Some 1,150 Church of the Brethren members from across the country were in Omaha, Neb., last week to celebrate the denomination’s Annual Conference. One of the worship offerings was received for Girls Inc. of Omaha, as the “Witness to the Host City.”
More than $12,700 was received in cash donations, and church members also brought donations of material goods that filled three pallets to overflowing. The collection included backpacks, school supplies, art supplies, games, sports equipment, hygiene supplies, clothing, and more.
Organizers of the Conference chose Girls Inc. for its more than 45 years of commitment to serving girls and young women in the Omaha area.
“Twelve thousand dollars is amazingly generous and supportive,” said Roberta Wilhelm, Executive Director of Girls Inc., “and I want the donors to know it works.”
Speaking of their mission to inspire, educate, and equip girls to be “strong, smart, and bold,” she said, “That inspiration piece is so important. You don’t know what will inspire a girl.” She told the story of a young veterinarian who was involved in Girls Inc. from elementary age, who just this week achieved her professional licensing. Another young woman has been working on her medical degree. “We have women now in computer science” because of the skills they learned with Girls Inc., she said.
Girls Inc. will find many uses for the material donations. School supplies help support after-school homework sessions, for example. Hygiene supplies are kept on premises at the three Girls Inc. facilities around Omaha and also are sent home with girls who need them. Some donations will help fill out Christmas gifts to the girls in the program. Families are very appreciative, Wilhelm said, as the extra supplies “can stretch a budget” during this time of high inflation in which many families are stressed.
The cash donations will help remediate some of what the girls have lost during the pandemic, including extra literacy training, additional counseling for social and emotional struggles and anxiety, and pandemic-related cleaning in Girls Inc. facilities.
— Find out more about more about Annual Conference at www.brethren.org/ac. Find the news index page for the 2022 Annual Conference with news stories, photos, conference journal, worship recordings, and more, at www.brethren.org/news/coverage/annual-conference-2022.