Imagine being a 7-year-old in the back of a locked police car being taken away from home with only a plastic garbage bag. This was University of Nebraska at Omaha alumna Kristi Martin’s reality.
Martin, who graduated from UNO in 2008 with a bachelor’s in psychology, minor in sociology and certificate in gerontology, was removed from her home and placed into the Nebraska foster care system at age 70.
Her experience in Nebraska’s foster care system stuck with her. One year after graduating from UNO, Martin discovered the per-fect opportunity to make a positive impact and joined the board of the local nonprofit group Nebraska Friends of Foster Children (NFFC).
By 2016, Martin was asked to fill the role of president and has continued to make improvements to NFFC.
Founded in 1992, NFFC is on a mission to enrich the lives of children in Nebraska foster care by funding requests for experiences and items to help foster care children “explore, learn and grow,” according to Martin.
As a volunteer and nonprofit organization, NFFC ensures the money it raises reaches the children it’s meant to serve. Since its cre-ation, 95 percent of funds raised have been given directly to those in need.
Some key ingredients to NFFC’s organization are Nebraska pride and Maverick spirit. In fact, nearly half of NFCC volunteers graduated or will graduate from UNO.
Several NFFC board members have a connection to UNO, including 2009 graduate Mitch Cunningham who has a degree in management information systems and Liz Hruska, who graduated in 1977 with a degree in urban studies and 1981 with a master’s in public administration.
UNO freshman Kami Baker had never heard of NFFC, but once she did, she was on board with the mission of the organization. Baker said if an opportunity to volunteer with NFFC came up, she’d “definitely” be interested.
“It sounds like a really good organization,” Baker said. “I’m so glad it helps children in the area.”
Since May is foster care awareness month, NFFC will host several events.
May 6, NFFC is hosting a Speak-easy Soiree fundraising event at the Pella at Blackstone, which will feature hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a silent auction. For more in-formation, visit NFFC’s Facebook page or email Megan DeBoer at firstname.lastname@example.org
On May 24, Omaha Gives will hold its fifth annual online 24-hour charitable challenge beginning at midnight. NFFC is one of the nonprofits available to select for donations. A $10 minimum donation is required to donate. More information is available at OmahaGives.org.