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Children’s Square to host luncheon focusing on creative nonprofit giving

children's square playground

Children’s Square is hosting an event aimed at educating area residents on how they can contribute to nonprofits amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Heritage Society is being held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Children’s Hall in the Lemen Visitor Center on the Children’s Square Campus at North Sixth Street and Avenue E.

“The seminar will focus on how you can, in this time of COVID, continue to contribute to nonprofits without hurting your weekly paycheck,” said Mary Ann Hanusa with Children’s Square told the Nonpareil.

Hanusa said the meeting will educate participants on various ways to contribute to nonprofits that do not call for immediate expenditure of funds. Cheryl Clark, vice president of resource development for Children’s Square, and Mary Jewell, trust officer and vice president for TS Prosperity Group, will lead the informational discussion, according to a release.

“The COVID crisis has hit everyone very hard financially. We’re not alone in saying that we are struggling for contributions, as are many, many nonprofits,” Hanusa said. “People don’t necessarily have as much disposal income right now. This is a way to visit with folks to let them know how they can help nonprofits.”
Clark has more than 30 years of experience in financial services and more than 20 years of leadership experience in management and development, the release said.
Jewell has 25 years of banking experience and has been with TS Prosperity Group since 2012. She noted in the release that legacy giving is “like planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

The event is open to the public, with limited seating to accommodate for social distancing. Lunch will be provided upon conclusion of the event and RSVPs are required. To attend, call 712-322-3700 or email Clark at by Sept. 18.

ts bank logo


Heritage Society Luncheon

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

11:00 am to 12:30 pm

Lunch Will be provided

Limited Seating – Social distancing

What is a legacy – “it’s like planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

Hosts & Presenters

Cheryl Clark
Vice President, Resource Development
Certified Financial Planner®
Children’s Square
Mary Jewell, Fiduciary Officer, Vice President, JD
TS Bank Prosperity Group

Contact Joette 712–322-3700

Talk of the Town, Siouxlands KMEG TV Interviews Mark Elks about the Iowa Aftercare Program

Mark Elks from Children’s Square USA is interviewed about Iowa Aftercare on Siouxland Television, KMEG – 14 Talk of the Town by Jacob Heller

Children’s Square receives $10,000 Union Pacific grant

Children’s Square announced Friday that it received a $10,000 grant from the Union Pacific Railroad Foundation.

childrens square playground

The grant was endowed by the Union Pacific Community Ties Giving Program, which “helps build safe, prosperous, and vibrant communities by investing in high-quality non-profits and programs in the cities and towns in which Union Pacific operates and its employees work.

This award will assist in improving safe access to community spaces through infrastructure improvements. Specifically, the funds will be used to provide a new rubberized playground surface on the Children’s Square campus.

The need for this project was highlighted when an assessment was made of the outside activity choices for quarantined children on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All home visits, family visits to our campus, and off-campus outings were cancelled for our residential children, who are with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Cheryl Clark, vice president of resource development for Children’s Square. “The playground has had heavy usage, especially now. This resurfacing project will improve safe access and use of a playground that is on the Children’s Square campus but is also a community space. We are very grateful to the Union Pacific Foundation for their generosity.”

Children’s Square is a non-profit organization that has operated for 137 years in Council Bluffs, to care for children and families in need, and teach skills for hope and opportunity. More than 1,000 children and families are served each day through early childhood care and education programs, counseling services, emergency services for children, residential treatment for children and adolescents, and support of foster and adoptive families in both Iowa and Nebraska.

For additional information about Children’s Square, directions to campus, or services offered, call 712-322-3700.

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From right, Sandra Kittle, site director of the Children’s Center at Children’s Square U.S.A., takes the temperature of Rowan Yowell, 1, as Yowell’s mom, Sharly, hugs her before heading to work her shift at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital on Friday.

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Brook Yowell, 7, left, and her brother, Miles 3, dash up to the Children’s Center at Children’s Square U.S.A. as their mom, Sharly, drops them off before heading to work her shift at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital on Friday

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Sandra Kittle, site director of the Children’s Center at Children’s Square U.S.A., right, takes the temperature of Brooke Yowell, 7, as Yowell’s mom, Sharly, drops her off before heading to work her shift at Mothodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital on May 29th, 2020.

Nonpareil photo 6-1-2020

From right, Sandra Kittle, site director of the Children’s Center at Children’s Square U.S.A., gives Rowan Yowell, 1, some hand sanitizer as Yowell’s mom, Sharly, hugs her before haeding to work her shift at Methodist Jennie Edmunson Hospital on May 29, 2020

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Childcare Program at Children’s Square a “silver lining” in dark cloud of pandemic for JE social worker

For Ryan and Sharley Yowell, there was a “silver lining” in the dark cloud of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For any working couple — Ryan is a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier in Omaha and Sharley is a social worker employed in the Psychiatric Department at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital — childcare is a necessity.

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, two of the couple’s three children, Miles, 3, and Rowan, 1, had been cared for by an in-home daycare provider in Bellevue, Nebraska, where the Yowells live. Their oldest daughter, Brooke, 7, was a second-grade student in Bellevue.

While their daycare provider, a woman in her 60s, had mentioned the possibility of retirement, there were no definite plans … until the coming of the pandemic. With schools closing and their daycare provider’s decision to move up her plans to retire, the Yowells were faced with the need to provide daycare for their three children.

The “silver lining” came in the fact that both Ryan and Sharley are considered essential workers and, as such, were eligible for free childcare at Children’s Square made possible by the Emergency Childcare Collaborative Fund established by the Council Bluffs Schools Foundation in collaboration with the Iowa West Foundation and the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, the latter two foundations having joined forces to establish the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund.

State-licensed childcare providers participating in the collaborative share staff and locations to serve children, Chris LaFerla, executive director of the Council Bluffs Schools Foundation, said when the collaborative was announced on March 21 after Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered school closings statewide.

“The precautionary measure to close schools during this pandemic is necessary to prevent spread, but we risk losing the life-saving benefit of closing schools if healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical employees are not able to work because they don’t have childcare,” LaFerla said.

Sharley Yowell, who is expecting a fourth child in November, said she would have been “in a pickle” were it not for the childcare available at Children’s Square.

“The impact the availability of childcare through the collaborative had for me and my family was consistency,” she said. “Being able to take all three of my children to the same place every day, knowing they would be open, was a great stress reliever. This also allowed me to continue to work.

“If this childcare collaborative was not an option, I would have likely missed a lot of work, which might have also caused a financial strain for me and my family. Without childcare, I would not have been able to continue working in the same capacity.”

Sharley underscored the fact that having the free childcare available at Children’s Square was a real stress reliever.

“The stress of not knowing where I was going to take my children on a daily basis, not to mention the added stress of higher childcare bills due to my school-aged child being out of school” was substantial, she said.

“Being able to take my children to Children’s Square was not only more convenient for my morning and evening commute — an added plus — but it has also allowed me not to panic about my finances during this pandemic.”

Sharley said she’s been “extremely pleased” with the care her children have received through the program.

“I feel my kids are safe, cared about and are learning,” she said. “I am extremely grateful that this was even an option. I am grateful that I still have a job and that my children have received such excellent care.

“To the partnerships that made this opportunity possible, this emergency fund allowed me to continue my essential work with peace of mind. There are no words that can convey how honored I feel to have been able to be a part of this opportunity.”

Omaha Gives May 15, 2020


Thank you for helping us surpass our goal for Omaha/Pott County Gives!

It is with great joy and gratitude to announce that we exceeded our goal of $25,000 by $2,591, which is a 267% increase over last year! We received our last online gift after 10:00 last night when Omaha Gives!2020 officially ended at midnight.  Woohoo!!!

We have remarkable staff, fantastic donors and a mission that is near and dear to our hearts. Thank you for your participation is so many ways, during a very challenging time.

Click on this link to see the KETV 7 coverage we received yesterday. httpsss://

Debbie Orduna joins Children’s Square as President and CEO

Debbie Orduna, President & CEO Joined Us March 27, 2020

debbie orduna

Debbie Orduna begins her service as Children’s Square’s President & CEO today.  Her appointment was unanimously approved by the Children’s Square Board of Directors at its January 23, 2020 board meeting.  She succeeds Carol Wood who has served in the position since 1992.

Orduna’s 25-year career in the human services field, most recently as the Executive Director of Boys Town-Iowa, brings strong expertise and leadership experience that aligns with the services Children’s Square provides to our community. In addition, Debbie’s involvement within the human services sector for advocacy and system reform of child welfare, juvenile justice, education and behavioral health at local, state and national levels creates opportunities for the future of Children’s Square, as well as for the children and families served.

Orduna is excited to join an organization that so closely aligns with the work, vision and passion that has been the focus of her career. According to Orduna, “Children’s Square has a history of critical programs that instill care, hope, and empowerment to children and families. I am honored to continue this legacy and join the dedicated employees and volunteers who share their passion, expertise, and time to help our community thrive.”

Children's Square is Helping Families and Recognizing Mission Providers, Cheryl Clark Chats on KIOS

by Mike Hogan November 7, 2019