Ms. Sophia Says Goodbye!

Ms. Sophia and Happiness Hour girls.

When I was applying to jobs during my senior year of college, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I knew I was interested in education, psychology, writing, and women’s rights, but I didn’t think I would be able to find anything that would allow me to explore all these different areas at once. Then I heard about the Weitz Fellowship at Girls Inc. of Omaha. “Every day will be different,” I was told in my interview, and it was true. Over the past year I’ve had a huge variety of experiences through which I’ve been able to develop skills in all my interest areas and more.

Through my fellowship I have had the freedom to create multiple projects on my own. One of the most challenging yet rewarding projects I worked on this year was my Happiness Hour club for teens. I was a Psychology major in college, and I based my Happiness Hour club on a course in positive psychology that I took in my senior year. I wanted to be able to create a space where the teens could practice strategies for self-care and dealing with negative life events, and also discuss issues in their lives that are important to them. Although at first it was challenging, it was a valuable learning experience to be forced to apply what I had learned in a classroom setting to the real world. I was pushed to be creative in developing engaging activities for a younger age group and finding ways to make our club sessions interactive and hands-on. The club has been going on the whole school year, and it’s been so rewarding to see the same girls coming back each week and taking an active role in developing the club.
My favorite project to work on has been my Harry Potter book club for 4th and 5th graders. It was fun for me to introduce my favorite book series to girls for the first time and to see them get excited about getting sorted into their houses, making pom-pom owls, and trying Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored beans. Harry Potter inspired a lifelong love of reading for me, and I hope it does the same for the girls in my club.

Other projects that I worked on this year involved writing psychology lesson plans, teaching statistics to teens in a Giga Girl pilot project for Girls, Inc. national, and working with graduating seniors on scholarship essays. Through all of these experiences I’ve gotten a better sense of what I enjoy doing, where my skills lie, and how I can use my knowledge to help other people. I probably would not have been able to find another post-college job that would have given me so much freedom to explore my various interests. I’m still not sure what I want to do with my life, but I’ve gained much more information about myself and the world to help me make that decision.

Goodbye for now to Girls, Inc. and Omaha! I will miss my girls!

– Sophia Jenkins

Tori – former Eurekan!, now a Noyce Intern working with Eureka!

After coming back to Girls Inc’s Eureka! Camp, I have learned so much. The last time I was here, I was a Eurekan, or student. Now that I’m in college and a Noyce intern, I am assisting these wonderful girls explore STEM in-depth, like I did. When I was attending Eureka! as an eighth grader, I found my love for design. I can truly say Eureka! encouraged me to pursue a career in a STEM-related field. I am currently earning a degree in architectural engineering at UNO. Being on the other side of this summer program, I have come to realize how much time and effort goes into making and planning the activities for the month. After contributing to making lesson plans weeks in advance, I respect the staff for their vast amounts of hard work.

I also noticed the difference in the Eureka girls versus when I attended. Unlike my years at the summer camp, all of these girls were intrigued by the shark dissections, excited about the Biomechanics Lab, eager to learn about astronomy, and so much more. I was amazed at how the professors would give them a task, and how diligently they worked at trying to complete it.

Since this was my first year in being an intern for Eureka!, I was nervous about teaching eighth and ninth graders. Luckily for me, these girls treated me with respect and we all have such a close bond. Throughout the program I learned I was more than an intern, I was an ally. They talked to me about their college interests, questioned me about life on campus, and asked me about my school schedule. Each of their personalities are so unique and lovable. I will truly miss these girls.

[To read Tori’s thoughts about Eureka! after her very first summer (six summers ago!) click here. Tori is an example that “sustained exposure” to programming can create long term, positive impact!]



Eureka! Grads Share Highlights

Rajhae (L) and Mya (R) share remarks about their Eureka! experience.



I have been a Girls Inc. member since I was six years old. There was really no other place I’d rather be. Girls Inc. always had fun opportunities for me as I got older. The best part of my Girls Inc. experience was Eureka!

Eureka! taught me many important life lessons, like how to budget my money and more about robotics. I learned how to make my own game system with playdough. Perhaps most importantly Eureka! taught me time management and how to be professional in a job setting.

Ms. Hannah and the Eureka! staff took the time out of their day to find us externship placements. They weren’t just any job; the externships were jobs that were similar to what we wanted to do after college. My first year of externships I worked at Charles Drew Health Clinic. I had so much fun being able to take vitals and cleaning rooms after the patients were discharged. I also watched [a woman] get a Pap smear! I know from my education at Girls Inc. how important those annual exams are.

My second year I worked at Encor, a program for individuals with disabilities. I was able to work at the Encore center and at a location where the adults were living independently… The most fun part of the job was interacting with all of the clients.

…This experience…made me want to pursue my CNA license. My plan is to start at Metropolitan Community College, and then switch to UNMC to become a Registered Nurse. Eureka! is a great program for young girls to start their journey in to life. Eureka! can help lead you in the right direction and help you make the right choices. I want to say thank you to my fellow Eurekans, and congratulations! I couldn’t have chosen a better group of young ladies to share this experience with.



I am senior at Central High school.

I started the Eureka! program as an 8th grader.  I remember riding to the campus of UNO with my mom feeling a bit of resentment because it was summer and I was supposed to still be at home in the bed asleep.  It was summer at 8am…this was summer school.

Just like school, I learned a lot but Eureka! was different because I enjoyed the learning experiences.  It helped me to discover my love for science by doing rigorous experiments. My favorite was the High-Altitude Balloon Launch when I sent a goldfish into space to study the impact of changes in temperature when leaving the earth’s atmosphere.

Throughout high school my passion for science grew along with my desire to help others within the field of medicine.  As a third-year Eureka! student, I was able to complete an externship at Charles Drew Medical Center. I was able to interact with patients, nurses, and other medical staff.  It was there I received hands on training and solidified my desire to become a nurse.

This fall, I will attend Alcorn State University in Mississippi where I plan to graduate in four years with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I hope to eventually work in the Labor and Delivery department of a research hospital so I can pass my knowledge on to other students with the same passion. Currently, I am in the process of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and I volunteer weekly at Life Care Center of Omaha.  With my CNA, I will work-part time during college to get experience and create a network of healthcare mentors.

As I embark on my new journey to college and nursing, I know that no matter what I face, the lessons I learned as a member of the Eureka! family have provided me the drive, focus, and motivation to help bring new life into world, and will allow me to overcome any obstacles I face.  For me, success is not an option, it is a way of life.


Testimonials from Ms. Beth’s Coding Club

Today in Coding Club, I loved doing stations. I enjoyed playing the Osmo App games. They were really, really fun. I even created a new game and it was so fun. – Messiah

I loved Osmo because it was super fun and cool. I enjoyed the Roofbot app because it was challenging. I wonder if we can play Osmo more often because I loved it. – Camille

I loved the Star Wars Project [at] and it made me happy. I learned to play the Roofbot app and it makes me feel excited to play it next time, too. – Amaiyah

Staff Training in the Education Kitchen

Training in the education kitchen.

Chef and restaurateur Craig Stenson helped provide training for our staff team in our new eudcation kitchen.

A grant from Childrens Hospital Foundation is helping us offer more healthy cooking and meal planning programming for our girls. A part of the grant includes training our staff team to be better health ambassadors in the kitchen.

Craig taught us:

  • Knife usage/sharpening/cleaning
  • Cutting of onions, garlic and more
  • Cooking macaroni and cheese
  • Cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen
  • Kitchen safety tips
  • Cooking ribs
  • Checking meat temps
  • Cooking eggs
  • Storing food tips
  • Bacon ideas, tips, and usage
  • Basic tips, instruments/tools

    Our guest chef, Craig, gives our in-house chef, Ms. Donna, some tips.



Yvonne’s Week at Girls Inc.

My Week at Girls Inc. of Omaha

Hello, my name is Yvonne and I’m a 20-year old university student from Germany. Since I’m studying education and primary education in Chemnitz, Germany, the university required me go abroad for some months. The good thing about this: we have very nice friends living in Papillion, Nebraska, which I visited for this trip abroad. I was staying a month with Joan Clark and her family and she knows Miss Stephanie. A perfect coincidence! Joan contacted Miss Stephanie and arranged things, so that I had my orientation with Miss Sydney in my first week here. I was very excited about working with the girls because I like working with children and support the idea to raise strong, smart, and bold girls!

I spent most days of the week with Miss Sydney and her kindergarten girls, but I also was with first graders, second graders, and higher. It was awesome! All the girls were really cute and very confident.

On my first day at Girls Inc. Omaha, the kindergarten girls worked on a STEM activity by building towers of plastic eggs with play dough. Afterwards, there was a ice cream party with all girls of Girls Inc. Cheerleaders danced and everybody ate ice cream. Since I’ve never seen “real” American cheerleaders before it was pretty exciting for me. On Tuesday, the girls made their own butter. That was also an activity that I’ve never done before. It was really cool because the self-made butter actually tasted really good. The girls were so amazed of making butter! It was awesome to see how happy they were about that (they also wanted to eat more and more butter, although they had snacks, too. Cute, right?)

My third day here was more relaxed. Some of the girls went to a jump house, I stayed at Girls Inc. and we built some easter eggs out of paper and glue. Most of the girls gave their best and did very good, but some didn’t follow instructions and just clowned around with the glue. Kids will be kids, right?

On Thursday was a Field Day for all of the girls. There were different groups with games. All of the girls were so excited, it made me excited, too. At evening, before the girls got picked up by their parents, every grade watched a movie. Even some girls just took naps or played games, I liked this part of the day very much. The were able to relax and I had the chance to watch the best Disney movies. Yay!

Friday was my last day at Girls Inc. and in my eyes the best one in the whole week. We

Panda Party

went skating with the whole center and it was so much fun! All of the girls enjoyed it and had fun. I had a lot of fun, too, and made friends with some of the girls. They were so cute and it seemed like they liked me. When we returned to the Girls Inc. center, there was a huge Panda themed party. Girl, that was awesome!

To put it in the nutshell, I really enjoyed my week at Girls Inc. Omaha and I’m also a bit jealous that girls in Omaha have this opportunity (we do not really have institutions like that in Germany) I really like and support the idea to raise girls to become strong, smart, and bold women! Girls rock!!!!

What do you give the man who has everything?

Some time to one of his favorite charities!

This is Shea Feeney and Christina Souto from the U.C. Davis Graduate School of Management! We are excited to be part of a group of 20 students who have decided to give some of our time volunteering with Girl’s Inc. of Omaha during our trip to Nebraska. We have been coming back annually for the last several years because we strongly believe in the Girls Inc mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through their innovative programs to harness potential. What brings us to Omaha is the Oracle himself – Warren Buffett! And to stay true to Mr. Buffett’s philosophy of giving back, we make it a priority to volunteer with a charity he is passionate about while traveling to Nebraska for a lunch and Q & A session with the business legend.

Personally, we share a passion for girls in STEM as our backgrounds before business school were in those fields. It is an honor to support an organization engaging a diverse group of girls into a field where they are still widely underrepresented. We love to see not only how they have promoted STEM, but a whole lifestyle of well-being and are engaging their girls to become prepared for a rewarding adulthood.
Today we took a tour of the North Omaha Girl’s Inc facility, learned about their great programs, and heard that they received best affiliate of 2017 [Congratulations!!]. We are helping out with some cleaning activities to ensure the organization starts 2018 with a smooth start!

We have been so impressed with the Girls Inc at Omaha that we have been inspired to start a partnership with the chapter in the Bay Area back in California. It is an organization well deserving of volunteer time and we encourage others to seek out their local chapter to do the same! A big thanks to Girl’s Inc. of Omaha, and Ms. Sydney, for hosting us today.

Linda Rozo, Mentor of the Year 2017

Girls’ Nite Out Event | Linda Rozo’s Remarks

When I was first asked if I’d be open to sharing at tonight‘s event, my initial thought was… ‘Heck no.’

You see, speaking in front of crowds makes me (like many others) PRETTY nervous. But as I thought about it a little more and with the help of a couple friends, I came to realize… being up here isn’t about me.

It’s about Alendra and the girls she represents. It’s about sharing how one young lady, can truly change your life. So, if it’s okay with you all I’d love to give you a glimpse into our story.

We started out as neighbors about four years ago. She lived right up the street from me, along with her family. Oftentimes neighbor kids and I would play basketball outside my house. One day, Alendra was one of the kids that came by to play! We got to talking and before she went back home I told her about the Better Together Basketball program that I was a part of and invited her to join. By the next season I had the privilege of becoming not only her neighbor but her coach.

It was during our second season together though that she had gotten into a little trouble, requiring her to make some different decisions. And that’s where Girls Inc. came in. They gave Alendra the opportunity to ask someone in her life to be her mentor. Someone she knew, someone she trusted. And of all people, she chose me. It still blows me away thinking about this. As you can see by me standing here, I said, ‘Yes!’. That was about two years ago.

Since then I’ve had the opportunity of spending time with this incredible young lady, who I now consider family. We hang out during the week together, we go on trips together, we run errands together, we serve together, we lead together – we truly do life together. We’ve been through a lot together and in it we’ve learned from each other.

I was actually talking to her last night about this event and asked her if there was anything she wanted me to share with you all. And she said to me, ‘Yes! Tell them that you have REALLY changed my life Coach Linda.’

While that filled my heart more than she’ll ever know, I’d say the reverse is just as true, ‘Alendra has REALLY changed my life.’

If there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that in order to bring change we must be willing to be changed.

So, I encourage you- open yourself up to being changed. Alendra modeled this for me when she asked me to be her mentor. She let me into her life fully and made it easy for me to let her into mine fully. Allow a young person into your life, learn from them, listen to them, love and care for them, be present with them, and I guarantee your life will not look the same because of them. And you will be able to say… they have REALLY changed your life.

Lunch for the Girls 2017: Fatuma’s remarks

My name is Fatuma Mberwa and I am eighteen years old. I attend the University of Nebraska Omaha. I am majoring in Public Health. I received both the Buffet and the Girls Inc. local scholarship.  It is because of Girls Inc. I’m standing here today as a Muslim girl in college. Girls Inc. has had a significant impact on my life as a Muslim Somali Bantu. It gave me and my sisters a safe place to go and learn and have fun at the same time. Girls Inc. has given me the confidence and courage to stand up for my rights. As a girl in my culture, going to college is frowned upon because we are supposed to get married by the time we are eighteen. It is a big deal to branch out and put your education before marriage and family. I’m able to do this because I know I have my Girls Inc. family to hold my hand throughout this journey.

Because of Girls Inc. I was able to see myself as teacher, an artist or a doctor and at the same time keep my religion and cultural norms. For example, when I needed a hijab swimsuit to cover up as I learned how to swim, Girls Inc. was there for me.

As I embark in my college journey, I know that I have the skills and courage to change the world and educate my Muslim community because I’m a Girls Inc. girl. Thank you for supporting Girls Inc. and fueling the fire for girls like me.