The Better Together coalition of social services organizations in Nebraska City and Otoe County hosted a Share Out on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Kimmel Education and Research Center.
Speakers at the lunchtime event were Amanda Drier, Growing Great Kids coordinator at the Southeast District Health Department in Auburn, and Vanessa Sherman, Otoe County Juvenile Diversion Coordinator.
Drier discussed the wide variety of programs offered by the department, including immunizations for children and adults, West Nile virus prevention, dental screenings for children and older adults in care facilities, and emergency preparedness.
Drier spoke in more detail about the Growing Great Kids Program, which she coordinates.
The Growing Great Kids program works with families from pregnancy through a child’s third birthday to provide parental education and support, said Drier.
The program provides a one-time visit by a registered nurse to the home of a newborn to help answer parents’ questions.
It also provides weekly visits for the baby’s first year from trained professionals to help connect parents with additional services that can help them better parent their child.
Drier also touched on radon awareness, which is an area the health department is focusing on currently.
She said free test kits are available from the department, as well as additional information on the gas and its possible health effects.
During her portion of the Share Out, Sherman discussed the diversion program, which offers young offenders an alternative to going through the court system. She said the program has been in place in Otoe County for about 10 years.

Sherman works with the county attorney’s office to determine which young people will benefit from the program.
She said the program has two main parts, one of which works with young offenders and the other works with truant students and their families. Sherman said the Otoe County truancy program is one of the few in the state that requires parental involvement.
Young offenders spend about 90 days in the program, while truant students spend about six months building good school and study habits.
The program served 36 young offenders and 21 truant students in 2018, said Sherman.
The young offender program has an 80 percent success rate, she said, and the truancy program has a success rate of between 71 and 82 percent.
Plans call for Better Together Share Outs to be held on a regular basis. Watch future issues of the News-Press for additional details.