Tutoring as a way to give back

Tutoring as a way to give back

This semester, our student leaders have been working closely with five tutors from the University of Nebraska. Students are welcome to stop in three days per week to receive academic help. We interviewed one of these tutors, Hadi Alsaffar, to see what motivated him to volunteer with our organization. With the small amount of free time he has, he says he wants to do “something good—something productive.” Hadi is majoring in Civil Engineering with a goal to work in the public transit sector of his chosen field. He explained that academic help such as this was not accessible where he attended high school in Saudi Arabia; tutoring our students—giving them a chance he did not have—and seeing their successes gives him pride. “There’s more to tutoring than getting help in classes,” Hadi continued to tell us. “They’re getting help with more than that. It’s psychological too—they’re realizing their potential.” Hadi is right, as he has not only helped students gain understanding and think critically about their futures, but he has also helped raise their confidence levels. During tutoring, it is not uncommon to hear Hadi saying, “I just did something similar to this in class yesterday!” He shows our student leaders that what they learn now will carry with them through life. These life lessons “are something that they can’t always learn in school,” he told us. For those students who are taking upper level math classes aren’t interested in fields like engineering, or any other math-related field, he always finds a way to make academic lessons applicable to life. For example, he most recently explained to one of our students how grasping basic math concepts, and being able to better do mental math, would help her reach her goal of being a nurse. When asking Hadi what successes keep him motivated, he said some of the things he is most proud of are bringing one student’s math grade up by four letters, and helping another develop a basic math foundation that she needs to succeed as she moves on through high school and on to college. Hadi is also proud to have provided students, such as Adrian and Angelica, with outside opportunities such as attending UNL’s Philosophy Club, and taking students interested in math and science to a geopolymer lab. These are valuable experiences that develop our students academically and professionally. We are so excited to see our students exploring opportunities such as these with help from members of our community!  
Read More
Senior Leader Trinity Responds to School Violence

Senior Leader Trinity Responds to School Violence

In response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and in light of the public dialogues that have followed, Senior Leader Trinity has penned an OP ED piece on gun violence in schools and the impact it has had on her as a high school student. Trinity is a senior at Lincoln North Star High School and will be continuing her education at Nebraska Wesleyan University where she will study Psychology. As a young activist she strives to be apart of efforts to make positive change and progress. School was always said to be a safe place, but with school shootings becoming a norm in America, high schoolers across the nation are speaking out on the genuine fear that we feel in the walls of our schools. We are scared of firearms, we are scared of the accessibility to guns, but most of all we are scared of future mass shootings due to the lack of change of gun laws. The ignorance has to end, because “thoughts and prayers” aren’t going to save the next school. Nobody needs a gun. Unless an individual is on the police force, or the military, a gun is not a necessity. Even hunters in America are expressing their desire for stricter gun control and background checks, because they know that their use of guns is a hobby and not something they can’t live without. It’s not even hunting rifles that are the problem. It’s the assault rifles, which have the literal purpose to kill or “assault” other people as the name states. No human needs to possess a semi-automatic gun, and the fact that almost anybody of age can get their hands on one is terrifying. It feels as though nowadays, trying to express any opposition to fire arms always results in the “the second amendment gives all Americans the right to bear arms” argument. That amendment was adopted to the United States in 1791, and there’s no denying that guns have significantly changed since the 18th century. Guns were once arms that needed to be cleaned and loaded for each bullet and were incredibly inaccurate. Then they became more effective as the years passed, but now they’ve evolved into weapons that can shoot over 10 rounds per second. It’s a scary reality when people can buy killing machines before they can go to a bar. It seems that every time there is an event involving gun violence, the authority’s response is always more guns. In the tragic event that recently struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the students and teachers were very expressive of their negative feelings towards guns, but arming teachers and staff became the next topic of conversation. To blatantly ignore the students and propose to put them in the presence of more guns is sick. Instead of enforcing stronger gun laws to prevent such heartbreaking events from happening again, authorities decide to put more guns in the circulation. As a black individual, I am already uncomfortable enough with a police officer roaming the halls with a gun at his side, and I can’t imagine a place of education where the teachers are in possession of guns. We want to learn in schools, not shooting ranges. Stricter gun laws will be hard to achieve in a country that places such a high value on firearms, but it’s definitely not impossible. In Dan Gross’ TED talk “Why Gun Violence Can’t Be Our New Normal” he fights for gun laws and states “we're marching across the country -- we're not just waiting for Congress to act; that would almost be the definition of insanity. We're marching across the country,state by state, marriage-equality style.” No change can come if people accept the current state of our country, so it’s time to take action. We, the student leaders of Lead Up, a non-profit organization that helps students strive for success and prosperity in higher education and future careers, feel the need to take action. We are calling on the community to work with us to stand up for kindness, fight against senseless gun violence and join our project: Stand Up with Lead Up Against Violence. Together, we will accomplish three important goals on the journey to change:
  1. We are working with high school students across the city of Lincoln to reach out to our peers at Douglas High School to show our support and concern.
  2. As community leaders, we are asking you to help us remember and honor the victims of terrible tragedies of gun violence by carrying out positive acts of kindness in their name.
  3. We believe that change will start with us. To empower our peers, we are facilitating learning sessions on mental health, safety, and how to be active in the political system by expressing one’s voice through voting, petitioning, and contacting congressmen to ensure we are being heard.
It’s time for change and, with help, we can make it happen. Learn more about Stand Up with Lead Up Against Violence by viewing the video on our LinkedIn made by Collegian Leader Nakia. 
Read More
Meet Mary!

Meet Mary!

We encourage all Lead Up Leaders to utilize LinkedIn to leverage the power of networks. We asked Junior Leader Mary some questions about the career ambitions listed on her LinkedIn profile, here’s what she shared with us: Mary is on a mission to become a pediatric nurse. The day we interviewed Mary, she had just returned from job shadowing a Respiratory Therapist, making her more enthusiastic than ever about her future career. She thinks it will be important for her to connect to nursing programs and nursing students which will help her get an idea of what nursing school will be like. Her ultimate goal is to see how others have achieved her dream and what they are doing to be the best they can be. What Mary’s profile doesn’t tell you about her is how, as the oldest of seven children, she was drawn to pediatric nursing after taking care of her siblings and getting to see them “grow and expand” - both physically and mentally. This responsibility led Mary to her passion, while shaping her as a caretaker and leader. Mary’s experience detasseling and working in dining services, has taught her patience and perseverance: “You have to be responsible, in the morning [you have to] actually get to work. You have to be mature enough not to mess around in the corn fields and get your work done.” These experiences have given her the tools to stay committed to what she’s passionate about - not to mention, they also helped her achieve honor roll last year.  When asked how she accomplished making honor roll, she said it was a happy surprise:: “I took the time to study and I didn’t stress out about things. I just focused on learning.” As a member of North Star’s Choir, Mary says what drew her to get involved was her family: “We all sing. I enjoy that everyone [in choir] loves doing what I do, which is singing and going out and spreading love, peace and happiness through singing. That’s nice.” Looking to the future, Mary wants more hands-on experiences related to pediatric nursing and everything that’s involved in it: “I’m a visual learner and I need [those experiences] to feel like I’ve accomplished something.” She’s looking forward to many job shadows, interviews, tours and orientations that will help her “soar in [her] future occupation.” Having set up her LinkedIn, Mary is hoping it will lead her to professionals in the community who have the same love for her desired occupation . She knows connecting with others will help her see how others have achieved their dreams. We hope you will connect with Mary!
Read More
Behind the Scenes: UNMC Dental College

Behind the Scenes: UNMC Dental College

Beja's "dream is to be a dentist" and the trip she took to UNMC's Dental College "made her excited to go into dentistry." Beja got to look around one of the labs on campus and ask questions about Kevin's experiences as a first-year dental student. In addition to seeing the school, Beja got to talk to a handful of students and hear about the undergrad experiences that helped them achieve their dream of dental school. While in the lab, she saw some of the the hands-on work that first-year students like Kevin are doing, including waxing teeth, practicing drilling, and taking impressions. Some advice Kevin gave Beja was that, while the hands-on skills you learn in lab can be tough and frustrating at first, the key is to stick with it and practice. He said it's important to take advantage of all the opportunities and faculty support the school provides to help yourself improve. During the trip, Beja learned about the typical schedule of a first-year student, how that schedule changes during the remainder of dental school, and what students found most interesting about their field. [gallery type="square" size="medium" ids="1419,1421,1420,1418,1417"]
Read More
Leading with Kindness Challenge

Leading with Kindness Challenge

On February 14, 2018, 14 students and 3 staff members were killed by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Lead Up students were horrified by this act of violence and decided to take action. With the mission to create more positivity in remembrance of the victims, they have issued the Leading with Kindness Challenge. Here's how you can participate:
  1. Carry out an act of kindness in your community
  2. Share it on Social Media
  3. Tag Lead Up (@leaduplincoln)
  4. Challenge 7 friends to do the same
  5. Use hashtag #LeadingwithKindness
Let's fill our communities with positivity to honor the victims of this senseless act! To participate in the challenge, visit our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/leaduplincoln/
Read More
Friday Night at the Theater

Friday Night at the Theater

The snow was just beginning to fly as we gathered with our leaders at Nebraska Wesleyan University’s theater to enjoy a performance of Peter and the Starcatcher. For some, it was the first time they would take in a live theater performance and others, a happy opportunity to have the experience once again. The play was fresh, creatively performed and entertaining. The actors exhibited plenty of talent and lots of contagious enthusiasm to warm up a bitter cold night. I could easily close here by saying that we had a great time and sharing the many good feelings generated having spent a fun and positive evening with our young people. But our time together was so much more. New experiences like Friday Night at the Theater, get our students out of their comfort zone. Trying something new; putting yourself out there, is a form of risk-taking and a highly prized skill in the world of work. When confronted with a future challenge or as yet unseen circumstance, I think our leaders will adapt well – remembering the Lead Up experiences that pushed them to learn more about themselves and the world around them. I must admit, watching the students’ faces as the play unfolded was a “personal best” for me. Past the anxiety of not knowing what to expect and finding their way through the norms and etiquette of the environment, they were relaxing and simply enjoying the experience. And you could see the proverbial wheels turning. The human brain is not built for business as usual. Visiting new places, learning about new topics and doing new things build fresh neural pathways that not only sharpen our intelligence, but build our self-confidence as well. Not bad for a Friday night out. After the show as we discussed the performance, I realized that this moment was not unlike those they might encounter in the college classrooms they will soon inhabit. They were learning how to formulate their impressions and ideas and express them appropriately and in logical order to the outside world. And to listen and respect the perspectives of their peers. As I think back on the evening now, I can see the beginnings of future presentations explaining scientific experiments or compelling arguments about a controversial novel….. Our evening at the theater was college and career preparation at its best, and I am so proud that we can provide such a well-rounded foundation for our Lead Up students. Thank you to our higher education partner, Nebraska Wesleyan University for a great evening and bringing our mission Ready for College, Ready for Career to life. Julie
Read More
#thankyourmentor

#thankyourmentor

Maybe it’s a comedown from the holiday season, or the bitter temperatures we’ve experienced this month that have kept me indoors, but I find I’m actually taking note of those silly “national days” that mostly I’ve never heard of before; National Popcorn Day, National Argyle Day, National Puzzle Day, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, National Hot Tea Day….you name it, there’s a day for it. And now I’m wondering why. Perhaps this is because we like things to look forward to? Or maybe we need inviolable dates on the calendar that require no excuses for taking time to gather with friends and family? Is it possible we’re trying to find positive ways to mark the time of our lives; to smile, laugh and be grateful for what we have achieved and desire to accomplish? In 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month. In his 2016 Proclamation, President Obama declared this month as “a time to reflect on the transformative role mentorship can play, and acknowledge the many ways that mentors have helped our next generation of leaders and innovators grow.” There is no question that our community is stronger when we work together to unlock the potential in our future leaders and empower them to serve others in the same way. That is why the most important tenet of the Lead Up program model is to help young people build a network of mentors who, serve as “a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction.” (Crosby) That’s something to celebrate! January 25 is #ThankyourMentorDay and all of us at Lead Up welcome you to our celebration by taking a moment to recognize the important mentors in your life. You know the ones; the wise and trusted guides who helped you break down barriers, led you to new opportunities and encouraged you to keep trying and reaching for your best. Reply to the Thank Your Mentor Day post on our Facebook page and let a person important to your success know you value what they’ve done for you. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire someone to step forward and do the same. Happy Mentoring Month, Julie (True confession: I did celebrate National Hot Tea Day. Nothing like the perfect scone and some fragrant tea to lift and brighten a day.)
Read More
On MLK day…a Challenge to Lead Up through Volunteerism

On MLK day…a Challenge to Lead Up through Volunteerism

The staff and student leaders of Lead Up join the nation in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All across America, people are joining together to honor the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, compassion, dignity, humility and above all, service. Dr. King lived his life serving others. Following his example, millions of Americans will serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and countless others will continue to serve throughout the coming months. Every year volunteers help nonprofits all around the world make a substantial difference towards the missions they fulfill. While they’re helping others, they’ll also be improving themselves. According to research from the Volunteer Hub, volunteerism has been shown to reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and increase physical activity. The act of volunteerism also offers participants opportunities to strengthen or gain new skills needed in a competitive job market. Most importantly, when we volunteer our gifts and talents to others, we continue to build Dr. King’s dream of a nation that “lives by its noblest principles of justice, peace and righteousness.” No matter who you are, you can be a part of Dr. King’s legacy, and in celebration of this important commemoration, we challenge you to Lead Up through service to others this year. Lincoln is home to many amazing and impactful agencies that need your time and talent. Whether you are drawn to feeding the hungry, tutoring those who can’t read or mentoring a young person who is struggling, there is a place right here in our wonderful community to share your passion. Take your first steps “Up” at http://www.volunteerpartners.org/. Or, if you’re interested in propelling underrepresented students to college and success in career, contact us at volunteer@leadupne.org [gallery type="rectangular" size="large" ids="1356,1355,1354,1352"]
Read More
Leading Up into 2018

Leading Up into 2018

Ah…the New Year.  That unique time when we are focused on reflections on the past and thinking about where we want to be in the future. For those of us in the “college business” January marks not a new year but the middle; one of the busiest times as each of our leader cohorts move towards important milestones on the journey to college and career. Our year-end reflection is yet to come, but we have many accomplishments to be proud of as we mark our 8th month as Lead Up. [caption id="attachment_1334" align="alignnone" width="769"]1-1 Nakia Our first leader to graduate, Nakia, will begin college this month. She will attend our partner university, Nebraska Wesleyan.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1336" align="alignnone" width="1024"]IMG_0465 In October we hosted a Leadership Summit for fifty students who were chosen by recommendation.  Students worked on developing their leadership capacities with a first class line-up of facilitators including Kim Rathe, Director of Sourcing at Gallup Inc, T.J. McDowell, Nebraska Wesleyan University Vice President and Clayton Anderson, retired NASA  Astronaut.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1337" align="alignnone" width="5184"]Clayton Anderson and Lead Up Senior Leaders (1) Also this fall, we successfully wrapped two fundraising efforts; Nebraska By Heart, a public art project celebrating Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial and our 2nd  Hops for Hope featuring 17 local brewers, which was completely sold out![/caption] [caption id="attachment_1338" align="alignnone" width="5184"]IMG_0812.CR2 November marked the completion of a multi-month application process, with two new cohorts of student leaders being chosen to be a part of Lead Up.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1339" align="alignnone" width="4334"]IMG_0708 We capped 2017 with “Stand Up With Lead Up” hosted by the Senior Leaders. The “career fair meets community service day” drew over 100 students and an interesting group of community professionals. We’re looking forward to the 2.0 version in 2018! See more of Stand Up with Lead Up  here… https://youtu.be/-kpZQNImv18[/caption] 2018 promises to be an exciting year for Lead Up as we continue to grow and realize the impact our efforts are having on our students, partners and the community.  Do your New Year goals include finding a new outlet for your passion to help others reach their potential? If so, I invite you to consider becoming a part of the Lead Up story; as a Donor, Tutor, Committee Member or Event Volunteer. From all of us at Lead Up – Cheers to a New Year: new graces, new opportunities and new chapters to write.
Read More

Just Starting High School? Our Senior Leader’s Advice for Freshmen.

IMG_1617Just a few days now until the start of the new school year.  While many students are enjoying the last lazy days of summer, the Lead Up Senior Leaders have been hard at work planning college and career events for the first semester.

With such beautiful weather to enjoy, a group of Leaders took a stroll over to the UNL campus. Talk about the start of their last year of high school turned quickly to reminiscing them that not long ago, they too were starting high school for the first time. With a few years of perspective, here is their advice for freshman everywhere.

1. Every year of high school affects your future so it’s important to get off on the right foot academically. “I’ll turn it around next semester, or next year” is too late.

2. Get to know your teachers. You’ll need their help and advice along the way.

3. Look into clubs and activities. It’s a great way to make friends and find a place you belong.

4. This is a fresh start so be yourself. Go your own way. Make new friends, try new things, and show off your own style.

5. Respect the teachers and the staff. Disruptions cheat your peers, and playing the clown at a teacher’s expense won’t make you any more likeable.

6. High school is super busy. Time management is critical to your success.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Getting extra insight from a teacher or seeking out a tutor, shows how strong you are.

8. Sign up for challenging classes- not just as many easy ones as you can find. Likewise, sign up for classes that are outside of your comfort zone. You never know – you might find your next great passion.

9. Work to improve and develop your study skills. Your life will be so much easier.

10. Appreciate your new surroundings and celebrate diversity. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in an interesting community.

Have a great year and enjoy every day of high school ahead of you. Believe us, senior year is right around the corner. 

Read More

Hope College Center a program of Boys Hope Girls Hope is now Lead Up!

Hope College Center, a program of Boys Hope Girls Hope is now Lead Up! Why the change? Over the past year, we have been listening to and learning from our community. In Lincoln, the number one problem identified by businesses expanding in our community is the availability of talent. Also, of the Lincoln Public School students that begin college directly after high school, only 38 percent graduate. With this knowledge, we realized we could build upon our experience, and design a program to address these critical issues. We believe that by altering our program, Lead Up will not only get more students to and through college but ultimately address a key issue facing our community: workforce development. Lead Up, our new organization, connects youth to college and career. Through the power of mentoring, peer leadership and academic support, we transform the lives of underrepresented students who become drivers of economic development and growth. The past year, our first class of students have become experts in college going and career attainment. Over the next few months, they will prepare for roles as peer leaders and through formal internships, will lead industry-based cohorts of their peers to become fluent in the same information. These cohorts will be sponsored by local businesses, which by investing resources into their corresponding cohort, will be developing their highly qualified employees of tomorrow.
Read More

College-bound? Do this now!

classroom-1699745_1920There is a tremendous reservoir of information available to students in the last steps of preparing for college during the senior year. Reliable sources exploring how to prepare applications, choose a college, and finding financial aid are readily available on sites like www.collegeboard.org Should younger students be preparing for college, too? Absolutely! The freshman and sophomore years are key preparation periods and very important to the college choices yet to come. One important college-ready task is building your high school resume: volunteer, try out activities that interest you or step-up your involvement in a extracurricular club or hobby group. Being engaged outside the classroom helps you learn about yourself and develop new skills, but it also shows the colleges you are applying to what you’re passionate about. Volunteering at a homeless shelter demonstrates your desire to helping others. If you have a part-time job and your grades are strong, you are showing your can manage your time well. Leading a student organization gives you an opportunity to talk about developing your leadership style. Doing any of these activities consistently through high school signals your ability to make and keep a commitment. Don’t wait until your senior year – the sooner you get started the more interesting your resume will be. What are you waiting for? Go out and have some fun! P.S. If you’re still looking for a passion to follow, join us for Hope at 5:00 on November 15 to learn more about lending your talents to local causes that will leverage your skills to improve our community.
Read More

Scholar Spotlight: Sara

IMG_0561Sara is a junior, she likes many of her classes this semester, but she continues to focus heavily on her art classes and her art in general, as she is hoping to take as many art classes as she can, eventually earning a place in the AP Portfolio class so she will have a portfolio to present to prospective colleges. She enjoys her art classes because they give her a chance to have fun while expressing herself creatively. Sara is still investigating her college options, but is very interested in attending an art school somewhere in California. After college, she wants to become a tattoo artist which would allow her to use her skills in a multitude of ways, also giving her the opportunity to do many different styles of art. What excites her about a career as a tattoo artist is being able to bring other people’s ideas to life for them, while still putting her own spin on them, that along with the often sentimental reasons behind people’s tattoos would make the job fulfilling for her. She likes the possibility of learning about people through art and getting to see what they care about. In addition, she would continue to produce other types of artwork outside of her job which she could display or even sell. Sara had fun on the trip she took to Colorado with BHGH this past summer and is looking forward to more trips and spending more time with those in the program. Outside of school, one of her favorite things to do is watch Tim Burton movies, an artist that inspires her because of his ability to think outside the box and approach a wide variety of subjects in ways that are out of the ordinary. She appreciates the way he creates kid’s movies that are atypical from the common Disney movie. She also enjoys books, TV shows, and movies that are on the fantastical side, saying that she loves how they are often able to pull you into the stories and characters in unconventional, but powerful ways. [gallery ids="225,228,229,230" type="rectangular"]
Read More

Meet Our Americorps GO! Team!

Antwane- Community Resource Coodinator antwane Most of who I am can be traced back to my upbringing. I am the youngest for four (1 girl, 3 boys) to a single mom who did everything in her power to make sure all four of us had what we needed, and I owe so much of who I am to her. Her work ethic and perseverance in providing for her family inspired me to become a first generation college student/graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her never-ending ability to sacrifice and put others first is the reason I am so quick to offer help to anyone and everyone in any way that I can. It took me longer to realize than I would like to admit, but I know have lived a very fortunate life, surrounded by people who took time to care. This is why I chose to serve with Boys Hope Girls Hope. I see a lot of the scholars we serve, and I see myself. These are young people who are very intelligent and motivated, but need just a little support to reach their fullest potential. Now I was fortunate enough to receive a lot of that support in my home environment, but there are many others who cannot say the same. So I feel it is my responsibility to pay it forward in any way possible, and Boys Hope Girls Hope provides me with that opportunity. Alexis- Academic Coach alexisMy name is Alexis Lipson and I am an Academic Coach on the Americorps Go! Team. As a military child, it is hard to say I come from any one place, but I spent most of my childhood in Nebraska and Kansas. My immediate family lives in Abilene, Kansas – famous for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Old Abilene Town! I graduated from Doane College in 2015 with majors in International Studies and History and minors in Religious Studies and Philosophy. Throughout my time at  Doane I also took Russian courses at UNL. My father’s side of the family originally came from Russia three generations ago and I have always been fascinated by the language and culture of that area of the world. I found this position while looking for job options that would get me back to Nebraska following a year in Kansas – must’ve missed all the corn! I was excited to find a position that allowed me to achieve many goals: serve my country, share my passion for learning, and work with youth. It has been very rewarding thus far and I cannot wait to see how my year of service progresses! Aubrey- My Road Coach aubrey-shumakeAubrey is a Senior at UNL where she studies English, Film, and Psychology. She’s excited to be able to aid the scholars in their learning and growth this year and to take this journey alongside them. As the My Road Coach she’s eager to use her passion for writing to help the scholars express themselves, to articulate their passions, goals, and concerns so they can begin to effect the change they want to see in their world. In her free time she enjoys writing, watching movies and TV shows, and attending concerts. Other hobbies include: re-watching Parks & Rec, eating large quantities of pasta, petting dogs, getting excited about outer space, forgetting to exercise, & petting more dogs.
Read More
X