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One Eventful August

August has been a busy month for us at The Kim Foundation! Among our regular office work, meetings, and community presentations, we also held our Second Annual Organizational Fair on August 6th. Because our attendance grew from roughly 40 booths in 2014, to 50 booths this year, we hosted the event at UNO’s Barbra Weitz Community Engagement Center.

The idea of hosting such an event originated last year after attending numerous meetings with local agencies who had expressed confusion about which organizations were offering specific services and therapies. We as a foundation spend a lot of time getting to know new and innovative mental health programs throughout the community when deciding who to invite to apply for grants. However, when services are constantly expanding, or funding for a particular program gets cuts, it can be tough to keep up with the continual changes.

The format for the event is based loosely off of the idea of speed dating. Rather than having only a few minutes to get to know a possible soulmate, we gave each organization three minutes to stand up in front of the entire group to talk about their current mental and behavioral health services. This also gives people time to talk about any new programs or important changes occurring within their organization.

When these three minute presentations were not taking place, we offered time for networking. Each of the 50 organizations had a booth and at least one or two employees in attendance. This opportunity to meet one another, ask questions, and connect is absolutely priceless.

This year we wanted to take some time to recognize some of our peers for their hard work. We invited every group in attendance to cast their votes on who they felt went above and beyond! We had three awards: Innovative Program, Spirit of Service, and Outstanding Partner.

We as a foundation selected Connections at Project Harmony for the Innovative Program Award. Project Harmony has always found ways to successfully intervene and handle very difficult and delicate situations. When they face an issue, they come up with an innovative solution to handle that issue. They’ve approached mental and behavioral health concerns in our community in a similar way through the development of Connections. This new program has already been able to help over 300 youth connect to therapy services within our community.

The Omaha Police Department was awarded Outstanding Partner for their Mobile Crisis Response Team and for their ongoing commitment to training officers in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT).

“The Omaha Police Department takes pride in their caring response to those who struggle with mental illness,” said Joanne Hull, Director of Development at Lutheran Family Services. “The Omaha area is fortunate to have a police department that recognizes and responds appropriately to the needs of this vulnerable population.”

To date, the Crisis Response Program has provided on-site therapists to 1,290 law enforcement officers on 911 calls involving a behavioral health related crisis.

Ken Timmerman was honored with the Spirit of Service award. Ken currently is employed with Community Alliance and serves as a trainer for several peer led programs including WRAP, Intentional Peer Support, NAMI In Our Own Voice, and NAMI Family Support.
“Ken is a wonderful example of recovery and is so encouraging to so many people with mental illness and their families,” said Linda Jensen of NAMI Omaha.

Only two weeks after wrapping up the Organizational Fair we teamed up with CrossFit Elkhorn (CFE) for a fun (and exhausting) awareness event! Last year, CFE’s owners approached our foundation booth at our corporate office’s health fair. They mentioned that their athletes love to support causes through incorporating them into their work out of the day (WOD). So, we worked together to create a fun work out focused around numbers specific to mental health and suicide. For example, they used the number four, because one in four families are affected by mental illness.

Before the workout started, we talked to the group about The Kim Foundation, and the many campaigns and projects we were a part of. We also had a booth with local resources available. Anthony Steels, former Husker and NFL player, and spokesman for our awareness campaign, Don’t Be Sidelined, was also there to sign autographs and answer questions. Primal Meats came to grill lunch for anyone who had worked up an appetite during the intense workout session. It was great to be able to connect with a whole new community of people.

We have already begun reserving spots at our annual A Time For Hope & Healing luncheon on October 13th. As you may already know, this year Kevin Briggs retired highway patrolman, Military Veteran, and “Guardian of the Golden Gate,” will be our speaker. He will be sharing some of his experiences while patrolling and answering to suicide calls on the Bridge.

We hope to see you there!


About Jill Sauser, The Kim Foundation Project Coordinator

Jill graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Speech Communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. During her time at UNO, she completed a two year PR practicum program where she worked with numerous nonprofit clients including the MS Society, The Archdiocese of Omaha, The Omaha Food Bank, and YWCA. Since becoming Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation in April 2014, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, the Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, the Metro Area LOSS Team, and is helping lead a community-wide health improvement initiative with the Douglas County Health Department called, “Just Reach Out,” which is focused on improving the people’s view on mental and behavioral health treatment.