Voices for Children in Nebraska is proud to honor Betty Cernech in recognition of her long career as an advocate for children and families in Nebraska. Her passion for community and public health programs for vulnerable people – from the unborn to the elderly – has driven her work and leadership at the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) for 28 years.
At VNA, Mrs. Cernech has helped develop programs including placing nursing services at all homeless shelters in the Omaha area to address the needs for mental health, maternal and child health care, and care for homeless youth. She has helped develop programs to reach out to pregnant and parenting teens in order to help young families learn to raise their children and be self-sufficient. She has found funding to provide public health nurses to women who are pregnant in correctional facilities – recognizing this opportunity to help mothers fall in love with their unborn children and giving them a reason to avoid risky behavior upon their release.
She has tirelessly championed home visitation programs as a means to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through securing funding and implementing innovative, evidenced-based home visitatation programs, public health nurses now visit new parents and teach parenting skills and healthy child development in their own home. What started as a pilot project in 2005 is still going today and has not had one incident of child abuse or neglect.
In addition to her work at VNA, Mrs. Cernech is active in the community, serving on the Board of the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless, as an advisory board member for the Nebraska Wesleyan College of Nursing, and on the Executive Committee of the Nebraska Action Coalition. She is the recipient of many awards including the College of Education Alumna Award from the University of Nebraska, the Excellence in Nursing Award from March of Dimes, the Nebraska Public Health Partners Exceptional Merit Award and the Lifetime Membership Award from the NebraskaPublic Health Association.
Carolyn Rooker, Voices for Children’s Executive Director says, “With a full heart, Betty has spent countless hours helping Nebraska children and families, particularly young mothers. She has admirably dedicated her life and career to improving the lives of those most vulnerable in our community.”
Join us in honoring Betty Cernech for her Lifetime Achievement at the Spotlight Gala on September 15, 2012. For details about the event, visit voicesforchildren.com/SpotlightGala.