Grand Island, NE -
Finding funding is a constant challenge for a non-profit, but two Grand Island-based organizations say they’re thankful for the help they received at a presentation on Friday.
Executive director Susan Aguilar says there's no slow season at Third City Community Clinic. With more people coming to the donation-run free clinic for medical, dental, and other health help, she says a $9,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska comes at the perfect time. “We can use the money for medical supplies and we can use it for informational brochures, things like that, and we’re always looking for grant funds, so this is great,” says Aguilar. Jennifer Richardson, the senior vice president of operations for BCBS of Nebraska, says the funds to Third City are part of more than $82,000 in Wellness Grants they’ll award across Nebraska this year. “The best way to prevent and make people healthier is to focus on wellness activities and things you can do, education things you can do earlier to help people live healthier lives,” she says. The Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions is benefiting too. Its director, Connie Holmes says they’ll use their award to expand an after school drug and alcohol abuse prevention program called “Discovery Kids.”
“To help them make good decisions about life, whether it’s to avoid alcohol and other drugs, or whether it’s to avoid gang behavior, or whether it’s to make better decisions with their friends and in school,” says Holmes. “Discover Kids” targets elementary ages in four counties, and Carolynn Perkins, a prevention educator who has been teaching the program for six years, says it’s changed hundreds of lives.
“We have children that start the program and they’re very closed off, very reluctant to participate, and by the end of the program -- it’s a seven week program -- they’re a totally different child,” says Perkins. Holmes says they’ll use the $12,000 boost from Blue Cross Blue Shield to reach more students and their parents.
“It just helps us expand what we’ve already got going that’s going well,” she says. Both CNCAA and Third City are partner agencies in the Heartland United Way, and both Holmes and Aguilar say they couldn’t do without the grant and funding opportunities provided to them there as well.