On September 24, Voices for Children in Nebraska will honor those who have made an exceptional impact in ensuring Nebraska is the best place to be a kid. Over the next several weeks, Voices has highlighted the 2016 Spotlight Gala honorees. We conclude our Spotlight Series today with our 2016 Nonprofit Award winner, the Young Nebraskans in Action program.
Representing a coalition of Latino/a-led organizations, legal service providers, and advocates, Young Nebraskans in Action (YNA) has worked to promote a culture of civic engagement among Nebraska’s youth. Formerly called the DREAMers Project Coalition, the group formed in response to opportunities presented by 2012’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and the changing demographics in the state of Nebraska.
As part of the Civic Engagement program at the Heartland Workers Center, YNA’s mission is to organize and develop young leaders who will work to create social change for themselves, their families, and their communities. In partnership with agencies such as Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Assistance Services, American Civil Liberties Union, Heartland Workers Center, Justice for Our Neighbors, Latino Center of the Midlands, and Nebraska Appleseed, YNA has a proven track record of working with businesses, institutions, and public officials to pass legislation and motivate the rising generation of voters.
This year, members of YNA were instrumental in the passing of LB947, which granted professional licenses for DACA recipients. Through working with senators and sharing personal testimony, YNA members aided in the Nebraska Legislature’s override of a veto on the bill. Coming off of a historic accomplishment, YNA is looking to the next challenge. Believing that the group can serve as a platform to develop future leaders, YNA is now working on voter outreach for the upcoming elections.
YNA is a great example of how young people can engage in their community and be powerful advocates for themselves and other Nebraska youth. We look forward to honoring them on September 24th.
The Spotlight Gala, to be held on Saturday, September 24, shines a light on issues Nebraska children face and honors community members who continuously strive to improve the lives of Nebraska’s kids. The annual event includes silent and live auctions, dinner, and the 2016 Spotlight Gala Awards Ceremony. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, click here.