Omaha North Side, Neb., Corps afterschool program snapshots
by Lt. Pam Kasten
The Salvation Army Omaha North Side, Neb., Corps is known as "The Sal" in our community and as a safe place for youth from many backgrounds. Every day at 3:00 p.m., The Sal fills with children from kindergarten through high school age looking for a safe place to belong.
C.J. has been attending The Sal for three years. She is 14 years old and in the eighth grade. A typical teenage girl, C.J. loves to shop, sing and hang out with her friends. She and her three siblings attend The Salvation Army and feel it's a place where they belong and are safe. C.J.'s mentor is Debbie, a volunteer who spends many of her afternoons at The Sal helping the girls. She is a great encouragement to C.J.
C.J. sings in her middle school choir and dreams of becoming a professional vocalist.
Eighteen-year-old DeOnte plays on the corps' Blackhawks basketball team. Besides basketball DeOnte loves video games and watching movies.
DeOnte's mentor is Program Director Jim Sells who is passionate about challenging young men to grow and strive for more in life. Jim has helped DeOnte to succeed on the court and in school. When asked how he would feel if The Sal didn't exist, DeOnte said, "I would miss the safety."
DeOnte will graduate from high school in May and hopes to join the United States Air Force.