Thinking back to when I first came to Lighthouse 26 years ago as one of the original youth I remember hurting people to get what I wanted. As I reflect upon the impact that the staff made on me at the time, I realize without their intervention I would not be the man I am today. The reason I am here at Lighthouse is to give guidance and to help our young people in the same manner in which I received help. I became a staff member in 1996 working my way through college and receiving my Master’s Degree in Counseling. I have been the Executive Director since March of 2005. I believe that every young person has the potential to succeed; we are here to help foster that potential and help them realize it. Lighthouse is a very unique environment, here we believe that love is our primary change agent, we provide a safe, supervised environment that is family oriented. One of my beliefs is that youth are not “at risk” but they are more “at promise.” With our help I truly believe today’s youth will be our future.
I first heard of Lighthouse in 2005 when I volunteered for a Southeast Community College clinical course. I was impressed by the close meaningful relationships that the staff had with the youth and almost knew instantly that I wanted to be a part of that. I continued volunteering at Lighthouse through the following quarter of college totaling 300 hours of service. I later graduated in 2007 with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services. Five years later in 2010 I was hired on at Lighthouse as the volunteer coordinator and worked my way up to program director in 2012. I absolutely loved the environment and the work I was doing with the program but still felt like I needed something more for myself.
As a Lighthouse alumnus, I always wanted to give back to the community. I volunteered at Lighthouse while in college, then was offered an AmeriCorps position in 2010. In 2012 I was offered a full time position. My goal at Lighthouse is to provide opportunities to youth, and help them flourish to reach their potential. Since 2010, I have built strong relationships with many youth and helped them reach their goals. I want to continue opening doors while developing my healthy relationships with our youth.
I graduated from Lincoln High School in 2009, and went on to graduate from Hastings College in 2013 with a degree in Recreation and Sports Management. Upon graduation I spent six months not only struggling to find a career in my field of study, but also direction in my life. In early 2014 I discovered Lighthouse through an Americorps program called Youth on the Move. This program was geared toward helping our community’s youth become more healthy and active. I immediately fell in love with Lighthouse’s values, staff, and the family environment that everyone upholds. Upon completion of my Americorps term I was offered a full-time position here at Lighthouse. That was a tremendous achievement for me because it was not only the beginning of a career which I love, but it also brought the direction that I was looking for to my life. Since being hired it has been easy to grow and develop as a professional because the environment at Lighthouse is always supportive. My position at Lighthouse has me involved in a variety of programs. I work with our youth on preparing them to develop excellent resumes, ace their job interviews, and manage their money. I also travel to Southeast High School every day to tutor kids and carry out activity programming. Fitting into today’s society can be a very overwhelming task for many of the youth Lighthouse works with. My goal is to make their transition from youth to adulthood as seamless as possible by setting goals and building techniques that will help them become successful.
I moved to Lincoln with my mom and two of my brothers in June of 1992. I started going to Lighthouse after hearing about it from my younger brother. Lighthouse was always a place I considered home. I come to Lighthouse after working 12 years for a Telecommunication company. Although I learned wonderful skills that I hope to use as Executive Assistant, I couldn’t be happier being at Lighthouse. As the Food Program Coordinator I want to provide the youth here at Lighthouse a balanced meal and a loving environment. I want to make a difference in our youth’s lives by modeling love, compassion and patience.
I grew up in Bennet, Nebraska and graduated from Palmyra High School in 2011. I attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and graduated in December 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Science and Minors in Sociology and Education. I have known about the Lighthouse since I was very young because Pete Allman is a family friend, but I had never really been involved with it. My junior year of college I had to interview a professional in my field of study for an assignment and my professor suggested that I interview Bill Michener here at Lighthouse. After the interview, I had a new outlook on “at-risk youth.” He called them “at-promise” and that has stuck with me ever since. During the summer of 2015 I started my internship here at Lighthouse and completed 170 hours. At the end of July 2015 I was hired as the Program Coordinator. I am also in charge of Girl POWER which is in place to help young girls learn about important aspects of life. My goal is to build relationships with the youth and provide support and guidance to them as they go through their teenage years. I want to make a positive impact on the lives of the people I come in contact with. My passion has always been to help people. I feel as if I am better able to connect with youth in this age group than any other. I am excited to be a part of this team and I look forward to the years to come!
I’m from a small town called Harrisburg, NE. I came to Lincoln for college in 2013, and through college I came to learn about Lighthouse. I started volunteering the summer of 2017 and immediately felt at home with the staff and youth. The loving and supportive environment is unparalleled to any organization I’ve been at before. I accepted a full time position for Youth Specialist in April 2018. I am also in charge of Teen Science Café, a national program that offers youth a chance to engage and explore the STEM field. Building relationships and offering support to youth is something I have always been passionate about, and I am thankful to be able to develop my skills professionally and continue to build healthy relationships while working in a supportive environment.
I grew up in Omaha, NE and then moved to Lincoln to attend UNL. In December of 2019, I graduated with a BA in Psychology, while also minoring in Sociology and Child, Youth, and Family Studies. During my last year of college, I came to volunteer at Lighthouse to gain experience working with children and fell in love with it. I could tell that the staff had a genuine interest in and cared deeply about the well-being of each youth who attended Lighthouse and how those relationships had made a positive impact on the kids. When I was offered the position as Education Programming Coordinator, I couldn’t refuse being apart of such a special place.
As the Education Programming Coordinator, I will be in charge of keeping track of how each youth is doing academically and will provide them with the tools for any of their homework needs. I will keep track of grades, missing assignments, and GPA’s for each quarter. When it comes to our attention that a youth made be struggling in school, I, along with the student and the Lighthouse staff, will come up with an academic plan to raise their grades. This plan will then be shared with parents, teachers, and counselors to ensure that the youth’s support network is on the same page.
I have known from a very young age that I wanted to work with kids and make a difference in my community. Through Lighthouse, I look forward to making a difference in the lives of these youth by building strong and supportive relationships through empathy, trust, and love.
I am originally from Midlothian Texas (approximately 30 miles South of Dallas/Fort Worth). My wife and I met in high school and both went to Texas Tech University. She is earning her PhD. in Clinical Psychology at UNL and primarily focuses with kids. I pole vaulted at Texas Tech University for two years and under-grad coached two years with the pole vaulters. I have a B.A. in English with a primary focus on Teaching/Psychology. After leaving Texas Tech I coached at UNL for a year with the long/triple jumpers. I was convinced that collegiate coaching was my path in life; however, I didn’t feel that I was changing kids lives the way I wanted to.
After leaving UNL I went back to school at UNK to earn a Nebraska Teaching Certificate. While working at one of the two serving jobs I had at the time, I ran into Bill Michener and we began chatting. Our total stranger conversation ended up being roughly three hours about Lighthouse, perspectives on life, and how to impact kids’ lives. I was hooked. After a few more talks Bill invited me to be apart of his staff as the Education Program Coordinator.
My experience at Lighthouse so far has been amazing. The staff is passionate about changing kids lives and giving them opportunities/tools to succeed in life. Lighthouse is different from the norm in regards to how we interact with the kids. Changing the dialogue to a Restorative Practice mindset rather than superior/inferior is far more productive than the latter. In addition to, the kids are willing to participate with a Restorative Practice atmosphere. I am excited to take on more kids as my mentees and I appreciate the opportunity that Bill and Pete have given me.
I was born and raised in Lincoln, NE and graduated from Lincoln High School in 2006. After graduation I attended multiple universities chasing the dream of playing football until I landed at Concordia University. While at Concordia one of my professors/mentors challenged to apply my effort to the classroom and focus less on the field. I graduated with my highest GPA ever and a degree in psychology.
After college I moved back to Lincoln, NE and started my own non-profit organization. My goal was to help youth identify their dreams and help them create a plan on how to reach their goals. I served youth at detention centers and in select Lincoln Schools. I became a Clifton StrengthsFinder coach and began creating programs for youth to fully understand their natural talents. In 2015 I became the Executive Director of the organization and had the opportunity to gain mentorship from Lighthouse Director Bill Michener.
During my meetings with Bill I got introduced to Lighthouse. I really enjoyed the staff and environment of Lighthouse. I eventually joined the Lighthouse team and am now serving here as a Strengthsfinder coach. I run strengths programs with the Lighthouse youth, team and youth who are currently at JDC.
I have lived everywhere from Central Nebraska to Omaha. In my travels I found the beauty in nature, music, and science; these things enliven my soul and allow me to speak. This is what I aim to foster in those around me – an appreciation for the beauty in the world and how that beauty inspires us to speak and tell our stories. When we understand our stories as individuals, we can embrace the story that connects us all.