Make a good week: Omaha Home for Boys

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – This week you have the opportunity to do something good for our community. Share Omaha is starting its first “Do Good Week”.

That means there is a chance to stand up for the hundreds of nonprofits that helped so many residents of the metropolitan area during this pandemic.

Omaha Home for Boys is just one of the many nonprofits that worked overtime during this pandemic.

Gage Gano knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom.

“I was a common drug user. I would take almost any drug I can get my hands on, and I was very deep into alcoholism,” Gano recalled.

He also had legal problems. His probation officer told him about a transition program at OHB called Jacob’s Place.

“She said it teaches you discipline, it teaches you to save, a lot of useful skills, if you want to go to college they will prepare you for it,” said Gano.

Running out of options, he tried.

“They always urge you to do better,” shared Gano.

Brandy Gustoff, Chief Programming Officer at OHB, says that’s the purpose.

“To work with young people and families. We want to help them improve themselves and become independent, be it in terms of housing or education. Our overall goal is to help young people improve their living conditions”, said Gustoff.

You work with young people from different walks of life.

“Some single parents, we also see a lot of poverty, we see young people involved in the justice system as well as districts of the state,” said Gustoff.

Customers all face a similar challenge.

“Young people who really lack support and who are able to meet their needs,” she added.

These needs escalated during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We saw many young people lose their jobs, which meant they couldn’t pay their rent … they couldn’t pay their doctor’s appointments,” said Gustoff.

One of the ways in which OHB stepped up during this pandemic is to provide young people and their families with emergency food.

Now the focus is on mental health.

“Mental health has been a big problem because of this social isolation, as well as the feelings that arise when you cannot take care of yourself, when you have your food, rent, supplies and are now relying on someone else,” explained Gustoff. “From mental health to housing, to food and clothing, we’ve come a long way, and even now we’re still our young people fulfilling their needs.”

Marjorie Mass, Executive Director of Share Omaha, says this is exactly what nonprofits do.

“We believe nonprofits are the dynamic circle that holds this community together. They fill in the gaps, they tackle problems that no one else can solve, and they have been hit hard in 2020,” said Mass.

So this good week, Share Omaha wants to show you some love.

“They ask for durable goods, for new volunteers, of course for cash and new donors,” said Mass.

Without non-profit organizations like OHB …

“To be honest, I would imagine myself dead. I would really do it,” Gano admitted.

Gage says he’s not here.

Now he’s drug-free, employed, and will complete the program in six months.

“They go out of their way to make you happy and they help you do this in any shape, shape or form, and it’s amazing. If I’m ever in the dump there is always someone to talk to “, he said.

There are nearly 600 nonprofits you can help with this Do Good Week. To see how you can donate your time, resources, or dollars, go to ShareOmaha.org.

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