Jewish Federation of Omaha – Institute for Holocaust Education

$10,000 grant toward the Education Coordinator staff position

The Institute for Holocaust Education (IHE) creates and distributes age-appropriate resources for teaching the Holocaust that span multiple areas of study including social studies, literature, and art. The Education Coordinator oversees all the educational programming offered by IHE, including training and professional development for teachers and programs and activities for students across Nebraska.

Echoes and Reflections is a teacher-training program and curriculum that helps students develop knowledge and personal understanding of the complex history of the Holocaust and its relevance to their lives and our world today. The Week of Understanding is an annual program with the Omaha Public Schools designed to deliver Holocaust survivor testimony to a maximum number of students in one school week, reaching thousands of students each year. Other education programs include Art & the Holocaust for middle school art teachers and their students, an annual high school essay contest, and the “Searching for Humanity” exhibit (on permanent loan to the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum). IHE also provides support to the Nebraska Holocaust Education Consortium, a group of educators committed to teaching students and teachers the universal lessons of the Holocaust through age-appropriate resources. Programs for the public include annual commemorations, arts exhibitions, cultural programming, and the Omaha Jewish Film Festival.

“The true measure of our success is in how deeply we can impact students and others to consider the lessons of the Holocaust, to see the relevance of this history to their own lives, and to feel empowered to be an upstander to contemporary forms of prejudice and discrimination.” – Liz Feldstern, Executive Director

Lincoln Literacy

$12,500 grant for technology infrastructure and the integration of new technology innovations for students and teachers

Established in 1972, Lincoln Literacy incorporated as a nonprofit in 1993, when large numbers of refugees began to resettle in Lincoln and needed language and literacy instruction. Their programs are largely delivered by trained volunteers, and over a thousand people are helped annually through one-on-one tutoring and a variety of classes held throughout the city.

Cooper Foundation’s grant supported a much-needed overhaul of Lincoln Literacy’s technological infrastructure, and integration of online learning tools and techniques in the field with tutors and students. A remote network and new staff laptops will allow coordinators to enter intake data immediately and securely, reducing staff time and errors. Tutors and students will incorporate apps and online lessons and training on a wide variety of topics.

Lincoln Public Schools – Irving Middle School

$3,600 grant to purchase African drums

Funding allowed for the purchase of African drums for the music program at Irving Middle School. Students discovered African drumming, a genre of music that was not covered in the general music classes. They also explored the history of African drums and their impact throughout Africa, practiced drumming techniques and created music as an ensemble. The drums also reinforced music theory concepts in a fun and engaging way.

“The African Drums at Irving Middle School were a HUGE success! Our students were totally engaged in the different activities and were thrilled to learn more about drumming and other parts of the world.” – Mike Robb, Music Teacher

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