‘Don’t lose hope’: Former orphan visits Children’s Square decades after adoption
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.
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
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.
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
Childcare Program at Children’s Square a “silver lining” in dark cloud of pandemic for JE social worker
- By Jon Leu
- email@example.com Jun 2, 2020
- Link to Nonpareil article
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
WE DID IT!
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://www.ketv.com/article/giving-wednesday-omaha-gives/32607833
Debbie Orduna joins Children’s Square as President and CEO
Debbie Orduna, President & CEO Joined Us March 27, 2020
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.”