, restaurants, franchises and more. If their need is to measure employee engagement, customer satisfaction, or leadership capacity, we can help. If their need is a strategic plan for the upcoming year, 3 years, 10 years, we are eager to build the roadmap. If your culture is not what you wanted or you’re just starting a company we can use our systematic and proven-method of creating a Culture by Design™.”

He adds, “Business often fail to accurately plan for the upcoming years for two reasons: no objectivity and lack of accountability. I was blessed to see Bill Hybels speak this past year. In his talk he challenged us to stop trying to do it all. Businesses cannot afford to figure out their issues and create a roadmap to success on their own. They cannot be objective in their discovery and will likely fail to follow through. Bring in an outside consultant because we can see things you can’t (or don’t want to) see. We break the habit of circular thinking to find the solutions, and we become the guide by your side to see your plan is executed to your expectations.”

Photo_Terry_Wieczorek_The_Alternative_Board_Lincoln_Nebraska“Business owners or entrepreneurs often find themselves so engaged in the daily details of running their businesses that it can be difficult to look at the big picture, let alone plan for it,” adds Terry Wieczorek of The Alternative Board (TAB). “Large corporations often benefit from having an outside board of directors that can work with the company on a range of issues to take it to the next level. However, small business owners rarely have the time or financial resources to hire a board that can give them thoughtful and objective views on tackling problems and coming up with practical strategies.

Lincoln’s local small and medium businesses, (SMB), can now have access to the same kind of business advisory boards as larger businesses, at an affordable price point. The concept is called Business Owner Advisory Boards. TAB creates business owner advisory boards which are comprised of groups of noncompetitive local business owners who meet regularly to help each other improve profitability and build a more valuable company. Members of TAB apply their collective experience to offer objective, quality advice during these board meetings.

By integrating the final strategic business plan into monthly TAB board meetings, along with TAB business owner coaching sessions, we hold the SMB owner accountable. If business planning sessions are conducted annually they need to become an integral part of the TAB boards – 4 times per year. The following schedule assumes that your fiscal year aligns with the physical calendar year and conduct the strategic planning workshop in December or early January.

1) January TAB board meeting – members will bring their new business plan to review and get feedback from board members.. 2) April TAB board meeting – review of progress against the plan with all TAB board members. 3) August TAB board meeting – conduct a second review of progress against plan. 4) November TAB board meeting – discuss the performance of the past year’s plan with all board members.

The TAB coaching session prior to each of these board meeting reviews will focus on preparing the SMB owners material and presentation for the TAB board meeting.

Good planning takes time, but by using the SMBs available leadership team as your trusted resources, it certainly gets everyone on the same page along with their buy in. Keeping everyone accountable – especially the business owner – is the difference between success and failure.

Strategic business planning involves a variety of exercises divided into sessions in order to create executable goals. The TAB process concentrates on team building, team alignment, developing the company vision, SWOT analysis, critical success factors and goals. These planning workshops should be held off-site and have plenty of time allotted to complete all of the exercises. This workshop is usually planned for two full days or four partial days and includes the entire company leadership team. TAB has the tools to assist in the process and TAB can facilitate the sessions to keep the team on task. Afterwards TAB will hold the business owner and the leadership team accountable for delivering their assigned tasks in order to meet or exceed their 2015 goals.”

Planning to Incorporate Professional Services

It’s fairly safe to say that business owners are always thinking about how to improve their systems and take their businesses to the next level. Planning to incorporate services over the next year that help with this will ensure you have more precious hours of time to run your business and less to stress about. Moreover, it’s difficult to see the full benefits of a service until you’ve given it enough time to work. Planning to implement new services at the beginning of the year will allow you to try out something new for a long enough period of time to fully integrate it into your current operations and then to evaluate whether implementing it was beneficial at the end of the year.

Commercial Cleaning Service When people walk into your place of business or office, first impressions are everything. Moreover, having a clean and comfortable work environment for your employees is a must. While cleaning may sound pretty straightforward as far as planning is concerned, there are many ways you could potentially utilize the full range of services generally offered by a cleaning company that specializes in commercial spaces.

Photo_Jon_Paolini_ServiceMaster_Professional_Building_Maintenance_Lincoln_Nebraska“There are many studies that show the condition and cleanliness of the workplace affects productivity,” says Jon Paolini of ServiceMaster PBM of Lincoln. “We provide a consistent, high level janitorial service at a fair cost to businesses. This allows them to focus on what they do best–their core products or services. We can provide any type of daily cleaning or specialized work on floors, ceilings, rafters or walls so they can deal with a single vendor no matter what they require.

In terms of planning ahead for the coming year, we provide a free no obligation proposal for cleaning that can show many different options which allows businesses to decide what they want to have done, how often they want it done and know what that cost is going to be over the year. This allows them to make informed decisions and plan for what if any investment in their workplace appearance they choose to pursue. This of course can be modified over the course of the year as things change. Also, the Nebraska Business Development Center is a wonderful resource that has been instrumental in helping us with our business planning and offers a lot of free help for local businesses.”

Professional Answering Service Utilizing an answering service is one way to increase your level of customer service offered without having to hire additional staff to cover phone calls outside of the normal hours of operation. Executive Answering Service offers friendly telephone receptionists who can answer your phones whenever you cannot – whether you are on the other line, out of the office, with a client or spending treasured time with your family/friends.  Many callers will hang up and call someone else when they receive a voice mail or busy signal, resulting in what could be hundreds of dollars of lost business!

Photo_Megan_Lipert_Executive_Answering_Service_Lincoln_Nebraska“Hiring, training and then the overhead cost for a friendly and customer service oriented telephone receptionist – including salary, benefits, etc. – is expensive!” says Megan Lipert, owner of Executive Answering Service.  “Our operators can obtain messages and/or seamlessly transfer calls to you or your staff, just as if they are working directly in your office.  They are trained to be the best virtual receptionists in the industry. We don’t want to be just your answering service, our goal is to be a part of your team and your customers are our number one priority. Executive Answering Service is able to offer the quality of service that is aligned with your reputation and the communication technology that your business requires.”

Collection Service Collection of past due receivables is a prime example of how financial aspects of running a business can be problematic for business owners to tackle on their own. With the help of a company like AR Solutions that specializes in this area and can fully devote its resources to getting you the money you are owed, you’ll invest less time in chasing after the money you are owed and more time deciding how to spend it!

Photo_Aaron_Newell_AR_Solutions_Lincoln_Nebraska“Business planning for an upcoming year or fiscal period is very important,” emphasizes Aaron Newell, President and CEO of AR Solutions. “First, analyzing the prior period’s data will allow you to make any necessary changes for efficiencies or to correct any short comings. Secondly, this will allow you to implement those changes internally or using an outside vendor.  One very important part of planning for the coming year is reviewing aging balances on past due receivables and knowing what is a healthy percent of gross revenue for your industry.  If neglected, past due receivables can grow out of control and place a burden on your bottom line.  Statistically on average only 60% of past due receivables are collectable by the original creditor.  So the sooner you can identify the 40% that need to be outsourced to a trusted collection partner the higher the probability of recovering a larger percentage.  The collectability of past due receivables declines dramatically after they are aged 120 days.  In healthcare specifically, according to the American Collectors Association, recovery averages 12.5%.

Choosing a collections partner is a very important decision; they are truly a partner of your business.  Every contact they make on your behalf reflects on your business name.  Consumer protection is a ‘buzz’ topic currently, so choosing an agency that will handle your accounts ethically and with professionalism is paramount.  AR Solutions was founded with a guiding mission ‘If you have integrity nothing else matters…..If you don’t have integrity nothing else matters.’ AR Solutions offers a variety of collection solutions to add money back to your bottom line.  Call AR Solutions today at (402) 817-3929 or find us on the web at www.arsolutionsinc.com to learn more or for a review of your current collections procedures.”

Planning Your Financial Future

Photo_Joel_Clements_Nebraska_Bank_of_Commerce_Lincoln_NebraskaTo increase your profits, you must have a complete understanding of your finances and manage them according to what is in your best interest. The professionals at Nebraska Bank of Commerce, or better known by many Lincolnites as NBC Bank, are always willing to provide their knowledge and expertise to make sure you are headed in the right direction for the next year. “We meet with our clients on a regular basis to ask and answer questions about upcoming plans for their businesses,” says Joel Clements, Vice President of Commercial Banking and a Senior Loan Officer at Nebraska Bank of Commerce. “Many times our conversations encompass several aspects of growth, expansion, and acquisition plans.  NBC officers will go through those plans and work with the clients to provide sound advice not only for financing, but to ask questions on topics our clients may not have thought about.  It’s important that clients keep their lenders informed of these plans so that they can provide input that will help ensure the goals of the client are met.  NBC lenders take pride in working with the client to think of all options that may be on the table.

NBC is a preferred Small Business Administration (SBA) lender.  We have significant SBA experience and can work with businesses on SBA loans that give the borrower options that may not normally be available with conventional financing.  Now is a great time to be working with a bank if businesses are looking at growing, expanding, or acquiring other businesses.  Interest rates remain historically low.

We reiterate to our clients that we appreciate their willingness to call and obtain advice from our lenders.  In addition to multiple areas of lending, NBC provides a wide array of cash management products which many small businesses don’t use to the greatest potential.  I would encourage any small business not using a cash management product to contact one of our lenders to inquire about how cash management can provide simple solutions to everyday cash management issues.”

Photo_Jim_Smith_Union_Bank_and_Trust_Lincoln_NebraskaJim Smith, Vice President – Treasury Management Services at Union Bank & Trust, also offers some of the ways that your bank can assist you with planning for the coming year:

Fraud protection: Large organizations or retailers are not the only victims of fraud and network attacks.  Planning for the new year should include an overall review of your tools to resist payment fraud and network vulnerabilities.  Make sure your PC and computer network protections are working and up-to-date.  Regular updates to your account or other software including tools such as Adobe or Microsoft is extremely important.  Payment protections are equally important to protect against counterfeit checks and electronic payments.  Check volume is on the decline but does not stop check counterfeits and fraud.

Employee Benefits: Organizations of all sizes are trying to manage healthcare costs.  Have you considered a health benefit review including a qualifying High Deductable Health Insurance plan coupled with a Health Savings account to better manage increases or even reduce medical costs?  Have you considered some type of wellness plan for employees?

Retirement Benefits:  While we are talking about employee benefits, does your organization sponsor a qualified retirement plan of some type and do your employees take advantage?  Now is a great time to consider the health of your retirement benefits, associated costs, and education for your participants.  Employees who understand the requirement plan and their options are much more likely to save for retirement.  Do you provide some type of teaching or education for their financial well-being?

Electronic Payments: Check volume continues to decline but not as quickly in the business world.  Small Business is still the largest user of checks for payroll or vendor payments.  Consider the benefits of going electronic for even part of your company’s regular payments.  The savings go beyond just the cost of check stock to use electronic ACH for payments.  ACH is not only more secure but is more convenient for employees and customers.  Do you accept credit cards for company sales? Maybe you could benefit from an app allowing you to accept card payments from a mobile device (smart phone or tablet) from anywhere.  Depending on the volume of checks accepted for sales, you will soon have the ability to use that same mobile device to submit check deposits from any location.

Online or Electronic Statements:  This ties back to Fraud Protection for the potential of hard copies of your bank, credit card or investment statements to be stolen or intercepted from your physical mail box.  Enroll in electronic statements where you can for your financial information.  Paper takes up space, time to organize, and is susceptible to theft or accidental destruction.  Limit access to this sensitive information and reduce the risk of theft by keeping it online and behind a secure web portal.

He adds, “Check with your bank for solutions to protect your accounts such as Positive Pay and an ACH Filter.  These services use payment information you provide to allow only authorized transactions to pay from your bank account on a daily basis.  Also, use online banking to review your accounts on a regular basis.  Union Bank has full capability for electronic ACH payments to gain speed and efficacies of all types of payments including direct deposit of payroll, recurring client payments, vendor payments, and tax payments as well as the accompanying remittance information.  We can offer mobile solutions that allow you or your staff to accept a credit card payment through their smart phone.  It’s called POGO and includes a simple, quick application process to get you started.  POGO provides you the credit card reader that plugs into your Apple or Android device.

You can contact Union Bank any time to add electronic statements or eStatements to help your sensitive financial records stay more secure with the ability to retrieve up to 18 months information for your checking account.  Electronic statements are an option for your credit card, merchant statement, or investment records.  Just tell your banker you want to make the change and for which accounts.”

In addition to your bank, your accountant, insurance agent and/or investment advisor are financial representatives who are also invaluable resources for assistance with keeping your finances secure and in educating you about all of the options that are available to you and what might be the best fit as you move forward with doing business in the coming year.

Planning for Transition

If you’re planning on, or even considering, selling your business or buying a business in 2015, this will require some serious forward planning and will have a significant impact financially as well. Just as it is important to have a qualified, experienced agent when buying and selling real estate, the same principle applies to selling a business. Utilizing a professional who does this for a living has numerous benefits for the business owner who is selling as well as any potential buyers.

Photo_Mary_Jo_Cassner_Transworld_Business_Advisors_Lincoln_NebraskaTransworld Business Advisors now has an office here in Lincoln, and their team of professionals takes great pride in successfully putting buyers and sellers of businesses together as well as providing franchise consulting and development services. “Transworld Business Advisors are extremely skilled in marketing businesses,” stresses Mary Jo Cassner, owner of Transworld Business Advisors in Lincoln. “We assist with selling businesses for clients as well as helping clients find businesses they are interested in buying. We also have access to hundreds of available franchises if a person wanted to start his or her own. Additionally, we help successful business owners turn their businesses into franchises, which is known as franchise development. Because of this, we are always helping our clients plan for the future. Retirement, health issues, or simply wanting to go in a different direction are common reasons that bring our clients to us for assistance with moving on to their next stage in life. Currently, the trend among baby boomers especially is selling to retire and on the other end, those in the Generation X designation are buying franchises in Lincoln at record rates. The economy is strong, and it is a good time to buy or sell.”

She continues, “I definitely advise against trying to sell a business yourself—the process is far too arduous. Rather, let us advertise and get the right person in to buy your business. Also, if you are interested in looking at franchises, our services are complimentary to the buyer. Our firm is owned and operated by Lincolnites and we love our community. We are the first business brokerage established with an office in Lincoln; we are here to serve our community, we love business owners, and we love Lincoln! Let us find the perfect match for you!”

For those who will be in transition at any point during the coming year, planning to utilize a storage facility will make life a lot easier for everyone. Strong Box Storage is Lincoln and Omaha’s premier storage facility, offering a secure, state-of-the-art facility complete with extra amenities such as climate controlled units, 24/7 digital surveillance, and drive-up storage rooms. They are also a U-Haul dealer so in addition to providing many sizes of moving vehicles they also offer a wide variety of moving supplies to help you tackle the project.

Photo_Tom_Friedman_Strong_Box_Storage_Lincoln_Nebraska“We have a lot of clients who store items from their businesses, as we are generally the most economical option available,” explains Thomas Friedman, owner of Strong Box Storage. “Some businesses use our facility as overflow, some for seasonal storage, and some companies use our facility as their main point of storage. For example, we see a lot of construction companies store valuable equipment in our larger units as opposed to keeping it on-site to risk being damaged or stolen. In fact, quite a few of our units are utilized by businesses, both short and long term. We offer a range of sizes from 5×5 to 10×40, and we always try to find the right size that fits the customer’s needs. We also provide unique keypad codes so our customers have access to their unit 365 days a year. A different code can also be given to each person with access so you can track exactly who is coming and going. While we can get walk-in clients right into a unit, often times we like to meet with people to show them a few different sizes and strategize as to which one will best accommodate the space and features they require. We are glad to offer our time and expertise in this way, and I highly recommend briefly touring the facility when planning for offsite storage to see the full extent of options available at our facility.” He adds, “At Strong Box Storage, security and convenience for our clients is very important to us. While you don’t normally think of staff at a storage facility, we feel that it is important to have someone from our staff available on-site 24-7 to assist our customers with whatever their needs may be. As most of our customers are generally going through a time of transition when they require our services, our goal is to ensure that everyone and everything is safe, secure and well taken care of in addition to making sure things are convenient and go as smoothly as possible. We are set up to accommodate just about any requests you may have, and we also make it very easy to pay on time which helps businesses plan ahead to cover costs related to storage. You can pay whatever way you choose, including automatic withdrawal to eliminate fees associated with late payment, and you can also pay ahead for additional discounts. Whatever your needs or goals are, we can come up with a plan to make them happen.”

There’s no time like the present to plan for the future, and the beginning of the year offers that fresh start that makes the timing feel right to get everything in order. Strategically, it is also the best time to look at the entire year and in doing so, set up an effective timeline for implementing changes or anything new you will be incorporating. Planning ahead also allows you to look into everything that’s out there thoroughly so that you can make the best possible decisions for your business, and if you’re really ahead of the game, you’ll also find that it offers you the best selection of inventory, optimal scheduling and better pricing too. Local experts should always be used as a resource when planning because they’ve likely been through it all, and that experience as well as their industry expertise is an incredibly valuable asset to you and your business.

Following along the theme of business planning, this year we will be featuring a new series specifically geared towards buying a business, developing a business, and selling a business. If you are interested in getting involved, please call (402) 466-3330 or email Katie@strictlybusinessomaha.com.

 

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Supporting Non-Profit Organizations in Lincoln, Nebraska

In the business world, we are always working hard towards our goals but also to make our community a better place. We are invested in a thriving community because it allows us to build our businesses as well as our families, friendships, fellowship in the community and to contribute to ensuring that our city is the best place possible to live and work. Non-profit organizations are the glue that holds our community together; they are the source of initiatives that are focused solely on helping to make an impact on the lives of those who live in our community—to make our tiny part of the world a better place for all, and for many, their work reaches out to affect more than just the Lincoln community. These organizations also create jobs in our community and allow people to do what they love while touching lives and truly making a difference. Many people who work in the non-profit world do so because of their true passion for the cause—they really care and we highly commend them for all that they do in and for our community.

We can all contribute to the valuable work that our non-profits are doing every day. Whether you offer your time, talents, or prefer to donate money or items to the cause, there’s always a need that can be met with whatever you have to give. However, with the ever growing number of non-profit organizations it can be hard to decide which to focus your efforts on. It is important to understand that all non-profits are not created equal, so make sure to do your research before making the commitment to support a particular organization. Transparency is highly regarded in the non-profit sector, so even spending just a few minutes doing your due diligence to ensure that a majority of the funds they are generating will be used specifically for the cause they are promoting will do the trick. But above all, it should be something that aligns with your beliefs or that you are passionate about. We are all at different points in our lives, but there truly are a multitude of organizations and so many different ways to get involved in creating positive and lasting change in our community.

Our outstanding local non-profits have woven themselves into the fabric of our community and in this way, make it stronger—doing what needs to be done today, every day to make sure that the future is bright. As businesses/organizations and as individuals, it is our duty to pitch in whenever and however we can to be good community partners. We are so lucky to live in a community with so many local non-profits who work tirelessly to promote awareness and do the important work that makes Lincoln a better place to live, work and play. The wonderful local non-profit organizations we’ve highlighted are all among the ones that we are proud to partner with and support, and we encourage you to learn more about their mission and the important work they do right here in our community.


Logo_Voices_of_Hope_Lincoln_Nebraska

Voices of Hope provides 24-hour-a-day services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, incest, stalking, and related forms of abuse. We are entering into our 40th year of providing services in this community. Our services include the 24-hour crisis line,  (402) 475-7273, 24-hour victim advocacy at hospitals, and daily walk-in services. We also offer support groups, crisis counseling, safety planning, assistance with protection orders, basic needs, and on-campus services at UNL. Last year, we answered over 10,000 crisis line calls and provided face-to-face services to nearly 1,800 victims. Our free and confidential services are available to women and men. We are in need of financial donations, as well as donations of basic needs items such as personal hygiene items, household items, diapers and wipes, and office supplies. For more information about Voices of Hope go to www.voicesofhopelincoln.org.


Logo_Pius_X_Foundation_Lincoln_Nebraska

Named a School of Excellence in the 2014 Catholic Honor Roll, Pius X ranks among the top 5% of all Catholic high schools in the country. With its largest enrollment ever, Pius X serves more than 1,165 students in grades 9-12. Pius X’s mission is to enrich the mind, heart and soul of each student through a Christ-centered, Catholic environment that provides academic excellence and preparation to achieve a meaningful, faith-filled life. Guided by Pope St. Pius X’s motto, “Restore all things in Christ,” Pius instills seven core values – excellence, service, purpose, faith, integrity and charity – into the next generation of leaders. You can support Pius X by visiting www.piusx.net or by calling Michelle Birkel at (402) 488-1046.


Logo_Heartland_Cancer_Foundation_Lincoln_Nebraska

The Heartland Cancer Foundation was established to assist low income cancer patients with prescription cancer medications and gas money needed to go to and from cancer-related appointments and treatments. Our goal is to reduce the financial stress that often accompanies cancer treatment so patients can focus on their recovery, bringing energy and optimism to their journey.

The Heartland Cancer Foundation is based in Lincoln, Nebraska and supports cancer patients who live in Southeast Nebraska and Northeastern Kansas. We are not affiliated with any clinics, hospitals, cancer treatment centers or organizations.

All are welcome to call (402) 261-9974 or visit www.heartlandcancerfoundation.org to find out more, and those who need assistance may also apply online or to download an application.  There are a variety of ways you can get involved – check out the website for links to upcoming events, to donate, or to find out more about fundraising opportunities available.


Logo_Optimist_International_Lincoln_Nebraska

The Star City Optimist Youth Foundation (SCOYF) helps coordinate the joint activities of Lincoln’s Optimist Clubs.  Incorporated in 1992, it obtained 501(c)3 status in 1995.  Its goal is to provide opportunities for success to youth.  Annual activities include:

HOMER’S HEROES baseball league for challenged youth

CHILDHOOD CANCER CAMPAIGN to raise funds for local families experiencing childhood cancer

TRI-STAR SPORTS including MLB Pitch, Hit and Run and NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick local and Sectional contests

NEBRASKA ACADEMIC DECATHLON staffing and funding

AWARDS BANQUET honoring local youth volunteers

OPTIMIST YOUTH SPORTS COMPLEX 30 acre baseball/softball venue

For more information about Star City Optimist Youth Foundation please visit www.starcityoptimists.org.


Logo_Lux_Center_for_the_Arts_Lincoln_Nebraska

LUX Center for the Arts is the place where creativity and community meet. The LUX is Lincoln’s non-profit visual arts center. Our mission is to enhance the lives of the Lincoln community by providing exceptional learning opportunities in contemporary art, craft and design. The LUX provides art classes for children, youth, and adults and hosts exhibitions of artists’ works from Nebraska and around the country. Through Art Van deLUX, we provide art-making workshops and classes to at-risk-youth, cancer survivors, low-income schools and senior citizens. Contributions from people like you provide scholarships for low-income seniors and children, takes Art Van deLUX to area schools, and buys supplies for our art classes. Making art helps the mind, body and spirit. The LUX is committed to being the arts organization where everyone feels comfortable and welcome. Contact Jo Ann or Christine at (402) 466-8692 or visit us on the web at www.luxcenter.org.


Logo_Nebraska_Safety_Council_Lincoln_Nebraska

The Nebraska Safety Council offers a comprehensive menu of safety and wellness programs and services.  Our mission is to educate and influence safe and healthy behaviors in the workplace, on the road and in our homes and communities.  We teach driving safety for all ages through classroom and hands-on learning, assist organizations with workplace safety through training on regulatory issues and best practices and provide education/resources for developing worksite wellness programs. Visit our website — nesafetycouncil.org — for more information on our programs and services.

Safety and Wellness — It’s what we do!  Contact:  Nebraska Safety Council(402) 483-2511.


Logo_Theater_Arts_For_Kids_Lincoln_Nebraska

Theatre Arts for Kids is a challenging musical theatre program specially designed for the young and aspiring performer interested in learning about, participating in, and producing musical theatre.  Through teamwork and workshops, performers gain lifelong skills as they build self-esteem and develop leadership ability in addition to building their skill base as singers, dancers, and actors. TAFK offers a FREE Musical TheatreTroupe, voice lessons, classes for performers ages 3-6 & 7-18, and fully staged Broadway musicals are our specialty! Visit our website for more information about Theatre Arts for Kids at www.ta4k.com or call (608) 322 4549.


Logo_CEDARS_Lincoln_Nebraska

For nearly seven decades, thousands of vulnerable children and youth have found safe refuge and a new beginning at CEDARS. One of Nebraska’s most trusted child-service organizations, CEDARS makes sure that children feel safe and secure. At the same time, we’re giving parents and foster families the support they need to care effectively for children. CEDARS responds to both immediate and longer-term needs in serving abused, neglected and homeless children and families in need of support. CEDARS is currently seeking partners who are willing to serve as foster parents for children in need of a safe and loving home in our community. To find out how you can Help Kids in Crisis and Build Strong Families with CEDARS, visit our website at www.cedarskids.org or call (402) 434-5437.


Logo_St_Monicas_Lincoln_Nebraska

For 50 years, St. Monica’s has been committed to the recovery of women of all ages through empowerment, stability, and self-fulfillment. We offer substance abuse and mental health treatment for women in a variety of residential and outpatient programs. Services extend to the entire family, including a home for moms and their children. Fees are on a sliding scale; no woman is turned away based on inability to pay. St. Monica’s supporters help women develop healthier lives for themselves and their families; visit our website at www.stmonicas.com for a list of current needs such as personal hygiene products, medical costs, diapers and more.
Contact: (402) 441-3768


Logo_Alzheimers_Association_Lincoln_Nebraska

The Alzheimer’s Association® is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. For an estimated 33,000 Nebraskans, Alzheimer’s disease is the ultimate thief — of their identity and precious memories. Their caregivers and loved ones are left feeling alone and heartbroken. The Alzheimer’s Association provides education and support to those who face dementia every day. On a national level, the Association advances critical research toward methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s disease, the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. Find out how you can get involved — visit www.alz.org or call (800) 272-3900.


Logo_Clinic_With_a_Heart_Lincoln_Nebraska

In May, Clinic with a Heart celebrated our 11th year offering free healthcare to folks in need. Many thanks to the volunteers, donors and supporters who give time, expertise, energy and resources so free healthcare in Lincoln is available. Clinic with a Heart provides healthcare free of charge to people without insurance or who are underinsured. Services include medical, dental, physical therapy, chiropractic, mental health, hearing screenings, vision screenings and spiritual care. Funding for Clinic with a Heart comes from mission team sponsors, corporate sponsors, individual donors, church grants and fundraising events. Since 2003, our volunteers have provided patients more than 24,000 visits. Today nearly 700 people volunteer at the clinic. For more information, please contact Teresa Harms at (402) 421-2924 or teresa@clinicwithaheart.org.  THANK YOU for supporting Clinic with a Heart!


Logo_Community_Action_Partnership_Lincoln_Nebraska

Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties is a private, non-profit organization that has been serving low-income individuals in southeast Nebraska since 1965. Through over 15 distinct poverty-fighting programs and services, Community Action’s serves over 12,000 low-income individuals in our community each year. Its mission is to empower people struggling in poverty to reach their full potential and achieve self-reliance. For more information, visit www.communityactionatwork.com or call (402) 471-4515.


Logo_Pregnancy_Crisis_Center_Lincoln_Nebraska

The Pregnancy Center is a non-profit, faith based organization located in the heart of Lincoln just off O Street.  Every month over 400 young women in our community come to the Pregnancy Center for answers.  These women desperately need our love and support.  Many of them are afraid and feel like they have no options.  The Pregnancy Center offers complete information about every option available to a woman facing an unintended pregnancy.  The Pregnancy Center also provides confidential counsel, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, materials support, parenting classes and character-based relationship education in schools all at no cost to our clients or taxpayers.  Call (402) 483-4247 or visit www.support.pregnancycenterlincoln.org for more information.


Logo_CASA_Lincoln_Nebraska

Not all children are lucky enough to have lives free of abuse or neglect.  Some become involved in the juvenile court system through no fault of their own.  Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA for Lancaster County, a local not-for-profit organization, recruits, trains and supports community volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused, neglected, truant, or ungovernable children in Juvenile Court.  CASA volunteers do their own investigation and report their findings directly to the judge. CASA volunteers provide a voice for children in court, expedite permanency, and ensure that children have safe permanent homes. To donate, volunteer or for more information, please contact CASA for Lancaster County at (402) 474-5161 or www.casa4lancaster.org


Logo_Matt_Talbot_Kitchen_Lincoln_Nebraska

Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, MTKO is a hunger relief and outreach center for those in need.  Last year Matt Talbot provided over 107,000 nutritious meals and nearly 21,000 homeless prevention services such as transitional housing, case management, drug & alcohol evaluations, life skills classes, nutrition counseling, and help with obtaining vital identification documents.  Approximately 60% of the individuals and families served are the “working poor”, where eating meals at MTKO may prevent homelessness by allowing them to save money to pay for rent, utilities, or gas.  Approximately 40% of those served at Matt Talbot are homeless.

Contact: Susanne Blue, CMSW, Executive Director at susanne.blue@mtkserves.org or (402) 477-4116. www.mtkserves.org


Logo_Junior_Achievement_Lincoln_Nebraska

By the time they’re ready to graduate, the average student can solve a geometric equation… but can he/she balance a checkbook? She’s read Shakespeare…but does she know how to manage a credit card? He knows all of the planets in the solar system…but does he know the steps involved in starting a business?

For more than 40 years, Junior Achievement of Lincoln has been working to make sure that our students can say “Yes!” Volunteer businesspeople from the community are equipped with cutting-edge curriculum, and then sent into classrooms to provide students with their real-world knowledge and experience. As early as kindergarten, students are learning about saving for a rainy day. By high school, they’re designing business plans.  Give five hours of your year to be a JA volunteer!  Call JA Staff today at (402) 467-1741 to sign up for a class. Visit www.jalincoln.org for more information.


Logo_JDRF_Lincoln_Nebraska

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a life-threatening autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone people need to get energy from food. T1D strikes both children and adults suddenly and is unrelated to diet or exercise.  JDRF is the only global organization with a strategic plan to end T1D. Our plan ensures that there will be an ongoing stream of life-changing therapies that lessen the disease’s impact. We want to keep people with T1D healthy and safe today until we reach our ultimate goal of a cure and universal prevention of T1D, and turn Type One into Type None.

Visit www.lincoln.jdrf.org for more information about JDRF.


Logo_Men_With_Dreams_Lincoln_Nebraska

Men With Dreams (www.mwdreams.com) is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to create an environment of excellence, personal significance, and achievement for our youth.  We call our personalized youth development program E5, which stands for Education, Empowerment, Engagement, Excellence and Encouragement.

We believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to pursue his or her goals and dreams. Our job is to assist them on that journey and help them build their dreams. Many kids are growing up in cyclical poverty and don’t have the opportunity or support to make their dreams a reality. Look at your own community; everyone can think of good kids who got caught up in the wrong situations. Our program gives those kids the structure and support necessary help them become productive members of society. Our environment and attitude toward our kids is simple: do your best, you are important, and take a step forward today.


Logo_Nebraska_Community_Foundation_Lincoln_Nebraska

Nebraska Community Foundation is a statewide movement using philanthropy as a tool to build stronger, more prosperous communities. NCF is a partner for meeting your charitable goals no matter where you live.  It’s the way to give back to your hometown.

In just the last five years more than $120 million has been invested in our schools, hospitals, community centers, libraries, fire and rescue units, parks and recreation, youth programs and our natural environment. Thousands of citizens have enjoyed the arts, earned scholarships and received specialized training to grow local economies in Nebraska communities.

NCF is a charitable giving resource for all Nebraskans, offering donor-advised funds, designated funds, field of interest funds and life income funds which provide many tax benefits. Gifts to your hometown can be made using cash, securities, real estate, insurance, ag commodities, retirement plans, bequests and other assets.

Find out if your hometown is part of the NCF family of affiliated funds. Visit www.NebraskaHometown.org, call (402) 323-7330 or email info@nebcommfound.org.


Logo_SCORE_Lincoln_Nebraska

Every year, SCORE volunteers help thousands of entrepreneurs start small businesses and achieve new levels of success in their existing businesses. Volunteering at SCORE is a way for you to give back to your community, connect with fellow business owners, and pass on your knowledge and expertise to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

SCORE volunteers provide confidential business mentoring services. We lead seminars and workshops to help small business owners meet their goals and achieve success. Whether you own your own small business, working or retired and have a sincere commitment for helping small businesses, there is a place for you as SCORE volunteer.

To get involved in making a difference in the success of a new business and “help make dreams come true”, please contact Lincoln SCORE at (402) 437-2409 or e-mail infolincoln@scorevolunteer.org.


Logo_Heartland_Big_Brothers_Big_Sisters

January is National Mentoring Month and Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters thanks the many dedicated volunteers who spend time enriching a child’s life as a mentor. As part of the nation’s largest mentoring network, the agency creates meaningful, monitored mentoring matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

Matches meet on evenings and weekends in the community, doing activities they enjoy, helping youth to succeed in school and at home. These friendships lead youth to higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success.

To learn more about Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit www.HBBBS.org or call (402) 464-BBBS.


Logo_Mourning_Hope_Lincoln_Nebraska

All involved with Mourning Hope operate with a crystal clear purpose – to bring comfort and support to families in times of grief. Mourning Hope’s programs are designed to serve all children, teens, young adults and their caregivers who have experienced the serious illness or death of a loved one. Bereaved youth are taught healthy coping skills for dealing with the death of a loved one. They are given the freedom to grieve in their own way and at their own pace. Ultimately, they learn that hope and healing are possible, and no one ever has to grieve alone.

Mourning Hope is in need of volunteers and donations. Our services are provided free-of-charge thanks to the community’s generosity.

For more information, contact:
Mourning Hope Grief Center|4919 Baldwin Avenue
(402) 488-8989 | www.mourninghope.org | hope@mourninghope.org


Logo_Merrymakers_Omaha_Nebraska

Merrymakers is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for seniors by encouraging active participation, increasing social interaction, and sparking memories through professional entertainment.  By offering the benefits of socialization, movement, interaction and stimulating memories through regular performances, Merrymakers programs such as the annual Roast and Songs & Suds make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of seniors in Nebraska and Central Iowa.  Merrymakers’ twenty performers are all professional, and tailor their music to their audience, so seniors are offered a strong dose of the music of their youth–a healthy tonic for the boredom and loneliness endemic in senior homes. Your support of Merrymakers is a huge help in getting music to seniors in our community.  For more information about Merrymakers, visit www.merrymakers.org or call (402) 697-0205.


Logo_Friendship_Home_Lincoln_Nebraska

Formed in 1978, Friendship Home is Lincoln’s only specialized emergency and transitional shelter program for victims of domestic violence and their children. Friendship Home offers the vital services and safe shelter victims must have in order to leave a violent home. In 2014, Friendship Home served over 1,500 individuals through its various programs and services, which include crisis counseling, advocacy and case management, information and referral services, support groups, a children’s program and basic needs provision. If you or someone you know needs help, please call our 24-hour hotline at (402) 437-9302. A trained advocate is available to talk every hour of every day. For more information about Friendship Home, visit www.friendshiphome.org.


Logo_Nebraska_Community_Blood_Bank_Lincoln_Nebraska

Help drive our mission to save lives.

Host a blood drive and empower your team members to help save lives at area hospitals. Nebraska Community Blood Bank (NCBB) – a vital community resource since 1968 – provides a safe and reliable supply of blood products to hospitals throughout southeast Nebraska, including Bryan Health, Lincoln Surgical Hospital, and Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. Accidents happen 24/7 and we need your help to ensure that blood from NCBB is always available.

Call us today to learn more about hosting a blood drive. For more information about Nebraska Community Blood Bank (NCBB) or on hosting a drive, call (877) 488-9414 or go to NCBB.org.


Logo_Lighthouse_Lincoln_Nebraska

The Lighthouse After-School Program offers middle and high school-aged youth academic support, evening meals and enrichment/recreational activities during non-school hours, Monday-Friday, twelve months a year.  The goal is to “Increase the likelihood of high school graduation of middle and high school-aged youth by providing high quality after-school programming.”   Program eligibility requirements are: 1) Youth must be actively attending school or working on a G.E.D., 2) Youth cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and 3) Youth must demonstrate unconditional respect to the people and property of Lighthouse.  All programs and services are offered to participants without cost.   We are located at 2601 N Street, Lincoln, NE, 68510 and you may reach Lighthouse at (402) 475-3220 or bmichener@lincolnlighthouse.org. You can also visit www.lincolnlighthouse.org.


Logo_Peoples_City_Mission_Lincoln_Nebraska

People’s City Mission was founded in 1907 and serves as Lincoln’s primary homeless shelter. PCM provides emergency housing for nearly 350 homeless men, women, and children every night of the year. Its Homeless Prevention Center offers free food, clothing and household items to over 20,000 people with incomes below 150% of the U.S. poverty line.  The PCM Free Medical Clinic offers a wide range of free health services to uninsured Lancaster County residents. Last year this clinic experienced almost 18,000 patient visits, making it the third largest free clinic in the country.  PCM is helping more than 30,000 individuals each year with its various services, or about 1 in 9 Lincoln residents. PCM receives most of its funding from private donations and gets about 90% of their funds directly to the people who need them.

For more information about People’s City Mission, please visit www.peoplescitymission.org.


Logo_Tabitha_Lincoln_Nebraska

Focused on enhancing the dignity, independence and well-being of older adults, Tabitha provides supportive companionship, personalized at-home assistance, exceptional rehabilitation, innovative living communities, advanced technology and health care services, and compassionate hospice support as the first and finest Elder Care continuum in the state. Serving 28 southeast Nebraska counties and headquartered in Lincoln, Tabitha is a non-profit, Christian-centered organization that touches more than 5,000 elders each year with the help of more than 1,100 employees and 2,500 active volunteers. With questions about your own aging journey or that of a loved one, call Tabitha at (402) 486-8520 or visit Tabitha.org.


Logo_Providers_Network_Inc_Lincoln_Nebraska

Provider’s Network, Inc. (PNI) is a non-profit that supports in-home daycare businesses. A USDA Child & Adult Care Food Program sponsor operating in 38 counties, PNI offers cash reimbursements to licensed/ license-exempt daycare providers for meals served to children.

PNI has a multilingual staff (Spanish, Arabic, Karen/ Burmese) available to assist with licensing, business training/start-up, CPR/First Aid, and support services.

Our mission is to nurture Nebraska children by helping daycare professionals to provide nutritious meals, safe environments, and quality care in our community.

To learn more about Provider’s Network, Inc. (PNI), call (402) 464-4335, see pnicacfp.com, or visit 5625 O Street, Suite 114.


Logo_Center_for_People_in_Need_Lincoln_Nebraska

The Center for People in Need (centerforpeopleinneed.org) opened in 2001, and moved to their current 27th Street location in 2008.  The Center for People in Need is a one-stop-shop for low-income services. Between distributions for food and household goods, job training programs, classes for recent immigrants, and health and general assistance outreach services, the Center provides a wide range of needed services that help Lancaster County’s low-income population achieve self-sufficiency.  In 2014, through the Center’s largest program Truckloads of Help, they distributed free household goods with a retail value of $2.7 million to over 250 statewide non-profits throughout the state. During the same time period, their Neighborhood F.O.O.D. Program distributed nearly 3.2 million pounds of food to 20,000 low-income families.

For more information about the Center for People in Need, or to get involved, donate or volunteer, please contact Deb Daily, Director of Operations or Beatty Brasch, Executive Director at:  Deb Daily:(402) 476-4357 ext. 104 or email ddaily@centerforpeopleinneed.org; Beatty Brasch: (402) 476-4357 ext. 103 or email bbrasch@centerforpeopleinneed.org.


Logo_WasteCap_Nebraska_Lincoln_Nebraska

WasteCap Nebraska is a statewide, member-based nonprofit organization building zero waste communities in Nebraska.  We help leaders identify zero waste policies, programs and infrastructure appropriate for their community. Business assistance is a key strategy for achieving community zero waste goals. We provide business solutions for controlling waste management costs through vendor selection, service optimization, prevention and diversion.

Our goal is Zero Waste.  What’s yours? For more information about WasteCap Nebraska, visit www.wastecapne.org or call (402) 436-2384.


Logo_American_Heart_Association_Lincoln_Nebraska

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association is a non-profit working to improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20%, while reducing deaths from CVD and stroke by 20% by 2020. Heart disease is our No. 1 killer. Each day, Americans suffer more than 2,500 heart attacks, killing 1 person every 39 seconds. Stroke is our No. 4 killer and the leading cause of disability. Through awareness and fundraising at events like Go Red For Women, Heart Walk and Heart Ball, we are determined to change those statistics. Find out how you can help the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association at www.heart.org/lincoln.


Logo_Goodwill_Industries_Lincoln_Nebraska

For 82 years, Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. has been strengthening the Lincoln community by providing services for individuals who face barriers to employment and by offering residents an outlet for recycling unused house hold items and clothing. The sale of donated items in Goodwill’s retail stores remains the largest source of funding for its programs and services.

Goodwill recognizes that services provided by peer agencies prepare people served by Goodwill to better succeed in Goodwill’s employment programs. It is with this understanding that Goodwill provides funding to colleague agencies to help with their own programs that align with Goodwill’s mission of willing workers employed and community resources maximized.

For more information about Goodwill and its role in the Lincoln community, visit www.lincolngoodwill.org today.


Logo_Lutheran_Family_Services_stacked_Lincoln_Nebraska

Touching the lives of one in 50 Nebraskans, the impact and influence of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS) is more than just a statistic.  The inherent value goes much deeper.  LFS programs ensure children caught in neglectful, abusive or violent situations find safety.   They restore hope for those struggling with mental illness, and provide refugees the guidance and acculturation needed on their path to citizenship.  They provide hope to young mothers and fathers wanting to develop the confidence to teach, guide and parent their children.

LFS programs emphasize early intervention and prevention.  Therapists and caseworkers work with individuals and families towards establishing stability and self-sufficiency, and specialists focus on creating and restoring safe and happy childhoods.  The organization is the 2013 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Integrity Award.  To learn more about Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska visit www.lfsneb.org.


Logo_City_Impact_Lincoln_Nebraska

City Impact inspires urban youth & their families to transform through God’s love. By living and working alongside the people we serve, we embody the challenges and embrace the goals and dreams of tomorrow–together.

City Impact encourages youth within the inner city to use their God-given talents to overcome some of life’s toughest struggles-poverty, homelessness, hunger, substance abuse, illiteracy, crime and hopelessness. Our faith-based and strength-based services foster healthy choices, personal responsibility and servant leadership.

By instilling hope and creating opportunities, City Impact meets the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of families living in our under-resourced neighborhoods. We empower people with practical resources, personal confidence and the Gospel from the inside out.

Needs:  Monthly mentors, weekly reading tutors during the school year and weekly faith program volunteers.

Contact: Angela Pillow, (402) 477-8080 or apillow@cityimpact.org

Follow what’s happening at City Impact at: facebook.com/cityimpactlincoln

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Eco-Efficiency in Lincoln, Nebraska

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Winter Driving in Lincoln, Nebraska

Yes, it’s here again—another infamous Nebraska winter. Winter driving can often be hazardous, and for most, it’s just plain scary at times. As it’s nearly impossible for most of us to avoid the nasty weather altogether, it is incredibly important to make sure that your vehicle is prepared accordingly each year.

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