Leadership Scotts Bluff XXX makes $25K donation to four local organizations

April 18, 2019

GERING — Four local non-profits received more than $25,000 in donations Wednesday, presented by the Leadership Scotts Bluff Class XXX at the Weborg 21 Centre.

Nina Grant, vice president of student services at Western Nebraska Community College and Class XXX member, said that the funds were raised from the class’s annual Hoops 4 Heroes event that took place on March 22.

Grant said that the event always coincides with March Madness and that the class selected the organizations that benefited from this year’s event after looking at the mission of each organization and the amount of lives they impact.

Life Change Connection

Brooke Samuelson and Taylor Blomenkamp received a $5,000 donation on behalf of Life Change Connection.

Samuelson said the organization was founded by a diabetic to help other people with diabetes. The organization’s goals are to help with youth, camps, and to raise awareness about diabetes.

“The big thing we like to do is education, so a lot of it has gone to the kid’s camp in the past,” Samuelson said. “We want to help the youth who are going through diabetes and to help their parents.”

To find out more about Life Change Connection, visit them online at http://lifechangeconnection.org/

Festival of Hope

Kathy Walker and LeAnn Grasmick received a $5,000 donation for Festival of Hope, a non-profit organization which has provided more than $2 million in assistance since 2003 to help cancer patients with non-medical expenses, such as travel and lodging.

“If they needed help with a car repair in order to get to treatment, or help paying their gas or utilities — any kind of expense they have that they need help with,” Grasmick said. “It just helps their everyday living, that they can concentrate on their treatment versus what bills aren’t being paid while they’re going through treatment.

“Everybody who donates, we can’t ask for anything more,” she said. “It’s very appreciated because we have patients who need it.”

For more information about Festival of Hope, visit http://www.festivalofhope.net/

Disability Rights Nebraska

Mindy Baird, community outreach disability advocate with Disability Rights Nebraska in Scottsbluff, received a $7,500 donation on behalf of the organization.

Baird said that Disability Rights Nebraska is an protection advocacy agency in the state for people with disabilities. She said that the money will go toward helping disabled individuals in Scotts Bluff County.

Every state in the United States is mandated to have a protection and advocation agency which is in charge of investigating cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disabilities. While these organizations are federally funded, the amount varies by population. Since Nebraska is sparsely populated, disability is a minimally federally funded organization, Baird said.

“We have the responsibility of protecting and advocating for people with disabilities,” Baird said. “This money will go a long way in helping us do what we need to do.”

For more information on Disability Rights Nebraska, visit https://www.disabilityrightsnebraska.org/

The Scottsbluff/Gering Soup Kitchen

Malvin Shockley and Julio Bernal received a $7,500 donation on behalf of The Scottsbluff/Gering Soup Kitchen, which serves about 15,000 to 16,000 people a year.

The soup kitchen rotates between four churches: Mondays at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1102 12th Ave. in Scottsbluff; Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at Gering Methodist, 900 O St. in Gering; Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church, 101 E 20th in Scottsbluff, and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. at the Church of Christ, 1919 Ave. N in Scottsbluff.

Shockley said that the soup kitchen’s board has put freezers at each of the locations, and that the money helps to stock ground beef for the churches to use in the soup kitchens.

“On Monday night, we served 65 (people),” Bernal said. “I think we average about 60 to 65. On Wednesdays, they serve a little more.”

For more information about the Scottsbluff/Gering Soup Kitchen, contact Bernal at 308-631-6417

The annual Leadership Scotts Bluff class is organized through Leadership Scotts Bluff Inc. with support from the Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce. Each leadership class provides opportunities for individuals from all different backgrounds to learn more about the other organizations in the community. Class members meet once a month for an all-day session in which they either visit and tour various community locations or receive presentations from individuals focused on a broad range of subjects: ag and water, media/communications and marketing, health and human services, education, government/legislature, law and legal agencies and regional issues.

“When (Leadership Scotts Bluff) first started, it came out of our business and education committee to groom leaders for our community,” said Karen Anderson, executive director of the Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce.

Past class members make up the board for Leadership Scotts Bluff and more than 650 people have passed through the program since its inception.

Many graduates have since served on local school boards, city councils, county commissions and chambers of commerce. Others have assumed leadership in civic and community groups and in professional roles. Initially, the classes ran from February to September, however in 2001, the time frame was changed to run from September to April.

“The board felt it was more beneficial to go to Lincoln to show the legislative process,” Anderson said. “This is the 30th class that has gone through that.”

Anderson said that the Hoops 4 Heroes is a learning process for the class.

“They have to build their team and develop committees like marketing and solicitation for sponsors,” she said.

With it’s final session finished, Leadership Scotts Bluff XXX will have its graduation on Tuesday, April 23.