Heartland News Writer
The Heartland News’ supporters put a new twist to an old saying by sharing a lil’ bit of kindness that actually went a long, long way. Supporters’ kindness stretched from Nebraska, through Iowa, all the way to Minnesota. Wal-Mart in all 3 states played a huge part in helping The Heartland News (THN), by allowing its volunteers to collect donations outside it’s store fronts. The donations collected from each individual state remained in those states and, helped The Heartland News help the homeless and unemployed in those areas.
While all donations collected in Council Bluffs and Des Moines will go towards getting offices in those areas, The Heartland News is also seeking a church and/or an organization to assist by providing us a room to conduct business, until the offices are set up.
In Lincoln, for over a year The Heartland News’ business took place at the downtown library. All donations from Wal-Mart customers and other supporters in the Lincoln areas will be used to support our goal of getting an office in Lincoln by mid-summer of this year. In the meantime The Heartland News is seeking a church or organization to partner with to provide a room for orientation and other Heartland News’ business for that area as well.
As far as Omaha, a new office was well overdue. After 2 long years of going through legal issues with Fontenelle Realty and its shady slumlord, Gregory Johnson, The Heartland News voluntarily moved out of its office at 5511 N. 30th Street back in February of 2018. Since then, The Heartland News had been without an office. It was definitely a difficult struggle. Meetings were held at Scooter’s on 30th and Ames. Orientation, and the actual hiring of the homeless and unemployed, had to be conducted out of the Omaha Public Library on 2868 Ames Ave. Now, thanks to the generous donations from the Nebraska supporters and Wal-Mart customers in the Omaha areas, The Heartland News has a new headquarters at 4865 Center Street.
Besides a spacious new office in Omaha, 2019 kicked off an amazing start for The Heartland News in other departments as well. Nineteen year old M,A,Yah II moved up from a Junior Writer to Regional Manager. Being a “Junior Writer” for 6 years, gave young M,A,Yah a fist full of responsibilities and that heart full of pride that comes along with holding such an important title. Once promoted to Regional Manager, that same feeling of pride inspired him to make moves to take the Junior Writer’s Program to unimaginable heights. He wanted a way to share that same feeling he experienced with other young writers, ranging from the ages of 8 to 18. The first thing he did was convince The Heartland News to form a partnership with Metropolitan Community College. Now through Metro, The Heartland News’ Junior Writers can take college courses in journalism and actually earn college credits.
His next idea to start the Terence Crawford scholarship program, and offer internships for the students at Metro, shocked the entire Heartland News’ crew, and erased any and all doubt if whether or not the new Regional Manager was capable of taking charge and moving straight ahead.
The Heartland News also partnered with Cross Training Center, a nonprofit organization located at 5030 N. 72nd Street, in Omaha. Executive Director, Brenda Banks’ solution to poverty through work is making a huge impact in the community. She offers several programs that help character development, vocational training and job experience for disadvantaged and under educated youth and adults. With that, The Heartland News has developed a 5 level program to give the homeless, the unemployed and the socially secluded a second chance at life, that includes a GED program through Metro and job training skills through Cross Training Center.
Then there is the Heartland Business Association (HBA), a subdivision of The Heartland News. The Executive Director of THN started HBA in the beginning of 2019, with the sole purpose of developing a network system that will promote and protect the business communities throughout Omaha, Lincoln, Council Bluffs and Des Moines, with a commitment to help wipe out and prevent homelessness. HBA is a membership organization consisting of companies and organizations in Omaha, Lincoln, Council Bluffs and Des Moines. The cost of a membership is $399.00 a year, which includes an ad in The Heartland News’ printed newspaper as well as online. General meetings for HBA will be hosted by a different member at different locations once a month. Guests are invited, along with community leaders with similar missions as HBA.
However, Minnesota is not included in the Heartland Business Association for a reason.
Thanks to the donations that poured in from the Wal-Mart customers and other supporters throughout the Twin Cities’ areas, The Heartland News now has an office in Minnesota, located at 1250 7th Street West, in St. Paul. And on the first chilling day of the last freezing week of the month, The Heartland News’ staff was out in the cold, hanging up signs and banners as the temperature seem to drop down below zero weather. Suddenly the breezy north winds blew the West St. Paul’s welcome committee, Kent Petterson, of Terrace Horticultural Books, out of nowhere! Not only did Mr. Petterson welcome The Heartland News to the community with a broad smile and friendly handshake, he invited the staff to attend the February 21, 2019, West Seventh Business Association Annual General Membership Meeting. And from 4:30 to 6:30 the old hall inside the North Garden Theater, at 929 7th Street, rang out with laughter and cheerful conversations, as members of the W7BA mingled and networked while feasting on catered food and complimentary drinks. The meeting registered off the ratio scale when it came to local business and information pertaining to past, present and future developments throughout the community. A host of speakers took the floor, including City Council member Rebecca Noecker.
After the meeting, The Heartland News’ staff made a unanimous decision to become a member of West Seventh Business Association. And as of June, The Heartland News in Minnesota will have a separate newspaper from Nebraska and Iowa, with the hopes of inviting City Council member Noecker to give an interview for the first issue.
Not only will The Heartland News in Minnesota have its own separate newspaper that the homeless will take pride in selling and the public will enjoy reading, it will also partner with other organizations and a community college to offer great programs to give those in poverty a second chance in life.
For more information, or to give a donation or to become involved with The Heartland News, call: 651-409-1959.