Tag Archives: Outlook Nebraska Inc.

The Big Give

September 6, 2016 by
Illustration by Kristen Hoffman

Omahans give. That is no secret. Just consider the amount generated by the Omaha Community Foundation’s fourth annual Omaha Gives campaign. The 24-hour funding drive amassed almost $9 million, a new record.

In each September/October issue, Omaha Magazine helps our readers determine where to spend their charitable donations through a special advertorial called The Big Give. Inside this section, you’ll find information on a variety of charities, including their mission statements, wish lists, event dates, and more. Click here to view the entire Big Give.

This year, The Big Give spotlights:

100 Black Men of Omaha

Abide

The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter

American Red Cross

Assistance League of Omaha

Autism Action Partnership

Ballet Nebraska

CASA for Douglas County

Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha

Completely Kids

CUES

Diabetes Education Center of the Midlands

Empowerment Network

Film Streams, Inc.

Food Bank for the Heartland

Gesu Housing, Inc.

Global Partners in Hope

Green Omaha Coalition

Heartland Family Service

The Hope Center for Kids

ICARE Youth Services, Inc.

The Jewish Federation of Omaha

The Kim Foundation

Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska

Nebraska Children’s Home Society

Nebraska Humane Society

The Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition

Ollie Webb Center, Inc.

Omaha Against Hunger

Omaha Children’s Museum

Omaha Home for Boys

Omaha Public Library Foundation

Open Door Mission

Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

Phoenix Academy

Project Harmony

Rejuvenating Women

Release Ministries, Inc.

The Salvation Army

Santa Monica House

Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter

Together

United Way of the Midlands

Youth Emergency Services

A Sight for Non-Seeing Eyes

October 20, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

On the surface, it looks just like any other office or factory. As you enter Outlook Nebraska Inc. (ONI), you’re greeted by a friendly front desk attendant and led past a perfectly ordinary-looking workspace. Entering their factory where they manufacture such paper products as rolls of hand towels, you wouldn’t suspect that it is different from any other assembly line.

But explore a little deeper.

Walking past one office, you might see a man typing away on a keyboard, his laptop closed in front of him. He doesn’t need it open to know what he’s typing. He’s visually impaired and utilizing computer software that reads the words aloud as he types.

On the factory floor, raised edges guard the walkway so sightless employees can feel their way around. Over on the assembly line, visually impaired workers can use a computer screen to zoom in on the product at various stages of production to assess the process.

ONI is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the life of the blind and visually impaired, through employment opportunities and training. Almost all the employees at ONI are blind or visually impaired, from factory workers to IT professionals. Some were born blind, others lost their sight later in life. ONI aims to help them all re-enter the workforce in a meaningful way.

“They get used to being on their feet,” says ONI CEO Eric Stueckrath. “We offer jobs for [people with] entry-level skill sets and all of the positions are at or above minimum wage. We give them the tools to help build those skill sets.”

ONI also offers personalized life-skills training geared to what’s important to the individual, from personal banking to cooking to operating a computer.

The American Foundation for the Blind estimates that as many as 70 percent of blind adults in the U.S. are unemployed. As the largest employer of the blind in the Omaha metro area, ONI is working to make an impact.

“We work with organizations that are committed to hiring the visually impaired,” Stuekrath says. “Advocacy is definitely part of what we do.”

ONI is currently in the midst of a $2 million capital campaign that will allow them to complete a large-scale renovation project at their facility. The renovation will create more space for the general public and give them the ability to offer additional training programs.

In addition to working with adults, blind and visually-impaired youth are a primary focus for Stuekrath and ONI.

“My heart really gravitates toward them,” Stuekrath says.

ONI partners with youth organizations on a number of initiatives, including a sports camp for visually-impaired youth called Camp Abilities Nebraska. Attendees can try archery, swimming, bowling, track and field, and more as a means to build confidence.

“They don’t need to be coddled,” Stuekrath says, adding that he often tells parents of blind children, “Your kid needs to get out there and bump his head and experience life.”

At ONI, everything comes back to the organization’s mission, Stuekrath says.

“We give them the tools they need to gain greater independence.”

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