Prevention is key topic in new health courses for Nebraska’s refugees

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By Flora Zempleni Prevention. That’s the most important part of the health courses that are a part of the new Refugee Support Program, developed by Lutheran Family Services through collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Southeast Community College ESL courses. Lea Sheets, a refugee support program coordinator at Lutheran Family Services, said >

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Lincoln volunteers work for weeks to prepare for new arrivals’ fresh start

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By Sophia Tatum It was a sunny, brisk Friday afternoon in October—about 3 o’clock, that time in the afternoon when most people working or going to school are starting to think about their weekend plans. A local group of volunteers standing outside the food court at the Lincoln, Nebraska, Airport were doing the same. However, >

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Strength of heart: Young refugee finds that for him it’s like father, like son

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By Megan McGill Bucm Icaac (strength of heart) In Omaha, Nebraska, David Dep stands in a room full of people.  It’s full of his family and friends and the people closest to him.  It’s not a happy occasion.  The room is filled with tears, mourning and shock. Everyone is distraught, everyone except David. In a >

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Encounter with resettled refugees leads to changed lives all around

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By Megan McGill Rochelle Heimann sits at her cubicle on the fourth floor of Center Mall in Omaha.  She’s been here for only a year.  This office looks very different than the one she had for the previous 10 years. This cubicle doesn’t have an adjustable chair, a sink or any hair products.  The floors >

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When Karen refugees came to Lincoln, they brought a game with them

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By Kollin Miller School has just let out all around Lincoln. Children of all ages are beginning to gather for afternoon games. Games of football, basketball and soccer are played across the city. But behind an apartment complex to the south of Lincoln High School, a different game is played. A ball pops over the >

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Mosaic graphic: Where Nebraska’s refugees have been coming from

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By Sophia Tatum Mass numbers of people around the world are being forced to leave their homes because of unrest in their native countries, so many governments—including the United States—willingly take in these men, women and children who are faced with imminent threats and help them rebuild a new life far away from any danger. >

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Omaha neighborhood association battles to keep its community center

Yates Community Center building, same architect as Joslyn Castle-John McDonald

By Jeff Renken For the past 16 years, the Gifford Park Neighborhood Association has battled Omaha Public Schools to get an elementary school back in the neighborhood. Now in an unfortunate way, their wish might come true. The Yates Community Center lives up to its name by offering a wide range of services to the >

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Prayer vigil for Syrians is a welcome gesture

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By Bailey Neel On Nov. 13, 2015, ISIS terrorists killed 130 people in Paris, the deadliest attack in France since World War II. In the days following, it was discovered that one of the suspects entered Europe under a false identity—as a Syrian refugee. Millions of hashtags circulated the world with messages: “Pray for Paris,”

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Yazidis in Lincoln start advocacy organization

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By Rhett Muller For the Yazidi people everything has meaning. From their religious beliefs to daily interactions, everything they do is to create a stronger community for their family and for Yazidis as a whole. With a quick Internet search, you will find a strong connection between Yazidis and Lincoln, Nebraska. Lincoln has one of

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Immigrant finds passion for helping others

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By Eric Bertrand Hugo Orellana has a passion for his work as a bilingual liaison for Lincoln Public Schools. Currently, he is responsible for 300 children enrolled in Lincoln high schools, but that number used to be 600. “For me, it’s fine,” he said. “I don’t see numbers, I see people.” Oscar Rios Pohirieth, a

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UNL panel: It’s not easy arriving as a refugee

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By Mara Klecker Her father got the call at 4 in the morning. It was July 2012, and he was in his home in Latakia, Syria. On other end was a member of the Islamic State. This was not the first foreboding phone call. Her father had been warned before. Earlier in the year, the

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Pastor works to help diverse communities

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By Jeff Renken Father Vitalis Anyanike speaks quietly sitting behind the cluttered desk in the small office at the Holy Name Church’s rectory. Diplomas on one wall face a photo of his former Nigerian home on the other. It’s warm for a November morning in Omaha, yet Vitalis wears a wool top coat. He emigrated […]

December 7, 2015 at 11:59 am


Omaha plans for Syrians at preliminary stage

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By Bailey Neel The tragedy and turmoil has been broadcast around the globe. Millions of Syrians have fled their country because civil war has created an uninhabitable place of violence and danger. More than a third of the population has abandoned the country in hopes of finding something better beyond the borders. Unfortunately for these […]

December 1, 2015 at 4:37 pm


Journals tell the tale of my family

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By Megan McGill   The following entries record the thoughts and musings of a near-octogenerian whose memory is fast fading.  All were written hurriedly with slight regard for proper diction which remains unpolished and unedited. Never have I attempted to record for posterity.  The time spent has kept me off the streets and out of […]

October 11, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Our Stories

Arriving with a physics degree, he starts over

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By Rhett Muller When Faris Pirali first started college at the University of Mosul in Iraq, he would have never guessed he would be starting completely over 13 years later in Lincoln, Nebraska. After graduating high school, Pirali began his college career in January 2003, majoring in physics. After one year he decided to leave […]

December 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

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